- Tracking breakfast and lunch when you’re going out for dinner can seem pointless, and you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.
- Try and eyeball your usual portion sizes though, and don’t over-restrict.
- Dietitian Alix Turoff recommends thinking of your calorie goal as a weekly average not a daily target.
- Read more Working It Out here.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
I’m tracking my calories for weight loss, but I’m allowing myself some flexibility and evenings off. The trouble is, when I know I’m going out for dinner and won’t hit my calories for the day, I find it really hard not to think ‘screw it’ the whole day leading up to it. I know it makes no sense, and I should try and have the same meals and snacks I would if I were cooking dinner for myself, but I always end up eating loads as if the whole day is a write-off. How can I change this mindset?
— Dieter with a Dilemma
I know how you feel.
Eating out makes it near impossible to stick to a deficit thanks to all those sneaky oils restaurants use to make the food so delicious, not to mention larger portion sizes, starters, sides, bread baskets, dessert, and a glass of wine or three.
But what’s the point of going out for dinner if you’re going to ask for grilled chicken and steamed vegetables with tap water to drink?
It’s good to allow yourself some flexibility in your diet. Balance is what makes it sustainable long-term, but I know it’s hard not to write-off the whole day when you know you’ll go over your calorie target ultimately.
The trouble is, while the occasional higher calorie meal shouldn’t derail your progress, if it also means going off-track with your breakfast, lunch, and snacks that day, you might end up not in a calorie deficit overall.
Don’t deprive yourself to ‘bank calories’
I get it: What’s the point in calorie-counting if you know dinner will cause you to surpass your daily target?
On days like this, …….