If you are one of those people, including myself, that enjoy eating out every now and then, it is probably time to consider where you sit at the restaurant if you do not want to overeat.
According to a new book, Slim by Design, changing where you sit at a restaurant might help you avoid temptation. This information is particularly helpful if you are trying to follow a balanced diet. The author of the book, a leading food psychologist and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, professor Brian Wansink and his team visited 27 different restaurants across the U.S. to study their layouts and what people ate at each table.
The researchers measured and mapped the layout of each restaurant and then used meal checks to track what diners ordered and how it related to where they sat.
What they found was that the location of the table had a lot to do with what people consumed, consciously or not. For example, those seated at bar-height tables tend to order more salads, and those who sat in visible places often opted for healthier picks because others were watching.
So, can changing your eating environment help you lose weight? Professor Wansink’s Slim By Design theory certainly thinks so. Of course, your environment is not the only factor that affects how much food you eat. Research shows that storing your food out of arm’s reach, putting less food on your plate and eating off of red plates all might help you consume fewer calories. Add a fair amount of self-restraint to the above and weight problems can become a thing of the past.
Still, before you book a table to your favorite restaurant, bear in mind some of the books information:
1. Sit by the window.
Not only will you be more visible (and possibly more mindful of other diners watching you), but as Wansink said “seeing the sunlight, people, or trees outside might make you more conscious about how you look“.
2. Be careful at the buffet.
Research has shown that people who have no weight issues tend to get smaller plates at Chinese buffets and use chopsticks instead of forks. Plus, they sit far away from the buffet and turn away from all the tasty-looking food.
3. Don’t get too comfortable.
People who sat at booths ordered fattier foods and ate more. Meanwhile, people who sat at high-top tables were more likely to start with a salad and skip dessert.
4. Sit away from the TV.
Just like when you’re at home, watching TV can cause mindless eating. Also, the researchers found that people sitting closer to a TV ate more fried foods.
5. Sit closer to the door
The worst seat in the house is a booth in a dark corner, far from the door and near the bar; the so-called “fat table”. Diners who sat the farthest from the door ate the fewest salads and were 73% more likely to order dessert than the average customer.