A guilt-free guide to eating out

As the world gradually starts to open back up, we now have the opportunity to eat out in the fantastic restaurants, bars and eateries in our locality.

However, for some of us, who may be currently in a fat loss phase, it can raise feelings of anxiety and dread at the thought of eating something, without calories being calculated. And let’s be honest, none of us wants to live our lives like that. So today I want to share some tips on how you can eat out guilt-free.

Plan your week

Having an idea of the week ahead and any social events in the calendar allows you to plan your week and nutrition accordingly. Dinners, birthdays, zoom quizzes - get them all accounted for in your diary. This allows you to see the landscape of the week ahead so there are no surprises

Plan what to eat and drink

Now you know what social occasions are coming up, you can now plan what to have at these events. These days, most restaurants have an online menu allowing you to have an idea of what you might order in advance. Some of them might even have calorie breakdowns. You also need to give some consideration to what you’re going to drink, as these too will contain calories - some more than others.

Use calorie adjustments

I always like to use the analogy of using your calories like you spend your money when in a calorie deficit. If you spend a little more on the weekend or at a social event, you will save a little more during the rest of the week. The same holds true for calories. Think about your calories over a seven-day period. So, in fact, you could eat a little fewer calories on the days you are not socialising to “bank” these calories for the event itself. Alternatively, you can also just consider the day of the event itself. If you know you are going to eat and drink more that evening, you could perhaps skip breakfast and have a light lunch that is high in protein and fibre, leaving you quite satiated and with more calories to play with in the evening.

Stick to the plan

The above points are all well and good but only if you can adhere to the plan. So make a commitment to yourself to stick to your plan.

Expect a weight fluctuation

Usually, after a night out, when you step on the scales, you’ll find your weight has shot up. You end up feeling guilty and the wheels can end up coming off the cart. You either end up starving yourself silly or to the other extreme and self soothe with a food binge.

But in reality, you just ate more food than normal. You probably haven’t fully digested it yet. You are also no doubt retaining some water weight from the richer food and perhaps had impaired sleep if a few drinks were had. All these things can cause an overnight weight increase but this isn’t necessarily fat gain.

Enjoy it

The main thing with any social event is to ensure you enjoy yourself. A diet should not feel like a prison sentence. Understandably, you want to make as much progress as quickly as possible but you also want to live a normal sociable life - this is just as important to your long-term health. If you're constantly living in fear of food and social events, then things aren’t ever really going to improve.

Micheál Penston is the Head Coach at FM Fitness & Nutrition based in Westport, Mayo. They specialize in helping busy men and women to create the healthiest versions of themselves through educating and empowering around all areas of their lifestyle from fitness, nutrition, recovery and behaviours. You can grab a FREE copy of the 5 Stage Health & Fitness Kickstarter or find out more about their online and in-person coaching methods at www.fmfitnessnutrition.com or social media handles @fmfitnessnutrition


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