dinner, healthy lifestyle, friends, have fun, stay fit, plan, restaurant food, Chinese cuisine, hidden fat, dining out, approved meal, hungry, eating out, restaurant rules, correct language, want, like, sacrifice, deprivation, play a game, one bite rule, better listener
Here is a great question from one of my clients in Billings, Montana.
Q: I need your help. I have a group of friends who like to get together once a month for dinner. This month we're meeting on a Thursday night at one of my favorite Chinese Restaurants. I've been following your plan for a while and I'm not sure what I can order that will allow me to stick with my new healthy lifestyle while still enjoying time with my friends.
A: The thing I like most about your question is that you suspect you can do both - have fun and stay fit. Well, guess what, you can! The key, of course, is being prepared and putting a plan in place that allows for both. The first thing to remember is, as with all restaurant food, Chinese cuisine can contain a lot of hidden fat, so here's what I would suggest:
First, whenever I know I will be dining out, I make sure to eat an approved meal (a small portion of protein and carbohydrate) as close to the time I'll be leaving as possible. That way, by the time I get to the restaurant, place my order, and finally receive my food, I am not so off-the-charts hungry that I decide to toss my plan under the table.
Second, when ordering at a Chinese restaurant, I usually get the appetizer portion of teriyaki chicken - the kind they serve on a skewer. I will typically order two to get the proper amount of chicken, a bowl of rice, and some steamed vegetables. When my food arrives, I dump the rice in a plate, put the veggies on top, cut the chicken up, and mix it all together. This actually makes a very nice, very tasty meal!
Eating out is always tricky, but rather than avoid it all together, here are a few more Restaurant Rules for you to try:
Restaurant Rule #1: Decide well in advance EXACTLY what you will order and stick to it. I prepare by arming myself with the correct language, deciding precisely what I will say when my friends tell me to, "Relax and have some dessert." When ordering, I make sure to use phrases that begin with "I want such and such..." or "I would really like this or that..." as opposed to "I can't have this or I shouldn't have that..." You will rarely get an argument from anyone when you're using words like "want" and "like" when placing your order and you might find that using these words actually lessens your feelings of sacrifice and deprivation.
Restaurant Rule #2: As soon as you sit down, order a huge glass of either unsweetened tea or water - play a game with yourself that you will not take a bite of anything or order a "real" drink until that first glass is gone.
Restaurant Rule #3: Use the one bite rule. Pick the slowest, most talkative person in the group and watch them eat. Then, make it a rule to take only one bite of food for every two bites they take. I have found this really slows down my eating and, as a bonus, it has made me a much better listener - my #1 New Year's Resolution for 2009!
Dianne Orwig, CPT, CFC, CYFI
Founder and Creator of the Living Fit Online Program
For more information visit www.lovelivingfit.com
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