“I can’t eat out, I’ll ruin my diet and won’t reach my goals! It’s not part of my plan, so I just won’t go out, EVER.”
Is this statement really realistic? I will answer that in a simple NO. It’s NOT realistic at all!
Saying you cannot go out while you have health or fat loss goals is only going to set you up for failure.
Why? If you have no plan or direction for going out, there will come a time where you will go out for some reason or another, and you will have no clue how to eat when you do, most likely leading to feeling overwhelmed and throwing in the towel for the whole meal.
The whole problem with dining out isn’t the food itself.
****It’s our choices we make when we are out! It’s failing to think of the obstacles, struggles, and challenges ahead of time. The problem is in how we perceive and think of these situations.****
Face it, dining out is fun and common, and I sure enjoy it! But I don’t go in thinking I’m going to let loose, nor do I go in without some guideline directing me.
First things, you need to accept that dining out is here to stay, and making wise, appropriate, reasonable choices are in our own park. What needs to be done is on our part the majority of the time.
This being said, you need to create a plan, a set of mindful guidelines, that will direct you when you’re out, and follow these guidelines! STOP TREATING EVERY MEAL OUT LIKE A TREAT!
This is a huge mindset change. It means moving away from feeling deprived if you don’t have the same fat or calorie laden foods as those around you but do have something clean or simple. Changing your thoughts to thinking of scoping out the menus for what’s within means for YOU and your goals.
There are some easy steps to shifting your mind and actions towards making dining out within your means to your priorities and goals….
It is easier when you choose the place you will eat, pick somewhere that is more conductive to your diet, and check out the menu ahead of time. So this is the first order. BUT, if you don’t have the choice of location, at least check out the menu ahead of time, deciding before hand what to have.
Still, if menus are not available prior, you’re still in good shape! Read through the guidelines listed below:
1. When you arrive, order water, unsweet tea or seltzer, adding some lemons if desired. Drink water before any food is eaten and throughout the meal.
2. Ask to SKIP THE BREAD OR CHIPS! C’mon, do you REALLY want to WASTE your calories on this part of the meal? You need to make a choice between either bread/chips bowl, a carb/starch with your main entree or app, or a few bites of a dessert. NOT all 3! Some carbs are fine, more is not necessary.
3. Also, keep tabs on the portions of those carbs. If you have a lot of fat to shed or are less active 1-3 bites is ample, very active or lean individuals MAY be able to handle up to 15 bites. This s for the entire meal! This is something you need to figure out yourself as it is unique to your body.
4. Begin by ordering a salad, or broth/vegetable based soup. Ask for dressing on side, avoid or limit the addons like croutons, lots of cheese, or fats unless this is going to be your main meal.
5. If you’d like to have an appetizer scope out ones that are rich in lean protein or produce. Skip the fried and carb rich apps, unless that’s where you’re having your carbs. If that’s the case still watch portions as above!
6. Choose or create your entree based on a Balanced Carb Controlled Plate. This is my guiding savior for my meals. It’s a great way to manage my calories, macros, and meals without overdoing it. You can do this with appetizers, salad, or entree itself. A Balanced Carb Controlled Plate consists of 1/2 the plate being non starchy veggies (broccoli, asparagus, spinach, green beans, or side salad), 1/4 of the plate lean protein, garnished with some fat (vinaigrette, nuts, cheese, olive oil, etc) served on side and added yourself, and carbs making up the number of bites unique to you.
7. A balanced plate doesn’t need to be an entree. You can create one by having a salad or broth/veg soup, and a protein rich appetizer. Or choose a protein rich app and a produce rich one and make those your meals. This can also cut costs and provide enough variety to satisfy.
8. Take some to go, or share. Portions served at restaurants today are 2-5 times larger than a serving size! That means you can be eating hundreds of not thousands of extra calories in a single sitting! Plates that meals are served on have grown as well. When your food comes check in to see how large of a plate and how big the portions are. If the plate larger than 8-in diameter replate an appropriate amount or ask for a to-go box and bring half home for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner.
9. Watch out for condiments and addons. The worst ones are butter, mayo, creamy dressings, cream or butter sauces, ketchup (full of sugar), and sweet barbecue sauces (also full of sugars). The BEST flavor boosters are mustard, vinegar, lemon lime or citrus, light vinaigrettes, steak sauce, vegetable or vinegar based condiments like Chimichurri, salsa, pico, etc. You may use flavor enchanters to add oomph to your meal.
10. Enjoy your food! I can’t tell you how often I see others scarf down a meal while multitasking, or because they are in a hurry or ravenous. THE FOOD ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE! Enjoy it by looking, smelling, tasting, and observing the texture. Also pay attention to your hunger, appetite, cravings, and fullness as you eat.
11. Go for satisfied over full. Stop before you’re ‘done and full’. It takes up to 20 minutes to register satisfaction. If you keep eating until then or eat quickly you will end up stuffed. Stuffed leads to guilt, being uncomfortable, and less positive memory of your meal. Remember, the first 2-4 bites are always the most delicious ones for your tastebuds, beyond that it takes the same or the flavor fades.
12. Do something else when you’re done. Even if you’re not sure if you’re satisfied, leave the food. You can always come back or eat more and, no, you will not starve. I like to socialize, go for a walk, read, sightsee if I’m away from home, or partake in one of my hobbies or passions.
I can’t wait to hear how you do!! Need some extra coaching? Contact me today!