Consider this. You’ve been on your Quickloss Express Program for over a week now and you’re doing great. You’re eating your meals 5 hours apart; breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’ve managed to fight off your cravings and cut down on your snacking, your controlling your portion sizes and already you’ve lost 2 whole KGs since you started eating healthier. You’re well on your way to your goal weight and you feel absolutely fantastic! But then, you get a call. It’s a friend, and they want to catch up for dinner and some “quiet” drinks. What do you do?
A) Don’t think twice, forget about your new eating program and agree knowing that you’ll splurge just this once. At this point, you deserve a reward right?
B) Panic. You’ve been so good on your program that you’re scared that eating at a restaurant will make it harder to control your food intake and you don’t want to affect your progress but you also don’t want to let your friend down.
C) Confidently agree, accept the challenge and begin planning how you can go out, have fun, socialise and dine without compromising all your hard work and new lifestyle change.
The right answer here is a no brainer, and here’s how you do it.
1. Remember, you don’t have to eat everything on your plate
Just because you’re at a restaurant and you’ve acquired this professionally prepared meal, does not mean you have to eat it all! When eating out we have a tendency to clean our plates to the point where we are so full that we feel sick. Don’t eat anything if you don’t like it and when you feel full or satisfied make sure that you stop eating. This doesn’t mean you have to waste food though, simply ask the wait staff if it can be wrapped up so you can take the rest home for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. Too easy.
2. Don’t be afraid to modify the menu to suit you
We don’t do this enough. When eating out, we have to understand that most restaurants are more than happy to take everyone’s dietary needs into account to ensure that their customers are happy and that they’ll return. Never hesitate to ask if something on the menu can be made more diet friendly. Examples of this are requesting a meal with something taken out, e.g. without the added cheese, or perhaps asking if salad dressings can be delivered on the side or replaced with something like balsamic vinegar instead.
3. Be aware of portion sizes
Meals in restaurants sometimes tend to be larger than the meals you prepare at home. Something you may like to do is order from the entrée menu and to ensure that you don’t eat too sparingly causing you to overeat later, make your entrée extra satisfying by adding a side of salad or roast veggies to fill you up. You can also order the entrée size version of your main meal if this is on offer at the restaurant.
4. Know what to avoid
Avoid anything with the words “fried”, “buttered” or “creamy” in the name or description as these meals are probably a sure fire way for your calorie intake to be instantly doubled. Also, try to go for lean proteins but ensure that they are not served crumbed or battered and always take care to cut the skin off poultry and the fat off red meats.
5. What if you like to have a drink with your meal?
If you’re on a healthy eating program and trying to lose weight you should try to eliminate your alcohol intake entirely as it can contains more calories than regular drinks, slows your metabolism by up to 30% and increases the rate at which fat is stored. To fight temptation, you can try pouring your water into a wine glass to trick your mind into breaking the habit and if you’re with good friends, distract yourself by focusing on the great company and conversation instead. As for the question “What is the best alcohol to drink whilst trying to lose weight?” there is no real answer. By abstaining from alcohol you’ll find that your goal weight will be achieved much quicker. It’s a matter of choice, what’s more important to you? Your weight loss success or having a drink?
Dining out when trying to lose weight shouldn’t be something that you worry about as avoiding special family occasions and lunches and dinners with friends is near impossible. Although you may think of it is as a challenge, think about it as a challenge that you can overcome, as long as you are smart about your choices by planning ahead and considering how you can take control of your eating experience.
Two more things to remember: Before you leave the house, promise yourself that you’ll do the best that you can to make healthy choices and recommit yourself to your goals by asking yourself if indulging and letting go for a night is really worth comprising the hard work you’ve already put in. And two, if you fall off the wagon, don’t freak out. You’re only human and you always have the chance to get back onto it again.