So you've adopted an amazing lifestyle diet that makes you feel energized, not to mention free of digestive and allergy-related issues. You have a pretty good handle on what you should eat when you're at home and are even learning to like new vegetables that you'd never tried before. Surprisingly enough...on a good day...you don't even miss sugar too terribly.
And then the weekend comes.
I KNOW I'm not the only one in this position! In fact, I'm posting a photo today of my man and I enjoying ice cream (full of refined sugar and real dairy...and not organic. In fact, the only redeeming thing about this ice cream is that it was really expensive, which somehow makes it seem like the ingredients may have been ethically sourced...hopefully). I share this with you because I have full confidence that I am in good company when I admit that sometimes on special days, it can be challenging to stick to the eating guidelines established for oneself. To clarify, I must mention that there is room in my life for rule-free days. In fact, because I've stuck pretty diligently to my lifestyle diet for the past few years, I truly let myself eat whatever I want on the weekends, trusting that I will continue to have an appetite for what my body needs.
But what about on a day when no exception to the rules can be found? You might be thinking, "I'm not there yet! I still have 50 pounds to lose and haven't incorporated freebie days into my rhythm. That wouldn't work for me." Girlfriend, way to be self aware. I mean how are you supposed to stay on track if your loved one(s) want to socialize somewhere where half the menu would send you into a downward spiral? If your option is either to see your special someone and open yourself up to a difficult dieting situation or to stay home with your kale and not see said loved one, are you really going to choose the latter? I'm not suggesting that you do. In fact, an enjoyable social life is an integral part of wholistic health. And you don't have to be *that person* at a restaurant who brings her own food (though don't judge her because she is probably dealing with a serious allergy).
Each reader has come across this post from a unique place. The tips I've compiled below for staying on track while eating out will not apply to everyone, nor are they an exhaustive how-to manual. Know yourself and look for something that is relevant to you:
-Order protein style. Most burger restaurants now offer this bun-free option without even giving side-eye!
-Order a la carte. Selecting food from this menu gives you a little more control if you're on a real restrictive diet at the time.
-Ask for your dressing on the side! This is a tried and true tip for keeping that salad-the one you so carefully selected-low in calories.
-Drink water. Trust me, most dishes you'd order at a typical American restaurant have a couple hundred extra calories than the same version of the dish you'd make at home. Saving yourself some room by only consuming calories via food is a smart choice.
-Have dessert at home or in a creative location. A fun night out is just not the same without a treat! Bringing along your own healthy treat (one that fits into your specific guidelines) could actually work if you're near a great viewpoint, park, or other scenic location. Plus, this adds a little variety to the night.
-This last suggestion is for those who have a little more wiggle room in their lifestyle diets. If you're in a place where your natural cravings are for healthier options and you can afford to order whatever "sounds good", shore up this special night out with an incredibly rich breakfast and lunch that have been loaded with fresh produce.
I hope this list gets your mental wheels turning. There are hundreds of tips out there for staying on track with whatever your personal eating standards are in this season. In fact, I'd love to hear your tips in the comments below! And while, yes, I enjoyed that ice cream in the photo above with no guilt that night (because a nutrient-rich week had been executed beforehand) I'll admit that I sometimes overdo it! Sometimes, I wish I'd honored my body a little more carefully after a particularly decadent meal. So, I learn from my blunders and try a new approach the next time. After all, grace for oneself is also an integral part of holistic health.