Your 6 Step Plan To Eating Out Guilt Free… How to dine out on a regular basis, enjoy the food you love, without feeling guilty and like you ruined everything.
Do you dread the thought of eating out? Scared stiff at the thought of eating something without calories being perfectly calculated?
Be honest. You’re shitting yourself like a new born baby with zero bowel control when it comes to eating out. Am I right?
You’ve even got to the stage where you’re thinking of asking the chef if he could weigh the ingredients and tell you all the brand names, just so you can track them in MyFitnessPal.
But that’s no way to live your life.
After all, I don’t think even the most diligent calorie tracker wants to live life THAT way forever.
So how would you like a simple 6 step plan to eating out guilt free?
Right now you’re screaming at me saying… “YES Simon. OH MY GOD. YES. YES… Uhhh ooohhhh…”
Ok. Ok. Now this isn’t ‘When Harry Met Sally’ so calm down…
The plan is good, but it’s not worth messing your underpants over.
So let’s get stuck into the full 6 step plan right now.
The Plan that works.
As usual, I’m sharing tips and tricks I’ve used in the past…
I’m not a magician pulling nutritional rabbits out of my arse. These are strategies I’ve developed over the years and used to great effect with clients.
And now I’m going to teach you them for free.
Aren’t I just the nicest guy?
Trust me, after you’ve learned this system you’re going to be filling your social calendar.
No longer the fitness geek living the life of a hermit… No. You’re free. Free to eat food from a plate…
That’s right. There is a world out there where you don’t have to eat from Tupperware.
And get this… Sometimes you don’t need to use a microwave either…
“Fucking Hell! Tell me more about this mystical land.”
Ok my friend… Let’s get into it.
It’s time to break free of the Tupperware chains holding you back.
I’m not only doing this for you, I’m doing it for those of you with a lucky lady or guy in your life.
Because right now they're doing their fucking nut in because of you.
Counting every morsel of food every minute of every single day is not exactly a fun existence for 365 days a year.
So let’s get you ready to do a bit of adulting. And get you eating out with the grown ups…
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 1: Plan Your Week…
We start this one right back at square one, well before any event is due to take place.
Now, personally, I plan at the end of every week and every morning and night… You could say I love a bit of a plan. And you’d be right!
You might feel this is overkill, especially if you’re not used to planning at all. And I get that. But I’d encourage you to at least start doing it once a week.
And here’s why.
Simply by thinking about the week ahead you will be more in tune with social events on the horizon and what you need to do in order to navigate them effectively.
Essentially, a good plan is going to avoid your progress sinking like the Titanic every week.
Start by sitting down on Sunday evening with your calendar in front of you.
If you’re still in the dark ages and using a paper calendar, that’s cool.
Although, I’m surprised you’re listening to this… I thought you’s be waiting for the manuscripts to be sent out by carrier pigeon…
Those of you of a more technological persuasion, you can use the calendar on your computer.
Now start to plan in any social events you’ve got coming up.
Office parties, birthdays, business dinners, baby showers, orgies, and ritual goat sacrificing ceremonies.
Get them all in the diary.
Now we know what we’re dealing with.
Straight away you can see if you’ve got a manageable week ahead, or a train smash waiting to happen.
Normally, you wait until the train is literally about to go off the rails before even thinking about doing something to stop it.
That is if you even allowed the train to leave the station.
So with things scheduled in you can see how much of a beast you’re dealing with.
Which leads us on to the second step in slaying said beast…
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 2: Plan What To Eat…
With everything planned in your diary attention turn to planning what you’re going to put in your face.
When this events come around what choices are you going to make?
These days almost every restaurant has at least got their menu online even if everything isn’t perfectly calorie and macro calculated.
So this gives you a huge opportunity to manage what you’re going to eat.
Now at this stage there are typically two options.
Let’s call Option 1 ‘The Nando's Scenario’…
The Nando’s Scenario
The Nando’s scenario is where the restaurant has done all the work for you…
No. I don’t mean cooking the food…
I mean giving you every ounce of nutritional information.
So all the trackers out there can start making your favourite dishes fit the day’s calories.
Simply scroll forward in MyFitnessPal and start plugging in the numbers. This is a super simple way of keeping on track.
But let’s face it… You’re not going to be eating out at Nando’s on every date night, right?
Your other half is going to get pretty suspicious.
And they’re going to end up preferring a night in with Tupperware. After all, at least they don’t have to watch you dissect your way through chicken carcass every Friday night.
And I’m not just talking about the guys here… I’ve seen women (ex-girlfriends will remain unnamed) who can devour a half chicken with mango / lime with surgical precision!
So the likelihood is you’ll be frequenting restaurants where you have zero clue what the calorie content of the dishes are.
Hell, I’ve been places where I spend half an hour on Google trying to figure out what the fuck each dish has in it, let alone the calories.
So what’s the plan in this scenario?
The 3 Meal Categories
Well my friend you just have to start using your brain…
I know. I know. It’s a novel concept and one you might not be used to, but stick with me here.
When you’re faced with a menu, start to think about meals in 3 categories. Those being:
>> High Fat / High Carb (ie Spaghetti Carbonara… Pasta with a creamy sauce)
>> High Fat / Low Carb (ie Salmon Served On A Bed Of Wild Rocket, Avocado, and Red Peppers Drizzled With A Lemon And Herb Dressing)
>> Low Fat / High Carb (ie Roasted Chicken Risotto Served With Butternut Squash And Wild Mushrooms)
More often than not, you’ll want to avoid the High Fat / High Carb option. It’s simply going to pack a huge number of calories that’s going to be difficult to fit into your diet.
Not to say you can’t have it. But let’s face it, we’re here talking about the subject so you can limit calories. It’s not like we're seeing how many calories you can eat inn one sitting.
Although, that is a challenge I’d like to take on some day.
So your best bet is to opt for either of the other two. These are going to represent the lowest calorie options and the ones more likely to keep the diet train on the tracks.
But it’s not all about what you eat…
You also need to give some consideration to what you’re going to drink. Because those drinks count unfortunately…
In fact, let’s do a quick run down of the calories your favourite drinks are packing…
- 250ml Glass of Red Wine = 200 calories
- Pint of Beer = 180 calories
- Gin & Slimline Tonic = 59 calories
- Pint of Guiness = 210 calories
- Pint of Cider = 210 calories
- Whiskey & Coke = 195 calories
As you can see, knocking back a few drinks with your meal will have a noticeable effect on your calorie intake.
So what’s my advice here?
Well, firstly, set yourself a drinks limit. It can be whatever you want it to be, just make sure it’s realistic. If you know yourself well, you can be honest and predict if one drink will turn into 10 or if you can keep things under control.
Secondly, you can think about those drink choices. Clearly a G&T is a better option than a pint of cider.
If you like the lower calorie drinks, go for those. Because it’s an almost 4:1 ratio.
And even the most heavy drinkers can get pissed on lower calories that way… If getting pissed is the goal.
The more civilised can simply plan to have a couple of drinks with the meal and call it a day.
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 3: Plan A Calorie Adjustment…
So now you have things pretty well mapped out.
Eating out is starting to look like a military operation.
We’re out flanking this meal from all angles.
But at the moment you’re still thinking, “Well this is all well and good Simon. But I don’t feel like I’ll be on track.”
I get you. We’ve planned what to eat and drink, but you're still in danger of going way over your calories, right?
The nervousness is still there.
So far, planning hasn’t taken away the feeling of anxiety. You’re still tempted to cancel…
“Errrr. Hey Lydia. How’s it going? Errrr, yeah, about Friday night. It turns out I’ve got a thing… Yeah it’s something I can’t get out of so…”
“Errrr… There’s someone knocking at the door. Gotta go.”
Don’t make that call!
Lydia’s looking forward to it, so don’t let her down!
Step 3 is actually where we take the guilt out of the whole process for you.
Yes. This is where you start to breathe a sigh of relief.
And you’ve got 3 options here. Feel free to use one, or all of them… Let’s get into it…
Option 1 - Bigger Calorie Deficit
Start by thinking about your calories over a 7 day period.
To make the maths easy on my tiny brain, let’s say your maintenance calories are 2,500 and your deficit is 500, putting you at 2,000 calories a day.
I know that’s dream land for a lot of you, but bear with me here.
Over the course of the week you’ll build up a deficit of 3,500 calories.
But a meal with some drinks could but a huge dent in that number and halt progress temporarily and make you feel out of control.
So here’s the thing…
You could push your deficit on the days you don’t eat out even further, let’s say to 700 calories (assuming this is feasible given the number of calories you’re eating right now).
This means over 6 days of the week your deficit will be 4,200 calories. 700 calories over your regular 3,500 calorie target.
Simply add those 700 calories to the day when you have your night out and you can pretty much stay on track.
Effectively you’ll be eating in a calorie surplus for that day. But because you’ve managed the deficit across the week, you’re still on track.
You could even take this one step further and say to yourself that you won’t apply the normal deficit on the day you plan to eat out.
There’s an extra 500 calories right there. So now you’ve added 1,200 calories to that one day.
And that’s going to give you a lot of room to play with.
Anxiety shouldn’t be a factor at all!
Option 2 - Intermittent Fast
A lot of people think Intermittent Fasting is the magic bullet for fat loss. But its isn’t… That’s plain and simple.
But it does have some uses, particularly when it comes to eating out and managing calories.
You see, by skipping breakfast you’re saving a bunch of calories for later in the day, ie when you plan to eat out.
Let’s dip into the maths again on this one.
So in the last scenario we built up a bank of calories totalling 1,200. Pretty good so far…
Now, I’m going to assume your average breakfast is around 400 calories. So, if you were to skip this then 1,200 turns into 1,600 calories.
Which is a lot of fucking food.
More than some people eat in a day on a deficit.
Obviously, if your calorie intake is much lower than 2,000 then these numbers will be smaller.
But still, you’re going to have way more calories to play with than normal. And much less chance of going off track.
And let’s put this into perspective…
For 1,600 calories you can have an entire Margherita Pizza from Pizza Express, a slice of vanilla cheesecake with a side of cream, and a couple of glasses of red wine.
All while still staying on plan. Now THAT’S pretty fucking awesome, right?
But we’re not stopping there… You can take it one step further if you want to…
Option 3 - Extra Cardio
This is where I say the 3 words most clients dread… DO. SOME. CARDIO…
Yes. I said it…
Slap me around the face and wash my mouth out with soap. I said the worst swear word of all… The C word… Cardio!
But hear me out… It does serve a purpose.
While it’s a pretty dumb ass approach to try and sweat off a pizza on the treadmill, it can help increase the deficit you’re creating through steps 1 & 2.
It’s not going to add much, but a little cardio here and there might add a couple of hundred more calories into the mix.
So our 1,600 calories could well turn into 1,800 calories (or more)…
This eating out lark is starting to sound more appealing by the second,
Who knows? Lydia might be expecting another phone call real soon.
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 4: Plan To Stick To The Plan
Oooooooo. There’s a ‘but’… Dramatic effect right there!
All this work you’ve put in is only any good if you actually stick to the plan.
It’s great calculating all these numbers on paper. But if you don’t stick to it, we just wasted our time.
If you plan to cut back on calories during the week, but don’t. And then still eat that mammoth meal.
Well, we didn’t really achieve our goal, did we?
And if you cut back on calories, but smashed the bread and olive oil before the meal, ended up ordering something unplanned, including 2 desserts and 2 bottles of wine, then “Houston. We have a problem.”
So make a commitment to yourself to stick to your plan.
And if you are going on date night, or something like that, just tell your other half what your plan is.
You’re planning on enjoying yourself, their company, and the meal. And if they help keep everything on track then you’ll be doing it more often.
So that’s win, win for everyone.
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 5: Plan For A Weight Fluctuation
Next up we have the aftermath…
Usually after eating out you step on the scales to see your weight balloon up by a couple of kilos.
That makes you feel like shit. All the feelings of guilt come flooding back like before. And you just want to punish yourself.
No. I’m not talking about like some gimp in a mask with a golf ball in his mouth. Jeez. That sort of punishment is good. Errr… I mean I wouldn’t know anything about it… Moving on!
The punishment I mean is starving yourself for the next few days.
Like some form of stupid detox.
You want to flush the cake and double cream from your veins, so you enter into this starvation process, which let’s be honest never works.
Before too long, you're balls deep in an Egg McMuffin and crying into the McFlurry you just point saying, “Why? Why? Whyyyyyyyyy?”
So here’s the deal…
You just ate more food than you’re used to.
There’s probably still a lot of it going through your system.
Your body might have replenished some muscle glycogen.
You might not even have gone for a shit yet.
Basically, all things that are going to cause a weight increase overnight.
So plan for it…
Expect a weight increase, but know that it doesn’t mean jack shit because you’ve kept everything in check all week.
Hell, I’d say don’t even weigh yourself for a few days. Just keep on track with your diet. And then, when the inevitable water weight fluctuations have sorted themselves out, step back on the scales and see where you’re at.
Essentially, don’t hit thee panic button, it’s perfectly normal.
Eating Out Guilt Free Step 6: Plan To Enjoy Yourself
Lastly on our eating out guilt free masterplan is enjoying yourself.
Your diet should not feel like a prison sentence.
Yes. You want to make as much progress as possible. But you want to do that while dealing with normal life at the same time…
After all, when you crack this, you can REALLY start enjoying life and the process of dieting and getting lean.
Because if you're always living in fear of food, then things aren’t really going to get better for you.
You might get a six pack and all that jazz. But you haven’t sorted out your mind and your relationship with food (which is arguably the most important factor).
So use this plan to feel confident about managing those situations when you’re eating out.
Get confident and be in control. It’s the path to freedom and a leaner, healthier life, for good.
So there you have your 6 Step Plan To Eating Out Guilt Free And Still Lose Fat And Build Muscle.
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But for now all that’s left for me to say is keep living the Lean Life and I’ll see you for the next episode of the show.
And as Hannibal used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together…”