This is a guest post by Sarah of Diabetes Forum
There is absolutely nothing worse when you’re on a diet than grazing through the selection at the salad bar while all your friends order steak and shrimp cocktail.
Or going to parties and being dubbed the designated driver night after night because your friends know that if you see high-calorie cocktails, you’ll avoid them like the plague.
You want to be good when you go out, but it’s so much more difficult than when you dine at home. So how can you overcome the challenges of food temptation when you want to go out? Just stick to a few simple rules.
First, eat at home as much as possible. In your own kitchen, you have total control of what you consume. You bring it in, you prepare it, and it’s easy to monitor your intake with tools like calorie counters, scales, and even a food journal. So instead of spinning the wheel of food on your iPhone app, try seeking healthy recipes online.
But if, like most of us, a lot of your socializing does double duty at eateries, think about eating before you go out. That way, you won’t be facing down a plate of fries while the black hole in the pit of your stomach gurgles for a feeding frenzy. You’ll find it much easier to limit yourself to a side salad or even a slice of pie if you’re already full when you sit down to eat. And it couldn’t hurt to gravitate towards restaurants that offer health-conscious or heart-happy options for the many people who are trying to live better.
As for attending larger social events like parties or cookouts, think about supplying some food. Most people are happy to have help with the catering aspect of a party simply because of the time, effort, and cost of feeding a lot of people. So if you offer to bring a healthy potluck item to share, they will probably be overjoyed. And if you think that avoiding the wet bar is a necessity when trying to shed pounds, you’re only half right.
For one thing, many diets allow for “cheats”. In other words, if you eat well throughout the day, you can safely have an item that may carry a higher calorie count (this doesn’t mean you should eat broccoli all day just so you can go get a Big Mac, but one drink probably won’t ruin your diet). Just avoid anything that’s huge or has a lot of sugary add-ons. A small glass of wine, a lite beer, or a single cocktail once in awhile is not going to derail your efforts.
Whoever uttered the phrase “everything in moderation” should receive a medal, because there’s no better lesson to learn when it comes to dieting. While you may jump aboard the fad-diet band-wagon a few times, forming healthy eating habits does not mean you have to give up the foods or restaurants you love, it just means you have to temper your temptations with sensible options. Set yourself up for success by planning your diet as much as you can, but don’t chastise yourself too much for the little slip-ups. Above all, you want to develop a diet you can live with, one that leads to a lifelong habit.