This isn’t going to be the advice that says “eat a salad when going for a meal in a restaurant”. Let’s be honest here, who wants to go out to a restaurant and order a salad? Not unless it’s the king of all salads. I want you to be enjoying your meals when eating out.
My advice normally when going out for a meal to a restaurant is eat what you like. One meal won’t make any difference to your weight. It is really important to enjoy food and have a great relationship with it.
Negative relationships with food begin when you don’t allow yourself certain foods and categorize food as either good or bad.
So here are my 5 super strategies that you can incorporate into your life, so that you really can be enjoying your meals out with family and friends every now and then.
Don’t do it all the time.
The more often you go out for dinner, the less special it is. It just becomes something you normally do. Instead do it every now and again. Once or twice a month. Then these times really sit down and enjoy it. Enjoy the company, the wine and of course the food. If you go for dinner every Saturday night, it may effect your weight and cause you to gain weight over time (of course depending on what you order).
Don’t allow yourself to be super starving by the time you get to the restaurant. When you get extremely hungry, your blood sugar levels drop and it is really difficult to make choices when it comes to food. You want to eat immediately and will eat just about anything. This means it is more difficult to just sit back and enjoy your meal. Time your meals that day so that you will be hungry by the time you arrive at the restaurant but not starving.
Eat what you like. If you see a creamy pasta on the menu and want it, absolutely go for it. Why? If you don’t you will have a feeling of deprivation. Probably thinking “I am not allowed this” or “This will make me fat”. And you will more than likely leave the restaurant unsatisfied because you didn’t have what you wanted. The truth is having one high calorie dish/high fat meal will not make you gain weight and you are most definitely allowed this. There are no good or bad foods in my books, just some foods are more nutritious and should be consumed much more than others.
Notice your feeling of fullness. This is something you should actually practice all the time. Concentrate on when you are feeling full and do not eat past this feeling. Leave a bit of room for dessert so you can actually enjoy it. As you know you will be enjoying your meals less when you are full. This means that when you are eating you check into your stomach and see if you are receiving any signals of fullness. This can be quite difficult at the beginning as most of us always ignore these feelings of fullness and eat to a stage of feeling uncomfortable. It really is such a successful way of controlling your portions and you will be surprised at how quickly you will feel signals of fullness.
Don’t feel GUILTY! Feeling guilty after eating particular foods can have a knock on effect as to how you will eat in the coming days. You might feel guilty because you have had a 3 course meal. You might even feel like you have fallen off track. Meaning in the next few days you will not make healthy food choices as you think there is no point. You have ruined it now anyway (which is completely untrue). Going out for a meal is not falling off track. It’s what you do after that can be you falling off track. Go for your meal. Enjoy it. Eat what you like. And the next day get back into your normal routine and definitely do not feel GUILTY!!
ps. These awesome food snaps I took when I went for a meal to de Sjalot, an organic French Arabian restaurant in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Food was top class. There were more photos and more rounds but I thought lets leave it at this!