The 5 Steps to Cutting Calories and Sticking to Your Plan When Eating Out
You’ve decided you’re going to stick to your eating plan 100%. You’ve decided you are going to stick to your plan TO THE T, without budging ONE BIT. You’re not going to drink anything besides water, and not going to eat anything besides what’s on your plan UNTIL you reach your goal.
Until… A birthday dinner arises you KNOW you HAVE to go…
The anxiety sets in as you start to think about the fear of having to eat something that you’re not ‘allowed’. The day arrives.
You finally sit down at the table, and the level of anxiety you feel either forces you to be socially awkward, and make everyone else feel uncomfortable, OR, you buckle and order WHATEVER you want, and drink ALL THE DRINKS. You then feel terribly guilty, and the one bad meal starts to spill into the rest of the week. Before you know it – You’ve thrown all your hard work down the drain. You blow your progress.
Does this sound familiar? It sure does to me.
Before we get into this, I want you to know something. PERFECTION doesn’t exist. It’s a complete fallacy, especially in your weight loss journey. The quicker we realize and understand that, the quicker we can break out of the ‘prison’ we feel we are in when we are trying to lose weight and change our lives.
I want to make sure you NEVER have this feeling again. After reading this, I want to make sure you are equipped with the tools and knowledge to be able to go out, and enjoy the finer things in life, WITHOUT sacrificing everything you enjoy.
Let’s get into it…
1. Start to Budget Your Food Intake
Let’s use money as an example.
If you want to go away for a long weekend, or, you want to buy that new pair of shoes, or maybe you want to buy a new TV… You need to save a little money earlier on in the week/month right? Maybe you cut down a little on eating out and entertainment for a few days/weeks, so you can have MORE MONEY to spend on whatever you wanted?
Your diet and food intake works EXACTLY THE SAME. We need to budget our food intake accordingly, so we can enjoy that burger, pizza, or a glass of wine. (or a few!)
Let’s say you have a social event on Friday night, here’s what you need to do:
- Remove some calories from Monday, and Wednesday, maybe remove your potato from lunch, and remove your avocado from dinner. You’re going to do this ONLY for Monday and Wednesday.
- Then on Friday, you’re going to do push out breakfast for as long as you can, and THEN eat, SO, your first meal might only be at about 11am.
- Carry on eating normally for the rest of the day
- Enjoy EPIC DINNER and YUMMY WINE at dinner!
So, what you’ve done above is remove some calories from earlier on in the week, so you have more calories to ‘spend’ when you go out for dinner.
I know you may be thinking “Is this REALLY how it works?”?
And the answer is… “YES YES YES! This is EXACTLY how it works!”
Let’s move on.
2. Add More Movement to Your Day OR Week
This one seems like the obvious, but is often overlooked. The saying “you can’t out train a bad diet” is 100% TRUE. However – we can increase our movement and exercise intensity (AKA Burn More Calories), and allow a little more food into our lives.
So, to get this one right, here’s what I want you to do:
- On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I want you to add an extra 30-40 minutes of ANY cardio or exercise into your day. That’s IT.
What you’ve done here is you’ve burnt more energy (calories), so you have more energy to ‘SPEND’ when you eat out.
Sound simple enough so far?
Let’s move onto the next one.
3. Have A Look at The Menu BEFORE You Get There
This is something I do ALL THE TIME. Sometimes so I can check what foods I can eat and still keep to my calories for the day… Other times it’s to look at the desserts to ensure they meet my standards! LOL!
We get caught hook, like and sinker when we open a menu IN the restaurant. You look round you, you see all the delicious food coming out of the kitchen, you see all the delicious things on the menu. You immediately salivate, and forget about any diet you were on.
Pull out your phone, and search for the menu. Go through it, and try find something you feel like that IS the healthier option. Try and choose something with a Protein and Vegetable on the plate. Example: Chicken Breasts with Roasted Veggies OR Fillet Steak with Steamed Veg and maybe a sneaky mushroom sauce…
I want you to choose something, make up your mind, and STICK TO THAT option. When you sit down, you won’t even have to open the menu and get tempted. You don’t have to ALWAYS do this, but sometimes it’s a great tool that allows you to choose what you want, without feeling tempted to eat something you probably shouldn’t.
4. Watch Out for Your SIDES… (THIS ONE IS BIG)
I would go as far as saying this is the BIGGEST thing that ruins us when we eat out. Hands down.
Usually, if you think about it, our main meals are actually pretty good. We would usually order a steak, chicken, fish, AND…. a SIDE. Let’s look at a few options so I can show you what I mean.
- Chips: This one is obviously a no no. There are HUGE calories in these, and they usually actually make you feel uncomfortable purely because you’ve eaten too much. We always say we won’t finish them, but we ALWAYS DO.
- Stir Fry Veg: This is sometimes seen as a great option. However, maybe not. It’s usually drenched in OIL, and yummy healthy veg is turned into a VERY high calorie side.
- Vegetables: Steamed Veggies or Roast Veggies could be a great option. The ones to be careful of are things like “creamed spinach and butternut”. These are usually loaded with calories, and might not do you any favors.
- Onion Rings: This one is another killer. Onions are one thing and aren’t high in calories at all. Add batter and deep fry them? Now you’ve turned them into a BOAT LOAD of calories which will 99% of the time throw your progress for the week.
So as you can see, there are lots of ways that calories sneak into your meal and sometimes we don’t even KNOW it’s happening.
Here are a few options that would be a great choice:
- Side Salad (with dressing on the side!)
- Steamed Veggies
- Roast Veggies
- BAKED Potato (not fried chips)
You can still enjoy a delicious meal without loading your plate with calorie dense foods.
5. Be Careful with Condiments and Liquid Calories
Liquid calories can REALLY affect our progress. And to be honest, I have a strong belief that I would rather EAT my calories, than drink them. (I love food… clearly)
Let’s first look at alcohol.
I want you to be aware of this. Try and always make sure your fizzy drinks are the ‘diet’ option or the ‘zero’ option. If you enjoy a gin and tonic, try and find a sugar free tonic. If you enjoy drinking a Rum and Coke, try make sure the coke is a Diet coke, or Coke Zero. THIS WILL HELP…. (Trust Me!).
Another little tip while we on this point, is make sure you aren’t ‘thirsty’ when you order your first drink. Why? It’s a simple one really. When you thirsty, you will drink that first drink, and maybe even the second REALLY QUICKLY. Make sure you aren’t dying of thirst, so you can ACTUALLY enjoy your drink.
Now… Sauces, Dressings and Other Condiments.
ALWAYS ask for your dressing or sauce on the side so you can monitor how much of it goes onto your food. When ordering certain meals, it might also be a good idea to ask the waiter to use “no butter” or to use “less oil”. Sometimes they get this right, sometimes they don’t. However, IF THEY DO, you’ve saved a few hundred calories that meal! Good Work!
6. DESSERTS… (YUMMMMMMMY)
Do I believe in having a desert? Yes, sure. Why not. Life is all about delicious things.
However – sometimes you need to be cautious.
Is it worth it? YES
Is it worth it IF I throw my progress out the window? No ways. You’ve worked WAY too hard to get here!
if you’re going to have a dessert, it might be a good idea to have a much lower calorie main meal, so you have more calories to ‘spend’ on dessert. Also, a BIG ONE, is to share.
Now, I know I know I know…. I HATE sharing my dessert. I’m possessive over my dessert. lol.
BUT, if you think about it, you get to still enjoy a yummy treat, with only consuming HALF the calories. It REALLY helps, and I think it’s a game changer.
Ok we’re done.
HOW did you find that?
Before we close up, I want you to really understand something. It’s something that most coaches won’t talk about. You’re a human being, and you’re allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed to fall off the wagon sometimes. This journey will have its ups and downs, and you won’t always be perfect. But that’s okay, because you don’t have to be.
You just need to be on track 70-80% of the time to make amazing progress. I promise.
Question for you…
What do you really battle with when eating out?
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