Why can eating out derail weeks of excellent progress?
Sure, it’s easy to make good choices at home in our familiar environment. But once we hit a restaurant, it’s as if all bets are off and we eat to no end!
Eating out has been a big personal struggle for me. I often overeat when I dine out and always regret it.
But, making a few key changes to how you order and view the whole experience of eating out can drastically decrease the dent it makes in your results.
Today, i’m going to provide you with specific rules to keep you on track no matter where you are eating.
But, here is some sage wisdom which sums up all of my rules for eating healthy when you’re eating out from the 26th president of the United States, Teddy Roosevelt:
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Well, the first rule of eating out is you don’t talk about eating out! Not actually, but Brad Pitt must be quoted at times.
Eating out should be an enjoyable experience. But often, we scarf down the food so quickly, we barely take time to enjoy the experience. I love the law of first bites: The first bite of a meal or the first sip of a drink will always be the best. Take time and savor the first bite. Maybe all you need is one bite of a food or sip of a drink to experience it.
Try to think about the food you are eating while you’re eating it. Take breaths between bites. This brings me to my second tip, eat slowly.
Strive to be the last one done with your meal when eating out in a group. After the first first few bites, take a break from eating to have a conversation. It takes a while for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. The slower you eat, the more likely you will be to stop when you have reached a good level of fullness.
Stay with protein and vegetables whenever possible
Go with lean protein (chicken, fish, bison, eggs) and vegetables whenever you can. OBVIOUSLY you have to get the french fries from the restaurant which makes the best fries in LA (The Back Abbey fries their fries in duck fat…really, duck fat!). But, do you really need the bread they bring out before a meal? Usually it isn’t excellent and it’s not worth the calories. Better yet, ask the waiter not to bring out any bread at all.
Adopt the no dessert mindset
Go into battle (I mean dinner) with the mindset of “I will not order dessert.” If you often eat out with a dessert-lover (as I do), you may need to have a DTR (Define The Relationship) talk about not ordering dessert.
Does this mean you never order dessert again? No way! But, you shouldn’t mindlessly order dessert. Only order dessert when it’s really good and savor every bite.
Don’t suffer from FOMO!
This is the fear of missing out. This is especially tough for me. When food is expensive, I will eat all of it because I paid for it. I think it has to do with a desire to get my money’s worth. I also feel the same when I go to a high-end burger restaurant. I usually order a burger and fries and my justification for finishing the meal is that I don’t often go to these restaurants. This is FOMO in action. When you eat something because you don’t think you’ll get to eat it again (or at least not for a while) or because you paid for it, you are eating out of fear.
This type of thinking will lead to overeating.
I may be preaching to myself here, but you don’t need to order the bacon burger, beer, and fries every time you eat out. They will always be there. You can get them another time. Your goals and health are more important than the minutes of enjoyment you will get from the food.
You also need to keep in mind the law of first bites: the first bite will taste the best. Each subsequent bite will be less tasty and satisfying. Make sure you enjoy the first few bites of a meal out or special occasion dinner. Don’t feel like you need to order something unhealthy just because you may not have the chance to eat at a restaurant again.
Eating well is difficult. Eating out makes it even tougher. Try to make eating out a special occasion. If you rarely eat out, you can enjoy the foods you want, slowly and in moderation, without feeling guilty.