I’ve been back on the wagon now for 24 days. Last week I was down 8.4 lbs since Jan. 3, and 45.2 lbs since my heaviest recorded weight. Those first three weeks were relatively easy. Maybe easy isn’t the best word, I still had to put in the work. I tracked all the food I ate and I exercised almost everyday, if not multiple times a day. But in those three weeks, I didn’t have too many temptations to get off track, just a dinner out here, or a bbq there. Cue this week.
This week my brother in law came to visit and I am so glad he did! We took him around to show him Pensacola Lighthouse, the National Museum of Aviation, Pensacola Beach, downtown Pensacola, and we did an escape room with a group of friends. I loved being able to show him around our new city and of course we also wanted to take him to some great eats as well, because um…. hello food is amazing! So since we’re in the south, of course we had to get BBQ from Brother’s BBQ and then we went to a little seafood place in Pensacola Beach called Shaggy’s. Ultimately I did not go crazy going out to eat at these places. I didn’t eat any of the bread at the BBQ joint, and I had shrimp tacos at Shaggy’s… to go with my margarita and whiskey with coke and sprite. That was the first time I’ve had soda in….. I couldn’t even tell you. I so seldom have soda I don’t remember the last time I did.
You probably don’t really care too much about the food I had, or maybe you do because who doesn’t love food! My point is that life is going to happen. Circumstances are going to come up that interfere with your typical schedule, and we need to learn to continue living and how to navigate them so we stay on track towards our goals. So how does one manage eating out when trying to lose weight and get healthier?
- Plan ahead– If you know where you’re going out to eat, prior to getting there- get online and research if their menu is available. Then you can pick what you’re going to order ahead of time. This will give you the opportunity to make sure your other meals are super good choices in the event that you’re going to splurge a bit on your meal out. Or you can pick something healthy and then when you’re at the restaurant, don’t look at the menu again. The temptation to veer off course could be too great and you may regret it later.
- Box it up– When placing your order, ask the waitress to bring you a box with your food. Portion sizes at restaurants tend to be larger than typical. I’ve told myself that I’m only going to eat half of my food, but then in the midst of eating and socializing and eating more, I end up eating a lot more than what I originally planned. This doesn’t happen if I box up half of it before I start eating. Out of sight. Out of mind.
- Let go of your old faithfuls…most of the time– We all have them. Our go to dishes we absolutely adored, and binged on, and we know how absolutely horrendous they are to our health. To truly get healthy we need to let go of some of these temptations. When I would go out to eat I would always always always order either a shrimp or chicken alfredo. It’s my favorite. But I know how unhealthy it is and so I have learned to make better choices when I go out, because even if I eat a modest portion, it’s still not as healthy or filling than if I get something else. Now I haven’t banned alfredo pasta altogether. I’ve learned how to make alternative healthy dishes for it at home that will satisfy my craving, or I’ll allow myself to order it at a restaurant once or twice a year. No one’s perfect.
- Healthy alternatives– I get it, that pasta and that burger you’ve been ordering at restaurants is so tasty and you’re a creature of habit and it’s super tempting to keep with what you know. But I got fat and unhealthy by repeating dietary choices that are not healthy. If you want major results, we need to commit to major changes! Finding alternatives that still satisfy you, but aren’t 3000 calories for one meal are an excellent way to start. Find some healthy alternatives that work for you. Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken? Vegetables instead of potatoes? Salad instead of bread?
- Guilt-Free– Let go of the guilt. So you went out to eat and didn’t have a plan. So you went out to eat and didn’t stick to the plan. So you went out to eat more than once, or twice. So you went out to eat and had an appetizer, entree, and dessert. This is life! Don’t feel guilty and beat yourself up about it. Just get back on the wagon as soon as you can. And DO NOT tell yourself, you’ll get back on the wagon on Monday… unless it’s already Sunday night. Start with your very next meal. You’ll be thanking yourself later.
Life happens. It’s going to be near impossible to make every meal you eat perfect. So do what’s best for you and have a plan, that can really be my best advice. Correction: my best advice is to love your body first, then have a plan.
I will have to give an update on any weightloss or weight gain for this week at a later date. We’re in New Orleans, and while I debated bringing my scale with me, I ultimately decided it would be weird and left it at home.