Going for a meal out isn’t something we do every day, and therefore they should be enjoyable and not something we fret about. This article details how to incorporate Meals Out and Fitness, and how to ensure all social situations, such as family meals, and barbecues can be enjoyed without you having to be anti-social.
Now this may seem easy for us to say, but to those of you that do feel a nagging worry when a meal out (that you have little control over) approaches or simply for those of you that eat out very regularly, knowing how to budget your calories simply and easily to account for dinners or gatherings is a useful tool.
The methods below are not going to involve you looking over the chef’s shoulder, grilling the waiter, weighing your meal or packing a tupperware full of bland, dry, low calorie food. The options I will outline are simply those that I use when aiming to drop fat, but wishing to keep my social life as unaffected as possible. They are not incredibly hard to implement, but rather very simple. However, do drop us a tweet to @LDN_Muscle should you have any questions!
If you are having four meals across the day, try to maintain your pre and post-workout meals as normal, and then combine the two remaining meals to allow for a chunk of your calorie allowance to be left in reserve. By combining the remaining meals I mean you combine and then replace them with the dinner out on the town.
This method should leave you with around 40% of your daily calories to play with, and allow you to relax and enjoy yourself at dinner. Training in the morning or earlier in the day would suit this option more optimally, but it still works nonetheless!
Here you can maintain your normal meal frequency, and simply reduce carbs and fats in all meals excluding your post (and potentially your pre) workout meal. Auto-regulate how many carbs and fats (calories) you leave out dependent on the type of meal/restaurant you are going to, i.e. an American BBQ Bar and Grill will likely be more calorific than a Vietnamese restaurant.
This method keeps protein intake consistent throughout the day – of which I would combine with bulky vegetables as well as the reduced amount (of carbs and) fats – and leaves plenty of calories in stock for your final meal of the day out on the town.
If you are having five meals you can space out three of your meals equally through the day, allowing for your dinner or ‘bottomless brunch’ out to replace two meals. This is similar to option 1 as above, and can even be reduced to two meals around your workout and one protein-based snack if you are really intending on going big at dinner!
This is the option I most commonly use, as I will genuinely end up helping everyone finish their meals, having a very large or two mains and generally eating a hole in my wallet and exceeding my calories for the day even if I had skipped all meals!
If you have been in line with your calories on our Cutting or Bikini Guides during the week then you will (very) likely be in a caloric deficit overall. This means that you can simply practice some moderation at dinner in order to avoid going excessively beyond your caloric target for the day. Something along the lines of avoiding fatty sauces or cheese based dishes, the bread basket and or olives and going for lower calorie beverages.
With this method I would still advise lowering carbs and fats slightly in your other meals for the day if you would rather do so. This will allow you to relax even more knowing that you’ll be hard pressed to go into a caloric surplus for the week!
Our Transformation Guides for Women and Men cover meals out, weekends away, alcohol, festivals and other social events that should 100% not be banned by your plan in the Nutrition and the Lifestyle and Sustainability sections.
Banning a list of foods and drinks or ordering you to stick to a list of bland meals is a sure fire way to make you totally dependent on the guide for results, at a loss when it ends, likely to binge on foods you crave periodically, and is generally a lazy, unsustainable method employed by your coach for fast results (that will rebound).
Even when trying to drop body fat you can absolutely enjoy social occasions and a normal social life, and hopefully this article will help you realise that. Fitness should be an enjoyable part of your life, not something that detracts from it and adds to daily stresses or makes you become anxious. Read this article about maintaining balance, and this article about different styles of eating.