Get in Shape the Right Way

Healthy Eating in Social Settings

Dealing With Fitness Peer Pressure…

Staying in shape is already hard enough while you are at home.  The one thing I have found very difficult is trying to stick with your healthy eating habits while out with friends or colleagues.

If this is your first time reading one of my blog posts, I am an Area Sales Manager for an industrial equipment company.  I cover five states for my sales territory and do most of my business through distributors.  Working with distributors is fine and all, but typically that means I, as the “vendor”, am taking out salesmen and management of my distributor staff for either lunch or dinner.

The problem is that I am typically the only one at the table trying to eat somewhat healthy.

healthy business meal tips

Here’s how a typical dinner goes…

  • “Who wants a drink?”  I go buy a round…
  • “You guys don’t want any appetizers, do you?” Of course they do… 
  • “Another round?” Does a bear shit in the woods?
  • “I guess we’re ready to order…”
  • “Another round?”  Do I have to ask?
  • “Who wants dessert?  I heard the chocolate, vanilla, fudge, belly buster is delicious!”  Just pull the trigger…
  • “C’mon Zach, just one more…”  No thanks, I have to drive…  You can have one more, I’m going to grab a coffee…

Yes, that really is how the majority of my business dinners tend to go.

How in the world can you stay in shape in situations like that?

Confused About Healthy Meals

I’m glad you ask!  I have a few tips and tricks that I typically use to make sure I stick to my diet before heading out to dinner for the night.

Before Dinner:

  • Eat something small at the hotel before going out.  Usually the hotel will leave out some fruit to munch on.  Grab an apple and eat it on your way.  This will help with over eating and going crazy on cravings…
  • Scope out the menu online before leaving.  It gets hard to say no to certain foods when you are “in the moment”.  If you can, pull up the menu online prior to going out and figure out what you intend to eat.  This will help keep you on track.
  • Throughout the day, drop hints of your new healthy lifestyle.  Make sure you tell the people you are going out to dinner with about your new healthy lifestyle changes.  This already brings down their guard and sets the tone to know you will not be feeding like a shark.  Make sure you drop hints on how hard your have been working to stay in shape and how difficult it really is during these types of settings…  They will understand…

During Dinner:

  • Swap the french fries and other fried deliciousness for green veggies.  Swapping french fries for broccoli can save you a couple hundred calories!  Restaurant style french fries typically can pack around a 250 calorie punch!  A cup of broccoli only has approximately 40-50 calories!  I’ve never been to a restaurant that won’t let you swap for some sort of vegetable…
  • Go with light beer or mix drinks with diet tonic’s/soda water.  My typical choice is either Miller Light (96 Calories, 3.2g Carbs) or Michelob Ultra (95 Calories, 2.6g Carbs)  I know…  Who drinks that pee water?  Well, I love beer just as much as the next guy, but as beer gets darker and heavier (and more delicious), it also brings along extra calories and carb content.  I try to stick with something that tastes “decent” and allows me to still be social with my colleagues… 
    • For example, my absolute favorite beer is Founders Breakfast Stout (12oz = 250 Calories and 21g Carbs).  You bet your sweet buns that I still have those as a treat every now and then!
  • Make fried appetizers, well, less fried…  Let’s take mozzarella sticks for example, I typically try to remove a majority of the fried, breaded coating and reveal that sweet, greasy, gooey, cheesy center!  Removing the breading will help lower calorie, carb and fat content…
  • You can still have dessert!  Choose something that isn’t a pie, brownie, or other sweet treat…  Many restaurants offer fresh fruit with cream or yogurt.  This makes a fairly healthy alternative.
  • Go grilled!  Steaks, chicken, fresh fish, etc…  I always look for a grilled entree that is not lathered in some sort of sauce. 
  • So you ordered a sandwich, huh?  No problem!  If it’s a burger or grilled chicken sandwich, just remove the bun (or at least the top half) and eat it with a fork and knife…

Congratulations!  You’ve Done It!

Fitness Struggles

You have now escaped that social meal with friends or business colleagues without completely setting back your fitness progress!  Keep in mind, this would not necessarily be considered optimal…  If you can, ditch the appetizer and the dessert (grab coffee instead).

Now, let me remind you, I’m in sales and I know it is important to still “entertain” at these types of meals, so sometimes you have to make due with the hand you’re dealt…

If you can follow some or (if you’re awesome) ALL of the tips I have outlined above, you are well on your way to that new, slimmer, more healthy, you…

I want to hear from you! 

Post in the comments below about something you struggle with during social settings.  What do you try to overcome in order to stay in shape!  Let’s help each other out!

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