Studies show that whenever you eat with other people, you lose track of how much you’re eating. For instance, if you eat with just one other person, you’re likely to eat about 35% more than you normally would. When you eat with four people, your consumption rate jumps to 75% more. And when eating with a group of seven or more, you eat about 96% more than if you were eating alone.
Important food for thought: The average person eats out with a group about three times a week. This means that if you’re not cautious, you can consume 72,000 extra calories over the course of a year, which translates into about 20 pounds of weight gain.
Break the Habit
Don't give up on your social life! Eating with others is not only part of life, but also has positive effects on your overall well-being. But remember: The healthy part revolves around the company, not the food. To avoid mindless overeating:
- Be mindful and don’t pace yourself with the fastest eater at the table. Instead, pace yourself with the slowest eater. Also, try to be the last person to start eating.
- Make arrangements to do other things with friends and family besides just eat. If your plans do involve eating, make sure to also include a physical activity like a walk afterward.
Next: Why a lunch break really should be all about lunch