When you’re following a weight loss plan, you often need to change the way you shop for food, prepare food, and consume food. And that’s just when you make your meals at home! But what happens when a friend invites you to brunch, or the office party is held at a restaurant? You face a challenge; go along with the crowd and risk your weight loss plan, or stay home and feel left out.
Luckily, there’s another option! Try these five solutions to the “restaurant challenge” and you can enjoy social outings while sticking to your new values.
Have a snack before you go. You know better than to shop for groceries on an empty stomach; the same goes for restaurants! Avoid temptation by enjoying a healthy snack before you head over to the restaurant, and remember to drink plenty of water to fell a bit more full.
Watch out for liquid calories. It’s hard to say no to that fun cocktail that all of your friends are enjoying. Check the menu for “light” options, or ask your server if the bartender can make something special for you. Of course, water is still the best choice, but if you rarely enjoy outings with friends you might be willing to splurge a bit.
Reduce portion sizes. Restaurants are infamous for offering enormous portions. Split an entree with a friend, or ask your server to bring a to-go box with your meal. Box up half of your serving before you begin eating, and set it aside.
Change your thinking. Retailers often use the myth of scarcity to trick us into buying things we don’t need (think of language such as “limited time offers” and “supplies are limited”). That same mentality could work against you in a restaurant as well. Surrounded by so many delicious options, you might find yourself feeling as though you should try a little of everything because you don’t know when you will return. Remind yourself that you can always come back another time, so there is really no reason to go overboard.
Remind yourself of your goals before you walk in the door. We often experience subtle social pressures when we dine out, such as the idea that eating equals fun. Address these ideas before you walk in, and remind yourself that your own health goals are more important than conforming to false ideals.