How to handle social occasions

If you are dieting hard or training for a specific fitness or performance goal, social occasions can cause you to veer off the straight and narrow path and interfere with your results. If you are able to practice moderation then this is no big deal but if you are the sort of person who easily succumbs to peer pressure and for whom one beer soon becomes ten, or one slice of pizza always leads to the whole pizza plus dessert, maybe you need some help on handling social occasions.

 

Just say no

If you are invited to a social event where you know you’ll be tempted to eat badly, drink excessively or party late into the night and you know you’ll find it hard to resist over indulging, try just saying no and staying home instead. Sure, you may be labelled unsociable by your friends but, if what you are working toward is THAT important to you, maybe that’s the price you need to pay. Gold medal at the Olympics or a beer belly and a hangover? That’s an easy decision to make!

 

Order first

If you go out with friends to eat, make sure you place your order first. That way, you will be less likely to feel pressured into ordering the sorts of foods you’re probably overweight and unfit friends order.

 

Order veggies/salad not chips

Eating out is not the issue – it’s what you actually eat and sometimes that’s not even your fault. You order a healthy grilled chicken breast and what is it served with? Chips of course! While you could just leave the chips, you and I both know that doing so is an almost impossible task so avoid temptation in the first place by ordering your food with a side salad or veggies rather than chips. Also skip the breadsticks, bread basket or whatever other carb-heavy accompaniments come your way.

Order an appetiser or a dessert – not both

Most people see eating out as an opportunity to eat far more than normal which not only means bigger portions but also more courses. To avoid multiplying nutritional sins, order an appetiser or a dessert and not both. Also look for smaller portions – most restaurants have no issue producing smaller meals to order.

 

Order soup

Soup is very filling and generally low in calories – especially if it is free from cream. Having soup for a starter or even a main course will satisfy your hunger and prevent overeating.

 

Ask for a doggy bag

If you are confronted with way more food than you know you should eat, ask the waiter to place half of it in a doggy bag BEFORE you start to eat so that you don’t inadvertently clear your plate anyway. If you don’t have a dog yourself, give the food to a friend who does or, alternatively, save the food for tomorrow’s lunch.

Exercise first

Exercising before eating increases insulin sensitivity and the production of glut4 – a glucose transporter that promotes the uptake of nutrients into muscle cells and away from fat cells. If you know you are likely to overeat or eat things that are normally not allowed in your diet, have a hard workout immediately beforehand so that the deluge of calories is more likely to be shunted into your muscles and liver and away from your hips, thighs and waist.

 

Alternate soft and alcoholic drinks

If total alcoholic abstinence is not possible, try drinking smaller measures of alcohol and alternate them with calorie-free soft drinks. That way you can keep pace with your friends but without imbibing the same amount of alcohol. To make this strategy even healthier, drink water with a squeeze of lemon juice as opposed to sugar-free soda.

 

Be the designated driver

If you are looking for a viable excuse not to drink copious amounts of alcohol, offer to be the designated driver for the evening.  Drinking and driving simply do not mix and as well as being socially unacceptable, is against the law in most civilized countries. By volunteering to be the driver for the evening, you have all the reason you need to drink no alcohol.

Set yourself a curfew

If you know you always start out with the best possible intentions but then find your willpower fades as the evening wears on, why not try giving yourself a curfew to curtail your night out? Instead of staying out until you are the last man or women standing, take yourself off home after just a couple of hours to avoid eating or drinking more than you should. One very effective way to do this is to order a taxi for a specific pick-up time.

 

Be prepared to change your social circle

If your friends are party animals who love their beer or foodies for whom every meal out is a gastronomic challenge of monumental proportions, maybe it’s time to change your social circle. Big nights out or lavish meals maybe fun and enjoyable but being fit, healthy and lean will not only enhance your life right now but long into the future too. If you decide that being fit and healthy are actually more important to you than partying hard with your mates, maybe you have moved on and have outgrown that particular group of people.

 

Losing weight, getting fit and staying healthy often require sacrifices. Those sacrifices don’t always come easily but that’s the price you pay if you want to be the best you can be. Skipping out on a night of heavy drinking or a luxurious meal might seem like a steep price to pay but longevity, leanness, energy and health are just some of the rewards you’ll earn if you do. At the end of the day, you need to decide just how important your health and fitness are – only then can you decide if the cost is worth it.
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AUTHOR

Hi, my name is Dinny Morris. I’m a personal trainer and in sunny Sydney, Australia.

I work with men and women at all levels of their physical development, from overweight couch potatoes who want to get in shape, to professional athletes and natural bodybuilders who want to beef up strength and body mass.

* Testimonials found on Dinny Morris Fitness have been sent to me by past and present customers and may not reflect the typical customer’s experience and are not intended to represent or guarantee that anyone will achieve the same or similar results. The testimonials are meant to be a showcase of the best results personal training with me can produce, and should not be taken as the results a typical user will get.