Congratulations! You finally decided to make a change. You’ve been cleaning up your diet, regularly exercising, saw a few pounds fall off, but now the dreaded situation has presented itself; your friends want to grab a bite to eat this Friday. This doesn’t have to be as tragic for your lifestyle change as you may think.
There are a few problems to look at when eating out and by making yourself aware of them you can fight it head on instead of cowering away.
Portions are usually way too big, health isn’t usually taken into account when making scrumptious dishes, and you really have no idea what ingredients your food is made with.
Don’t skip out on your next social get-together. The secret to weight loss is enjoyment and not resenting yourself. Learn these few tips so that you can enjoy your night out without worrying about your waistline.
Learn Portion Control
Arming yourself with portion control knowledge is one of the best things you can do when trying to shed a few pounds. Restaurants like to pack on the food so that you feel like you’re getting your money’s worth. This can easily lead to overeating. One little trick that I like to do is eat half of my food while I’m out, and ask the host to pack up the rest to-go so that I can enjoy it later on, or the next day.
When it comes to meat, try not to go bigger than the palm of your hand. This will give you a nice combo of protein and fat to help keep you satisfied and not resenting yourself. I prefer to stay away from anything carb-heavy, so instead of coming with rice or potatoes, ask the host to have a vegetable mix instead. Most places will have no problem making the swap for you. If you’re absolutely stuck on something starchy, a good rule of thumb is to have no more than a closed fist.
As far as veggies and salad goes, eat as much as you can! Just ask for the dressing on the side and use it sparingly. I know it tastes awesome, but some chains have salads that are more calorically intense than whole entrees.
And yes, drink water. It’s really quite silly to drink a ton of calories. It’s not worth it, plus nothing rejuvenates the body quite like a cold glass of H20.
Pay Attention to the Toppings
This tip is huge too. Restaurants like to load on toppings to salads and other side dishes for added flavour. The real problem is that you don’t know what’s in them. I would recommend staying away from anything cream-based, and instead opt for something composed of oil. Generally speaking oils tend to be healthier for you.
Really try not to get any meat with a topping. With the proper spice blend you shouldn’t need to mask the delicious taste anyways. With that being said, herbs and spices are always the better option for your carnivorous cravings.
Focus on the Calories
If weight loss is your goal then at the end of the day it really is calories in versus calories out. If you know where you’re going to eat beforehand look the place up online. Most restaurants provide full nutrition information on their websites. Find all the dishes you like and see which one has the lowest calories with higher protein. You shouldn’t pick your homemade meals like this, but for eating out it will do. After all, you’re simply trying to avoid sabotaging your great weight loss efforts thus far.
The key is to find a dish that has some kind of meat, with vegetable, and preferably a salad. If you need to have some grain in there, opt for something completely whole wheat.
By looking and deciding what you want ahead of time, you will also be less tempted to look over everything else on the menu and be tricked into buying something terribly bad for you.
Enjoy and Indulge Guilt-Free
This tip isn’t necessarily something you might see as important, but on a psychological level it really is. Beating yourself up over an eating mistake can really take a toll on your motivation. We’re all human and we will over indulge from time to time. Don’t let it get you down. Instead, get back up on the horse and learn from your mistake going forward. One meal will not destroy all of your efforts, but continuously overeating will.
Sit down, enjoy your food, taste each bite, and have a great time. Making these smart decisions will make eating out a whole lot less stressful for you. Seeing as how stress can also lead to weight gain, it’s like killing two birds with one stone.
Are there any tricks you like to do to avoid overeating when eating out? Share them in the comments below!
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