When you’re pursuing a weight loss plan, it can feel as though your life revolves around food and exercise. You long for the days of carefree dining in restaurants with your friends… and so, you’re tempted to accept an invitation to dinner on Saturday night.
No one is saying you can’t enjoy a social life while you’re losing weight, or even that you can’t eat in restaurants. But it’s important to be aware of the dangers your weight loss plan will face before you ever set foot in a restaurant. Knowledge is power, so go to that dinner date armed with information!
Portion sizes are ridiculous. Most restaurants sell meals that are about double the appropriate portion size for any particular entree. There are several things you can do about this. You can order off of the “light” menu featured by many eating establishments. You can, of course, order a salad (with light dressing). And you can ask for a to-go box, and put away half of your food the minute it arrives at the table. All of these strategies can help you control your portion sizes.
Restaurants add flavor by “cheating”. Obviously, restaurant owners want you to like their food, order a lot of it, and return again in the future. This keeps them in business! But in order to pack as much flavor as possible into dishes, and make them irresistible to you, chefs add salt, sugar, and cheap sources of fat. These ingredients spell success for the restaurant owner’s bottom line, but disaster for your diet. Avoid added sugar, fats, and salts by asking your server detailed questions about how meals are prepared, or requesting that extras like butter are served on the side.
Peer pressure is a powerful force. When your friends are all ordering cocktails, fried appetizers, and desserts, it can be difficult to resist temptation. You can address this problem in several ways. Remind your friends of your health goals ahead of time, and ask them not to pressure you. Choose like-minded friends for dinner outings. Or, allow yourself not three, but one occasional treat. Go with whatever method works for you.
For more information on your weight loss plan, or for help with difficult issues like this one, give us a call. We specialize in helping our patients put together weight loss plans that really work for their lifestyles.