I love food.
There are very few things in this life I enjoy more than a big dinner on a Friday night.
And I make it a point to eat out regularly no matter what my current fitness goals are. For most people, however, eating out is a surefire way to sabotage their dieting efforts. As soon as they set foot inside their favorite restaurant, all bets are off.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
You can go out for lunch or dinner with your friends and still wake up leaner the next day. But you have to know how to do it. These strategies will help you get there.
1. Make room for big meals
Fat-loss is a numbers game.
It’s not a matter of where or when you eat. It’s predominately a matter of how much you eat.
Eat fewer calories than you burn and you will lose weight. No two ways about it.
Scheduled to have a big family dinner? Aiming for a Sunday brunch with your girl? No problem. You can split up your daily calories pretty much however you like. But you need to have a plan.
If you’re going out to eat, adjust your diet for the day to accommodate a large bolus of calories.
If you know you’ll be hitting up your favorite sushi spot for dinner, modify your routine for the day and save up a large calorie buffer for that meal. Eat smaller meals leading up the event, focusing on the essentials – protein, fruit, coffee.
Following this strategy, you can eat to your heart’s content (yes, even dessert) without falling off the fat-loss horse. And no, eating after 6 PM won’t make you fat. Only an excess of calories can do that.
Your number of meals and portion sizes are not set in stone. Your calories and macronutrients are.
As long as you maintain control over your total calories and consume sufficient protein, you can go about your diet any way you please.
At the end of the day, you must hit your calorie and protein targets. How you do it is largely up to you.
2. What to eat: Choose wisely
As far as your diet success is concerned, total calories reign supreme. Adequate protein intake is a close second, however.
A fat-loss diet needs to be higher in protein for multiple reasons. It will keep your metabolism firing and your muscles from shriveling away.
If you go out to eat on a regular basis, make sure to get enough protein (i.e. order extra meat).
No matter where you choose to eat, you can never go wrong with protein and veggies.
Steak, chicken or fish and a side of grilled veggies are always preferred to carb and fat bombs like pizza, burgers, pasta and the like (although, those can also be enjoyed on occasion). Stick to the basics.
No need to become a food nazi, though. If you follow rule no. 1 and make room for a high-calorie meal, you can pretty much enjoy anything on the menu. Calories, remember?
3. Ease up on the booze
Alcohol on a diet? Sure, why not.
1 glass of wine, a bottle of beer or a Gin Tonic certainly won’t kill your progress, but keep it reasonable.
Not only are alcoholic beverages high in nutritionally void calories, they also interfere with fat metabolism, increase appetite and your likelihood of making bad food choices (“disinhibition effect”).
Even if you ate like a champ all day, one single meal can offset your progress if you’re going completely overboard.
Keep it to 1-2 drinks (max.) and make sure to account for the additional calories.
Fat-loss is a game of habits, not daily deprivation. It’s about doing a few things consistently. As long as you have your bases covered, you’d be surprised at how much you can get away with.
Don’t be the person ordering a chicken salad and water. Life is short. Enjoy yourself.
Thank you for reading