Do you find it hard to go out to eat without the drama? Are you confused about what you should order? Do you stress about the bread basket or the chips and salsa being on the table before you even walk in the door? Is this a new restaurant and you have no clue what’s on the menu? Are you dreading ordering another salad when everyone else is getting pizza and pasta? Are you upset that this is a last minute decision and it’s not planned so it’s going to fuck up your whole week?
I used to think this every time we went out to eat. I used to hate dining out because it caused so much drama and stress that I didn’t enjoy it. I would either go off plan and then feel miserable or stay on plan and be resentful that I couldn’t eat what everyone else was eating. But eventually I overcame this mental crap.
So what changed? I learned that going out to eat wasn’t causing the drama. I was creating this drama by the thoughts I was thinking.
Say what? Yep. Going out to dinner doesn’t cause drama. My thoughts about going out to dinner caused drama.
Can you relate? Does dear hubby want to treat you to a nice meal and a night off from cooking but your thoughts go straight to shitville? Do you want to enjoy a night out with friends but you’re all in your head counting the carbs in your glasses of wine?
There are 3 simple things you can do to avoid the drama. Don’t be mislead though, they aren’t easy!
1. Plan ahead.
When you know you’re going out to eat, you usually go to the same restaurants. You know what’s on the menu. Decide before you get there what you will order. Today I’m meeting my uncle for lunch. We’re going to my fav Mexican restaurant. I will not be eating the chips and salsa, but I am ordering 2 carne asada tacos with a side of refried beans and water with lime.
By making this decision ahead of time, I won’t be tempted by other things on the menu. I know my planned meal is aligned with my long term goals. Decision made, no drama.
Going to a place that you’ve never been before? Look up the menu online to see what they have. Then you can decide what to order before you get there.
I think this a crucial step especially when going out to dinner. By this time of the day, you’re probably tired, worn out from the stress of work and the kids. You don’t want to have to spend more energy trying to look over the menu and make a healthy choice. The last thing you want to do is make another decision. Decision fatigue has set in and you’re probably in fuck it mode by now. By planning ahead, you don’t have to think about it and rely on willpower.
2. Commit to the plan.
Visualize yourself going into the restaurant and sitting down. See yourself ordering your planned entree. See that there will be an appetizer on the table and that it will be uncomfortable. What are you going to choose to think? Are you going to let your Inner Party Girl whine and cry or are you going to focus on not resisting the discomfort and just letting it be? What do you want your thoughts to be? What will your Inner Coach say if you want to eat off plan? Visualize eating your planned meal and feeling satisfied and proud that you kept your commitment to yourself. Visualize yourself being successful.
3. If you can’t commit to the plan, then make the next best choice.
Did you have a plan but are now calling an audible? Deciding to throw that plan out the window? The pizza is looking just too amazing to pass up? How about making the next best choice of only having 1 or 2 pieces with a side salad?
Restaurant you’re going to doesn’t have their menu online? Make the best choice you can ahead of time. Decide if you’ll order a salad or some kind of protein with veggies. You can decide whether you’ll have water, soda, or a cocktail.
Is this an impromptu stop not on the plan? What’s the healthiest option you can order that will still get you to your long term weight loss goal? If there’s no healthy options, how about only eating half of the plate and asking for a take home container. I’ve done this numerous times. Once the server brings out the food and I see it’s a huge serving, I’ll ask for a take home container and put half of it in there before even starting.
Hope this helps you take the drama out of your dining experience. It really is possible. It does take practice. It will be uncomfortable because you’re trying something different. Be patient and kind to yourself.
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Until next time. Have a great day!