Do you ever wonder if it’s possible to have weekend brunch with your friends, or celebrate an occasion over a special meal in a restaurant, and still achieve your fat loss goals?
Well, I am here to tell you that yes, it most certainly is possible, and this guide will assist you in your efforts. Remember, if fat loss is your primary goal, then your major concern is, and still will be achieving a calorie deficit, and therefore, any choices you make when eating out should be dictated by this.
Before You Go
There is no shortage of restaurants, cafes, and fast food chains to choose from, the majority of which have sample menus available online. Review these menus beforehand, identifying which menu would be the most suitable. Consider the choices available – starters, main courses, side dishes, and desserts, and choose a venue with a menu that best accommodates your goals.
Anticipate and Account for this Meal
More often than not, we make plans in advance to have brunch, or lunch or dinner. Anticipate this meal, and account for it accordingly. If a table is booked in your favourite restaurant for Saturday night, then opt out of Saturday brunch on this occasion, or else, skip your usual Eggs Benny for have something a little less calorific.
At the Restaurant
Bin the Bread
If you know that you won’t be able to resist demolishing the bread basket, then request that one is not served to the table.
Recognise that more often than not, the portion sizes are large when eating out. To avoid the temptation of eating everything on your plate, choose a smaller portion size e.g. a starter portion, with an additional side or two.
Lean Protein Source
Select a lean protein source as the main component of your dish. Protein sources such as chicken breast, turkey, white fish are lower calorie options than the chicken thigh, duck, or sirloin steak. Removing the skin from any protein source will also reduce the calorie content of the protein.
Sauce on the Side – SOS
Always request sauce on the side, be it with your seemingly innocent salad, or fillet steak. Sauces and dressings are often calorie dense, and can significantly increase the calorie content of your meals.
Make a Swap
Get creative, and swap your side dishes to make a meal that won’t derail your progress. Swap the creamy mash for boiled potatoes, or the naan bread for a house salad.
Avoid liquid calories, and stick to water, still or sparkling, or diet drinks e.g. Diet Coke throughout the meal. Do not be tempted by the juices, smoothies, or speciality lemonades, as these can all pack a lot of calories in a glass.
Interpret the Menu
Be aware of the language used in menus to describe various dishes. Adjectives such as creamy, layered, cheesy, and deep fried are describing calorific bombs. Watch out for more unassuming adjectives such as breaded, or sizzling, which may seem less dangerous, but are likely to be also describing calorie-dense dishes.
If You Don’t Ask, You Don’t Get
You’re the paying customer. Do not have reservations about asking for further details surrounding the menu e.g. how the fish is cooked, or in asking the kitchen to accommodate you e.g. serving your burger on a bed of salad rather than the brioche bun.
What about Dessert?
Believe it or not, but you can still have your cake, and eat it too – within reason. If you’ve opted out of starters, had a main course consistent with your goals, and have made allowances earlier in the day for an extra indulgence, then, by all means, have a dessert. But again, remember, creating and maintaining a calorie deficit is your main concern for fat loss, and therefore, indulging in a Triple Chocolate Extravaganza, enrobed with Chocolate Caramel Ganache, and topped with a Salted Caramel and Peanut Brittle, is going to significantly knock you out of said deficit. Consider choosing something a little less calorific or sharing with your family and friends.
After the Meal
Whether or not the conscious choices you made were in line with your goals, accept these choices, and move on.
Do not use poor choices to grant yourself permission to continue eating in this manner for the remainder of the day/weekend/week.
Going forward, strive for better choices rather than perfect choices, and this will help you avoid the f%$k it mentality.