Dieting is difficult enough, but going out to eat only complicates things further. New research suggests that you can ease the pain by going out to eat with people who are also on a certain diet.
Photo by Dennis AB
The research, conducted by the University of Illinois, found that typically, people don’t like to stray too far from what other people at their table are eating. If your group wants to buy something expensive and unhealthy, most of us will feel at least some pressure to also get expensive, unhealthy food. Fortunately, this also works in reverse:
“If my peers are ordering higher-calorie items or spending more money , then I am also happier, or at least less unhappy, if I order higher-calorie foods and spend more money.
“The most interesting thing we found was that no matter how someone felt about the category originally, even if it was initially a source of unhappiness, such as the items in the salad category, this unhappiness was offset when others had ordered within the same category,” Ellison said.
Of course, you can’t always check your party’s diet plans before you choose your dinner company. In that event, you can also help mitigate the pressure by ordering first. Even if you don’t set the tone for the table, you can remove some (if not all) of the pressure to get higher-priced, less healthy meals.
When Dieting, Hang with Friends on Similar Mission [Psych Central]