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How to Eat Out and Still Lose Weight: Balancing Weight Loss Goals with Dinner Dates &Holiday Feasts

Wondering how to eat out and still lose weight?

Struggling to maintain your weight loss goals amidst a busy social life? Feel overwhelmed juggling dinners out with friends and family while trying to stay on track? You're not alone! During the festive season, women often find themselves grappling with this very dilemma. But fear not, you don't have to lock yourself away and throw away the key. With a little planning and mindful eating, you can navigate the social scene and still lose weight and improve your health.

Why You Should Celebrate Weight Maintenance:

Depending on what your social schedule looks like, over the festive season it might be worth reframing your expectations and focus on maintaining your weight and maintaining healthy habits rather than looking to lose weight. According to data from around the world, maintaining your weight during this period is a feat worth celebrating. Many people experience weight gain during the holidays, so holding steady on the scale is a victory in itself.

Remember, a fulfilling life involves more than just numbers on a scale. It's crucial to learn how to enjoy social events without sacrificing your health or weight loss progress. This is a great opportunity to practice balancing your social calendar with your individual goals. I deliberately used the term 'practice' as it reminds us that these are skills that get better with time and practice. You are not naturally expected to know how to do this already, so drop the perfectionist mindset and get practicing!

Navigating Restaurant Dining:

Dining out often translates to higher calorie meals compared to home-cooked options. While prioritising home-cooked meals is generally beneficial for weight management, managing those busier social weeks calls for smart strategies.

  1. Think Week-Wide: View your dietary choices over the entire week rather than focusing on individual days. This helps avoid falling into a destructive "all-or-nothing" mindset. For example, you're trying to stick to a certain diet, then you eat something less healthy and think "stuff it...I've blown it now so I may as well eat ALL the things".

  2. Single Outing? Mindful Indulgence: If you're only eating out once, I would suggest just ordering what is going to satisfy you, allow yourself to enjoy your meal without guilt, eat slowly, eat mindfully and savour each bite.

  3. Multiple Outings? Prioritisation: If your week involves multiple dinners out, aim to make conscious, healthy choices when you're at home. Focus on lean protein, plenty of vegetables, and save those special treats for your social outings. For example, if you might have a glass of wine at home or have some chocolate, perhaps save those up and enjoy them on your outings instead.

Pre-Dinner Strategies:

  • Have a protein-rich afternoon snack to curb excessive hunger.

  • Consider options such as yogurt with fruit, or rice cakes or Vita Weats with cottage cheese, or a boiled egg

While Dining Out:

  • Prioritise protein and vegetables. Check the menu description, if your meal doesn't come with vegetables or salad, order some extra on the side.

  • Be mindful of tempting bread baskets and unlimited refills.

  • Focus on eating until satisfied, rather than uncomfortably full.

  • When sharing dishes or at a buffet, serve yourself a designated portion rather than picking constantly.

  • Set a mindful limit for alcohol consumption and pace yourself to avoid overindulgence.

Enjoy the Moment & Embrace Learning:

Above all, remember to savor this time with loved ones. Create lasting memories and prioritise fun and connection. This time of year can also be tired, overwhelming and stressful for many. So if this is you, don't put yourself under undue pressure. Keep it simple, prioritise protein and plants, aim to move your body regularly even if it's shorter or less intense than usual and try to prioritise sleep. View this period as a learning experience to develop lifelong healthy habits that work for you in any social setting.

Balancing social events with weight management goals is achievable for busy women. By incorporating simple strategies, mindful eating, and prioritisation, you can navigate those dinner-filled weeks with confidence and enjoy the festivities without compromising your goals.


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