If you’re training in the gym, or doing any type of exercise, then you’re most likely tracking your calories in an effort to either lose weight to gain muscle (or both).
Now, it’s important if you goal is fat loss then you need to be watching what you’re eating and ensure that the right amount of macros (proteins, fats and carbs) are being consumed every day and that you’re eating close to your weekly calorie target.
If you have a splurge on a cheat meal on a night out at the weekend then it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. It’s good for your motivation and helps keep a lot of people on track.
What isn’t great is if you use the evening out as a “cheat evening” or you end up going for dinner, then drinks, then even more drinks (cocktails are loaded with calories) and then finish the night off with some pizza or kebab because your “drunk” self wants to eat some greasy food.
If you were trying to maintain 1,200 calories a day then you could quite easily have consumed 3,000 to 4,000 on that one night (yes, really).
What then might happen if the above happened on a Friday is to then do the same on the Saturday, but to add in going out for brunch (or lunch) and consuming even more calories than they should be doing “because it’s the weekend”.
Learn what’s in the food you eat
We’ve written about a lot on the Shapes blog (as well as over at the MPT blog) about nutrition and what you should be looking at when you’re viewing your macros.
When you’re out it’s about being prepared for what’s going to happen: you might eat things you normally wouldn’t like a starter, main and dessert. So, it’s important to recognise what might contain more carbs when you think it might contain more fats (such as dessert).
Look at the menu beforehand
Lots of restaurants have their menus online, which means you can view it and make a decision on one or two of the healthy dishes that you might choose when you’re there.
Also, many are now including breakdowns of the amount of calories they include per dish and what types of macros are in them.
Manage your calories throughout the day
If you manage to reduce the amount of total calories you use that day (and even that week: where you reduce your calorie intake by a small amount every day then you will be able to “collect” some by the end of the week).
This way you’ll have allocation in your weekly calorie intake amount and shouldn’t feel so guilty about eating out at the weekend.
Side step the bad parts
Don’t go all in and assume you can eat whatever you want. Chips, nachos with cheese and all of those great tasting foods should be eaten with caution. But, having a steak dinner with green veggies and potatoes would be considered a better choice: washed down with a glass or two of wine.
That’s a whole lot better than making a number of bad choices.
We’ll mention it time and again, but keeping properly hydrated when you’re out is an important stage too. Lots of people will go out for dinner to a local restaurant and forget about what they’ve learnt over the past few months.
So, have a glass or two of water with the wine: it will ensure the wine lasts longer, give you less of a hangover in the morning, and your body will appreciate it.
The whole thinking behind going out for dinner with family and friends is to relax and enjoy the night. But, just keep in mind not to go to either end of the extreme: keep things sensible and take note of the above, and you’ll be full of energy the next day.
Want some help?
If you want a team of professionals to help you along your journey of becoming a healthier and happier individual then take a look at our semi-private personal training programme. Exercise with a local personal trainer in the Ribble Valley at a reduced price, but with all of the motivation.