One of the most difficult aspects of dieting is avoiding temptation. At home, the solution is fairly simple (though easier said than done) – clear out the junk food from your pantry, cupboards, and refrigerator. Instead, stock them with healthy foods. But when you’re out socializing with friends, whether you’re at a restaurant, a bar, or someone’s house, how do you avoid the temptation and social pressure to grab a convenient – but unhealthy – bite to eat?
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This is one of the biggest challenges facing the healthy dieter, but like every other aspect of dieting, there are solutions. Here are some strategies you can use to reduce the temptation to overeat and deflect the social pressure to indulge
Eat A Filling Snack Before You Go Out
One of the most common diet tips is to eat a full meal before going to the grocery store so that you’re not as tempted by all the treats that tend to line the center aisles. The same strategy can be applied to help you avoid temptation while you’re out enjoying a meal with friends.
Of course you’ll still want to eat while you’re out to avoid being anti-social, but having a little food in your stomach beforehand will help you make healthier choices when your friends are ordering desert for example. Try snacking on a small handful of healthy nuts like walnuts or almonds before going out, or perhaps a slice of whole wheat bread with a little lean turkey meat.
Be sure to have a large glass of water beforehand as well. Studies have shown that a third of the time when you’re feeling hungry, the feeling is actually caused by thirst. Drinking a glass of water and having a small, healthy snack will make a big difference when it comes to portion control, especially if you’re at a buffet, or over at a friend’s house for a barbeque or potlatch.
Go For The Vegetable Platter At Parties
Parties are another social situation where you’ll find yourself surrounded by food temptation. It’s so easy to mindlessly snack while chatting. Most parties have endless platters of finger foods loaded with cheese, deli meats, fried snacks, and other foods that are loaded with calories, sodium, saturated fat, and sugar.
Luckily, most parties will have a vegetable platter somewhere – albeit usually accompanied by a big bowl of ranch dip. Keep some celery sticks or carrots in your hand at all times so you can resist the temptation to reach for other less nutritional foods. Having food in your hand will also help if the party host offers you a fresh platter of food to try – you can politely say no thanks, I’m still working on my carrot sticks.
Find Healthy, But Delicious Local Cuisine
Not every place you eat out has to be unhealthy. If you take a look around your city, you’re likely to find plenty of restaurants that serve healthy dishes – especially if you live in a moderately sized city. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that some of these healthier restaurants will also serve some of the most delicious meals around.
A lot of people associate healthy choices with bland taste. If that sounds like your circle of friends, then propose these new healthy restaurants you’ve discovered as an opportunity to try something new and different, rather than as an opportunity to make healthier choices. Just make sure that the restaurants you’re recommending can back you up with some delicious cuisine that your friends will love.
Encourage Your Friends To Live Healthier Lifestyles
You definitely don’t want to be the friend who’s preaching about healthy eating while the rest of your friends are trying to enjoy their cheesecake, but you’ll have a much better chance of dieting success if you can convince just one or two of your close friends to start making healthier choices. It’ll make it much easier to push for healthier choices the next time you’re out and deciding where to eat.
The bottom line is that eating healthy is not always easy. Not only are you wrestling with your own inner temptation, but you also have to deal with social pressure from a society that prizes junk food. Sticking to a healthy diet is just as much about applying the right techniques as it is about willpower, so the next time you’re out with friends, try implementing some of the techniques above. You’ll find it much easier to stick to your diet choices and reach your weight loss goals.