In my experience, the biggest road block for those of you who want to achieve your weight loss goals is eating out. Not only how much you eat, but where you eat and how the food is prepared.
Your choice of foods and their preparation directly affects the outcome of your fitness program. One of the main struggles that I witness on a daily basis is my clients’ struggle with eating out. It is so much easier to control your food intake when you prepare the food yourself, but let’s face it, eating out is ingrained into your daily activities. Whether it’s a “Mom’s Morning Out,” “A Good-bye” luncheon or a celebratory dinner, there will be “eating out.”
So, in order to help you achieve your weight loss goals, I have created 3 strategies to assist you in making the best choices when you are eating out.
#1. Know what type of fat you’re eating
Contrary to popular belief, fats are actually an important part of your diet, healthy fat that is.
Healthy fats are those that have a large percentage of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid such as olive and canola oils. Also included in this group are almonds, sunflower, peanut and avocado oils.
Another class of vegetable oils are polyunsaturated oils. They include corn, soybean, sunflower and fish oils. But then there are the unhealthy fats; trans and saturated. The worst of the two being trans fats. They increase the risk of blood clots, raise the “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels and lower the “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
The bad part is that restaurants don’t always list these fats in their nutritional info, but if an entrée is covered in cheese, drowning in cream sauce or butter or topped with bacon bits, you can bet there are a lot of unhealthy fats residing in it.
Healthy Tip: Review the choices of grilled and baked foods and ask for any sauces to be either left off or served on the side. Give yourself a fighting chance.
#2. Pick the right place in the first place
Convenience and habit are two of the main reasons you make your restaurant choices. But if you are serious about managing your weight, you simply must fine the establishments that will cater to your requests.
Ask yourself the following questions when choosing the right places to eat:
o Do they offer several different healthy entrées?
o Will they prepare the food your way?
o If they don’t have a “healthy choice” menu section, do they have enough items available for you to create healthy choices?
Healthy Tip: If they do not fit these simple criteria why put yourself through the agony of perhaps “falling off the wagon?” There are too many restaurants out there that will do what you ask and who want you to patronize them.
#3. Realize that friends can make you fat…or skinny
A recent study by the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that close friends and family members are more likely to influence each other into either gaining weight or losing weight. A study of more than 12,000 friends, neighbors and family members, over a period of 32 years, revealed that when one person gained weight, their close friends and family gained weight as well. So now it’s your turn to win them over to your side of the weight management scale and get them to lose weight with you. There are always people, be it friends, family or colleagues who try to influence your decision as to where to eat when you go out.
Healthy Tip: Stand your ground about where to go to get the healthy choices you need to keep your weight management program in check. If you can’t persuade them to go to your number one choice, have a number two or even a number three choice ready to go in its place.
Remember, this is your body and you are the only one who controls what you put in it. The most important thing to keep in mind is that eating out is just a part of your overall healthy eating plan. Don’t allow it to derail the rest of your weight management choices. You can do this!
Written by Carol Dunlop, a certified FiTour Personal Trainer. She has competed and placed in several Fitness America and National Bodybuilding competitions. Learn more about fitness from her at her site [http://OptimumBodySculpting.com/].