Let’s say you want to lose fat and you also want to take a few awesome trips this summer.
You’ve thought about getting a coach or starting a diet but you think, “Why bother?”
“I am not going to be able to stick to a plan while traveling!”
Or, like several of my clients (and myself) you are a social butterfly; you pretty much think dieting while keeping up with your friends as social suicide…
Well, you’re wrong!
All you need to do to crush your fat loss goals *and* enjoy your summer simultaneously is to have strong, applicable nutrition and mindset strategies in place starting now.
These 100 tips will help you spend your summer:
- feeling confident wearing minimal clothing
- strategic when sampling some in-season fruits, dining out with friends and attending fun summer get togethers
- losing the extra pounds without thinking too hard (there are so many strategies from which to pull)
Part I of my 100 Fat Loss Tips for Summer Series kicks off with “25 tips for eating outside your own kitchen via the sit-down restaurant experience.”
I want to kick off the 100 Fat Loss Tips for Summer with Restaurants because that’s one of the first places you encounter issues with dieting.
Figuring out how much to eat, how much to account for (if you are tracking your calories and protein) and what to even choose can prove to be incredibly tough– not to mention restaurants are also one of the most common places you ditch your diet in the first place!
Read it twice, take the tips that apply to you and keep this handy to crush your goals!
1. Remember you are the customer seated outside of a very large kitchen. Whatever you want they should be able to whip up. I used to not even look at menus and just ask for grilled chicken and asparagus on times when I knew it was not the time to splurge (i.e. I had a fun dinner planned that night and this was just a quick lunch at a random, nothing-special-cafe). Ask and you shall receive.
2. Ask questions! Specifically, ask how things are prepared…are they soaked in oil? Canola oil? Is there butter on the veggies? Demand transparency and then you are better able to track what you eat.
3. Take-out, take-home and weigh it! One of my favorite things to do with restaurants I frequent often is to get take-out from there every now and then. This way I can bring it home and then weigh the protein and carbs etc. to discover exactly how much goes into my go-to meal. From that point on, for example, I know they actually serve 8 oz portions of chicken and I should plan to track 8 oz or eat half of the serving when I go there.
4. Have go-to restaurants for summer with go-to items that will ALWAYS keep you on track. I am all for trying new places. However, new places tempt me to indulge or get off track with nutrition. Therefore, with how often I like to eat out with my boyfriend, there’s less stress when we go to my favorite sushi place because I know how much to track, what goes into it and how it can fit into my lifestyle. You can get that one item you love so much, enjoy it, and know that you are on track. You don’t have to be tempted by other menu items because you won’t have to open the menu!
5. In the same vein, if eating out at restaurants is a huge part of your summer, make it a lifestyle and commit to only indulging every other weekend. The other nights of the week you eat out– make sure your plate is half veggies and a quarter protein. Leaving carbs and fat to smaller portions.
6. Pick one of three items (bread, booze or dessert) on a day you didn’t exercise and two of three on a day you trained and it’s a day you want to indulge.
7. On a day you have a special dinner planned at a restaurant where you planned to indulge, prioritize protein in meals and snacks leading up to the event and make you meals smaller that day.
Breakfast: instead of eggs with toast and avocado, have some egg whites and veggies with some greek yogurt
Snack: omit snack or have a protein shaker cup or some deli meat or chicken
Lunch: have a salad with dressing on the side and skip the usual avocado and/or nuts you put on top. Make it a lower calorie but filling lunch by adding more veggies and including protein.
Afternoon snack: omit or make it protein only
8. Ask for your meal prepared without salt or low sodium if you are on a trip and have a special event the next day that involves a fitted dress or suit. You’re the customer, remember, they will listen!
9. Ask for a take home box when ordering at a restaurant that serves huge portions like Cheesecake Factory. This way you set yourself up to remember to only eat half and box up the other half.
10. Try and drink three glasses of water throughout the meal. Prioritizing water will make you slow down, stay hydrated and eat less. It also aids in digestion.
11. At a mexican or tapas restaurant, COUNT YOUR CHIPS. *Seven* chips is usually a serving size and *roughly* 140 calories.
12. Tapas: pick your favorite THREE items and make sure the party you are with orders two serving of those three so you can get an actual serving of each item. Example: lamp chops, shrimp and gazpacho. Tracking three things is easier than accounting for 10 different tastes/ meals. If this isn’t possible, track your “bites” and have 10 bites.
13. The fewer ingredients on your plate the better. If fat loss is the goal– omit anything “encrusted” or “stuffed;” get the protein plain with a yummy sauce on the side.
14. Sauces and dressings are better on the side for fat loss. This way you don’t have to try and ascertain how much to track… you can see it on the side and know exactly how much YOU add to your food.
15. On a salad choose one of three if you didn’t exercise and two of three if you did exercise: cheese OR avocado OR nuts OR bacon bits.
16. Be aware that most salad dressing and sauces have gluten in them at restaurants if you have an allergy.
17. Stick with one cocktail. Alcohol will make your willpower go by the wayside and you will not commit to picking one of three, (Cocktail, bread basket item, dessert).
18. Try and wait for your meal to come out to the table BEFORE you decide to have bread or not. This way you can eat your tasty meal first and then decide if you have bread or desert or if you are full enough to call it a night.
19. Put your fork down between bites. Engage in conversation and take time to describe the taste of your meal with your friends.
20. If you are feeling super hungry to begin with set yourself up for munching success and order extra sides of steamed veggies– especially if it is going to be a long dinner.
21. Tomato-based anything is always the better bet. My go-to at Legal Seafoods is the Ciopinno; essentially it’s a bunch of protein in a tomato broth! So filling and so good!
22. “Cream of ____anything” is never a good idea for fat loss.
23. Make sure your plate looks like this OR with 50% veggies and fat + starch as 25% quadrant.
24. Would your plate look anything like the restaurant’s plate in your own kitchen? Always try and picture what you’re eating at the restaurant in your own home.
25. Eat until you feel 80% full– imagine you have to try on a bathing suit after dinner. Do not eat until you want to unbutton your pants.
These are all strategies which you can pull from in various restaurant situations.
Some will work for you and some won’t.
I hope that simply reading them provides you will some motivation to stay on track AND move outside of your kitchen.
After all, life is short and quality time is often spent with friends at meals at restaurants. Be smart, be strategic and do not fear the restaurant!
Stay tuned for 100 Fat Los Tips for Summer Part II: 25 Tips for eating and tracking Sushi!