The silly season is almost upon us and now the social events calendar starts to fill up very quickly... but when you are in fat loss mode, suddenly the invitation for a night out at a restaurant with friends feels like torture. It makes you question how on earth you are going to hit your health & fitness goal for the week...
Trying to lose weight does mean you need to stay accountable to yourself, but it should not mean that you cannot enjoy life as well!
Are you always scanning a menu at a cafe, wondering how to select a meal without ruining a weeks' worth of good food choices & exercise?
Here are some key ways to stay on track with your goals without depriving yourself:
Ordering off the menu:
- Check the menu online before you go so you know what's on offer & you can make allowances. If you feel like something a little more indulgent, order it, but just make sure you balance it out with smaller portions in your other meals throughout the day.
- Doing some form of exercise either before or after that indulgent meal always helps! Not just on the scales but for your mind as well.
- Ask for sauce or dressings on the side! That way you can determine how much you use & consume. Oil & vinegar is usually the safest bet.
- Never go to a restaurant on an empty stomach. If you are starving, you will more than likely order everything on the menu! Try to have a light meal before you go (protein works well), to avoid a binge session.
- It sounds obvious but avoid deep fried, battered, crumbed & pastry options.
- Grilled, poached, BBQ'd, braised, slow cooked, baked, roasted & steamed are all great & clean methods of cookery.
- Order fish or seafood. Studies have shown that food served at seafood chains and independent restaurants, found low-fat and low-sodium options abounded. Plus, you can order seafood so many different ways-steamed, baked, broiled, sautéed, blackened, or grilled.
- All day breakfast on the menu? Yes!! Breakfast food (Smashed avo, poached eggs, omelette's without the extra cheese of course) on some multigrain or sourdough toast with a side of some spinach, fresh tomato & mushrooms is always a great & healthy option.
- Remove the temptation if you feel you will be tempted - i.e., if a piece of fish comes with "chips & salad" ask for no chips, if it's not on your plate, you can't eat it!
- Avoid large serves of pasta & rice dishes with high-fat sauces.
- Eat slowly & listen to your body. Monitor when you start to feel satisfied & stop when you do.
- Instead is skipping dessert, share it! That way you don't feel you are missing out & you halve the calories.
- Opt for a tomato based sauce rather than a cream based, as they generally contain fewer calories.
- Customise your meal. If you see something you like that's 90% of the way there, don't be afraid to ask them to modify your order - it happens all the time, and the server really won't mind. A chicken sandwich or a burger without the bun can easily turn into a plate of meat and vegetables.
- Eat at Your Usual Times. Be sure to eat your regular meals and snacks prior to your dinner date. Do not skip meals in an effort to "save" calories before a big meal. By doing this, you may find yourself ravenous, which may lead to making poor choices and consuming larger portions than you otherwise would.
There is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two, just remember to be mindful if you are trying to achieve fat loss as your body burns alcohol off before it utilises your carbs/protein & fat stores that you had consumed with that alcohol that day.
Tips for alcohol consumption while eating out:
- Drink water with your meal & alternate water in between drinks.
- Think about when you most enjoy an alcoholic drink (eg. Before a meal) & limit your drinks to that particular time.
- Liquor & soda are one of the more healthier options.
- Skip the fashionable drinks. Drinks like margaritas, piña coladas, and other exotic mixed drinks contain lots of sugary additions that only add calories. Opt instead for a glass of wine, a light beer, a vodka and tonic or a simple martini (without the chocolate liquor, sour green apple schnapps, or triple sec).
- Generally speaking wine (red in particular, has been said to have health benefits such as: reducing inflammation, blood pressure & heart disease) & also champagne have fewer calories than mixed drinks.
- Cocktails that use fresh fruit & honey for sweetness are always a better choice.
You don't have to restrict yourself from eating out when trying to lose weight, you can still maintain a healthy social life without breaking that calorie bank by making smart choices!
One indulgent meal won't ruin your results, but a week of "oh well, I ate a bad lunch so today is ruined so I'll eat poorly for dinner and try again tomorrow" does…
Indulging is good for you as long as it's not all the time! Dining out should be a source of joy - an experience shared with loved ones - not something that causes anxiety or stress because there might not be the right or healthiest meal! Treat yourself once in a while.
*Disclaimer: Individual results vary based on agreed goals. Click here for details.