How to Cheat on Your Diet

Have you ever had a jealous boyfriend or girlfriend?  The type that wanted you to spend every waking moment with you, or at least wanted to know where you were.  They didn’t like you going out with your friends.  And if you spoke with someone of the opposite sex, fuggetaboutit.  One minute they tell you how great you look and the next they’re calling you puppy face.

Eventually, though, you came to your senses and broke it off.  I mean, after all, why would you wanna be with someone like that?  You’d be crazy to be in a relationship like that, right?

Lemme ask you something, though.  Do you have a jealous diet?

You know, the type of diet that doesn’t like when you go on vacation with family?  It doesn’t like it when you meet others for a business lunch?  Or doesn’t want you to go out and enjoy dinner with your friends at a restaurant?

Does it freak out and say, “What are you gonna eat!?”

Many diets don’t keep good company with your friends and family.  And if you can’t eat exactly what’s on it, it tells you you’ve screwed up, leaving you feel bad about yourself.

I’m not going to tell you to break it off with your diet.  You’ve gotta figure that one out on your own.  Maybe you’ve already broken it off once (or more) before.  But after some time, you only begin remembering the good times.  Not all the times it kept you from going out.  Or the times it made you feel bad when you did.

Let it know, though, you can eat well when you’re not with it.

Okay, I gotta stop writing as though your diet is a person.  Persons have souls.  Diets have no souls.  They only try to steal yours.

Here are four strategies you can implement when dining out, whether on vacation or for work, that’ll leave you feeling confident and in control.

YOU pick the restaurant

If you’re organizing the event, you’ve control over where you’re meet up will be.  Find a restaurant that has healthier fare.  The majority of the time this will involve being served by someone that isn’t on the other side of a counter.  Granted, a number of casual dining restaurants with healthier fare are popping up.  (And, admittedly, I like these places because I feel little obligation to tip.)

If you need help finding one, provides better options at some of the more popular restaurants.  Simply enter the zip code of where you’ll be dining, pick the restaurant, and they’ll make recommendations. (which sounds like an ironic website for those that hate the Internet) is a great source as well.  If you’re looking for a specific restaurant, though, don’t go to the website directly.  Strangely, they don’t make finding restaurants easy, so do a search for “eat this not that [restaurant name]”.

Follow the 5 Habits

You can read more about the 5 Habits here, but they are:

  • Eat slowly to 80% full
  • Eat a lean protein
  • Eat colorful veggies
  • Make “smart carb” choices
  • Eat healthy fat

Avoid foods that have adjectives like “cheesy”, “fried”, “crispy”, “breaded”, “battered”, “glazed”, “secret”, or “special”.

Check out the menu before arriving at the restaurant

More than likely, you know hours in advance you’ll be going out to eat.  Heck, even if you’ve only minutes, pull out your smartphone and check out the restaurant’s menu.  Give your [rational] self time to look over the menu before arriving to the restaurant.  Otherwise, once seated, your [emotional] self will probably make a poor decision.

I’m all for chivalry.  But unless the server says, “I’ll start with the ladies”, try to order first.  When you’ve heard three people order the cheesy, fried, crispy, breaded, battered, glazed, secret, special whatever before you’ve ordered your grilled chicken salad, you might end up calling an audible that’ll get you “sacked”.

Be “difficult”

You ever wonder why the same foods you prepare at home often taste better at restaurants?  They’ve ways of sneaking additional calories into your food.  You can’t trust ‘em, I tell you!

So, ask your server how things are prepared.  Here are some questions to ask:

“How are the veggies prepared?  May I have them steamed, without butter or oil?”

“Could you serve the dressing, sauce, condiment(s), etc. on the side?”

“Is the chicken breaded or grilled?”

These simple questions can save you from consuming hundreds of additional calories, sugar, and sodium.

And although you may feel like you’re being difficult, if you ask with a smile, politely, I can all but promise they won’t spit on your food.

Like a good relationship, if your diet gives you freedom to go out, you’re more likely to wanna stick with it.  But if it’s too demanding, too strict, you’re gonna wanna bail.  And we know what can happen with rebound relationships.