DO: Eat well throughout the day
Research shows that fattening and sugary foods stimulate cravings for more of the same, much like a drug. Rather than start a domino effect, eating a balanced, healthy diet of unprocessed foods will set you on the right path. Stick to fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and omega-3 fats. Your body will start to crave proper fuel and stop wanting fried, sugary treats.
DON’T: “Save yourself” for bingeing at night
It might seem logical to eat minimally throughout the day if you’re going to have a big night. What that practice does instead is slowing your metabolism, drop your blood sugar, and leave you ravenous right before eating out. You’re at a much higher risk of making bad decision and overeating in these circumstances
DO: Your research ahead of time
When choosing a restaurant, do your research to make sure they have options that fit your meal plan. Almost everything you could want to know is on the internet. Even if they don’t have a regular menu item that suits your needs, most places offer substitutions or can remove ingredients in their meals. Before you decide where to eat, take five or ten minutes to plan ahead.
DON’T: Just show up and hope for the best
You might choose a restaurant that sounds lovely, only to find that all of their specialties are fried or slathered in butter. Or you arrive with best-laid plans only to discover a mouth-watering dish on the table next to you. Go in with a plan to choose lean meats, raw or steamed vegetables, good fats, and whole grain, natural carb. Every restaurant has a few of these options if you get creative.
DO: Communicate your goals to your social networks
Let your friends know you’re committed to eating well. There’s nothing worse than the peer pressure to ruin a good diet. Make sure your friends understand and respect your wishes and will help you make good choices.
DON’T: Just go along with the crowd
Hopefully, you surround yourself with like-minded individuals who share your goals. However, if everyone is planning on ordering pizza and wings after a night of drinking, be smart and choose to opt out. Some of the other guidelines here will help you avoid temptation.
DO: Plan cheat days and meals
Finally, food is meant to be enjoyed. Yes, it’s okay to let loose a bit. Allowing time for enjoyment will relax your mind and help you have a positive relationship with food. Just make sure to plan ahead so you know when you’re going to make that choice. For example, a weekend night out with the girls might be your one “cheat” meal that week, but don’t make it an excuse if you eat out every night. Enjoy yourself when you can and then get back to eating clean afterward. Your body and mind will thank you.
DON’T: Fall prey to your appetite and whims
Failing to plan is planning to fail. If every weekend meal becomes a cheat meal, then you’re not going to have a successful, healthy diet. Without planning ahead and allowing random cravings to guide you, you’ll find many weekends out become “Oh, just this one more time…”