by Matt Weik
We’ve all been there—that time you ate way too much food and you feel disgusting. It could be due to heading out to your favorite restaurant or just a great homecooked meal. You overate. Now what? Head to the gym? Go for a walk? Lay on the couch and take a nap? Normally the latter is what most people do after a large meal where they stuffed their face. So how can you avoid this feeling of grossness and bloating? It’s quite simple when you think about it.
You don’t need to eat EVERYTHING on the menu. You also don’t even need to eat your entire meal. If you are eating at a restaurant, most times than not, you are getting a portion that is double what it should be. For that reason, ask for a to-go box as soon as your meal comes and split everything in half to take some of it home with you. If it stays on your plate once you start eating, the chances of you consuming some, if not all of it, is fairly high.
Also, be aware of the foods around you. At gatherings or parties there are copious amounts of amazing and delicious foods—ones you should generally stay away from. Eat a few, but not all. Be very picky with what you splurge on rather than having some of everything and regretting it later on.
Mozzarella sticks, nachos, soups, fried goodness, and more! Who can resist?! Well, you probably should. Unless! If you see a protein source on the list of appetizers, then go for it. Something like shrimp cocktail is a perfect choice. It’s not super filling where you’re going to be stuffed by the end, yet light enough that you aren’t going to annihilate your macros for the day. In fact, having shrimp cocktail is a great way to take in more protein for the day.
If you’re telling me to pound sand and you’re going to get an unhealthy appetizer anyway, regardless of what I say, then at least either split it with others at your table or take some home with you so you aren’t taking in 1,000+ calories just from an appetizer that you really didn’t need.
Plan your meal
If given the opportunity, always choose green vegetables over something like a potato if you can. If you are out to eat and have the ability to order two sides, that doesn’t mean you should order one healthy and one not so healthy. If you don’t have many healthy options for your sides, get a double portion of whatever green vegetable they have. So, for instance if you can choose between asparagus, French fries, baked potato, mashed potatoes, or rice, it would be best to simply get a double order of asparagus. Again, like mentioned above, the portions are probably larger than you need, so you can take some of the asparagus home with you for another meal.
Knowing how you need your food prepared before ordering is also key to ensuring you stick to your diet and don’t blow your macros out of the water. For instance, if you’re getting a steak, make sure it isn’t cooked with butter or oils. The same with your veggies. Try to get everything grilled or steamed if possible. All the fried options on the menu, stay away. Those choices will surely leave you feeling terrible as a result.
Thinking about desserts
I’m not going to tell you NOT to eat them, but we both know they should be avoided. However, I’m not naïve to think people aren’t going to eat dessert every once in a while. So, when you plan on indulging, save room. Meaning, don’t eat everything on your plate and then slam down a heavy caloric dessert or you’ll definitely be feeling it as you get up from the table. If you plan on having dessert, plan your calories accordingly so not only will you be able to enjoy the dessert, but you won’t completely crush your macros for the day and feel guilty.
Or better yet, here’s a great idea with desserts. Share it with your significant other or spouse (or family member if you’re out eating with the family). Just because you have a piece of dessert in front of you doesn’t mean you have to eat the whole thing. You can share it or take it home with you (assuming it isn’t something like ice cream that will melt before making it home).
Utilize the tips and methods above, and you’ll be able to eat out or have meals at home without overeating and blowing through you daily macros in one meal. If for some reason, you lose all self-control and feel terrible after a meal. Use it as a reminder for next time. No reason to beat yourself up over it, get back on the wagon and keep on going. Don’t allow yourself to get to a place where you feel that since you blew your diet you’re just going to binge eat everything. Buckle down and get back on track. Having a nice dinner is a great way to enjoy life. Just remember that no matter what day or meal it is, calories are still calories, and all of them count when trying to achieve your health and fitness goals.