Buddies Trips: Eating Wisely

Golf trips are exciting to plan and fun to execute but the one drawback is the tendency to overeat.  You can reason that the exercise (yeah, right….) experienced during those daily 36-hole marathons will help you burn off those extra calories, but the sad truth is that today, the only workout you may get is jumping in and out of the golf cart;  or if you’re lucky, the rules of the day are ‘cart-path only’ so you’ll gain some extra steps to and fro.  No, it is not your fault when the upscale resorts and clubs mandate cart usage, which then puts things out of your control.  On the other hand, the club can’t force you to eat everything in sight at the half-way house or the 19th hole or at all of the fast-food joints on the journey to get there….so you do have some control in the chow-down department.  The last thing you want is to come home 5 to 10 pounds heavier.  If you do, you can curse your buddies for goading you into eating the 99-ounce Porterhouse that’s free if you can eat it all…….or taking the bet to see how many Kosher dogs you can down at the turn each day of the trip – but you still have those stubborn pounds to ditch.

The best solution is not to gain those pounds in the first place – and it isn’t as hard as you think. Whether you are eating at fine dining establishments at the resort or sneaking out on the town to grab fast food or chain restaurant meals, the rules are still the same.

Don’t let eating at restaurants make you fat.  People assume it is fast-food only that can contribute to excess calories.  Not so; in fact, menu analysis of 24 national chains revealed that the average entree at a sit-down restaurant contains 867 calories, compared with 522 calories in the average fast-food entree. And that’s before appetizers, sides, or desserts—selections that can easily double your total calorie intake.

Forget Supercizing! Sure, it seems a bargain because you’re getting proportionately more food for less money. But a “value meal” is only a value for two sets of people: the corporations making the food and the medical centers selling liposuction machines and heart stents. Because food is so inexpensive for manufacturers to produce on a large scale, your average fast-food emporium makes a hefty profit: you’re getting an average of 73 percent more calories for only 17 percent more money. Not more nutrients; just more calories. Who needs that?

Don’t order the ‘Medium’ soda pop…get the Small….if at all!  That ‘medium’ is likely a large. Remember, 8 ounces is one serving. A “small” Coke at McDonald’s is almost 2 servings of carbonated sugar—and a large is 4! Remember, a salesperson is serving you. One study found that you’re more likely to order a side dish when the server verbally prompts ‘Do you want fries with that?’  Save your soda pop calories for the 19th hole cocktails when you can truly enjoy a nice cold beer – like this lad on the right – or a rum and coke or vodka-tonic.

Many resorts now have gourmet buffets with tempting food choices that are difficult to resist.  Negotiate the food maze by giving the entire buffet the ‘once-over’ before you begin loading your plate.  That way, you’ll make wiser choices and be less prone to taking a little of everything…..which generally adds up to a lot of everything. Sacrifice the normal foods you might eat all the time for some special ones you don’t often get.   Grab a smaller plate because you can’t fill it up as much as a larger one. In a 2008 study published in the journal Obesity, researchers offered patrons two plate sizes. 98.6 percent of those with the highest body mass index (BMI) took the larger of the two. Bigger plates trick your eye into thinking you’re eating less when you load up. Small plates = Small belly.

Eat dessert elsewhere…..or take an eating break before you partake. After dinner, go for a 15-minute walk; this can weaken sugar cravings; plus it takes a while for your brain to catch up with your stomach’s contents.  Most likely, you won’t want the dessert if you wait.  If you do, enjoy it because you’ve earned it! Ask for smaller portions because you know that it is always the first few bites you treasure the most. And, unless the dessert is really something special, don’t waste the calories.

Resist the blob mentality. Your dining partners may be making you fat. Research shows people consume 65 percent more calories when they eat with a person who opts for seconds or even thirds.  If you can’t avoid their company, opt for a cup of coffee or herbal tea instead of being coerced into more food.  And, if no one is going up for seconds, consider that you might be the blob….and adjust accordingly. Stop eating!

Drink the ice water first. Thirst can masquerade as hunger, which is one reason you should stay hydrated. Another reason: water fuels your body’s fat burners. For 90 minutes after drinking 16 ounces of chilled water, adult metabolisms rise by 24% over average rates. Why? The energy your body generates to warm the water during digestion. This will also fill you up so you’ll eat less.

Cut up your food. Sliced food looks like more.  This helps you take less and thus, and eat less.  Believing you are eating a larger portion causes you to feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

Changes in your regular routine will cause your trip to feel like a weekend. Studies show people eat an average of 236 more calories on Saturday than on any given weekday.  If your day isn’t structured, neither are your eating habits. Approach your buddies trip like any other day and make it an opportunity to treat your body properly.

Don’t feel as if you have to eat a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Order soups, salads, appetizers or side dishes; that way you can get a taste of additional items on the menu and not feel deprived.

Finally, if your chosen resort allows walking and you tough guys opt for walking and carrying 36 holes a day for 3 or 4 days, forget everything outlined above and eat whatever you darn well please………


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