PHS editor Michelle Styles lost over 66 lbs a year ago and has maintained her weight ever since. This month she shares some tips for eating out.
Eating out can be tricky.
When you are dieting, the inclination is not to do it as there are so many treats available but eventually you have to brave the outside world and there are a lot of temptations. But inevitably you have to do it and then perhaps you eat more than you should and you feel guilty and the circle starts.
You need to break that particular circle. Having a great time with friends is one of life's joys. Sometimes in the early days, you may have to dial it down to once a week but you can't live your life as a hermit.
I have learnt several things.
1. Just because a restaurant serves you a large portion, it doesn't mean you have to eat everything. You are paying for the taste of the food, rather than the priviledge of stuffing yourself silly. You don't have to be a paid up member of the Clean Plate club. Eat slowly and listen to your body.Leave something for Miss Manners. Give your digestion time to talk to your brain. Concentrate on the company you are with rather than the food.
2. Most restaurants these days have an online presence. It is possible to see what the menu is BEFORE you go. This means you can choose your courses slowly when you are not hungry. Or at least have an idea of what you might like, rather than a last second panic.
3. If you decide to go out for a blow out meal, make sure it is worthy of being eaten. Never feel guilty. Listen to your body for 48 hours afterwards and see if it was worth it so you will know for the next time. Go back to eating very healthy for a few days after your meal.
4. Salty food dehydrates you and makes you want to eat more plus drink more. There are reasons why chips are offer for free. Bread, particularly high end bread, can have a high salt content. The same goes for sweet things like cupcakes. And indeed alcohol or coffee. If you are going to partake, really up your intake of water. If you feel bloated afterward, up your water to encourage the bloating to go.
5. While it is tempting to eat lighter/skip a meal if you know you are going to be eating a Major Feast, don't. You will be starving and more likely to consume more. Eat normally beforehand with an emphasis on very healthy. Make sure you have something to eat at least 2 1/2 hours before you eat out so your blood sugar is level.
6. Soup fills you up. Always check out the soup. However, not all soups are created equal. Some soups are full of calories. If the soup isn't going to work, make sure you drink a glass of water with your starter. Getting liquid into your digestion will help your stomach to register that it is full.
7 Choose restaurants which prepare real food, rather than processed. Make the meal memorable rather than going for the fast option. Processed food is more likely to have a high salt/sugar content and cause bloating. If you do go for the fast food option, really listen to your body afterward for 48 hours and see how you feel.
8 Don't go for complete perfection all the time. If you eat something unhealthy, enjoy it. Remember 80% healthy, 20% GUILTFREE unhealthy.
9. All you can eat doesn't mean you have to eat everything.
10. Keep doing your workouts. Exercise ensures that you don't own any bloating.
Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance. Her next book Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match is out in November. You can read more about her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk