Recently, I had someone ask me to talk about “dining out” and feeling like it is such a hassle when they do their IIFYM and when they just want to “diet” or want to simply eat “healthier options”, this person says, they realize when you dine inside, the options are much better than pulling through a drive-thru and normally some places will have the calories listed with the meal, but they always feel guilty when they dine out because they always feel like the “healthier” options really aren’t that much healthier than cooking at home & they just want to sometimes tell the cooks to cook something a certain way, lol..(yes it bugs them this much).
Well, I can somewhat understand this person’s issue with dining out and feeling like the options are never healthy enough because when you get so used to having to cook at home and meal planning, you have a routine of what foods fit your IIFYM or whatever “diet” plan you are currently on. The frustration is simply the obsession of the diet you are on in my opinion and with being on a strict diet, you never know how to handle your cravings, desires, and normally go off on the “deep end” because of the peer pressure of wanting to eat like everyone else around you. In my situation for example, while yes my nutrition matters to me but with IIFYM the food is the least of my worries, the worries come from being able to simply calculate the macros in my head to determine if the meal fits & if I can’t do the math fast enough or have no clue then I dive for it, in hopes I made the brightest decision based on what the ingredients are, how big the plate is, what I ate earlier, and how much of it I will eat. I think when places put the calories down, it helps me decide so much easier because even though I can hit calories and not hit macros, I at least can make a semi educated guess and I feel more at ease.
Dining out should be a fun experience not one that people dread unless that is just your personality and it doesn’t phase you to sit down and eat with friends and family. I think when dining starts to bug you to the point where you get anxiety over what you eat, then you need to either reevaluate the diet you are on, rethink your exercise regimen, or perhaps speak with the cooks themselves and get an understanding of how the food will be cooked and if you can, ask them to cook it a certain way that helps you feel better about the meal. I would even go as far to say bringing your food scale with you but I know that can be a hassle or come off a bit weird (but hey, it’s an idea). There are reasons why some people have to be strict (bodybuilding, lose weight, don’t exercise, cutting. etc) and those people usually have been doing this enough where they have an idea of what places to eat and what places to stay away from, they know exactly how much to eat, they have friends/family that have the same eating habits, they surround themselves with like-people, and/or bring their scale with them. With this being said, I will help give you some pointers in case you have the same issues as the person who had me write this blog. I already mentioned some ideas but I’ll put them in bullet form so it is easier to read.
- Do some online research of the restaurant beforehand
- look at what the meal is and ask what the ingredients are
- bring a food scale if necessary
- sit with like-minded people or people who support your “diet”
- choose a place with variety (i.e don’t just choose a burger joint or pizza joint)
- If it shows the calories of the meal, take advantage of this and make an educated guess on how the meal fits in your “diet”
- eat until full not until bloated
- If you are doing IIFYM, worry less about the food and worry more about teaching yourself to make sure whatever you eat fits the macros (get comfortable with IIFYM before you venture off)
- Try to choose meals that are simple (i.e steak and broccoli with a side of a baked potatoe instead of a pasta dish you can’t pronounce or some meal that could have over 100 different ingredients)
- Exercise more often if you are so worried because at least you can balance yourself out if you make an error in choice of foods
- Get to know the cooks, this might help if the restaurant allows for you to make changes to the meal
- make mistakes & learn from them, don’t stress over making your first mistake. I want you to make more mistakes so you can constantly learn
- continue to cook at home, don’t allow dining out to be your main source of food
- Dine for a good time not in fear
- Hold yourself accountable for the good and bad choices
Hopefully this list gives you some peace of mind and I am able to help those of you who may fall within in this same problem and needed some extra advice. As long as you learn from your mistakes when you dine out, you will progress and know how to handle those situations better. Feel free to contact me with questions:)
Thank you for reading!
Your Fitness Blogger Shay-lon