Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Eating out is one of the hardest things to do when you are on a diet. There is temptation all around you. And on top of that, there is peer pressure out the ass from people who don’t have the same goals you do.
So what do you do?
There’s a lot you can do that will help you set yourself up for success when you go out. Make sure to read all the way through because this article will tell you exactly how to do it.
It’s Friday and work is almost done. Your friend decides to ask you out to happy hour.
You, being a great friend, decide to join her even though you are dieting. But you are well aware of all the temptation of the half priced apps and margaritas that will be thrown in your face.
Most people would just say “Screw it. I’m having fun. My diet can wait until Monday.” Then the next week they will say the same thing. And that cycle will repeat itself for weeks, months, and even years.
But you aren’t most people.
There are some simple strategies you can use to keep yourself on track even with all that temptation.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Water seems too simple. There’s no way that could work.
When you are dehydrated it makes you feel hungrier. Imagine actually being hungry, and dehydrated, and seeing a plate of buffalo wings staring you in the face. It’s gonna take a crap ton of willpower to deny those fried, spicy, meaty pieces of chicken drizzled in ranch.
I’m hungry just writing that description.
Make it easy on yourself. Just drink some water.
Eat a snack before going out
Just like with dehydration, we don’t want to be hungry going into the situation.
When we are hungry we usually don’t make good decisions. Just like when we go grocery shopping hungry. Somehow that box of cookies always sneaks its way into the shopping cart.
So before heading to happy hour, snack on something healthy an hour before. The best options are foods that are high in fiber, protein, or healthy fats.
Some great options would be:
Fruits with skin
Nuts (Limited to 1 serving)
Veggies with a low calorie dip
If you can have one of these beforehand, you can make solid decisions when it comes time to order.
Look at the menu ahead of time
Chances are, you will have some notice on where you will be going out to. With technology in this beautiful time we are living in, we can look up the menu for pretty much every single restaurant.
When you can make a decision without delicious smells from the neighboring tables, chances are you will make the right call. You also don’t have to look at the bad options with your friend in your ear saying “Live a little!”
You walk into that restaurant confident and sure that you are eating what you need to to reach your goals.
Count your calories
This method requires a little more preparation and some education on counting calories. However, this option allows you the most freedom.
If you count calories, you can allot a certain amount for dinner. So if you have 1,000 calories left for the day, you can eat almost anything on the menu. Or if you only have 600 calories, most menus have a “low calorie” section which usually means the options are under 600 calories.
This is even more convenient when going to a chain restaurant. Most major chains have the nutritional info of their food on their website. This allows apps like MyFitnessPal to accurately enter calories and macros when you add it to your food log.
If the restaurant doesn’t have the nutritional information available you could either eyeball it or go with one of the other strategies above. Most meat servings are in 4,6,8 oz portions. And veggies, mashed potatoes, and other carbs are usually around 1 cup portions.
In short, the number one goal is to make it easy on yourself.
The only diets that actually work are the ones that are easiest for you to follow while losing weight.
If you follow these strategies, you will be able to stick to your diet relatively easily.
Keep in mind, diets are supposed to be temporary. Once you have reached your goal you can afford to treat yourself every once in a while when you go out.
Sacrifice a little right now to enjoy later!