Filed Under:

Boomer Women Prove They Can Dine Out And Still Lose Weight

Play associated audio

When women go on a diet, we tend to avoid our favorite restaurants because they are filled with temptations — bread, booze and desserts. But are we doomed to sit in our kitchens eating salad alone while everyone else is headed out on the town if we want to keep the weight off?

Take heart, ladies. A new study of women in their 50s and early 60s finds they could eat out and still succeed at long-term weight loss.

"What was really surprising was that eating at restaurants did not predict long-term weight change," lead researcher Bethany Barone Gibbs of the University of Pittsburgh tells us.

The study looked at predictors of weight loss at six months, and then again at four years after dieting began. Early in the dieting phase, eating at home seemed to be most effective. But as the years went by, the women who were successful at weight loss seemed able to bring their healthier eating habits to the restaurant table. They were eating out about two to three times per week, compared with the average American, who eats out four to five times a week.

So what separated the successful dieters from the not so successful? For starters, cutting back on meats and cheeses was important. And eating fewer desserts and sugar-sweetened drinks such as soda or sweetened tea were both important.

But the most powerful predictor was what the women added to their diet. "The strongest effect actually was for fruits and vegetables," says Barone Gibbs.

The study found that four years after starting a diet, the women who added in daily servings of fruits and vegetables did best. The new findings, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics fit with another study published in the same journal last year that examined strategies for losing weight and keeping it off.

So how do women manage to keep down portions and resist all those restaurant temptations? Perhaps they've adopted the slow down and savor approach. As we've reported, women who participated in a mindful eating study were eating about 300 fewer calories per day after incorporating these techniques.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Thanksgiving Buzz: What Would Pilgrims Say About The Plight Of Bees?

When you sit down for your holiday dinner, you may want to give thanks to bees and other pollinators. Their health is tied to your food. What's behind the bee declines? Watch our video investigation.

Capitol Hill Lawmakers Find Living At The Office Makes Sense, Saves Cents

Three office buildings on the House side of the U.S. Capitol serve as offices, and by night as lawmakers' apartments. Dozens of lawmakers choose to sleep in the office when Congress is in session.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.