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How You Can Lose Fat Without Giving Up Your Favourite Restaurant

Jun 11, 2024

Picture this: you're seated in a high-end restaurant, the kind with soft ambient lighting, elegant décor, and a menu that reads like a culinary poem.

You're a high-achieving executive, juggling board meetings and business deals, and you're determined to lose fat without sacrificing these indulgent experiences.

It sounds like a paradox, doesn't it?

But like all good paradoxes, it contains a hidden truth. You can indeed dine at your favorite restaurants and still shed those unwanted pounds. Here’s how.

Plan Ahead: The Strategic Offensive

Think of dining out as a strategic offensive, much like planning a major business deal. Preparation is your best weapon. Before you even step into the restaurant, scan the menu online. This simple act gives you control over what might otherwise be an unpredictable battlefield.

Here’s the strategy: Look for dishes that are grilled, baked, or steamed. Focus on lean proteins such as chicken, fish, or fillet steak, accompanied by a vibrant array of vegetables. Skip the bread basket—it's a trap. And always, always ask for dressing on the side. By planning ahead, you enter the restaurant armed with knowledge and ready to make choices that align with your goals.

Portion Control: The Precision of Hand Portions

Imagine a sprawling empire. Maintaining control requires strategic division. The same principle applies to portion control at restaurants, and Precision Nutrition’s ‘Hand Method’ is your blueprint for success. Your hand is always with you, making it the perfect tool for managing portions, even when dining out.

Here’s how to use it:

  • Protein: Measure your protein using the size of your palm. For women, one palm-sized portion per meal; for men, two palm-sized portions. Think of a grilled chicken breast or a piece of salmon.

  • Vegetables: Gauge your vegetable intake with your fist. For women, one fist-sized portion per meal; for men, two fist-sized portions. This could be a side of steamed broccoli or a fresh garden salad.

  • Carbohydrates: Use a cupped hand to measure carbs. For women, one cupped hand per meal; for men, two cupped hands. Picture a serving of quinoa or a baked potato.

  • Fats: Measure fats with your thumb. For women, one thumb-sized portion per meal; for men, two thumb-sized portions. Consider a serving of avocado or a drizzle of olive oil.

By applying this method, you can manage portion sizes intuitively and effectively, maintaining control without the need for scales or measuring cups.

Drink Smart: The Invisible Calories

Beverages can be the stealthy saboteurs of your diet, much like hidden costs in a budget. They add up quickly and often go unnoticed. Alcohol and sugary drinks, in particular, can derail your efforts.

Here are 3 steps to regain control:

  1. Choose water or unsweetened beverages.
  2. If you indulge in alcohol, opt for a glass of wine or a light beer, steering clear of calorie-laden cocktails.
  3. Limit yourself to one drink. This keeps your calorie intake in check without compromising your enjoyment.

By being mindful of your drink choices, you maintain control over your dietary intake and you allow your guests to have drink without feeling judged or inferior for doing so.

Be Mindful of Sauces and Dressings: The Hidden Culprits

Sauces and dressings are like the fine print in a contract. They seem innocuous but can carry significant hidden implications. A seemingly healthy salad can turn into a calorie bomb with the wrong dressing.

To sidestep these hidden pitfalls:

  1. Request sauces and dressings on the side.
  2. Use them sparingly - just enough to enhance the flavour without overwhelming the dish.
  3. Opt for vinaigrettes over creamy dressings whenever possible.

This subtle shift can dramatically reduce your calorie consumption while still allowing you to savor your meal.

Choose the Right Restaurants: The Allies in Your Mission

Not all restaurants are allies in your mission to stay fit. Some are better equipped to support your goals than others. Selecting the right venue is akin to choosing the right business partner.

For example, seek out restaurants that emphasise fresh, whole foods and offer a variety of vegetable and lean protein dishes.

All of my clients have their 'go-to' Japanese, Mediterranean and Steak restaurant. These often provide healthier options compared to fast food joints or greasy diners. By choosing your dining venues wisely, you align yourself with establishments that support your health ambitions.

Practice Mindful Eating: The Art of Presence

Mindful eating is about being fully present, much like focusing on a crucial negotiation. It's about savoring each bite and listening to your body’s signals.

Here’s what to do next: Slow down and truly taste your food. Put your fork down between bites and chew thoroughly. This practice not only enhances your enjoyment but also gives your brain time to register that you’re full, preventing overeating.

Make eating a game. Aim to be the last person at the table to finish the meal. This allows enough time for you to feel full plus it forces you to chew your food properly and saviour the meal. All of which reduces the risk of you grabbing a calorie laden dessert.

Keep Active: The Counterbalance

Maintaining an active lifestyle is your counterbalance to indulgent meals. Even with a packed schedule, incorporating physical activity is non-negotiable.

For example, take a brisk 30-minute walk in the morning or after dinner. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, and find moments to stand or walk during phone calls. This consistent activity offsets extra calories and keeps you on track.

Make Balanced Choices: The Equilibrium

Balance is the cornerstone of sustainable health. If you anticipate a decadent dinner, keep your other meals light and nutritious.

To get started:

  1. Eat a protein-rich breakfast like Greek yogurt mixdd with protein powder and berries.
  2. Have a light salad with lean protein for lunch.
  3. Snack on fruits, nuts, or vegetables throughout the day.

By maintaining this equilibrium, you can indulge at dinner without derailing your health goals.

Stay Hydrated: The Essential Element

Water is to your body what oil is to an engine - essential for smooth operation. Sometimes thirst masquerades as hunger, leading to unnecessary snacking.

Here are 3 steps to stay hydrated:

  1. Drink a glass of water before meals.
  2. Sip water consistently throughout the day.
  3. Carry a reusable water bottle with you as a constant reminder.

Staying hydrated helps control your appetite and supports overall health.

Prioritise Sleep: The Silent Partner

Sleep is your silent partner in weight management. Lack of rest can trigger increased hunger and cravings, undermining your efforts.

To enhance your sleep:

  1. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
  2. Establish a regular sleep schedule.
  3. Create a calming bedtime routine, such as reading or meditating.

Prioritising sleep supports your body’s ability to regulate hunger and maintain a healthy weight.

The Integrated Strategy

Losing fat while enjoying restaurant meals is not only possible but entirely within your grasp. By planning ahead, controlling portions with the Hand Method, making smart drink choices, being mindful of sauces, choosing supportive restaurants, practicing mindful eating, staying active, making balanced choices, staying hydrated, and prioritizing sleep, you can achieve your fitness goals without sacrificing the joy of dining out. Implement these strategies today, and relish the best of both worlds.


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