As the old Chinese proverb saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
We teach our clients and ourselves to fish for a long term and sustainable lifestyle through flexible dieting and developing sound habits and you know what? It works.
Let’s face it, we all enjoy indulging a bit here and there and enjoy having a meal out with friends, family, or loved ones. Why sit there and isolate yourself from being social or going to social events and worry about a one-time eating or drinking occurrence so long that it doesn’t turn into a binging spree?
The key is to just plan ahead, use moderation, eat mindfully, enjoy yourself, and get back on your nutrition plan the following meal or day. Pretty simple equation if you ask us. The question is, if it’s such an easy formula to follow, then why are so many people hesitant to do so? Why do people still fear going out to eat or to social events?
What is Restricting You from Being Social?
We could go on for days on why people restrict themselves so much. Let’s look at a few reasons as to why this might be:
- People follow an “All or Nothing Type Diet.” The nutrition program is so rigid and black and white which eventually leads to binging occurrences and bad relationships with foods.
- People have coaches that police their nutrition. Some coaches tell their clients they can’t eat out ever or have a treat. If they do, the client gets yelled at, loses motivation, starts to rebel the coaches laws in nutrition and ends up deviating from the plan.
- People fear eating out. Eating out becomes a fear because they feel they will have a set-back in their progress. This is true if it becomes a binge, but if it’s controlled there will be no set back.
- People are lazy to plan ahead and be smart about eating out. No planning leads to scrambling to find a restaurant with a short wait and before you know it you are at a restaurant that you have absolutely no idea how to figure out the macros. So you say F$ck it and binge.
- People don’t eat mindfully. Even though you are physically full, should you still continue to overfeed yourself? Probably not, listen to your body when it’s full and satiated.
At the end of the day, we are all responsible for what we put in our bodies. We can control this variable 100% of the time. For those that want to isolate themselves because they are on a strict diet or are trying to prove to the world that they are so macho, well by all means do your thing if it makes you happy. For those that are following a “Flexible Dieting” type lifestyle, well why are you being so anal and isolating yourself if you have all the tools, knowledge, and flexibility to indulge some?
Our Experience Using Flexible Dieting and Being Social
Maybe if we give an example of our own experience with being social and using Flexible Dieting then many of you can relate or say, “AHH-HAA.”
Two weekends ago we were craving Sushi; we are sushi fanatics and are proud of it. We knew it was going to be tough to exactly hit our macronutrient targets for that particular meal, so we first researched the restaurant we wanted to go to. Unfortunately they had no macros or nutrition facts, but that didn’t stop us. We then went online and searched for “Sushi Nutrition Facts” and what do you know, we found a reliable source that helped us estimate the rolls we were going to eat. From there we went and enjoyed our sushi, estimated our macros fairly close and that was that.
We didn’t hesitate to have sushi, nor did we freak out if we went over or under on our macros. We simply did our best by planning ahead, understood our weight would be up some the next day to more sodium and enjoyed a couple of delicious sushi rolls. After that life went on and we got back on our plan for the rest of the night and resumed the next day.
Magic right? No, we simply just took the time to plan ahead some because we really wanted sushi and wanted to enjoy a nice dinner out. That is how simple it can be folks; no need to stress over a small situation, life is too damn short to worry about such a small thing. Again, if you are using Flexible Dieting as a lifestyle, this by no means should ever be an issue.
What Else Can you do to Prepare for Social Events?
To reiterate, this is not magic ladies and gents, this is simply taking some extra time to plan ahead and being smart about what your social event entails of. As we mentioned before, you are in complete control of what you put in your body. Here are a few ideas on what you can do if you go to a restaurant:
- Research the restaurant and their menu. Make sure to plan what you’re going to eat ahead of time, that way you can get an indication of how much to eat and possible nutrition facts.
- Depending on your goal, bring a small digital scale. If you are doing a physique competition, photo shoot or you have a specific date to be lean by, then bring a digital scale with you to weigh out your food.
- Don’t be afraid to be firm with your waiter/waitress. Ask the waiter/waitress not to sauté anything, not to bring our bread or chips and salsa. Ask them to put the condiments on the side.
- Use your eyes to portion your meals. Try eye balling your portions of macros (protein, carbs, and fats) and get an even balance. This way you have somewhat of an educated guess on what you’re having.
- Stay away from what we like to call “the good life foods.” Try avoiding fried foods, chips and salsa, breads, and think more wholesome and more filling foods.
- Put some limits on the adult water. Alcohol is not a calorie free drink; it’s very high in calories. Limit alcoholic beverages to 1-2 drinks.
- Eat mindfully. Eat until you’re physically full. Or try splitting a meal with someone, that way you’re not over consuming.
- Have some protein before you go to a restaurant. Eat a small serving of protein beforehand. This way satiety is high and you won’t be too hungry and have a tendency to overfeed yourself.
These are all great tips to take into consideration when going to a social event or going out to eat. There should be no excuses to isolate yourself from what you enjoy doing.
Still Making Progress
We have recently discussed long term sustainable dieting, Avoiding burn out and bad experiences, and not being social and restricting yourself. So, the question is how do we put all of these together and still make optimal progress within training and nutrition? If there was a black and white answer we would gladly give it to you guys.
In order to continue making progress, you have to develop better habits on a day to day basis. The University College of London says it takes 66 days to establish a new habit. So basically 2 months and for others it will be shorter and longer. But for now let’s just call 66 days the mean average.
There will definitely be a lot of trial and error, challenges, and feeling the need to quit. But if you take each day at a time or one week at a time and keep working at it, change can and will happen going forward. You cannot expect things to happen overnight, life doesn’t work that way so why should your training and nutritional goals?
When we say develop better habits in regards to training and nutrition and having a long term sustainable diet, the following habits below can go a long ways in making progress and continued progress:
- Wake up earlier to train before work or train right after work. If you end up going home after work, chances are you won’t make it to the gym.
- Prep your food and meals for the week on a Sunday. Take a couple of hours that day and cook your food in bulks.
- Stick to foods that you like and are easy to put together such as: Chicken and fish for your protein sources. Potatoes and rice for your carb sources. Nuts and healthy oils for your fat sources.
- Have some treats here and there so adherence and consistency stays high. The moment you eliminate your favorite foods, the more you will want to rebel and go mayhem on them.
Habits you can develop for avoiding burn out and bad experiences can be as followed:
- Make a visual note and put it somewhere on your desk, lap top, or refrigerator so that you can see it each day and keep yourself accountable
- Connect with like-minded people that will push you and not put you down. Your environment needs to be surrounded with people that support your goals and uplift you when you’re down.
- Have a balance outside of training and nutrition. Your life shouldn’t revolve around training and nutrition. This should always come second or third to family, friends, loved ones, and your career.
- Explore other interests 1-2 times per week. Don’t be a meat head and hang around the house all week and weekend. Go to a museum, go on a long walk with beautiful scenery, go to a theme park, and go see a good flick, what have you.
- Plan to go out and eat once per week, then build upon that if necessary. We’ve found that by going out to eat once per week in controlled and mindful eating fashion can really improve your relationships with foods.
- Attend a social event at least once per week and step outside your comfort zone. We get caught up in the training and nutrition game so much that we miss out on human interaction and memorable events. You can do it all, just plan and get it done.
- Plan a date each week with your significant others or plan a guy’s/girls night. You can sit on your couch with your Tupper wear on your lap watching the late night show or you could be out with your significant other enjoying life, laughing, and creating memories…one night isn’t going to throw away your gains.
- Write down on a calendar where and when you are going to this social event or restaurant you have wanted to try. This way it is written on your calendar, it is visual, and you will follow through with it.
Habits you can develop for not being anti-social and restricting yourself can be as followed:
Let’s be real here, nobody lives the perfect balanced life. There is no such thing as perfect. You could also argue what really is considered balance? Because in our eyes, if you have too much balance then you can’t focus on that ONE thing in life that matters most at the time.
What we can do as individuals is continuously try to get better each day in all areas, build our habits, experiment with things we like and will eventually work for us, and enjoy our training, nutrition, and lifestyle.
Remember, don’t strive for perfection, but strive to be better 1% each and every day and continue to work on those habits and take action.
Everything in moderation ladies and gents!