Need tips on staying socially active and eating at restaurants

Hi all,
People in my city is allowed to have social events (finally) after 4 months of lockdown.
So now i'm getting gathering invitations, wedding birthdays, etc.
I really wanna go.
How do you handle the food situation in such events?
Do you just not eat? Is it polite to do so? Or do you eat only the protein and leave the rest?
What exactly do healthy people do?
The problem is i got invited almost everyday. This is stressing me out.
So help me guys 🥰

Replies

  • belindadjim
    belindadjim Posts: 5 Member
    My question is not covid-related. I need real tips on how to keep your diet on track while attending these social events.
    Thanks everyone 🥰
  • You have a great social life!!
    If you are eating out every day then it’s best not to treat each eating event as a free for all!
    Can you set yourself some guidelines? Such as just having one course, limiting alcohol, limiting side dishes etc.
    Do you always have to say yes to every invite? Can you socialise in other ways like maybe going for coffee or a walk or something?
    Without knowing much about you it’s hard to suggest personalised strategies.
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,633 Member
    normally I say you have to learn how to go out and live life and balance that with a calorie deficit. But you can't really eat out every day like that and easily remain in a deficit.

    whats your calorie limit per day and activity level? that will give us an idea of what we are working with.


    If its just simple SOCIALIZING - skip the food. or have a side salad (dressing on the side) and water/diet soda/ no calorie drink, and enjoy the company. eat your meal at home before you go so you are not hungry and liable to EAT in excess. Many restaraunts/bars will have lower calorie options also, and many have calories posted on their websites or you can find similar meals with calorie counts.

    If more of an EVENT- like a wedding - buffets are usually easy to pick and choose lower calorie items. Even menus where you choose your food ahead of time you can get an idea of calories and work with it.

    For me, it's pretty easy to only eat once a day- so it's not hard to wait until later to eat if I need to for some reason. SO, that could be an option. I would not do this if it is likely to make you binge and eat a LOT though. Everyone is different, in that regard.

    IF you have been weighing and logging your food for some time, it's fairly easy to estimate what you are eating, and if you've been doing with for a relatively long time, be reasonably accurate at doing so.

    steak, grilled chicken breast, steamed veg... all reasonable in calories and easy to estimate portion sizes. dont forget to add on extra cals for butter and oils for meat that you likely dont use at home. i generally tack on an extra 200 cals for that stuff i cant 'see'. sometimes more, depending on what it is.

    Side dishes can be dangerous territory because there can be so much in it thats not seen.

    Keep the foods simple, and it will keep estimating things simpler.

    scale will jump up due to higher sodium intake, even if you are within your calories.

    truly, i would pick and choose which invites mean the most. what are the things that are special? What are the things that are ordinary and you can do any time? maybe on a week when there are not any special events? Just because you are invited to something every day does not mean you have to GO to something every day. that would be exhausting.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
    For restaurants, I try to look at the menu and nutrition info ahead of time if at all possible. I decide what I'm going to get (including drinks/appetizers/dessert if applicable) and pre-log it in my diary on the day as best I can. That way I can "set aside" those calories for the event and make informed choices about what to eat the rest of the day, knowing I'm planning on having a steak dinner later (or whatever). When considering a menu I do also try to choose something reasonable - steamed or baked is better than fried, get as many vegetables as possible, be judicious with drink choice (i.e., if I'm going to be drinking anything other than water, I'm just getting one, so it had better be the good stuff and I had better savor it). Sauce/dressing on the side whenever possible, and ask for a box as soon as your food arrives to pack up half of it right away.

    I'm a huge fan of pre-logging in general, really. I batch-cook and meal prep breakfast and lunch for myself for the workweek, so I can log the whole week's worth of those meals ahead of time on Sunday night and clearly see how many calories I have to work with for dinner each day. I got so far ahead of myself with my batch cooking that I haven't had to cook dinner on a weeknight in over a month (though I think my stash is just about run out at this point, gotta restock the freezer), so I was able to prelog dinner as well.

    What I've done the past couple of weeks is put in my breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and dessert all in advance. Usually that leaves me with a hundred or so "leftover" calories, sometimes 200 or 300. I bank a few of those leftover calories each day and use them on the weekends - I don't prep for the weekends so sometimes it's harder to stick to my budget, but if I save up calories during the week I can go over a bit on Saturday and Sunday and still maintain my deficit for the week. If you've heard of zig-zagging or calorie cycling, it's basically the same idea - looking at your calorie budget at the weekly level rather than daily, as long as you eat 10,500 total calories for the week (or however many, that's just an example figure), it doesn't actually matter how they're distributed across the 7 days. The same principle governs intermittent/alternate-day fasting ways of eating. As another example, earlier this summer I had a milestone birthday and I knew I wanted to enjoy my dinner that day, so I intentionally cut my daily calorie budget for the surrounding week by about 200/day, then added 1400 calories to the day of. I'm told there are people who can do this without writing anything down or doing any math, but I'm pretty sure that's witchcraft. ;)
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,612 Member
    I have a pretty healthy social life but:
    1-) I do not do all of my socializing over food. Game nights, hiking, walking, horse rental trail rides, movies, etc. are part of it.
    2-) even when food is included it is not always a MEAL - going out for coffee is a thing where you can skip the food, sometimes it's wine and I have _a_ glass.
    3-) when I DO go out for a meal, if it's happening more than once in a while I go 'salad/chicken' and drink unsweetened tea or some reasonably healthy appetizer.

    I'm going to tell you straight up though that I don't think always socializing via going out to eat is particularly mentally healthy. It's hard to associate food that strongly with good times and friends - to the degree it's all you do - and deal with weight loss. Part of weight loss is getting those things (food and fun/entertainment) to not be such a 1-1 connection.
  • COGypsy
    COGypsy Posts: 790 Member
    I despise cooking, so pre-covid I ate out 3-5 times a week and now I get delivery only slightly less often. My rules are pretty simple. Basically, just because I'm not cooking food in my house doesn't mean every meal is a special occasion. I save appetizers, desserts, and multiple cocktails for truly special occasions. Sometimes I'll have one beer with dinner if the place has anything particularly interesting (craft beer is a HUGE thing in my area). I'll usually have a bite or a portion of a shared appetizer, but I never order one for myself. Most of the time I order what I should, even if it's not what sounds the best. In a calorie-free world, I'd have the Alfredo pasta with sausage and garlic bread and a Caesar salad. In a more moderate world, it's the grilled chicken and steamed vegetables or a pasta primavera. I also only ever eat half and take the rest for breakfast or lunch the next day.

    I've lost about 40 pounds and maintained that loss for 5+ years eating this way and I don't think my friends have ever even noticed that I do this when I go out.
  • mourvedre
    mourvedre Posts: 107 Member
    Plan your meals for the entire day, and factor-in the activities.
  • laurad1978
    laurad1978 Posts: 190 Member
    Same as others have said I pre plan and pre log everything that I can picking the healthier option. Also if I have more than 1 invite for a meal out in a week I will usually go to one of the events late, just joining for a coffee after the meal. If that's not possible I'll make sure to get an extra exercise session in to account for it.
    I'm also finding since covid restrictions have lifted people are happy to go for a walk or do some form of activity followed by a coffee to catch up - generally people are craving social interaction as opposed to the actual eating out. Maybe suggest some alternatives.
  • westrich20940
    westrich20940 Posts: 505 Member
    I eat what I want. I try my best to go back and log what I ate - and choose something that I think matches the best...but ultimately if you are over eating by some amount for a wedding/party --- as long as that's not routine, it's not going to kill all the progress you've made.

    If you are going to social gatherings of this sort every weekend...then maybe it might if you are overeating. You can try your best to stay within your calorie goal on the days you have these types of events (knowing that you will mostly likely be logging some 'equivalent' meal that is an estimate of what you ate) or you can maybe cut out like...100 calories from each week day to make sure that you're good to go on the weekend. But this is also just an estimate if you are unable to choose accurate entries from the database.

    I do not 'not eat' at social gatherings --- but I will say I feel I have much more self-control now than I used to. I used to just continually snack...now I make a plate, and that's it.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 40,986 Member
    In general, I'd say plan ahead. When I have an occasion that I know there will be a lot of food, etc I will usually have a light breakfast and skip lunch or just have a little snack if it's something that is starting mid to late afternoon. That said, I'm also pretty active and have a relatively high TDEE so a day here and there of indulgence isn't going to matter much in the big picture.

    Realistically, having food socials every single day is likely not going to do you any favors for either losing weight or even maintaining weight. Not that it can't be done, but I would imagine one would have to do a whole heck of a lot of pretty meticulous planning.

    I'm a social creature, but I have my limits. No way I'm attending social events every single day. I have a lot of other things to take care of in my life with work, family, me time, hobbies, proper sleep, etc. I love getting together with my friends but I'm not doing that on the daily.

    I'd also say that not all of my social engagements revolve around food or solely around food. We have our fair share of BBQs and pool parties, but often our engagements are getting together for a road ride or getting together to hit up the trails for a few hours of mountain biking or hiking. These are sometimes followed by a stop to get some breakfast or lunch, but nothing out of the ordinary...I was going to have breakfast or lunch anyway.

    You also don't have to eat all the foodz at these kinds of things. Both of my boys play soccer and we'll often get together with the other team parents afterwards...Saturday we all met up on the patio at Village Pizza after an 11:00AM game. I had two slices and a salad for lunch along with a diet coke. I didn't stuff an entire pie in my face and drink a pitcher of beer with it. You're in control of what you choose to do. Just because it's there doesn't mean you need to overly indulge in something.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 25,203 Member
    edited September 2021
    I have a pretty healthy social life but:
    1-) I do not do all of my socializing over food. Game nights, hiking, walking, horse rental trail rides, movies, etc. are part of it.
    2-) even when food is included it is not always a MEAL - going out for coffee is a thing where you can skip the food, sometimes it's wine and I have _a_ glass.
    3-) when I DO go out for a meal, if it's happening more than once in a while I go 'salad/chicken' and drink unsweetened tea or some reasonably healthy appetizer.

    I'm going to tell you straight up though that I don't think always socializing via going out to eat is particularly mentally healthy. It's hard to associate food that strongly with good times and friends - to the degree it's all you do - and deal with weight loss. Part of weight loss is getting those things (food and fun/entertainment) to not be such a 1-1 connection.

    I agree with that, but I also think that it can be not mentally healthy to routinely avoid social events with food because it's hard to resist, or hard to count. I see people here sometimes who start rejecting nearly all social events because of anxiety about food and weight. It's a question of finding a healthy balance, as with so many things involved with weight loss and (perhaps especially) weight maintenance. (I do like your 1-3 list, though.)

    OP, to some extent during weight loss, and even more so now (year 5+ of maintaining a healthy weight), I try to keep straight in my head when something is a truly special (i.e. rare) occasion during which food is part of the specialness, vs. treating every social occasion as unbridled eating (even if that's how others treat the occasion).

    If I go to a truly special restaurant, or have a holiday meal with family, I'm not frantically calorie counting to keep a deficit, or necessarily even keep to maintenance calories. I'm going to try to be reasonable, but I'm going to enjoy the special food.

    On the other hand, if I go to a restaurant with friends as a regular kind of event once a week or whatever, I'm going to figure out something on the menu that I can order, and keep things reasonable. I may eat lighter earlier in the day, or something like that, if it makes sense and is needful.

    In general, with restaurants (except that "rare visit to extraordinary place" thing), I'm going to be looking at the menu in advance, and figuring out what I can eat that I can enjoy, but keep calories manageable. (I'm vegetarian besides being weight-conscious, which adds an extra layer to that consideration. Especially when traveling and eating only at restaurants with others, I need to get rational veggie protein in the day someplace, somehow. Nutrition is important, too.)

    IMO, a lot of foods at routine celebrations aren't very good, and that helps me. (YMMV, but for example those birthday cakes with heaps of vegetable-shortening frosting are kind of disgusting, in my world. So not worth the calories! If the event requires, I may take a piece, maybe eat a bite or two of the cake part, then sort of mess with it until I can gracefully dump the rest. Gotta have priorities for my calories, not wasting them on blah food.)

    While losing, I'd think about how my net deficit was looking for the week, maybe eat closer to maintenance or even a above now and then (rarely), if it seemed worth it. If I was under for the week, I'd still lose weight, after all. Now, in maintenance, I eat a little (100-150 calories) under true maintenance most days, so that I can indulge a bit once a week or so, because that works well for me.

    Balance. Balance of short term goals (the yummies, the socializing) against long term goals (health, including healthy weight).

    You can figure this out. Calorie counting helps, or at least it helped me: It really clarified what indulgences were worth it, and when, as long as I logged *everything* while I was figuring that out. If, after the fact, some eating wasn't worth its calories to me, I made new plans about how to handle similar situations in future, test drove those next time, kept adjusting. That can work.

    You don't have to figure this all out on day 1. You can work at it, learn, evolve it, succeed.
  • neanderthin
    neanderthin Posts: 7,832 Member
    edited September 2021
    People's eating styles are as diverse as there are people. Personally I don't pay any attention to what someone else is eating and don't care what peoples thoughts may be by observing what I'm eating. imo. If your worried about overeating, just try and eat less than your instinct tells you and you should be fine. The Japanese call it hara hachi bu which is eat 80% until full.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,687 Member
    edited September 2021
    People's eating styles are as diverse as there are people. Personally I don't pay any attention to what someone else is eating and don't care what peoples thoughts may be by observing what I'm eating. imo. If your worried about overeating, just try and eat less than your instinct tells you and you should be fine. The Japanese call it hara hachi bu which is eat 80% until full.

    I've heard about this in an Ayurvedic context:

    https://www.sleekgeek.co.za/80percentfull/

    ...There is a Japanese practice called “hara hachi bu” as a means to help regulate appetite and avoid overeating without the need to count calories.

    ...It’s believed to be an important factor in the attributed mindfulness and longevity of their population. Interestingly enough, some sort of calorie restriction practice is common throughout a variety of different cultures, other than the Japanese, such as:
    • Ayurvedic tradition (eat until 75% full).
    • Islamic Qu’ran guidelines (excess eating is a sin).
    • The prophet Muhammad (describing a full belly as 1/3 food, 1/3 liquid, and 1/3 air – aka only 2/3 full).
    • German expression (“Tie off the sack before it gets completely full”).
    • Indian proverb (“Drink your food and chew your drink”).
    • French expression (“I have no more hunger” as opposed to saying “I’m full”).
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,687 Member
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    I have a pretty healthy social life but:
    1-) I do not do all of my socializing over food. Game nights, hiking, walking, horse rental trail rides, movies, etc. are part of it.
    2-) even when food is included it is not always a MEAL - going out for coffee is a thing where you can skip the food, sometimes it's wine and I have _a_ glass.
    3-) when I DO go out for a meal, if it's happening more than once in a while I go 'salad/chicken' and drink unsweetened tea or some reasonably healthy appetizer.

    I'm going to tell you straight up though that I don't think always socializing via going out to eat is particularly mentally healthy. It's hard to associate food that strongly with good times and friends - to the degree it's all you do - and deal with weight loss. Part of weight loss is getting those things (food and fun/entertainment) to not be such a 1-1 connection.

    I agree with that, but I also think that it can be not mentally healthy to routinely avoid social events with food because it's hard to resist, or hard to count. I see people here sometimes who start rejecting nearly all social events because of anxiety about food and weight. It's a question of finding a healthy balance, as with so many things involved with weight loss and (perhaps especially) weight maintenance. (I do like your 1-3 list, though.)

    OP, to some extent during weight loss, and even more so now (year 5+ of maintaining a healthy weight), I try to keep straight in my head when something is a truly special (i.e. rare) occasion during which food is part of the specialness, vs. treating every social occasion as unbridled eating (even if that's how others treat the occasion).

    If I go to a truly special restaurant, or have a holiday meal with family, I'm not frantically calorie counting to keep a deficit, or necessarily even keep to maintenance calories. I'm going to try to be reasonable, but I'm going to enjoy the special food.

    On the other hand, if I go to a restaurant with friends as a regular kind of event once a week or whatever, I'm going to figure out something on the menu that I can order, and keep things reasonable. I may eat lighter earlier in the day, or something like that, if it makes sense and is needful.

    In general, with restaurants (except that "rare visit to extraordinary place" thing), I'm going to be looking at the menu in advance, and figuring out what I can eat that I can enjoy, but keep calories manageable. (I'm vegetarian besides being weight-conscious, which adds an extra layer to that consideration. Especially when traveling and eating only at restaurants with others, I need to get rational veggie protein in the day someplace, somehow. Nutrition is important, too.)

    IMO, a lot of foods at routine celebrations aren't very good, and that helps me. (YMMV, but for example those birthday cakes with heaps of vegetable-shortening frosting are kind of disgusting, in my world. So not worth the calories! If the event requires, I may take a piece, maybe eat a bite or two of the cake part, then sort of mess with it until I can gracefully dump the rest. Gotta have priorities for my calories, not wasting them on blah food.)
    [snip]

    Yes, at the last wedding I attended the food was dreadful.
  • rosebarnalice
    rosebarnalice Posts: 3,493 Member
    As a vegan, I've long been in the habit of eating before I head out to a reception or "free food" event because I assume there won't be much there that I can-- or will-- eat. And Surprise! I've never been to an event where there was a food cop asking why I had no plate and a Diet Coke from the bar.

    For restaurant meetup kind of occasions, I'm in the habit of checking the menu in advance so I know what I can order beforehand. If there's not much of interest, I'll plan to eat before I go and then maybe order a side salad just to be social.
  • belindadjim
    belindadjim Posts: 5 Member
    Thank you all for your kind advice!! I guess this is something new that i have to learn. Trials and errors here I come 🥲