Dining Out

Do you find it stressful going out to eat while trying to stick to a healthy lifestyle of eating?  If you answered “yes” you are not alone.  Food and eating have become more than just a way to stay alive. We center food on celebrations, family gatherings and use it as a way of sharing our traditions. However, changing your eating habits seems for most people to be more difficult when you are forced into social situations.   Sometimes the pressure is too much!

Whether you realize it or not, you are exposed to the social pressures of eating quite often. When
eating out, staying on track with a healthy eating plan might be more challenging. Restaurants know exactly how much sugar; fat and salt (the evil trinity) to add to their dishes to have us love it, finish it all and come back for more. We all crave the evil trinity, so the more control you have over the food and the better you prepare the better off you’ll be.

1. Drink plenty of water – during and before any social occasion which most likely will
serve food. It will fill you up, as well as help you to stay focused on your plan. Water is
also great for your metabolism!

2. Plan ahead – If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. If you know your schedule for the day includes a meal out, try to eat a little less starch (rice, pasta, potato and bread) during the day. This will save you a few calories to spend on that meal. However, DO NOT fast the whole day in preparation of the event, since your hunger will only become your worst enemy.

3. Order at home – not literally. Get the name of the restaurant and find their menu on line. You can look it over and know exactly what you will be ordering before you ever walk in. This prevents impulse ordering or joining in on whatever anyone else is doing.

4. Pre-eat – eat right before you go to the restaurant or event. If you arrive hungry…you will eat everything and eat it all way too quickly. An example: you will eat all the bread, order an appetizer, main dish and dessert. This is not the optimal plan so get something in your stomach to prevent this from happening to you.

A Tip: bring a whey based (not soy) protein bar on your way to go eat. This will “prime the pump”, by that I mean you will avoid excess hunger because you have just eaten. “You only have will power when you are full”.

5. Take it slow – use this social situation to talk and make conversation before putting your hand in that bread basket! Remember, it takes about 20 minutes for the stretch receptors in your stomach to stretch and send a chemical signal to your brain to let you know that your stomach is full. Everyone has at one point or another, eaten to pain. This usually means you were eating way too fast (usually due to excessive hunger).

Tip: eat with your non-dominant hand
Tip: “don’t pre load the fork”. So while you are chewing…don’t stab the food and ready your fork.
These will surely slow you down and help you eat less and feel better after the meal.

6. Special Order (even if it’s just a little) – sometimes we don’t want to draw too much attention to ourselves while ordering, but it can help in big ways.

  • Order sauces and dressing on the side to help save lots of calories
  • Nothing fried or sautéed (fancy word for frying). Vegetables should be steamed or grilled. (this alone can save over a hundred calories in oil)

7. Take a good look before you make a decision at a buffet. When eating from a buffet, take some time to weigh all your options before you fill your plate, then select foods that fit your meal plan. Try a little first, and only eat what you like. Don’t just eat it because it is on your plate.

8. Add some Fiber. Selecting foods high in fiber such as vegetables, whole grains and fruits with skin will make you feel fuller faster.  You’ll have less room for tempting foods later.

9. Portions – not only at a restaurant but at an event such as a wedding or dinner parties too, “When the ‘what’ is not up to you the ‘how much’ always is.”

Most of us know portion control is critical but the food tastes too good while it sits in front of you for too long. This is a sure fire recipe for overeating. If this is the case, then really pay attention to portion control. Most restaurants serve too much food, so do not feel a need to finish everything. If you leave enough over, you won’t have to plan dinner for the following night!

A tip: ask them bring only half the meal and wrap the other half up and take it to go…now there’s no chance of eating it all.

Remember eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures and dining out helps make it even better…don’t let it become something to dread. Use these tips and have fun.

Balancing Meals: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats

Balancing Meals: Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats

Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats, also known as macronutrients, all play a role in the growth, development of muscle and in the loss of fat. There are many diets out there that may recommend avoiding one of these macronutrients. However, it is the combination of protein, fats, and carbohydrates that enables your metabolism and your body to work properly.

It’s like paper, sticks and logs in a fire, all three are needed to make it burn bright. You need carbs, proteins and fats for optimal energy output.


Protein is necessary for almost every function performed by the cells, and aside from water, it is the most plentiful substance in the body. We do not store protein the way we do Carbs and fat, so you need to have it at every meal. Proteins help give structure to the cells and are important for the growth and development of all body tissues. Proteins are also used to make hormones, enzymes and antibodies. Nutritionally, protein can also serve as an energy source and yields four calories per gram. Having protein at every meal and snack helps to give you a feeling of satisfaction and allow you to repair and grow your muscles, as well as, feel full until the following meal or snack.

Protein is composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks for the proteins. The human body needs about 20 amino acids in specific sequences to make various body tissues. Of these 20 amino acids, about half cannot be made by the human body and must be supplied by the diet. The amino acids that are not made in the body are called essential amino acids. Some proteins, such as those from animal sources are considered complete and provide all 20 of the amino acids. Other proteins, such as those found in grains are considered incomplete because they do not contain an adequate amount of one or more of the essential amino acids. Of the incomplete proteins, some can be complimentary and provide all of the essential amino acids in a meal when eaten together. One such example is rice and beans.

If the body is deficient in protein, symptoms such as fatigue, insulin resistance, hair loss, muscle

loss, low body temperature, and hormonal irregularities may occur.                    


Fat is a necessary dietary component that provides flavor and aroma to food. Fats prolong

digestion, which creates a longer lasting sensation of fullness. Fats also play a vital role in

maintaining healthy skin and nails, insulating body organs from shock, maintaining body

temperature, and promoting healthy cell function. Fats act as carriers for fat soluble vitamins,

which include vitamins A, D, E, and K.

There are two types of fats: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats, such as animal fats (i.e. the white fat around and through a steak), coconut oil, and palm oil, are usually solid at room temperature. Diets high in saturated fats may lead to increased incidence of coronary heart disease. Unsaturated fats, which usually are from vegetable sources, are primarily liquid at room temperature. Unsaturated fats can be monounsaturated such as those found in olive oil or canola oil, or they can be polyunsaturated, such as those found in walnuts and safflower oil. Polyunsaturated fats have been found to lower total cholesterol, including HDL, the “good cholesterol”. Monounsaturated fats have been found to lower total cholesterol, but have also been found to increase the HDL.

Fats serve as energy stores for the body, and the fatty acids are a great source of energy for many tissues, especially heart and skeletal muscle. Each gram of fat yields 9 calories, providing more than two times the amount of energy than either protein or carbohydrates.

Fats provide us with certain essential fatty acids. If someone is deficient in fats, he/she can

develop a dry scaly rash, increased susceptibility to infection, and/or poor wound healing.


Carbohydrates are the body’s primary fuel source for most functions, and each gram of carbohydrate yields four calories. Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy needed for the muscles, brain and central nervous system. As a result, carbohydrates provide the bulk of calories in the diet. Daily intake should be at least 50% of total caloric intake. By providing the body with enough carbohydrates, you are sparing protein for muscle building. Moreover, carbohydrates help to maintain satiety by keeping glycogen (the stored form of carbohydrates) stores full and by adding bulk to the diet.

There are 3 types of carbohydrates: simple carbohydrates (i.e. sugar), complex carbohydrates (i.e. starch), and indigestible carbohydrates (i.e. fiber). Simple carbohydrates are broken down very quickly. These carbohydrates are said to cause an extreme rise in blood sugar which in term, increases the release of insulin, which can elevate appetite and fat storage. Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly, and have been shown to cause a moderate rise in blood sugar since it enters the bloodstream more gradually than simple carbohydrates. Therefore, insulin is released more moderately and stabilizes appetite and fat storage. Finally, fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested, and is therefore not absorbed by the body. Fiber, however, does have many health benefits, including decreasing cholesterol, slowing sugar absorption, adding bulk to the diet to aid in satiety, and changing the rate of digestion.


Each macronutrient has its own role in maintaining and energizing the body. No one macronutrient can undertake all of the body’s roles, nor is any single macronutrient responsible for weight gain. By combining carbohydrates, fats, and protein at each meal and snack, you are enabling your body and your metabolism to work most efficiently.

A dozen ways to get back to your New Year’s resolutions

  1. Don’t beat yourself up about things. Nothing you do today will make you 600lbs…so it’s not
    what you do today…it’s about what you keep doing.
  2. Drink more water. Don’t drink anything with calories or bubbles. Bubbles because they are acidic and that can cause / exacerbate joint pain and may leach calcium out of your bones to maintain the body’s equilibrium.
  3. Sleep a little more. Critical for Hormonal regulation and repair. If you don’t sleep enough…you will be hungrier and be unable to repair you Lean Body Mass (LBM = muscle).
  4. Limit your alcohol…it goes directly to fat storage. Only drink tropical drinks (Pina Coladas, etc) if you hear live steel drums…they have plenty of alcohol and sugar calories.
  5. Plan ahead….what and when you will eat. The worst situation to be in is: “I am starving…what should I eat”. This means you waited too long to eat and now you will crave foods, and that means poor choices. “ You only have will power when you are full.”
  6. Try and to cut out high calorie (expensive) foods. You must “caloric-ally cheapen” your meals. That means grilling instead of frying or no cheese, less oil, etc.
  7. Eat more times. Eating 3x per day is for prison and not optimization. Eat 6 times per day to keep blood sugar and energy levels steady. The goal is Breakfast, Brunch, Lunch, Dunch, Dinner and supper.
  8. Be careful about stimulants (example is caffeine)…they are appetite suppressants and not appetite eliminators. This means that you don’t feel your hunger but it is still there…growing in the background. So later on…it’s super powerful and you find yourself over eating.
  9. Control your stress. Get a massage or go meditate, or at least do something that makes you happy. Stress is bad for the body and it can cause the release of cortisol (a hormone) which is catabolic or breaks down muscle. This is bad, as muscle is metabolically active and is tied into your metabolism. The less muscle you have the lower your strength and endurance will be. Not to mention the worse you look.
  10. Don’t bother with a cleanse…you’re not that dirty. They are costly and you have organs (liver
    and kidneys) that function as the body’s cleaners / filters…and they do a great job. Cleanses are
    usually very low in protein or have none at all, which is sub-optimal for your lean body mass
  11. Remember the “Egg Theory”. If on the way home from the grocery store you break one egg in
    the dozen you just bought…you don’t throw out the whole dozen eggs…just the one broken egg.
    Every meal is its own egg and you will break one (mess up / go off your plan) from time to
    time….do not throw out the whole day or week. Just get back on your plan because overeating
    food doesn’t change your body in one day.
  12. There is no “perfect meal plan”…if you shoot for something that is not real…you will always miss
    and fail. Just do a little better today than yesterday and you will be in great shape. Pun intended