I love eating out - do you know anyone who doesn't - especially if they are the family cook?

Whether it be in a restaurant, with friends or at a buffet, we all like to go out to eat.

The problem is, of course, how to enjoy it and stick with a weight loss diet at the same time.

We usually think of a restaurant or cafe when we eat out but it might be a buffet or a friend's house. Click on the links for some tips on these as well.

Eating Out in a Restaurant

Let's have a look at some useful tips for eating out in a restaurant which many of my clients have found helpful.

Most important is getting your mindset right. It is so easy to convince yourself that you are missing out by making sensible (i.e. non -- fattening!) choices. Feeling it's not fair and making justifications to have a good (i.e. calorie laden!) meal.

The best way to look at it, is to remember it is not "now or never". To understand that once you have reached your desired weight, you can have the occasional slap up meal. It is mainly what you do on a regular daily basis that is the problem. Not the odd meal out.

You might think it best not to eat out, but -

a) you will only feel more miserable about dieting, and
b) you need to learn to be able to control your eating habits when living your normal lifestyle.

Certain types of restaurant are easier than others to find less fattening options, so try to influence which ones you visit. Some are not as bad as you might think.

For instance - Indian cuisine. If you order chicken tikka (not marsala!), it is very tasty, not oily, has some separate yoghurt sauce to trickle over it and is usually served with a small undressed salad - PERFECT!

Chinese, on the other hand is just about one of the worst. Almost everything is fried - LETHAL!

If it is a local restaurant you are eating out at or you are able to pass it beforehand, have a look at the menu and choose what you are going to eat. Don't look at the menu again at the table. Tell your companion what you are going to have. It then makes it more awkward to change your mind!

Visualize ordering your chosen meal beforehand or practice out loud. Before eating out, write down your reasons for losing weight and long-term goals to make your resolve stronger.

Try never to go out hungry. As you will see on my diet menus , there is always an afternoon snack - never miss it. In fact, if you are eating out late you should also bring your last snack of the day forward, as you won't need it afterwards.


(i.e. Don't go without during the day because you're going out to dinner.)

It means -

a) your mindset is wrong about eating out and that you have already decided you're going to overeat.
b) your blood sugar level will be low and therefore your body will be pushing you to eat, so your eyes will be too big for your stomach!

When you get to the restaurant, be first to order. Remember, ideally you will already know what you're going to have. Don't look at the menu again. If you hear what the others are ordering, you may be tempted to change your mind.

Ask the waiter for no butter on your vegetables, baked potato, grilled fish etc. Nowadays, a lot of restaurants don't swamp food in butter but you can still be caught out. Also, ask for no dressing on a salad, or ask for it to be served separately. I love balsamic vinegar - just on its own. It's very tasty and not nearly as fattening as most dressings.

If the bread basket happens to land next to you, pass it to the other side of the table or ask the waiter to remove it.

Finally, look forward to enjoying your "sensible" meal. Nicely cooked, simple food CAN be just as tasty as rich food. Focus more on the company you are with and eat nice and slowly, savoring the whole occasion.

So just to recap briefly ..

1) Get mindset right.
2) Do go out to eat.
3) Choose restaurant carefully.
4) Know what you are going to eat.
5) Tell your partner, visualize ordering it.
6) Never go out hungry.
7) Don't rob Peter to pay Paul.
8) Be first to order.
9) Tell the waiter your needs.



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