London - Your friends may be there for you but they could also be preventing you from losing weight, according to new research.
Meeting friends and going out for dinner have been found to be among the most common triggers for people falling off the diet wagon.
The study polled 2 000 adults who were watching their waistlines and found they were most likely to ditch their diet when socialising.
Going out for dinner was the reason why 38 percent stopped eating healthily while 21 percent blamed meeting friends.
Whether it was a night out or night in with the girls, many said they found it difficult to resist consuming calorific alcoholic drinks, unhealthy snacks or indulgent desserts.
They blamed the ‘‘psychological pressures’’ of socialising for their failure to stick to their diet, with 26 percent saying a ‘‘lack of recognition from other’’ didn’t help them maintain their health kick.
Many weren’t safe at work either with 28 percent saying they couldn’t resist office snacks passed around by colleagues.
TV personality Mica Paris, an ambassador for the weight loss aid that conducted the research, agreed with the results, saying she finds it difficult to watch her weight when eating out with friends.
She said: ‘‘When you’re on a diet you don’t want to feel like you are missing out, so it can be really difficult to avoid temptation.
‘‘I’m a sociable person and love meeting the girls for lunch, but eating out regularly can mean the weight starts to creep on and it’s easy to blow a whole day’s calorie intake in one meal. My guilty pleasure is prawn tempura – I just can’t resist this when it’s on the menu!’
The 43-year-old dropped from 97kg to 84.4kg last year after dieting. At her heaviest, she was a dress size 16.
Now size 12 to 14, she said she has learnt a few tricks that she was happy to pass on.
‘‘If you have a night out with the girls instead of completely avoiding alcohol and then having the urge to binge, try to stick to a few low-calorie drinks, such as vodka and tonic,’’ she recommends.
‘‘If I know I am eating out in the evening I try to make sure I don’t skip lunch. If I don’t eat in the day I will be famished by the time I get to the restaurant and end up ordering something really unhealthy. Instead, I fill up on protein and have a small snack, like vegetables, before I head out.’’
The former What Not To Wear presenter believes you don’t have to forgo eating out with friends when you are on a diet as long as you are savvy with your meal choices.
She said: ‘‘I try to avoid creamy based sauces and go for a tomato or vegetable alternative. You will be surprised how many calories and fat you can cut out of your meal by simply avoiding cream and cheese dishes.’’
Helen Bond, a consultant dietitian, agreed with Mica’s advice.
‘‘Going out with friends is one of life’s great pleasures but at the same time, don’t allow it to become an excuse to stop following your healthy eating principles.
‘‘Don’t worry, it does not mean that you have to stop being social and there are plenty of simple things you can do to stay on track.’’
Helen’s tips include drinking lots of water during a meal.
‘‘If you are out for dinner and still feel hungry after your main course, try drinking a couple of glasses of water. Not only will this hydrate you, but it will help fill you.
‘‘It is well known that we often think we’re hungry when we are actually thirsty.’’
When having a girl’s night in, Helen recommends making your own healthier meals instead of relying on a takeaway.
‘‘If you are having a girlie night in and you fancy pizza, try making your own topped with loads of colourful veg plus light mozzarella, sliced tomatoes and garlic oil.
‘‘Four slices of take out pepperoni pizza would set you back approximately 830 calories and a massive 34g of fat.’’ – Daily Mail
TOP TIPS TO HELP YOU STICK TO YOUR DIET WHEN WITH FRIENDS
Don't skip lunch if you're eating out in the evening
Drink water throughout your meal
Choose your meal carefully, avoid creamy sauces and cheese dishes
Go for lower calorie alcoholic drinks
On a night in with friends, make your own meals instead of having takeaway. - Daily Mail