You’ve been eating well four days straight, smashed your workouts, even added LISS (Low Intensity Steady State) & stretch day. You are feeling like an unstoppable health guru…until Friday night. It could be work drinks, date night, friends’ night out – whatever the occasion may be, you always slip off during the weekend. Followed by guilt which results in forcing yourself to restart on Monday.
I believe in a balanced lifestyle. Eat well, exercise and allow yourself to have a treat for the soul. Enjoy and appreciate quality time with your loved ones and celebratory events while eating mindfully. BUT! I have witnessed too many people getting into the vicious cycle of “eating bad” and feeling awful afterwards because they did not need it or did not feel like they had a choice except to fit into the social setting.
Here are some strategies to maintain a healthy lifestyle without giving up your social life.
Prior the event
Set an intention
Let’s have a think about your intention when you attend a social event. Is it to eat as much as you can because you’re not having a prepped meal at home? Is it to get drunk with your friends to have a good time? Or is it to spend quality time with friends and family? I would like to encourage you to develop a mindset that we do not need to eat certain foods or drink certain drinks in order to have a good time. You can still enjoy your loved ones’ company while making healthier choices.
Look up the menu
If you know where you are going, look up the menu online so you have an idea of what you might order.
At the event
Are you actually hungry?
Check in with your body to see how you are feeling. Signs of hunger include rumbling or growling and a feeling of emptiness in the stomach. If you are not feeling hungry, there is no need to eat or snack.
Dehydration is often mistaken as hunger. Inadequate hydration is linked to higher BMIs (Body Mass Index) and obesity . It is not news that water is vital to our health. Before you go out, have a big glass of water; before you order your meal, have another glass of water. This will add a barrier before food consumption and hydrate your body at the same time.
How will you feel afterwards?
When we eat well, we feel satisfied and happy. Before you eat, try to imagine how you would feel afterwards (i.e. bloated).
Ordering your meal
Now that you have checked in with your body, you have a better understanding of what you need. Avoid deviating too much from your usual meal – if you would usually have fish and vegetables, order something similar. When choosing your meal, make sure there are plenty of vegetables, protein and healthy fats to increase satiety [2,3]. This will decrease the likelihood of overeating. Another tip is to swap out certain food in your meals. E.g. swapping out chips for a side leafy green salad.
At the end of the day, moderation is key. You don’t have to go all in or all out, find your balance.
- Chang T, Ravi N, Plegue M, Sonneville K, Davis M. Inadequate Hydration, BMI, and Obesity Among US Adults: NHANES 2009-2012. The Annals of Family Medicine. 2016;14(4):320-324.
- Douglas Paddon-Jones, Eric Westman, Richard D Mattes, Robert R Wolfe, Arne Astrup, and Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga. Protein, weight management, and satiety: Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87 (5): 1558S-1561S.
- Samra RA. Fats and Satiety. In: Montmayeur JP, le Coutre J, editors. Fat Detection: Taste, Texture, and Post Ingestive Effects. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2010. Chapter 15.