There comes a point during every diet you’ll ever try and tackle, whether it’s designed for weight loss or health and longevity, where you’ll be asked to eat out with a friend or colleague and there isn’t going to be a single option at the restaurant which fits your diet. In fact, these types of situations seem to happen even more often when you’re trying to lose weight… karma I suppose.
If you want to diet successfully, you need a strategy to give yourself the opportunity to fulfill these requests without doing a lot of damage towards your diet goals. One very simple step is to simply take the edge off of your hunger *before* you leave the house or office to dine out with either a snack or small meal which fits your diet program. This will help to curb hunger pains and cravings before you get to the restaurant. When it comes time to place your order, because your cravings are under control, that will help you eat less at the restaurant because your cravings have been addressed which is great for your diet, your wallet, and your mind. This is a very similar strategy to eating before you head to the grocery store. Foods just don’t look as good because you’re not hungry, so you end up buying less and more of just the foods you need.
Getting your hunger under control before you get to the restaurant will help with portion control once you sit down and order your meal, but it is also a great strategy for combating the mental challenges a negative meal could have on your diet.
It’s an important distinction to realize the damage from eating outside of your diet program comes both from food you eat, but even more importantly from the mental impact of having that negative meal.
Mentally, negative meals remind your system how great the food tastes and that creates mental triggers and reminders going forward which itch at your mind and system. This creates a mental hurdle for the dieter to address and is a stimulus which makes it much easier to cave and cheat again in the future.
If you look back at dieters who are unsuccessful, most often there is some event or trigger which they had along the way in the form of a negative meal which ends up leading to the demise of the diet because of the mental impacts from straying. This demise isn’t in the form of the meal totally blowing up any progress made in your diet, it’s the mental impact of having a negative meal which can completely derail your entire diet.
This negative meal can even lead to your demise sub-consciously. Your mind and body don’t enjoy dieting. They have been trained over time to get happiness from eating your favorite foods. If they get the proper reminder at the wrong time in your diet cycle when you’re not quite ready to handle it, your mind will work sub-consciously seeking to put you in positions where you get invited to more of these types of events which will eventually just lead you to “put the diet on hold because the timing just doesn’t seem right” and your body and mind can take a breather from the stresses of the diet.
By eating a small meal before you dine out for a meal where you’ll have to stray from diet, you will limit the damage done by the food itself, but more importantly the risk that type of event can have on your mindset as you try to diet moving forward. Do yourself a favor and next time you’re going to eat out, try having a snack or small meal before heading out the door. You may not ever be able to prove it, but it’s one of those small simple strategies which can be the difference between a successful diet and an unsuccessful diet.