Watching what you eat and making smart choices is a never-ending struggle for people looking to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. At least, for me it is.
While limiting my meals and snacks to only things that I make at home has worked wonders for getting me toward my weight loss goal and into the habit of healthier eating, once I am let loose on society it’s like the smart button in my brain turns off and I’m shoving just about anything into my mouth with reckless abandon.
The desire not to stray from my eating plan is strong, but never eating out again just isn’t realistic.
So what are some things people can do to prevent sabotaging the hard work they’ve put in, but still enjoy outings with friends and family?
The key to smart eating, like so many things, begins with planning.
Whether you are going to a sit-down restaurant, meeting a friend for lunch at a diner or swinging through the drive-thru at a fast food chain, the following tips and tricks can help you make smart choices.
Many restaurants, fast food joints and cafes post their menus online, making it easier to choose a healthier option before you go. Look for items that are high in protein and fiber and on the low end when it comes to fat, sugar and sodium.
Once at the restaurant, don’t be afraid to ask the server how certain items are cooked. Stick to meals that are steamed, baked, broiled, grilled or roasted. Fried or breaded food can rack up the calories quickly, so try to stay away from these options if possible.
UnlockFood.ca and Healthline.com, two websites dedicated to expert guidance on everyday eating, offer the following tips and tricks to help people be smart when eating out include:
- Getting sauces and dressings on the side.
- Skipping sweet drinks like soda, iced tea and lemonade and opting for water or sparkling water with lemon or lime wedges.
- Limiting alcoholic drinks to one or two drinks.
- Asking for more vegetables or ordering a salad in place of potatoes, fries or pasta.
- Opting for whole grain breads, pastas, tortilla wraps and pizza crusts.
- Skipping the pre-dinner breadbaskets.
- Ordering a soup or a salad to start and drinking water throughout your meal to help curb overeating.
- Ordering your meal before everyone else so you won’t be influenced by someone else’s choice.
With restaurant portions being twice, or sometimes three times, the size of what dietitians recommend, the one thing that I learned during my stints in Weight Watchers is to immediately ask for a to-go box or bag prior to my meal coming out.
This way I can immediately pack up half of my plate, enjoy the other half on site and the leftovers at home. If the entire serving isn’t on my plate, I am much less likely to eat it all in one shot, blow my goal of smart eating and have to do the waddle of shame leaving the restaurant.
Ordering two appetizers instead of a regular-sized meal can help you keep calories in check, according to Healthline.com.
Avoid supersizing meals. While ordering the larger-sized options may seem like a good deal financially, they also come with supersized calories. Healthline.com also suggests avoiding all-you-can-eat buffets.
“People are notoriously bad at estimating portions sizes,” the website reports. “So when you are faced with an unlimited supply of food at a buffet, eating the right amount can be challenging.”
Say yes to dessert and extra spoons. Don’t be afraid to enjoy some cake, pie or ice cream, but instead of eating it all yourself, split it with your party and enjoy a bite or two.
And if you do stray from your healthy eating plan, don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. Things happen, and sometimes you just need to enjoy some saucy wings and a beer while visiting and laughing with friends.
“Being flexible about your diet and food choices is linked with better overall health and weight management,” Healthline.com writes. “If you are following healthy meal patterns most of the time, go ahead and treat yourself. An occasional indulgence can be good for the soul.”
One thing I have done to change my mindset is to focus more on the action of going out as a way to visit with friends and family, taking the anticipation and focus off of the food.
Sure, I might have a really great meal, but what is really special and the thing that I am most likely to remember are the laughs and great conversation we all had.
As the queen of bad dates, not once have I remembered the food I ate compared to the shenanigans that took place. The same is true for the fun gatherings I’ve had with family and friends. It’s always been about the interactions, not the food.
So don’t pass on those outings and summer barbecues. Enjoy being alive and the amazing work you’ve put in. And don’t forget to celebrate the changes you see in your body — both big and small ones.
Tale of the tape
April was a pretty good month in my weight loss and exercise journey. Not only have I found that my stamina has improved, I am getting stronger.
I am excited to announce that I am down 21 pounds and a total of 17.5 inches.
While the weight is still coming off, it has slowed down, and I haven’t had a really big loss in a few weeks.
The body is a fickle beast so changing up your exercise routine is key, Trainer D’Ann advised. That could mean upping the number of weight-focused exercises, adding in different activities such as swimming or biking, and increasing the amount of weight for each exercise.
One thing Trainer D’Ann will be implementing over the summer is a high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. HIIT training sessions consist of a warm-up period followed by repetitions of high-intensity exercises like running in place, jumping jacks, squats and burpees followed by short periods of recovery.
HIIT sessions spike your heart rate, burning calories per minute, contributing to weight loss.
Check out this HIIT workout on YouTube that you can do at home: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mvo2snJGhtM.
Another thing Trainer D’Ann wants to do to keep me on the path to my 60-pound weight loss goal is to increase my training days from twice a week to four times a week.
As we swing into summer and the weather gets warm, I am aiming to do more outdoor activities such as hiking and biking.
Adding those activities combined with the additional two days of training should (hopefully) help me avoid plateauing. Plus, I really want to focus on getting as much weight off as possible before the cold weather returns.
Check in with you next month. Until then, wishing you all the best on your own weight loss journey.
Source: Thanks https://www.greeleytribune.com/2021/05/09/a-year-of-health-eating-out-without-pigging-out/