Do you find yourself turning down invitations to eating out because you feel scared that you’ll pile the pounds back on and sabotage your weight-loss efforts? I’m here to tell you that as long as you think wisely and become mindful of what you are eating, you don’t have to sit at home while everyone else is out enjoying themselves.
I know exactly what it feels like. Before I lost weight, I always felt bad about going out; believing that I’d just blow it and have to start again. I do believe whole-heartedly that you can have a little of what you fancy.
Now, I continue to go out and haven’t put any weight back on. I make wiser choices and now have a healthy relationship with food which enables me to enjoy going out more than ever before. I have absolutely no guilt attached at all, and I wish the same for you.
My 10 top tips to no-guilt eating out!
1) Cut back before your outing: On the day you’re going out with friends, start by cutting back on your other meals. Be mindful of what you’re eating throughout the day. This doesn’t mean starving yourself – make sure you feel comfortable.
Think of maybe having a small snack before you go. I often have a banana or a boiled egg to just take the edge off the hunger. If you turn up at the restaurant starving, you have the potential to not only make wrong choices, but you could end up devouring everything. This can set you up for destruction through your whole meal.
2) Preview the menu: Always try and look at the menu before you go; especially if it’s a place you’ve not been to before. It will help you to feel confident that there is food that suits you, helping you to choose wisely.
3) Order first: If it’s possible, always try to order first. It’s easy to have your food choices in your mind and then when somebody else orders, you start to change your mind. Avoid this temptation if you can.
4) Avoid the bread basket: Ask your waiter/waitress to take it away. If you are out in a larger group of people, ask for the basket to go to the other end of the table, so that it’s completely out of your sight and reach. In this case, out of sight is out of mind!
5) Check out the portion sizes: If this is a restaurant that you’ve not visited before, you may not know the portion sizes. I always have a sneaky look at other people’s meals if possible (lol) or ask the waiter/waitress what the sizes are like.
For example: If I order fishcakes for starters, I ask how many will I get and what are their size? I can then judge whether to have a starter and a main course or two starter portions. Portion sizes have increased tremendously over time.
6) Be careful of the cream: A lot of dishes can be laced in cream and extremely calorific. Opting for tomato-based sauces instead, is a much-wiser choice. Soups can also have a lot of cream in them (even though it doesn’t necessarily say so on the menu). I always ask first if I fancy soup.
If you do want a creamy dish, ask that the chef puts it in a pot on the side so that your whole meal isn’t swimming in it. This way, you can control the quantity you put in.
7) Go for the veggies: Ask for extra vegetables or salad instead of chips. I’m a fan of hand-made burgers and it usually comes with chips and a small side salad. I prefer to have no chips and extra salad. You can choose this option with everything even if they charge a pound or two extra. I’d rather pay that than add a pound or two on my thighs! If you want a few chips, ask for a smaller portion or a child’s portion.
8) Bring on the steam: Go for steamed rather than fried. The menu will always tell you. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to ask.
9) Be mindful of dressings: Pay attention to the salad dressings. I personally love salads when I go out; and I think most places are really getting creative with them. However, they can be extremely calorific especially if you choose something with a creamy sauce like cesar. You could ask for the dressing to be put in a separate pot.
10) Who doesn’t fancy a desert? I love them and never want to feel restricted when I go out, so I always ask if somebody wants to share with me, that way it halves the load and I’ve still had my fix.
The next time you go out for a meal, enjoy and relax. But do it mindfully!
Enjoy living a beautiful life.