DON’T LET THIS
When you are trying to lose weight, there are certain habits you need to learn to change, eating out is one of them. My friends tease me that they are going to get me a sign I can wear when we eat out that reads “The Modifier”. Yes that’s right, I am every server’s worst nightmare….seriously. I rarely order anything as it is on the menu and will tip extra if the wait staff and kitchen get my order right, no joke. I realize that some might find this annoying or rude, but when you are trying to maintain your weight (or especially when trying to lose weight), and keep some semblance of a social life, you need to be able to make smart decisions when eating out and not be afraid to ask about food substitutions or omissions.
A few months ago, when I was training for my fitness show, it was my birthday and the family wanted to take me out. I was two weeks out from the show, so at this point I was pretty much eating fish or chicken and asparagus with mustard…like 4 times a day. Its kind of tradition that we go out for a Birthday dinner, so although I tried to sway the family into postponing my dinner out until after my show, the kids weren’t taking no for an answer. We headed to our favourite family spot Jack Astor’s, because the kids can be kids and its a fun place for families, food is decent and by modifying and asking for substitutions I know I can stick within my healthy food plan. So for my birthday dinner, I simply asked the server if I could have a grilled chicken breast with a side of steamed asparagus on some spinach or mixed greens…no dressing or sauce, just mustard on the side. To my absolute delight he actually asked me if I was doing a fitness show… (must have been the request for mustard, since this is a fitness competitor’s best friend come crunch time). So when my glorious birthday dinner came, I did not care that everyone else was having a cheat meal and enjoying their favourite foods, I was happy with my meal, because I got to spend the time with my family and stay on track with my meal plan.
My point to this story is that, you have to be willing to make the changes and stay the course even when you might be tempted otherwise. Excuses to stray from your diet and make poor eating choices will come up ALL THE TIME, you need to be able to make smart food decisions when eating out and not be afraid to ask the wait staff to make changes to suit your needs. I recognize that there are some restaurants and establishments that actually have it written in their menus or on their websites that they do not make ingredient substitutions etc. so it’s easy – don’t go to these places. I’m serious, there a million other places that will happily sub out dressing for salsa, or just grill the salmon and leave out the fried butter. Especially in the beginning you need to make the best choices for your success and the people you are going out with should try to be supportive of you.
Here are my 5 helpful tips for surviving eating out while trying to lose or maintain weight loss.
Learning to adapt healthy eating habits and make them part of our every day lives takes time, but its critical to our long-term success in maintaining weight lose and continuing our goal of healthy living. Birthdays, anniversaries, and social gatherings are not going to stop because we are trying to change our eating habits and get healthy. Modifying, planning, and making allowances for eating out will take the stress out of the event and allow you to incorporate your healthy lifestyle so you can enjoy the moment.
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