Enjoying a meal out with friends and family is one of the most enjoyable things you can engage in so it’s important to remind yourself that you can eat out and still lose weight.  Long gone are the days of high fat offerings on menus with little or no healthy tasty options.

There is no need for fear or trepidation when an invitation to eat out comes your way.  Be confident in your ability to manage in any restaurant or party just by having your own little strategies to follow. Soon you’ll realise that all social situations can be enjoyed greatly while the pounds continue to drop.

So here’s the plan when you want to eat out but stay on track with your weight loss:

Visualise

Fast forward your mind and imagine leaving the venue and how you want to feel as you go home. Think of feeling satisfied, not overfed, having enjoyed great chats and delighted that you went while still maintaining control over your choices. You’ll be glad you ordered that jug of water, dressing on the side and shared a dessert. Most of all you connected socially with other people, an experience that makes you happy and an opportunity never to be missed.

I’m out tonight

Wake up on the day that you’re eating out and make a little plan. Not that this day will be different to any other, but just decide in your head how you’re going to allocate your food groups. Think about where you’ll be throughout the day as well as where you’re going to dine out. Perhaps decide to have a salad at lunch and a hot meal in the evening or vice versa. Eat a good breakfast, if you don’t have enough in the morning you’ll get hungrier as the day goes on.  Often this is masked until the evening and then manifests itself after the main course when you still feel hungry and order dessert! It just doesn’t work. Don’t skimp on food throughout the day because you’re eating out. Keep up protein, plenty of vegetables, cooked or raw and eat one hour before leaving the house. I recommend some fruit with natural yoghurt or a protein supplement. This snack makes all the difference in your ability to choose wisely later on.

Ask questions

Don’t assume the meal will come as described on the menu. You can have it the way you want it by being assertive. This doesn’t mean demanding, just by tweaking your order you can massively reduce calories. Perhaps ask for extra vegetables or salad instead of fries, sauce or dressing on the side, or a half portion of meat. Waiters are happy to oblige so think first and make a choice that you’re happy with for you, regardless of other people at the table.

I deserve it

Reward eating is a behaviour carried out by over indulging often in social situations and mainly at weekends. It is founded on the belief that food gives rise to positive emotions like happiness and joy. Indeed food is enjoyable, but the excessive intake of food and drink gives no reward, ironically this behaviour becomes punishing if a habit is formed. Gaining weight, feeling tired, not being able to wear clothes you like, where’s the reward in that? Real pleasure comes in enjoying life in all its fullness, not just a Friday or Saturday night. People who over indulge pay a price and don’t have a better time. Their thinking is flawed because of what they tell themselves. So why not enjoy seven days a week instead of one, reward yourself each time you establish a healthy habit or behaviour, positive rewards that will build your self-esteem rather than undermine it. Excess food and drink will never make you happy so enjoy the experience of eating out, enjoy the reward of good company and keep in mind that real happiness comes from protecting your physical and mental health, not abusing it.

For more helpful hints select our top tips category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blog Post by Claire Jackson