Are you struggling to hit your goals when socialising? Here are our tips on how to eat out without gaining weight!
We speak to a lot of women in their 40s and 50s who are looking to lose some excess weight… but they often struggle to balance this with eating meals out in restaurants. Most of the time, they never had an issue with this in their twenties and thirties. However, everything changed since turning 40…
Even if these women spend the whole week eating ‘healthy’ or dieting… just one meal out at the weekend means they might not see any movement on the scale. And, when you’re trying really hard and not seeing any results… this can lead to giving up completely!
These women often end up putting on even more weight in the long run.
If you can relate to women in this situation, you aren’t alone! Many of the women over forty we work with have been trapped in this situation at some point. They end up gaining more weight every single year, and are forced to choose clothes to cover up ‘problem areas’. This is never a nice position to be in!
Most of the time, the reason women get stuck in this position is because of changes in their hormones and physical state. All women go through this as they get older… which can make it easier to gain weight around the middle. It’s also much more difficult to lose excess fat with normal dieting!
Despite what you might think, you don’t need to give up socialising to see progress on the scale.
We work with thousands of women over forty to overcome this issue! With a few easy tips and tricks, our clients are able to enjoy eating meals in restaurants while still hitting their targets!
In our recent podcast episode, we revealed exactly how our clients are able to do this… so you can do it too! Here’s what we recommend.
Restaurants have different priorities…
In reality, the priority for restaurants is taste… not your health! Most places don’t have to list the nutritional content of their food, which means they don’t hold back. This can make it incredibly difficult to eat out without gaining weight.
Restaurants and cafes use a LOT more oil, butter and cream (as well as much fattier cuts of meat) than you might at home. This can easily double (or triple) the calories in a normal sized portion of food.
These extra calories can easily stop you losing weight… and they might even cause weight gain if you aren’t sure how to manage it.
Additionally, restaurants will use plenty more salt than most people use in their cooking at home. While there’s some debate whether salt on its own is actually harmful to health… increased salt intake causes water retention for a few days afterwards.
In itself, this can make it seem like you’ve gained a lot of fat when stepping on the scales after a meal out. This frequently demotivates people… when in fact, the majority of this is just water weight!
Tactics to avoid weight gain
To give you a hand, here are 5 tactics clients inside our Fit Over 40 program use to enjoy eating out without gaining weight. By following these tips, our clients typically lose 1-2 stone every 12 weeks… without missing out on social events and meals out!
1. Manage your calorie intake around the meal out
You can’t get away from the basic science of weight loss; if you consume too many calories, you will gain weight. However, this doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a slightly more indulgent meal every now and again!
We recommend managing your calories around your meal out. This helps to ensure you don’t consume too many calories throughout your day. There’s two ways to do this.
- Reduce calories elsewhere on the same day. For example, have a light breakfast and lunch.
- Reduce calories across the rest of the week. If you track your calories, as members do inside our Fit Over 40 program, you can balance them out over the week. For example, if you eat 150kcal less Monday through Thursday… you have 600kcal extra for a meal out on Friday!
2. Increase activity
Whilst exercise doesn’t mean you can eat absolutely anything and get away with it… it can still help balance out a slightly more indulgent meal!
We recommend doing an extra 5,000 steps on the day of your meal out, as this would give you around 200 calories more to play with. That’s enough for an extra glass of wine or half a dessert!
You can’t out-exercise a diet that’s completely out of control… but you can use exercise to give yourself a little more enjoyment without setting yourself back.
3. Share starters or desserts
Portion sizes are pretty large nowadays, with the average three-course meal in a restaurant containing around 1,800 calories… without alcohol!
The average client on our Fit Over 40 program consumes roughly 1600 calories a day. This is to lose 1-2 pounds a week (although this calorie target varies a lot from person to person).
This means a single three course meal is enough to mean our average client can’t lose weight that day! However, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out entirely.
Sharing a starter and dessert will half the calories in those portions. This might bring the meal down closer to half the calories! If you have lighter meals for the rest of the day, you can easily avoid gaining weight!
4. Make better choices if you’re eating out regularly
If you only eat out very rarely, for example once a month, then you can probably indulge and not worry too much when you do. However, if you visit restaurants multiple times a week… then you’ll need to make the best choices you can from the options available.
This doesn’t mean you have to miss out on enjoying what you eat – or have salad for every portion! But, it’s a good idea to stay aware of your consumption.
Here are a few simple guidelines to follow:
- Avoid anything deep fried, e.g. have sea-bass instead of battered cod
- Avoid sugary or buttery sauces e.g. tandoori chicken instead of a curry
- Choose leaner cuts of meat or fish e.g. chicken breast, white fish, tuna
- Order a side of vegetables if you want more food
- Drink water
- Avoid nibbling on bread
5. Manage the calories in drinks
Both alcoholic beverages and soft drinks can contain a lot more calories than you might think. Often, this can be the factor which pushes you from maintaining your weight to gaining fat.
Therefore, it’s important to have some strategies under your belt to tackle this issue. We recommend the following if you’re drinking alcohol alongside a meal out:
- Choose a lower calorie alcohol option
- Buy wine by the glass instead of by the bottle
If you’re not drinking alcohol, we recommend choosing diet drinks rather than full sugar drinks. Additionally, avoid milky coffees and teas if you’re also having a heavy meal… these can have more calories than you think!
If you’re interested in finding a long-term, sustainable diet designed for women over 40, you can find out more about working with us here!