Often I will see clients out to eat at restaurants around town. I get a lot of comments like, “I’m only having one piece of pizza!” Or “I’ll burn this off on Monday!” I always reply, “Hey, no disclaimer or excuse is needed, I’m eating out too!” I like to think that my clients appreciate my realness. I will never encourage people to limit food to an unhealthy level or deprive themselves of their favorite foods.
We all have to find that balance—enjoying life while keeping our bodies healthy. At McClure Fitness, we have weight loss challenges several times a year where we teach folks how to eat right and work out. However, we get to a point about four weeks in where we actually encourage our challengers to go out to eat. We know that their healthy lifestyle will always include going out to eat with friends and family.
Here are some of the tips we encourage them to be aware of:
Look over the menu before you go—pull it up online to see what healthier options are available.
Eat a small snack an hour before mealtime so you won’t be famished and end up eating the entire bowl of cheese dip (speaking from experience here!).
Portions can be large, so plan to take half of the meal home in a to-go box.
Ask for grilled meats instead of fried.
Veggies always win—fill your plate with these nutrient-dense foods.
Other tactics that some of us trainers do so we can thoroughly partake of all the deliciousness at our favorite eateries:
Eat fairly healthfully during the week.
When going out to eat, follow the tips above.
Indulge once a week and go ALL OUT!
Wait, what?! Yes, I said eat whatever you want…for one meal. We like to call this a “cheat meal.” My husband and I try to go out to eat by ourselves on Friday or Saturday, which at this point in our lives with four kids, is valuable quality time. I really, really love to eat good food, so I look forward to this time and meal all week. I don’t put any expectations or calorie goals on the meal, I just enjoy it.
Okay, here’s the trainer tip to splurging on that cheat meal—get an extra HIIT workout done! Yep. It’s that simple. I will either work out on Saturday or Sunday to help balance it all out.
HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. It’s any workout that has intervals of high intensity cardio mixed with strength training. These kinds of workouts are proven to maximize calorie burn while building strong muscles to keep up metabolism. Check out one of my simple go-to HIIT workouts that you can do with zero equipment, in your own driveway.
At the end of the day, it’s really just about keeping everything in moderation. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and enjoy eating out because it’s about spending quality time with people. Take every opportunity to go out to eat with friends and family! And when you see me (and you will, because I like to eat good food too!), just wave and don’t feel the need to explain away your food choices.