Clean Eating Hacks for the Social Butterfly

Sometimes life gets in the way of your clean eating routine. Almost every month there will be a celebration in one form or another or a random life event that can make it difficult and frustrating to stay on track with your clean eating rituals. When these kinds of hurtles pop up, they can feel daunting, disappointing, and like a big set back.

Thankfully, there are things you can do to avoid a disastrous meal plan meltdown without making you feel like the odd one out in your social circle. Here are some of my own personal clean eating life hacks for different social situations and things to do to negate the potential breakdown.

Going out for Breakfast:

I adore breakfast foods and going out for brunch. However, the pancakes, sausages, French toast, and home fries lying around can be all too tempting. That being said, you can still enjoy a hearty and satiating breakfast without compromising your waistline:

  1. Order a vegetarian or Greek omelette and ask for half the cheese. Don’t do the egg white omelette thing; stick to whole eggs since they’ll fill you up and promote satiety.
  1. Swap the home fries for slices of grilled tomato or a Greek/garden salad with the dressing on the side.
  1. Ask for the toast dry, and I suggest eating 1 slice. A lower amount of carbs save room for the oils in which most restaurant foods are prepared.

Drinking with friends:

Alcohol is never a good choice when you’re trying to lean out. However, it is often inevitable. So what do you do?

  1. Mix your drinks with soda, lemon and lime, or even something like Fresca.
  1. Drink a lot of water during the day to prepare for your nighttime binge drinking.
  1. Avoid drunk eating at all costs! Alcohol fuzzes the brain and can drag us to the pizza, Shwarma, or poutine. Plus, it seriously disturbs your digestive system, making it difficult to burn fat. Therefore, you will not burn off what you ate easily, and you’ll likely pass out after your binge with a full, greasy stomach.
  1. If you know you are a bad drunk eater, be prepared with healthy options like protein and vegetable sources. A protein bar would be a good choice. You can heat it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds and it will taste like a cookie.

What to do after a binge:

If you do have a massive food breakdown, don’t feel too guilty about it. Do not do anything rash like cut out food the next day, starve yourself, or cut your carbs; simply presume how you normally would because hope is not lost. However, some people will follow up the next day with a big gym session due to their guilt. Here are some gym tips:

  1. Most people choose to slave away on a cardio machine in an attempt to sweat out their previous night’s regrets. Unfortunately, performing a massive bout of cardio is not the best choice after a big cheat. The caloric burn is very temporary, and you will likely not have enough energy to make a serious-enough dent.
  1. I would suggest a really good weight training session with a full body metabolic circuit at the end of your weights. A good weight workout will deplete   your glycogen stores more efficiently than cardio alone, therefore using last night’s calories as fuel rather than storage. When you top off weight training with a metabolic circuit, you’ll tap into your glycogen stores even further and put those extra calories to greater use. On top of this, the byproducts of protein synthesis and muscle repair afterwards will sustain a caloric burn for the rest of the day and heighten your metabolism.

Going out for Dinner:

If you are trying to lose weight, I would limit restaurant visits to once every 2-3 weeks. This way, it will feel more like a special occasion. Bonus: you’ll save a lot of money eating in. However, if you can’t control the decision to eat out due to an event or social gathering, here are some suggestions:

  1. Go carb-less for this one meal, the reason being that restaurants are questionable with how they prepare your meals in terms of the sauces, oils, and dressings. Refraining from eating carbs makes room for the secret restaurant add-ons. Also, keep in mind that restaurant dishes contain huge portion sizes when it comes to carbs. Since it’s hard to not eat something sitting right in front of you, avoid the temptation all together and leave the carbs out of it.
  1. Substitute the carbs for vegetables and a salad with the dressing on the side. Choose a balsamic and olive oil dressing.
  1. Choose a fatty protein source like a steak or a salmon, and ask for the dress ing on the side.
  1. If you must drink with dinner, a 6oz glass of red wine would be my choice.

It’s very hard to avoid life events and easy to get frustrated. When you’re trying out a new healthy lifestyle, you may feel like you’re constantly being dragged back down. This is why it’s so important to find a customized meal plan that suits you, your lifestyle, and your goals. It must be flexible enough so you can still enjoy time with your friends, but strict enough so you see results. If your meal plan is right for you, then the progress will be slow and steady. Quick results don’t last and you’ll likely bounce back. So, relax and enjoy the process to a healthier lifestyle and wellbeing.

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