Eating out on a diet
This week I’ve got three social eating occasions to go to, and it really got me thinking about eating out on a diet or when following a fitness program.
Making healthy choices when eating out and following a nutrition and fitness program can be tricky. But I have a plan of attack for you, a way to enjoy your meal without stressing about your diet.
When eating out on a diet, I find there can be a bit of a mind battle. You may have had thoughts something like this…
Should I treat myself to a “burger” [insert high fat/high carb/high sugar (whatever you’re umming and ahhing over in the menu) here] Yes, I deserve it! But is a burger really a treat? Eating healthy makes me feel good, so shouldn’t THAT be the treat? What even is a treat?
Will I feel guilty afterwards?
If I eat a burger I’ll surely feel guilty afterwards. It just won’t be worth it! But I really want a burger.
What about the social pressures? Everyone else will be eating burgers. It will make me want a burger. And everyone will be wondering why I’m not eating a burger. And they’ll tell me to just eat a burger.
What will they put in it?
I could make a burger at home. Then I would know what was in it. If someone else makes it, I don’t know what’s in it. I need to CONTROL the ingredients in my meals.
One burger is no harm done but what if I can’t stop eating? It might derail me. I’ll get a taste for burgers and struggle to ever eat healthy again!! I shouldn’t eat a burger.
But am I going to resist burgers forever? And never eat a burger again? That’s not sustainable either! What am I doing, this burger is causing me so much stress !! What is wrong with me!
I don’t need to mention that this overthinking and spiraling of thoughts is not very productive, or good for our wellbeing! But don’t worry, I have a secret method that avoids wasting energy stressing about what to eat.
The secret to no diet stress!
It’s all about planning ahead, making a decision, being happy with it and moving on without any feelings of missing out or deprivation. No getting stuck in a web of indecision and overthinking!
When invited out to dinner, or organising a dinner out yourself, you have three choices to decide from. Making the decision beforehand takes the emotion out of it, and means you can relax and look forward to your meal.
When deciding which choice to go with, think about your priorities and what you are going to enjoy the most. By being happy with your decision you can truly enjoy it, no matter what you eat.
One meal does not break a diet and one meal does not make you a healthy person – it is just one meal. By accepting your choice and enjoying it means no stress, no guilt and sees it for what it is – just one meal.
Here are your three choices!
If you’re going to be eating out on a diet, the secret is to make your choice when you first find out you’re going for dinner. Whether you are organising it yourself, or you get invited (to a restaurant or for take away) this is the time to follow this process! You can either:
1 – Look at the menu and find a healthy option that you would enjoy. Think about how you will feel eating it, and how you will feel afterwards. Spend no more than 60 seconds on this! Decision made, no more thinking about it – enjoy your meal!
2 – Look at the menu and pick something you REALLY want to eat (even if it’s not the healthiest meal on there). One meal does not ruin your health. You may want to eat half and take the rest home, depending on the serving size. Think about how you will feel eating it, and how you will feel afterwards . Spend no more than 60 seconds on this! Decision made, no more thinking about it – enjoy your meal!
3 – Make a decision that you will choose on the day, depending on what you feel like at the time. Allow yourself the pleasure of perusing the menu on the day and choosing what takes your fancy. Accept that it might not be the healthiest choice, or maybe you will feel like a healthy choice – look forward to it! Decision made (you have decided to choose on the day!), no more thinking about it – enjoy your meal!
All of these options are ok! – Decide beforehand and be happy with your decision. Do not agonise/re-think/overanalyse what you choose to do.
No diet guilt when eating out
Whatever you choose to do – don’t ruin it with either feeling deprived or feeling guilty! Be happy with your choice and enjoy your meal – however you approach it!
Focus on connection with the people you are with, food is not the only part of health and is not the only reason you are at the dinner! Remember your ‘why’ and what healthy looks like to you.
Do you enjoy eating out? Do you look for healthy options or do you have a favourite dish you always order?
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Enjoy your fitness journey and embrace growing, building, creating. The cup is always full but the cup just gets bigger 😊
I took pictures of everything I ate in a week! Taking pictures helped keep me accountable.