Last Saturday evening I had dinner with friends at an excellent Italian restaurant. When dinner was over, I walked away satisfied, not stuffed, and thrilled I had slashed my potential caloric intake in half, enjoyed a rich meal with friends, and still felt comfortable in my dress.

I ordered only one dish, while everyone else ordered three-courses: appetizer, main course and dessert.

My main course was home-made pasta, simply prepared in olive oil, tossed with bread crumbs and sprinkled with chili peppers. I asked that it be prepared with only half the amount of oil normally used.  No problem, said the waitress.

When bread was brought to the table, I reached for a piece, since I love bread. The bread was excellent, freshly baked, but oily. When I squeezed a piece between my fingers, oil oozed out. So I only ate a quarter of a slice, while everyone else dipped their whole slice in a pool of oil!

While everyone else drank wine and champagne, I sipped on a divine ginger-water drink made from fresh ginger. Good for my digestion and filling.

By the time my pasta arrived, I wasn’t even that hungry, so I was happy to trade half of it for a piece of fish with the friend sitting next to me. I was glad to see only half a portion of pasta on my plate since I knew it would be rich and filling. And it was!

When dessert arrived, I tasted each one. One teaspoon was enough.

The calorie tally for the 3-course meal plus bread, and alcoholic beverages my friends had was easily 2,400. I walked away with about 600 calories for my pasta, slice of bread, three bites of fish and teaspoon of dessert.

Six hundred calories I could burn easily the next day but 2,400 calories would take about a 12-hour walk! And that right there is my reasoning for eating consciously and sparingly, so I can enjoy a night on the town and fit into my clothes the next day.