I’m going to preface this post by saying that I only fully support nutrition programs that do not calling indulging “cheating” — it’s life and there is a lot of delicious food to be had out there! So treatyoself.
That said, if you really are trying to see some changes in your body, chances are there are certain things that you are keeping aware of in your diet and certain things you might be trying to limit. I’m not going to try and tell you what those are, but I am going to suggest some guidelines for navigating the space between “one cheat meal a week” and “healthy balance” based on my experience.
This topic was in part spawned by my investigation into my extraneous spending. I’ve really cut down on buying clothing (especially new and/or directly from the retailer), excessive cosmetics, books, candles, flowers, etc. because I’ve started to pay attention to the cost of all of things when I buy them without really thinking. What I have noticed that leaves is eating out and going for drinks which most of the time is for a social occasion and at locally owned locations. I can wrap my head around that financially, but it made me start to think about how does this fit into my fitness goals?
If eating out really is my primarily financial indulgence, I don’t want restrictions on what I should or shouldn’t eat when I do it! I want the signature item that sounds the best at the given time. That is a treat to me.
However, there is also a moment to be honest with myself and admit that occasionally I am eating out because I forgot my lunch, hadn’t meal prepped, can’t bring myself to eat what I brought, got home from work late etc. Truthfully, those moments are not treats — they’re supplementing for when life gets a little crazy. And those are the meals when I have decided to make a conscious effort in following my guidelines to a T. For lunches it’s fairly straight forward but for dinner, those are the meals, few and far between, where I ask for substitutions and try and find a healthy option before ever setting foot in the restaurant.
Is that overkill? For me, no. Based on the amount that I do eat out, my true indulgences are well within limit and those times when I do make substitutions feel very reasonable. The catch with all of this is that how I feel from making all of these healthy choices, both mentally and physically, is a huge added bonus of making them.
What is the magic recipe for how much you can indulge when eating out and still see the results you want? I definitely don’t have the answer to that and would imagine that it varies from person to person. That said, I think there are also particular times of year when it’s important to buckle down and focus on goals which is what I plan on doing for the next 8 weeks for the 2017 Bikini Series. I am going to take pride in each healthy decision I make while eating out and that might even mean avoiding some of the places that tend to be pitfalls for me! But I believe it will be worth it.
Here’s to the next 8 weeks and enjoying each healthy and delicious bite!