Thanks to Leap Year, we’ve got one more day of February. Yay!
February is the month of love, and regardless of your relationship status, we all have someone that we should care deeply for and give a big, warm hug to – ourselves!
As we all know, it can be a struggle at times to stay true to our fitness goals, and to stay steadfast on our journey to the healthiest, happiest version of ourselves. The easiest way to put it – sometimes life gets in the way. How many times have you committed to a workout or healthy eating regimen and had it interrupted by an unhealthy corporate lunch, a heavy dinner out with friends, or a few too many indulgences at parties? We’ve all been there, and it’s dangerously easy to get down on yourself when you slip up.
But the important thing to remember is that, the same way we can get over small obstacles that appear in our relationships with others, we can easily overcome these hurdles in our relationships with ourselves and get back to where we start. Forgive, but don’t forget. Instead, move forward.
Today, I want to tackle our relationships with the food we eat – and how to let our health goals and our social goals coexist without hindering each other. Going out to eat at restaurants can prove to be a very big challenge in keeping true to our healthy-eating habits. But following some simple tips will allow you to enjoy going out to eat instead of dreading or fearing it.
- Do a little stalking.
If you know the name of the restaurant where you’ll be going out to eat, check out the menu beforehand. Go through the different sections of the menu and the options in each, and make a mental note of potential items to order and any substitutions you can easily make so that your meal is a little healthier.
- Talk to your waiter.
He or she is your biggest ally here. Don’t be ashamed to ask if you can make substitutions. Choose veggies over starches for sides, opt for grilled protein over fried, and try appetizer-sized dishes over full-sized entrees to help with portion control.
- Place your order first.
Before you hear “bacon cheese burger,” “mashed potatoes,” “fried cheese sticks” and other items that may cause your mouth to water and your mind to change, place your order. Don’t allow distractions to get in the way of ordering the healthiest meal for you.
- Eat half.
If you order a large portion size for your meal, ask for a box from you waiter right away. Bring the other half home for your significant other, your kids, your dog, or your lunch the next day. This way, from the beginning of the meal, you are only looking at half of the normal portion size. Another way to divide and conquer is to share a meal with someone else at the table. Sharing is caring when you’re looking to whittle your middle! 😉
- Slow down.
Take your time with your food. Put down your fork between every bite, and take some time to fully chew your food. This not only helps with digestion, but means it takes longer for you to finish your meal. Often, our hands move faster than our minds, and we shovel down our food completely before realizing we’re full. Slowing down will allow some time for your body to trigger you’re mind that, “We’re done! You can stop for now.” Saving you from overeating!
- Strive, not deprive.
Remember that eating out should be an enjoyable experience. If you are absolutely dying for a margarita, get one, and sacrifice your appetizer. If you’ve been craving a brownie, split it with the rest of your table. Allowing yourself small indulgences will leave you feeling more satisfied, which will prevent binges later.
So go forth, grab some friends, and dine socially, healthily and happily! You can be well rounded without becoming too, well, rounded, after all! :p
Originally posted in the Better Body Bootcamp newsletter, February 2015.