The exercise component of fitness is easy. Once you get in the groove of your program and form the habit, it's almost like you are on auto- pilot.
A lot of the people I consult with have no problem with committing to a regular exercise regiment. The problem pops up when it's time to develop consistent, disciplined, healthy eating habits.
Building a solid nutritional foundation seems to be the most difficult part of the fitness lifestyle for many, many people. It can be especially challenging when dining out.
Dining out seems to be when the rules just fly out the window — worse than at a Lindsay Lohan trial. What with the appetizers, Caesar salad, entree, dessert and drinks, did you know that more than an entire day's worth of calories can be consumed in one meal?
And you wonder why that scale just refuses to cooperate with you. But there is hope. You can be on your best behavior at T.G.I.Friday's, and enjoy yourself doing it.
Here's how ...
1. Make a plan in advance. Look at the menu online, and make the healthiest option you'd enjoy. Then stick to the plan.
2. Eat a small, healthful snack before dining out. If you go into the restaurant less hungry, you'll be able to select with your head rather than your stomach.
3. Load up on vegetables. Most of the starchy sides on restaurant menus are loaded with butter and oil, so ask for a double portion of unbuttered vegetables. This will reduce your calories at the meal, and the fiber will fill you up.
4. Make simple, healthful changes to the meals you enjoy. If you want a burger, get a burger. Skip the cheese and mayo, and you'll save a rack of calories. Eat half the burger, and double up on the veggies (see No. 3) and you'll save even more without really missing it.
5. Drink water or tea not soda. Some experts argue that the high-fructose corn syrup used in soda might actually shut off the chemical messengers in your brain that tell you you're full. So drink water or tea instead and listen to your body.
6. Socializing over a meal iis a good thing. Having a meal with good company can even make you healthier, according to some experts. Get out there and don't be a healthy hermit. Learning to make the right choices while dining out can make a huge impact on looking and feeling your best, not to mention your social life.
Chad Smith offers ways to get off that couch and get fit and healthy. He is co-owner of Home Team Fitness, LLC, a Hagerstown Personal Training company. For information, visit www.hometeamfitness.net, or find him on Facebook www.facebook.com/hometeamfitness.
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