Friday, January 20, 2012

Weighing in and dining out.

Friday is weigh-day 'round these parts and today was a good one! I could tell throughout the week that my clothes were fitting more comfortably so I had an inkling the scale might have something nice to say. I have now obliterated 7.4 of the "holiday 10" pounds that re-kindled my fitness fire. It feels awesome and couldn't have come at a better time - this week I was required to squeeze into my suit for a business trip (and squeeeeze I did). Success all around!

Something that has been on my mind a lot lately is dining out. I like eating home-cooked meals and saving money. I also like being social and spending time with my friends. It seems that the chaos of daily life doesn't provide much time for socializing outside of meals & drinks but going out to eat makes me cringe! Unhealthy meals dominate restaurant menus, portion sizes are 2-3 times what they should be and my willpower is constantly tested. Even the healthy-sounding items have horrifyingly high calorie counts - I'm looking at you, Firebird's Grilled Shrimp & Strawberry Salad (1148 calories, 74 grams fat)!

So what's a girl (or guy) to do?! Well, the other night a friend mentioned that Mondays are her "cheat day". This caught my attention for a couple of reasons: a) a day to indulge responsibly can certainly be a motivational tool to stay on track the rest of the week, and b) I don't like the idea of cheating anything, let alone myself. One night while browsing Pinterest, I came across this post by Coach Calorie. He lays out a pretty good argument for a once-weekly "cheat meal" and has opened my eyes to the fact that maybe indulgence is OK in small doses.

Being of scientific mind, I decided to put his theory to the test. On Monday nights I play trivia at a local sports bar/restaurant. Virtually everything on the menu is fried or smothered in something. I chose menu items that I deemed indulgent within reason and washed them down with a beer. I felt good not only because I was eating food that I tend to avoid during the week but because I was in control of my choices and could focus more on my friends than on my food. The following day I resumed eating within my calorie-range and kicked butt in my workout and at the end of the week I am down about 5 pounds. So... maybe there is some truth behind the cheat day. I will have to continue this "experiment" to be sure. This week I have trivia on Monday and a friend's birthday dinner on Tuesday - yikes!

Do you have a "cheat day" or "cheat meal"? How do you handle dining out while working toward a healthier lifestyle?

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