Sustainable Recipe Coordinator @ www.HelpMeCook.com.au - loving my newfound freedom after finishing my 2nd round of tertiary education whilst working full time :)
Published August 6th 2012
11 Tips for the figure to not be bigger & still eat out
I love eating out with my friends and can't really imagine a lifestyle in which I wouldn't be able to do that. The issue is often that the foods we love are the foods which tend to expand our body horizontally, and therefore needs to be addressed. This doesn't necessarily mean that austerity measures such as starving oneself or no longer eating out should be taken – it just means that one needs to achieve a balance within their diet.
I'm writing this article because this was an actual dilemma for me but I've found several tricks which I've slowly adapted into my lifestyle that actually seem to work. They work in the sense that not only do I not put on weight, but I have actually lost quite a bit whilst maintaining my eating out lifestyle. I have to stress that all of these changes were applied very gradually in order to try and maintain them permanently.
For those of us who are not lucky enough to be in the category of people who can eat anything they like and put on weight, this article may be of some use. Here are my gradually applied weight management tips. Some of these might be obvious to those who already maintain healthy eating habits.
1. Eat smaller portions Gradually cut down the portions you eat, kindly ignoring anyone who tries to get you to eat more than what you want to. For those of you like me who were taught to finish everything that is on your plate, slowly try to make yourself get used to the idea of leaving a bit of food on a plate. At home, simply place less on the plate – remember, you can always return for seconds.
2. Eat slower I used to chow all my food down and then feel bloated. This is no longer the case as I consciously try to take longer when I eat by chewing my food more. This allows me to enjoy the food more, as I am also savouring the flavour.
3. Eat more meals Don't skip breakfast. I used to be a one-meal-a-day girl. Now, I eat multiple small meals in the day. This works very well for me and I can maintain a balanced diet. It did take me a while to get used to breakfast, but I never skip it now.
4. If you're out & don't like the type of food, pick something healthy
If you're out with friends and don't like the type of food as much as another, pick the healthiest thing on the menu. Most menus have something relatively healthy on there – there are even low calorie options at McDonalds these days.
5. Don't be cruel to yourself if you make a mistake
We're only human, after all. If I find myself munching on something I'm not supposed to be, I try to enjoy it and stop as soon as I don't want anymore. I then do not berate myself for it, but instead ensure that I eat healthy for the rest of the time and remain positive. I'm not a comfort eater and despite that I found that putting myself down wasn't good for my mental health or my gradual lifestyle change.
6. Clear out your fridge of unhealthy foods & avoid buying them
I find that this is difficult as I don't live on my own, but having a little compartment in the fridge dedicated to your special healthy food can help if you are in a similar situation to me. I also don't recommend pestering any flatmates with this new lifestyle as people like to make their own choices and I'm sure many would not appreciate this.
7. Plan the meals that are not eaten out
Whether you study, work, both or neither – it's important to plan the meals which you're not going to be eating out with friends. It seems obvious, but in reality – a little bit of planning can go a long way. It can that you avoid unhealthy foods that you wouldn't have otherwise eaten if you had planned your meal. Shopping with a list comprised of healthy recipes is a good idea, too.
8. Know what's healthy & what's not
Well, that sounds simple, but it's often not. There are little tricks such as "99% fat free" which make us all revel in happiness, until we realise that they put sugar in there to make it taste decent. Seeing a dietician would also be a great idea to get a general idea of how you're doing with your current diet and where improvements could be made.
9. Snack on healthy stuff
If you're hungry, eat. Snacking is okay, just as long as you snack on healthy stuff. Don't be lazy and do cut up some fruit and vegetables ahead of time. If you are lazy, eat a mandarin, carrot or cucumber.
10. Set realistic and incremental goals
Yeah, when I wanted to lose weight, I scared myself out of it because of the amount of kilos I wanted to get rid of. Now I just go by smaller, incremental goals. On the bright side, this has worked and I get to celebrate more often.
11. Remember that moderation is key, but enjoy your life
Enjoy the meals with your friends, just maybe consider cutting back on the unhealthier stuff if you eat out extremely often. You can order healthier stuff at times, or if you really want something, go ahead and savour the flavour. You only live once.
Okay, so I may have made this at home but it was yummy and eaten in good company.
These might seem really obvious like stated before, and of course being active is important too, but food means a lot when it comes to weight loss. Applying the above simultaneously should help you maintain your current weight and even lose some. I'm not a doctor and I don't claim to be, but I do recommend that you go to your doctor and get measurements taken. It's a good idea to get a blood test prior to any major lifestyle changes and just get checked to ensure that you're okay.
Also, remember that if you're losing weight that unless your doctor states otherwise, try to do it slowly. Patience is a virtue and I understand that it is tempting to go quickly, but you're more likely to stay in a healthy routine if you ease into it slowly, step by step. I find that this has had a more profound impact on my mind than any sudden (and temporary) shocks.
Best of luck guys, and I hope that this is helpful to anyone who has faced the dilemma that I did. Thankfully, it doesn't have to be a choice between eating out with my friends or having a healthy body – it can be both.