Can You Lose Weight While Eating Out? Or Are You Simply Fighting A Losing Fat Loss Battle?
You're reading this because you're fighting a losing battle. At least it seems that way. Trying to lose weight while eating out seems like an impossible task.
Life is throwing curve balls of fine dining, cake, and alcohol at a speed you simply can't handle. Whether it's business lunches, social events, birthday parties, leaving dos, weddings, or a fucking Tuesday, it's all getting a bit much.
And if one more online coach tells you meal prep is the solution, you'll start shoving Tupperware where the sun don't shine. But does that mean you're destined to remain in fat loss obscurity? Are your efforts to lose weight while eating out, a fool's errand?
You'll be pleased to know, there's hope for you yet. Over the next few paragraphs of mildly amusing, and averagely crafted word-smithery, you'll discover a few nuggets of nutritional gold. Namely...
- Why your search for balance is fucked (sounds like a positive start).
- Why most diet tips, tricks, and hacks never work. Especially, not in your scenario.
- The unpopular truth about trying to lose weight while eating out.
- Practical tips you can implement today, so you're next meal out isn't a nutritional car crash.
So if this sound like what you need, start scrolling.
Your Search For Balance Is Fucked
Right now, life has you pinging from pillar to post. One minute you're at the office working late into the night. The next, you're travelling abroad for that seminar. Or, perish the thought, you're stuck in the dreaded all-day workshop.
In my experience, an all-day workshop is a euphemism for a day spent listening to your colleagues pontificate and jostle for position, all in a vain effort to suck as much corporate teat as possible. Sadly, real work takes a back seat for the next 24 hours.
But what's all that got to do with your diet and efforts to lose weight? Well, the long and the short of it is this...
Your ability to control your diet is shot to shit. Why? Because you're always having to eat out.
Restaurants, hotels, buffets, and bars are like your second home. And to the uninitiated, that might seem like such a First World problem. "Yeah, it must be so hard to enjoy nice food you don't have to pay for." Cue the eye roll emoji.
But if all you want to do is lose weight, it can feel like the hardest thing in the world. Especially, if you haven't got a clue how to manage those situations.
Lose weight while eating out? Yeah, right. Good fucking luck with that.
Balance? What The Hell Is That?
So, with that said you seek balance. Like Jedis sought to bring balance to the Force, you seek balance in life. And for you that means being able to juggle work life, home life, and getting in shape.
But here's your first cold hard truth. Balance is a myth.
Think about it. Do any of us really have balance?
I know I haven't got all my shit together. Have you?
So, when some coach gives you their best work/life balance hack, are they actually talking out of their ass? Do they actually fucking work? And did anyone actually try them in the first place?
Do Those Tips, Tricks, And Hacks Ever Fucking Work?
You don't have to look that hard for an article or social media post pitching their "Ultimate Life Hacks". And I'll confess, I've done one or two myself (although, mine were actually useful).
And if it's not a hack, it's the notion (which I support) that you can enjoy the foods you love, sink a few beers, enjoy a glass of wine, and lose weight. Essentially, telling you that efforts to lose weight while eating out, aren't all in vain.
But here's the thing. I've been at this fitness thang for a while. So I kinda know what I'm doing.
However, put myself in your shoes and it's a different story. Because it's all well and good telling you it's possible to lose weight while eating out. But how in the name of Holy Yoda do you actually do it? That's the piece of the puzzle you're missing, right?
Think of it this way. Let's saying climbing Everest is top of my bucket list.
Naturally, I go forth and seek some advice on how to do it.
And some bright spark says, "It's possible, just walk in that direction." As they point towards some massive fucking rock in the distance.
Thanks for that. I reckon I would've figured that bit out for myself. I was really after the 'how' and to be given me the necessary tools. Because without them, I'm gonna die before the first step.
And that's where you are right now.
So, I want to equip you with the necessary tools and teachings needed to climb your fat loss Everest. Starting with the unpopular truth... This is going to be fucking HARD.
Can You Lose Weight While Eating Out? The Unpopular Truth
Trust me, trying to lose weight while constantly eating out is tough.
Sure, it's possible and every coach under the sun will tell you they can make it a breeze for you. But it's simply not reality. Of course, a good coach can make it easier for you and teach you how to manage your nutrition while enjoying good food. But you're in for a rude awakening if you think it'll be a walk in the park.
Don't believe me?
Estimating calories of restaurant food is hard.
Let's look at the facts. You don't know the weight of anything, what all the ingredients are, or how it was cooked. So, as a newbie to counting calories, your chances of error are pretty huge. And if you're attempting it multiple times per and per week, then shit just got real tough.
Social pressure is real.
Saying no, when free food and drink is being thrust in your face isn't as easy as you think. Especially when you're in a work environment where there's an expectation for you to join in with the merriment. Again, the 21 year old, wet behind the ears Personal Trainer can tell you to, "just say no." But in the real world, that ain't easy.
Finding time for the gym is nigh on impossible.
"Don't find the time. Make the time." That's the popular buzz phrase. And while it's appropriate for some people, it only serves to piss you off. You'd love to make the time to train, but after working all day, you just want to spend the 1-2 hours left unwinding with your family. So screw the gym!
Meal prep? You must be fucking kidding, right?
Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan of meal prep. No doubt, it has a ton of benefits. But it's not for everyone. So if #mealprep is the only advice you're given, losing weight feels like a hopeless endeavour.
But fear not. Despite the challenges, issues, and roadblocks facing you, there is a way through. A way to conquer your Everest. And it starts with these 7 practical tips to lose weight while eating out.
Practical Advice To Help You Lose Weight While Eating Out
Now we're into the meat and potatoes of this one. Or should that be the fois gras and asparagus wrapped in Parma ham? Put these tips into practise and you can ditch the anxiety that comes with eating out all the time, and start losing weight.
1. If You Wanna Lose Weight While Eating Out You Better Plan Ahead
I love a good plan. Maybe it's because I was addicted to watching the A-Team as a kid, who knows? But planning is part of my soul. Cut me open and you'll probably find a cross-section of an Excel spreadsheet and a Gantt chart.
You see, planning has a ton of benefits (dare I say a fuck ton?). So here's what I want you to do.
Sit down at the weekend and spend a few minutes thinking about the next 7 days. Grab your calendar and start filling in all those social engagements, business dinners, and off site meetings. Quickly, you'll start to build up a picture of how challenging your week is going to be.
Then ask yourself a few logical questions.
Are there any days where managing food is going to be easy? If so, awesome. What are you going to eat on those days? Start mapping that out and plan for it.
What days look particular challenging? Is Friday looking like a weight loss minefield? Lunch, dinner, and drinks seem inevitable.
Ok, cool. So instead of being anxious about it, make a plan. You could cut calories a little more on the less tricky days. Or skip breakfast and save calories for later in the day. Or is the "don't eat like a twat" approach, the best option. Hint... That's always a good option.
Conscious thought and considered actions are an underrated skill of dieting. And it's overlooked because it's simply not that sexy.
2. Don't Track Calories. Save Yourself From The Mindfuck
Trying to track calories at restaurants can fuck with your head. Asking the waiter for the macros of every meal on the menu is draining for everyone. But on the plus side, you'll probably never be invited out again. Sometimes, the right thing to do is not track at all.
Now, that doesn't mean you've have carte blanche to eat everything in sight. In fact, it means you're going to have be a little more strict.
It's an approach I use with certain clients in my online coaching programme, The Lean Life Method. To me, personalised coaching is not about making everyone track calories. Truly bespoke coaching is about finding the method that works for you. And that might be tracking. But I'm open to it being something completely different.
For example, you could intermittent fast, go low carb, limit carbs to certain times of day, or use a portion control approach. The list of non-tracking, habit-based approaches are endless. And if they're designed right, you can create a calorie deficit without tracking a single thing.
Winner, winner, chicken wrapped in bacon, stuffed with mozzarella dinner.
So experiment. Try some of these non-tracking approaches and find a solution that fits you.
3. To Lose Weight While Eating Out, Finding Low Calorie Choices Will Be Your Lifesaver
If eating out less isn't an option, making better choices should be your next port of call.
So here's a couple of nutritional knowledge bombs to help you lose weight while eating out:
Bypass the Bread. Dipping some warm, fresh bread in that yellow oil slick is heavenly. But, it's pretty moreish, so you eating a lot of it, is highly likely. So, for now, politely decline.
Low Carb or Low Fat. Not High Carb & High Fat. Interpreting menus often feels like a language test. And if you're anything like me, you'll wish you spent more time listening in French class. Because, "Ou est la piscine" is not going to help right now. My advice is to keep it simple. Opting for dishes either high carb/low fat or low carb/high fat will help reduce the calorie content of the meal. For example, steak and seasonal veg might be a better option than the spaghetti carbonara.
Watch Those Drink Choices. Alcohol can flow pretty freely on those social events. So a few drink swaps is a logical approach. Wine, cider, and beer has more calories than G&T, Vodka and Diet Coke to name just a few. And maybe even consider a drinks limit. You'll save yourself from those hangovers you're getting way too old for.
4. Eating Out All The Time Probably Means It'll Take Take Longer
If you have a time-driven goal, then losing weight while eating out a lot is going to be very tough.
But, unless you're trying to make weight for a fight, do you really have to get to your dream body by 3 weeks on Friday?
So with that in mind, set reasonable expectations and stop comparing your situation to someone else's. Because that person on social media has probably put their life on hold for 12 weeks (or more) to look like that. But in your situation, can you logically expect the same?
Learn to work with what you have. And set the target of having more positive days than bad every week. Keep learning and keep pushing forward.
5. Those Scales Will Be A Fucker. Expect Hostility
Your scale weight might go up and down faster, and more frequently, than a cheap hookers underwear. But that's ok. And you should probably brace yourself to expect it.
Why? Well, it's generally because eating out might cause you to consume a little more carbohydrate and salt. And that could result in a little water retention and a subsequent fluctuation on the scale.
But that doesn't mean carbs and salt are the demons of fat loss. And you need some reassurance, read this. You'll see that fluctuations on the scale are not necessarily a reflection of body fat gain. A particularly important distinction to bear in mind. Because those scales can't be a tortuous motherfucker.
6. If You've Got No Time To Train. Just Train Every Day
Squeezing in those precious gym sessions might feel like a bridge too far. But that doesn't have to be so. Because there is a way.
If you have no time to train. Train every day!
"Huh? WTF? Are you trippin' dude?"
Hold up my friend and stick with me on this one. It's not as crazy as it first seems.
My guess is you're trying to train on set days of the week. Let's assume Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But when it comes to those days, something gets in the way. Either your boss (who's a bit of a dick) has you working late, or there's a family emergency, or you'd simply rather do anything than trudge to a gym, only to be made to feel inferior by the wall to wall pert butt cheeks and bulging biceps.
But once you've set foot on that path, before you know it, you're on a slippery slope to the icy depths of despair.
Here's how to train when you're short on time.
So how can we fix this by training even more? Surely this is witchcraft? Fitness wizardry and bullshit of the highest order?
Here's the thing.
If you set yourself a window of exercise per day (anything from 20-60 minutes), you'll start to build a habit that feels easy. And not only that, but it'll make missing a session feel less of a doomsday scenario.
Now, your daily exercise can range from some light stretching to a full on gym workout. If you're scheduled to hit the gym on Monday, but you wind up having to go to a business dinner, no worries. Skip the gym, but stick to your commitment of doing something. Maybe it's a 20 minute walk at lunchtime or some light stretching and a few push ups just before you head out. You could even try this pretty badass bodyweight routine.
Doing something will make you feel way better than consistently doing nothing.
7. Remember, The Wine Glass Is Always Half Full
By now you should realise that trying to lose weight while eating out is tough, but not impossible. And a lot of your ability to succeed is about mindset and expectation.
Knowing that you might have a tougher and more challenging weight loss journey makes reflecting on every positive, super important. You need to revel in your wins, big or small. Because if you don't, you'll be lured into a negative state of mind. And once you've descended there, despite how much you scratch and claw, it's tough to get out.
So reflect, daily, weekly, or whatever feels right for you. But don't just think, actively learn from what went well. How can you repeat the positives and bring more momentum into the coming weeks? Conversely, what didn't go so well? And what can you learn to keep on improving?
Reflect. Act. Reflect again.
Can You Lose Weight While Eating Out? The Bottom Line
Trying to lose weight while eating out is hard. I'm not going to lie to you. Having more control over your calories would make it much easier. But it's not impossible.
Get the right strategies and process in place and you can eat out frequently and still lose weight. But make sure you're setting the right expectations from the outset. If you don't, you'll quickly descend into feelings that trying to lose weight is a pointless and impossible task.
Take time to implement some of the points I've laid out and develop a method that works for you. Alternatively, you could have me do it for you. The choice is yours.
Your Next Step To Mastering Nutrition And Shaping A Leaner, Healthier, Stronger Body
Here’s what to do next to get on the fast track to a leaner, healthier, stronger body. Simply click the link below and I’ll send you my Lean Life Kickstarter Pack. In it you’ll find a free 4 week beginner’s training programme (complete with exercise videos and a workout tracker), a guide on calculating your calories, plus so much more.
If you want it, grab it here.
But for now, all I’ll say is… Keep living the Lean Life and I’ll see you soon.