Eating at a restaurant is about much more than just the meal.
It's a time for us to connect to the people we enjoy spending time with, a well needed break from the kitchen, and a nice change in scenery that allows us to feel energetically involved in our community.
Although these are all positive aspects of restaurant dining, it can be a struggle for those of us who also have weight loss goals. We have very strong "stories" when it comes to eating restaurant food. "I won't enjoy myself if I'm not eating the chips and queso. All my friends are going to be uncomfortable if I don't order a drink. It's not worth the money if I am just going to order a salad that I could make at home"... and so on.
These "stories" prevent us from having the best of both worlds, in other words, having our cake and not eating it too (not funny?!).
Below are some tips that will allow you to take a break from the ongoing cooking/cleaning cycle, enjoy time out and be social while maintaining success with your personal health goals.
EATING OUT TIPS:
Order off the menu
You don't need to follow all of the rules. If you're having trouble finding something on the menu that fits your program, then simply ask for a piece of grilled protein and a side of veggies and call it a night!
If you're feeling a little shy about "being a pain" by going off-menu, just remember that the 9 seconds of being uncomfortable now will feel much better than being uncomfortable the rest of the night!
Tell them you're on a cleanse
Everyone's cleansing...all the time. Chances are your server is on a cleanse as well and can help you choose the best option the restaurant has to offer.
Same thing here: Feeling uncomfortable? Just throw out "my doctor.... yada yada yada" and watch their eyes gloss over, inevitably writing down whatever you asked for.
Look at the menu beforehand
Make a decision...and stick to it! "Out" yourself to your friends so that you can't change your mind :)
Share your dish
Boom! You just cut your caloric intake in half. Another option is to have your server box up half of the order before they bring it to the table. Watch as your dinner guests applaud your brilliant foresight and wish they had done the same.
Order an appetizer as your meal
Now, I love me a good app (quac nacho tower, anyone?!), but my only caveat with this pro-move is to be mindful when ordering an appetizer as your meal, that you don't just substitute a large dinner portion for an equally caloric heavy app (think anything fried, butter-soaked, or anything with a dressing that might pack a punch!).
Apps not looking good? I'll even ask for something off of the lunch menu when I feel really stuck. Not every restaurant can accommodate this, but you're usually in luck if they can! A tasty smaller lunch portion beats a stuffed dinner course any night of the week.
Don't go in hungry
We've all made this mistake before and then proceeded to eat the entire contents of the bread basket plus an app and then an entire entree. Have yourself a handful of nuts on your way to the restaurant and skip the meal(s) before your meal.
Don't order dessert
Dessert is a meal you order after you've eaten an entire meal (think about it)! If you really want something sweet, skip the entree' and have dessert as the main course. It's not ideal to consume sugar at night right before bed, but sometimes it just feels right.
OK, THESE TIPS WORK BUT HOW DO I TAKE THIS DEEPER?
When you begin to incorporate these techniques into your everyday life, they slowly become part of your identity, part of your patterns of behavior, instead of just tricks for certain situations.
If you're ready to dive deeper into the "WHY" and "HOW" to truly live your healthiest, most fulfilled life, then you'll want to check out my book, Feed Your Soul: Lose Weight Permanently and Live Fulfilled. It will be the best $12 you ever put toward your health.
If you're ready to take action with something even more in-depth than a book, but not sure you're ready for 1:1 coaching? Then please, click below to find out more about my 4-week online program, End Emotional Eating.
Not sure about any of this, or want to share an awesome eating-out tip? As always, I'd love to hear from you!
Send me an email - I personally read every.single.one.