Mmmmm food…. Some people live to eat while others eat to live, but in a town with so many awesome eateries to frequent, how can a person keep their beach bod while still embarking on all the yummy gustatory adventures Springfield, Mo has to offer? Before we can get into some tips on keeping that girlish (or boyish) figure while eating out, I have a question to ask all those whose willpower goes missing when some awesome Italian food or oily Chinese food shows up on the table: is eating an escape for you?
Picture this: you have gotten into some serious problems with work or, heaven forbid, you lose your job unexpectedly. Are you someone who overeats to avoid your feelings? If so, food may be an addiction for you. Do you eat out of joy, or do you eat looking for joy? Do you eat to celebrate life, or are you waiting to get off work so you can go home and finish off that gallon of ice cream you bought three days ago? Addiction isn’t limited to food, many people look for joy via sex, alcohol and drugs. Keep in mind that the infrequent binge isn’t included in this scenario. For those who do have a night or two a month where you allow yourself to gorge on local delicacies, but aren’t trying to escape life via the bottom of a buffet table, I wouldn’t worry too much about it being a real issue.
But what happens when our job or career requires that we meet people out and about regularly? How can we manage our dietary intake while still enjoying a busy lifestyle?
Taking a cue from my friends in Asia, this is what I do when I am out and about, busy meeting people, women’s networking circles and other business communities in town where food and alcohol is abundant:
- Choose Natural Foods over Processed Ones
In Asia, I feel that people have more regular access to fresh whole foods than here in America. Even if you buy a bowl of noodle soup, the noodles are often made out of rice flour by hand and go bad within hours. Yes, noodles do undergo a process to be made into the end-product (after all, I have never heard of a noodle-bush or noodle-tree), but the processing is usually only one or two steps. At most restaurants in Malaysia, they serve white or brown rice, with either raw or lightly cooked vegetables, wish a main dish such as steamed fish or grilled chicken.
Come back to the U.S.A. and most menus serve a few things that are deep fried in vats of oil, are boneless, processed and full of preservatives. So, the next time you are eating out and about with friends, family or that special someone, choose something on the menu that is found in nature. Dishes with rice pilaf, soups, salads, and grilled or baked meats or fish is a sure win. That being said, if you have to choose between a hamburger or a steak, the steak may be the safest bet depending on where you eat (and if they use meat with hormones in it).
- Avoid Mixing Sugary Drinks With Your Meals
With bottomless sodas, coffee and tea in some sit-down cafes, it is easy to gulp down a few glasses or cups with your food. Depending on the drink and your cuisine-of-choice, mixing them together can cause indigestion if you aren’t careful. In fact, drinking too much water with your meal can also hinder the digestive process. Drink water 15 minutes before your meal for best results.
- Eat Until You are No Longer Hungry
In our culture of gluttony, many of us have a habit of eating until we are full instead of eating until we are no longer hungry. Additionally, many of us eat so fast that we don’t give our brain a chance to register how full we are. Eat slowly, take your time, and eat until you aren’t hungry anymore.
- Keep a Tab on Your Alcohol Intake
Another interesting thing about our culture is how easy it is to drink alcohol daily. With awesome happy hour specials around Springfield and liquor stores on every corner, it’s no wonder we, as a society, have become so overweight and unhealthy. There are tons of empty calories in alcohol, and I don’t know about you, but after a night of drinking the first thing I usually want to do is eat something unhealthy.
While these are some great tips, it helps if you have an interest in being healthy and lean. Since moving to Springfield in March 2016, there has been a dinner or an outing every week that I have attended for business networking, and even more so now that I am involved in the Chamber of Commerce, the Masterminds of Business and Sassy Sisters to name a few. Luckily, with stores like MamaJeans Market and restaurants like Aviary Cafe that have grown in popularity, it is becoming easier to eat healthy while eating out. But for those odd occasions where you’re visiting that greasy pizza joint, or are frequenting some fast food with friends, keep these tips in mind to support you in keeping your body bikini-ready.
Wishing you awesome and healthy gastronomical adventures!
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