On our last vacation we splurged on a night out. After a busy day out, we hadn’t eaten in hours. By the time dinner came around, I was starving. I ate everything in sight. Fried onion rings somehow appeared on the table. For the last 8 years gluten has been “off the table” but in the moment I convinced myself that they were not dipped and fried in flour. They were just onions right? Apparently this is not the case.
I paid for it big time the next morning. I woke up wondering if I was pregnant. I wasn’t, but I did have a food baby made of glutinous onion rings lingering in my midsection.
The onion rings had tasted so good in the moment, but I had suffered for the rest of the day. I know I’m not alone. How often do you also rationalise and make excuses for your behaviour when you perceive a pleasurable outcome?
Here are my survival tips for dining out success that leave you and your stomach happy the next day:
1. Don’t arrive starving
Do not show up with an empty and grumbling belly unless you know where you are going and are sure about your food options. Eat some almonds or a small high protein snack before you go out. This way you won’t be tempted to eat anything and everything in sight.
2. Make your first choice the healthiest choice
Skip the cheese and crackers and fill your plate with fresh veggies and proteins. This works for kids too. The most you fill up on the healthy stuff, the easier it will be to avoid reaching for the basket of fries!
TIP: Always avoid anything with ingredients you are not sure about.
3. Make friends with your waiter
I am extra polite to servers at restaurants and cocktail parties. My goal? To have them help me NOT dive into the onion rings! Be clear about your dietary restrictions and let them help you succeed.
4. Free yourself from too many options
When there are too many options to choose from it’s very difficult to make a decision at all. Limiting your options on a menu makes choosing easier and increases the likelihood that you’ll select something that’s good for you.
Personally, pastas, breads, fried things, meat and more are just not an option when I’m dining out. Make your own rules. Make certain the foods that you know won’t make you happy in the morning are off limits and it will be easier to choose.
5. Show off your curves.
This may sound weirdly materialistic but, wear the dress that shows off your bloated belly if you overeat. This is a trick that reminds me to fill up on foods that are going to complement my waistline, not kill it.
6. Splurge on your own terms.
Who says splurging needs to mean eating an entire piece of chocolate cake? I will often have a small portion of a delicious-dark-chocolate-something to satisfy my craving. If you deprive yourself too much you set yourself up for failure, eventually giving in when temptations are in front of you because there are limits to our willpower.
As a last resort, if you’ve completely lost it and binged on everything in sight, remember that not all is lost! A one off is not going to affect long-term healthy habits. Wake up the next morning and get right back on track.
It’s not a matter of whether you stumble, it’s how quickly you get up!
Nealy’s Sassy Mama Solutions:
What is the most effective recovery method you recommend after an indulgent night out?
Wake up on time, don’t sleep in too late. Drink a ton of water and try my green juice recipe. Then get outside in some sunshine (if you’re lucky to see the sun in HK) and sweat out the toxins. Eat clean all day and commit to getting right back on track. Get to bed early for a fresh start the next day.
What would you suggest for mothers who are struggling between staying home taking care of their children and enjoying a night out?
Going out too often is self-indulgent. Never going out is depressing. Book time out during the week, but balance it with your commitment to your kids. A good compromise is to give the kids dinner and get them ready for bed and then go out. I do believe that our kids really need us home with them in the evenings.
Any quick and easy exercise/yoga tips to boost our metabolism to get ready for a night out?
Practice yoga that day to get in sync with your body. Yoga helps you be mindful and conscious of your choices off the mat and may help you make smarter choices when you’re out. If you plan to eat and play hard, sweat hard that day and make sure you eat something light before you leave home so that you aren’t famished on your night out.