I get asked this question all the time so I thought a blog post might help a few people out. We all have that burst of enthusiasm and motivation when we first begin a healthy eating journey. We all had a reason for joining. Something pushed us in the direction of making these changes and for a number of weeks that really is enough to carry us through. We get in to the buzz of it and 90% of our thoughts are about our new plan. We find ourselves meal-planning, following social media accounts that motivate us and generally feeling completely on it.
Then someone asks us to meet up for lunch and we consider throwing the towel in there and then.
Eating out is a fact of life. A fact that I enjoy immensely. Sometimes my sister and I go for lunch and have a long (and beautiful) period of time where we say no words to eachother. The faces are enough to clarify that this is the time where we need to just become one with our plate of food. It requires our full attention and there just isn’t any room for talking right now. We usually ease our way back in to the talking thing by complaining about how full we are. Before we know it we are back in the zone of conversation and a bit depressed (despite fullness) that the food part is over. We immediately begin planning our next outing.
“Champagne ideas and lemonade money”, that’s what my mother says about me. I bloody love eating out. Sometimes I do it way more than my bank balance enjoys (or is willing to support). There is just something deadly about telling someone what you would like to eat, them bringing it to you AND someone else doing all the cleaning up. Yes please. I love cooking but eating out is one of lifes greatest pleasures for me. Most of my friends share the same enthusiasm and it is often the very foundations of our relationships. My bestie and I recently joked about the fact that her first trimester of pregnancy was strange territory for our friendship. She was experiencing horrible morning sickness and had no interest in food. We realized just how much we actually talked and immersed ourselves in all things food. The second trimester has brought her appetite back and I’m happy to report that we are back to chats over toasted sambos, coffee and cake.
Folks, you have to live. Nobody can maintain a lifestyle where it’s all work and no play. Like what is the actual point? I’d craic up. It would be a grim existence and I just wouldn’t feel happy. As most of you know I take the flexi-syn approach at the weekend. I know that Friday evenings and Saturdays are my danger zone so I take the bull by the horns and just have the treats I fancy. I make up for it by having very few syns and extra speed during the week. Thankfully it works out well for me. I get straight back on plan on a Sunday morning and it’s worth it for me because I know a treat is only ever a couple of days away. I also keep my mid-week meals as exciting and interesting as possible. That is the beauty of Slimming World and the endless possibilities of delicious healthy food.
The eating out part can be tricky. There are a number of things you can do which will help minimise the damage when it comes to your weigh-in that week. You can absolutely enjoy a good meal and feel 50% better afterwards with a bit of consideration and thought. These are the things which help me make the best decisions.
- Go for the least carby option. Pasta and potatoes are great when you are food optimising with Slimming World but when you are eating out they are almost guaranteed to be laced with butter, cream or cheese. All the sexy things in life but they will really affect your weightloss if they are not controlled.
- Ask for salad instead of the regular side. This is a little hack of mine. Let’s just say I fancy Lasagne. I know it’s got massive syns and I know it comes with chips and garlic bread. So I meet myself in the middle (like a little weirdo, I know) and I order the Lasagne but ask the waiter if instead of chips and garlic bread I can have a “big salad” with it. 99% of the time they will be delighted to accomodate you and this kind of thing makes a HUGE difference. It could save you 50 syns on your dinner and you’ll still have a beautiful meal that feels naughty.
- Share your starter and dessert. This one sounds obvious but it makes a huge difference. I never have room for a full starter, main and dessert but I can still wolf the whole thing down anyway. These days, if I can, I share a starter with the person I am with. When it comes to dessert I usually genuinely am happy to just have a taste or a couple of spoonfulls. You don’t feel like you are missing out.
- Be very good “around” the meal. Have an especially good breakfast. Something like a tonne of fruit with syn-free yoghurt. Go syn-free the day before and after even. It all adds up.
- DO NOT FEEL GUILTY. If you are going to have it HAVE IT. Feeling guilty and berating yourself over it is so negative. It will probably lead you to comfort eating and the aftermath will be ten times worse than the actual meal itself. Have it, enjoy it and move on.
- Make a plan. If I know I am having a meal out on a Friday night I go out of my way to make a pot of soup and some extra speedy dinners that week. I up my water intake and try get out walking more. It really makes a huge difference. I also make similar plans for after the meal to ensure I get back on plan straight away.
- Ask for dressings on the side and do not be afraid to ask for extra care and attention such as asking for steamed potatoes rather than fried. They get this every day and deal with allergies constantly. It is not a big deal. You are paying for your meal, remember, and they want you to be satisfied and return.
- Check out the munu before you go. It can actually be quite liberating to know what you are going to order before you go in. The glass of wine you had beforehand could lead you to order something a lot more synful. There is nothing wrong with being prepared.
One of the best options when it comes to eating out on Slimming World is actually Nandos believe it or not. I had it today and still rounded up the day on less than my syn allowance.
I ordered the butterfly chicken (3 syns with the skin on. Oh yes!), spicy rice (2 syns), a side salad (free) and I even had two chicken wings (1.5 syns each). The sauces are mostly half a syn per tablespoon and they have syn-free balsamic vinegar available for your salad. A nice cold Coke zero to wash it all down. You can food optimise and still have a beautiful tasty plate of food.