Recently, one of my lovely clients asked me what I order when I eat out. She said something like “What do you order when you go to a restaurant? I always feel so depressed eating a salad while my friends enjoy pizzas and pastas!”.
Now, my boyfriend has a rule with me when it comes to this situation… I’m not allowed to order a salad! Haha, I wish I was joking, but I’m not. His logic is that I can make a salad at home. If I’m going to pay money for a restaurant meal, I may as well order something I’m not going to make the effort to make myself or something I’m really going to enjoy! So, when we eat out together, I generally stick to his “no salad” rule.
Truth be told, sometimes I just FEEL like a salad! It also has to be said that some restaurants make really divine salads that are super satisfying and deliciously delectable! So, this leads me to my opinion on this tricky topic.
Eat what you FEEL like eating when you’re eating out. Cape Town especially, has some of the most fantastic restaurants!
If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll know I’m not much of an extremist. My philosophy is that we only live this life once. We only get one shot at being truly happy and living a full existence. If extreme dieting and hardcore training is your truth and gives your existence meaning, I cannot judge you, because that is YOUR journey.
I’ve always loved food. My mother cooks like a dream. My cousin is a ridiculously talented caterer. Our family enjoy boozy lunches and indulgent dinners. We are feeders and eaters. On the flip side, we are also a very active family. Exercise is just part of the life-itinerary… So maybe I have been blessed with exposure to both great food and a hereditary and circumstantial predisposition to living actively?
This is not to say that I’ve got it all figured out! Oh heeeell no! That is most definitely not the case. Stephen (The Boyfriend) can tell you horror stories involving me and coffee tables full of junk food and post-binge emotional breakdowns! I am not perfect. I am starting to slowly figure it all out though…
Staying true to my feelings has played a big role in how I feed myself these days. I know what food makes me feel good and I know what doesn’t sit well with my system and leaves me feeling depressed. I make conscious choices to eat what makes me feel good, as often as I can! Repercussions of poor food choices are also taken into consideration and living with the consequences often result in the little voice in my head saying “You did this to yourself knowingly. Deal with it and remember for next time”. Not beating myself up about making the wrong decisions has also been important in my journey to finding a healthy balance. I’m trying to rid myself of this self-hatred bullsh*t. It’s such a waste of energy!
So, back to eating out!
The next time you know you’re going to be eating out, make a conscious decision to eat well during the day (you should try to do this everyday anyway. Start cultivating a habit).
Give yourself a good breakfast: I love some full cream yoghurt, a sprinkle of muesli or nutty granola, some fruit, cinnamon (what I call one of my “soul spices”) and a drizzle of honey. All these things make me FEEL HAPPY! This breakfast also leaves me satisfied for a good few hours until I need a snack or even until lunchtime. (Be aware of your sugar intake during the rest of the day if you opt for a fruit filled honey drizzled breakfast!).
For lunch, keep it low-carb: Winter isn’t great for salads, but if it’s warm enough in your office, try to munch on a vegetable-filled, protein-packed salad! A nutrient-rich, protein-packed soup is also a great option and some bakeries are stocking Low Carb bread (ok, fine it costs a small fortune, but it’s easily freezable so can last a good while) if sipping on only soup doesn’t tickle your taste buds. Nibble on a small handful of nuts, biltong or a boiled egg before you leave work or when you get home if you’re still hungry.
When you get to the restaurant: Acknowledge that you have fed your body well that day. Browse through the menu with that thought in mind and see if you can pick something that might help prolong your feeling of feeling well and happy. If you’ve been dreaming about that pizza all day, order the pizza honey! Or maybe share it with a friend if guilt is already setting in? Generally speaking, restaurant portions are quite large anyway. Acknowledge how you feel afterwards and learn for the next time, if there is a lesson to be learned.
No-carb sushi (most sushi restaurants nowadays)
Bun-less burgers (Hudson’s – Guido style with sweet potato crisps/wedges instead of fries)
Fish of the day with a side of vegetables or salad (you could also opt for chicken or a steak #yummm)
There is almost always a healthy choice on a menu. It’s up to you whether you’re choosing the healthy choice because you FEEL like eating it and it will truly satisfy your soul, or because you feel guilty for not being a size 6, are drowning in self-hatred and feel like the “fat friend” so God forbid anyone sees you eating anything other than rabbit food!
Call me crazy or lazy, I don’t care. Dieting is not my game. That’s probably why I don’t look like a swimwear model. It is quite cheeky of me to say “Oh, just find what works for you”, but ultimately, that’s what it’s about. No one can know you better than you know yourself. YOU know, deep down inside what is right or wrong for you… in most avenues of life. Same goes for our relationships with food. I truly believe it’s about acknowledging self-destructive patterns, making better decisions based on how we feel and how we want to feel and being kinder to ourselves on this ridiculous rollercoaster ride of an existence. I am wishing only happiness for you on your own journey.