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What to Do if You Have Too Many 'Dinners Out' Coming Up

Dieting is the easiest thing ever, just as long as you can always prepare your own meals and never have to face outside temptation! In reality, most of us have family and friends who like to eat out from time to time.

Eating out is fine in moderation, but what should you do if you have a lot of special occasions right in a row?

The good news is that you don't have to choose between your social life and your waistline. You just have to play it smart.

Don't Go Hungry

If you're nearly starving when you show up to dinner, you're setting yourself up to fail. Excessive hunger will make it nearly impossible to make good choices in regard to portion sizes and entree selections.

Start managing your hunger before you take a seat at the table. Before you leave home, take the edge off your hunger with some low-calorie soup or lean meat. Then have a big, leafy salad for your appetizer.

Choose Diet-Friendly Options

These days, most restaurants have menu selections that cater to healthy eaters. Look for grilled meat and steamed vegetables, and avoid anything that's drowning in grease, butter, or cheese.

Buffets typically have many fruits and vegetables to choose from. Make use of this variety to keep yourself from getting bored and "cheating".

If you can't find low-calorie dishes, ask for a half-portion or order off of the kid's menu. Or, ask for half of your meal to be boxed up before it's delivered to the table.

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Drink Plenty of Water

If you drink plenty of water or unsweetened tea during your meal, you will find that your stomach fills up much faster. Drink, drink, and drink some more!

Sometimes our bodies misinterpret thirst as hunger. Staying hydrated is a great craving preventative.

Micro-Manage Your Desserts

If you can skip dessert without feeling too deprived, we salute you! If you'd rather indulge, just be sure to do it mindfully.

Instead of a rich dessert, eat fruit or pudding. If the restaurant offers frozen yogurt, get a small cup of that with fat-free chocolate syrup. If your options are limited, go ahead and indulge in a regular dessert - with the help of a few friends.

Relax and Have Fun

You won't enjoy your night out if you're stressing over calories the whole time. Use the tips above, and just do your best. Soon, the constant eating out will be a thing of the past, and you can return to your regularly scheduled weight loss.

Whatever you do, don't sit down at a buffet with the intention of "getting your money's worth". Eat when you're hungry, and stop when you're full, regardless of what your friends do. Check out our article on buffet do's and don'ts for weight loss for more details...

You could also suggest eating in rather than going to a restaurant. You and your friends could have a potluck meal, including healthy items for the dieters. Invite your group over and throw some fish and chicken on the grill.

Don't feel like cooking? Celebrate by ordering in. Veggie pizzas and sushi are tasty, fun, and won't leave you in dietary disaster.

If you have to go out, just do it. There's no reason to be afraid of eating out! You just have to play it smart to get the most out of your meals and do the least amount of damage to your diet. Bear these weight loss tips in mind the next time you head out for meals to stay on track for your weight loss goals.

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And remember, you can always make up for those extra calories by adding a little more exercise to your routine. Once the celebrations have ended, you can return to your normal eating and exercise schedule.