The experts' tips
Don't walk into a bakery or chocolate shop without a buddy who might sober you up enough to keep your order from getting out of hand.
Know that what you buy at the grocery store will get eaten. Some 37 percent of dinner menus are planned spontaneously with what's available in the house, says Harry Balzer, vice president of the NPD Group. So don't bring fattening or unhealthful foods home.
If you eat out a lot, it's no longer a special occasion. Don't order as if it's a party.
Be aware of how advertising is trying to manipulate your need for comfort, quick gratification, or self-indulgence. "The only way to outsmart them is to know what they're tapping into and not have it go directly to your unconscious," says Gail Saltz, a psychoanalyst with the New York Psychoanalytic Institute.
Cleaning your plate will not help starving children in the Third World. If you've been served too hefty a portion, it's better to scrape it into the garbage than shovel it into your stomach.
This story appears in the March 28, 2005 print edition of U.S. News & World Report.