3 steps to eat out AND stay consistent

Eating out. It’s religion for some and an enjoyable pastime for all. Let’s be real. We all love to do it. Tasty, convenient, fun, and a break from the standard, day-to-day routine. Even though it’s a lot of fun, eating out doesn’t always help us reach our nutrition goals. Restaurant foods can be much higher in fat, salt, and other additives that we wouldn’t normally add to our home cooked meals [source]. And don’t even get me started on restaurant portion sizes.

But guess what? As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I plan on eating out around once a week, even when I am working on fat loss goals.

When reading most of the personal trainer/nutrition coach perspectives out there, eating out often becomes the devil. But I’ve actually found a way to eat out, enjoy life, AND still get results. Oh and I’m sharing it with you.

For all of 2016, I spent my time commuting between California and Texas. Always on the go and rarely feeling settled, I turned to restaurant options more often than I’d like to admit. Even though I was “eating well” most of the time, I was over-indulging (hello wine 7 nights a week) and paying the price. At first, I definitely noticed changes in my energy levels, body composition, and mindset.

But, after tons of trial and error, I’ve come up with three simple steps to guide my restaurant eating.

3 steps to eat out without breaking the calorie bank

When reading most of the personal trainer/nutrition coach perspectives out there, eating out often becomes the devil. But I've actually found a way to eat out, enjoy life, AND still get results. Oh and I'm sharing it with you.

1) Break down every menu into components.

When we look at menus, we can often feel overwhelmed. There are so many items and none of them look like our meal plans. Instead of shaking our heads, calling it a wash, and ordering a “cheat meal,” start dissecting that menu. Figure out what’s listed and narrow it down to the healthier options.

If I’m struggling, I start by looking in the salad and entree sections. Usually, I can find some sort of salad with grilled chicken, and I’ll use that as a starting point, doctoring it up to my tastes.

A couple suggestions to get start right now:

  • Pick proteins that are baked or roasted. This gives good flavor without tons of fat.
  • If you’re a vegetarian, make sure your item has a protein source.
  • Choose carbs based on your goals. If you’re aiming for fat loss, ask for a double serving of veggies and skip that potato.

2) Choose protein and veggies that’ll satisfy you

Once you’ve narrowed down the menu, stop counting macros, analyzing portions, or counting in any way. Instead, focus on getting lean protein and veggies on board. Ask for substitutions if they’re needed! Nbd.
My favorite way to do this is head to the entree section of the menu. Find a protein that sounds tasty, then ask for double veggies instead of the carb. Often, restaurant meals are made up of protein + lots of carbs & fat + a little veggies. Instead of stressing about finding an entree that is exactly what I’m looking for, I pick the protein I want and change up the rest of the plate. By the time I’m done ordering I’ve got protein + lots of veggies + a little bit of carbs/fat.
These options will maximize nutrient density without the extra calories you’ll find in the starchy sides and will actually leave you feeling satisfied for longer.

3) CHOOSE every indulgence

Instead of eating and drinking everything in sight, be mindful about your indulgences. Often, we feel we deserve something special when we’re eating out. However, truth is, you ALWAYS deserve something awesome. Still, if you want to indulge, be thoughtful about it & make it a conscious decision. Be aware of what you choose to indulge in.

For those of us with disordered eating backgrounds, indulgence is tough. We either feel like we should restrict or count every bite that goes into our mouths or we’re indulging at full speed. This always made me afraid of indulging at all, because I felt like I couldn’t stop. And when I did indulge? I felt insanely guilty later. I thought I had to feel guilty or restrictive; those were the only two options. If you are sick of feeling guilty or restrictive when eating, my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet will help you navigate the middle between guilt and restriction. Grab your copy now.

I created my conscious indulgence framework to specifically guide our indulgences. It makes indulgence part of every single day–without going overboard. So, when I walk into a restaurant, I’ve already consciously chosen how I’ll splurge. This gives me the willpower to pick healthier options to fill the rest of my plate. Win, win, and win(e). Show me what YOU choose to indulge in with #myconsciousindulgence. I’ll be posting throughout the week on the topic so don’t miss out.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition, especially when eating out. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt.

I’ve been there. For years, I went out to dinner or happy hours only to order the lowest calorie option. I’d crave something tasty but knew I *should* order something light, so I ordered grilled chicken with roasted vegetables. I’d feel pretty good about myself…until appetizers came. Sweet potato fries, meatballs, and bread with pesto dipping sauce would fill the table. I’d try resisting…for about five minutes. Eventually, I’d always give in, indulging in fries, meatballs, bread, and lots of wine. Even though I knew what I should do, I couldn’t. I was too bored by my choices to stick with them, so I went overboard and felt super guilty afterwards.

Consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is.

With lots of experimentation, I found a way to cut to the middle between deprivation and guilt. That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt.

Grab your copy now. 

Do you enjoy eating out?

The #1 nutrition mistake women make

It’s now the third week of 2017, and you’re chugging along towards your fitness goals.

Workout plan? Check.

Stress management? Check.

Fitness motivation? Check.

But what about your nutrition? There’s so much information out there on how to eat, when to eat, and what to eat. Talk about information overload.  So before you dive into a nutrition plan head first, we’ve gotta make sure you aren’t making this super common nutrition mistake.

As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I work with women across the United States to help them change their bodies in a way that does not require obsession or dietary restriction. Through working with lots of women, I’ve found that most women who come to me are making one nutrition mistake that’s stalling their progress.

Are you making this super common nutrition mistake? This is the #1 mistake I see women making (and how to fix it).

For most of us, when we decide to change up our nutrition to meet our goals, we do one thing: count. Whether it’s calories, macros, or servings, we’re told counting and closely monitoring our nutrition intake is the answer. This brings us to the #1 nutrition mistake women make: overcomplicating their nutrition.

Why complicated nutrition doesn’t work

You end up eating the wrong things

If all you’re thinking about are numbers, foods become nothing but numbers. Although a bowl of ice cream and a chicken breast with roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes may have the same number of calories, they’ll affect your body differently.Grocery Haul

This means you may end up eating foods that will make you MORE hungry, which makes it more difficult to reach your goals.

You get overwhelmed, decreasing your willpower and leads to “falling off the wagon”

Counting anything consistently takes a lot of mental energy, and is inherently unsustainable. At some point, you’ll reach the “fuck it” point and stop counting for a time.

But unfortunately, without numbers to guide you, it becomes way too easy to fall off the wagon.

Consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off and we order an entire pizza for ourselves. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.

But there is a way to cut to the middle and stop feeling restrictive or guilty. Grab my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to learn how.

Sangria sorbet

You stop listening to your body

The main reason I recommend against counting macros, calories, or servings for long periods of time is that you lose touch with your body and its signals. When numbers rule your food intake, you stop listening to your hunger and satiety cues.

DCIM112GOPRO

I lived in this space for a long time. I was constantly following a meal plan and eating when I was told. After a time, I wasn’t able to recognize when I was hungry and had no idea how much my body actually needed, leading me to severely under-eat every time I came off a meal plan. This is NOT a way to live (see how I do it instead), and that’s why I am so passionate about not making this nutrition mistake.

Combatting this common nutrition mistake

I want you to make it super simple. Instead of counting anything, I want you, my friend, to focus on just two things: protein and veggies. Every single time you eat, grab a portion of protein and some vegetables. If you’re still hungry, add some healthy fat or complex carbohydrates, depending on your goals.

Want more help getting in veggies at every meal? Grab some of my best tips.

This super simple strategy makes all the difference, because you’ll be eating lots of nutrient dense and non-calorie dense foods. This will allow you to eat more AND make sure you aren’t missing out on any key nutrients. In layman’s terms, low calorie density = large portion size. And large portion sizes keep you (me) happy. Follow along on Instagram and Facebook with #mindthemiddle to see how I implement these strategies day-to-day.

I talk with women all the time who are struggling to stay consistent with their nutrition. They know what they “should” eat but they can’t seem to implement it when outside of their normal routine. They either restrict themselves and feel super deprived or they get overwhelmed by all the “shoulds” and eat whatever they want, leaving them feeling lots of guilt.

I’ve been there. For years, I went out to dinner or happy hours only to order the lowest calorie option. I’d crave something tasty but knew I should order something light, so I ordered grilled chicken with roasted vegetables. I’d feel pretty good about myself…until appetizers came. Sweet potato fries, meatballs, and bread with pesto dipping sauce would fill the table. I’d try resisting…for about five minutes. Eventually, I’d always give in, indulging in fries, meatballs, bread, and lots of wine. Even though I knew what I should do, I couldn’t. I was too bored by my choices to stick with them, so I went overboard and felt super guilty afterwards.

With lots of experimentation, I found a way to cut to the middle between deprivation and guilt. That’s why I created my #ConsistentNutrition Cheatsheet to help all of us implement the things we know we should do with our nutrition. There are no crazy meal plans or calorie counts, just the handful things you need to implement daily to eat moderately and find that middle between restriction and guilt.

Grab your copy now and stop feeling restrictive or guilty about your eating!

What’s one thing that still confuses you about nutrition?

Healthy Breakfast: My Three Favorites

You roll out of bed and walk to the kitchen to find some breakfast. You look around your kitchen and are stumped. You’ve barely got any time before you need to leave for work. You know that breakfast is important but you have no idea what to eat, so you grab a granola bar and head out the door.

This, my friends, was my entire college experience. Breakfast was overwhelming for me (even when it was already prepared for me in the dining hall) so I skipped it too many times to count. It wasn’t until I started working at Google that I got into a healthy breakfast habit.

Since I started eating breakfast regularly, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in cravings AND I find myself eating better throughout the day. This is why I’m sharing three of my favorite breakfasts and why you should eat them too! Share your favorite breakfast option below, too!

Read More »

My survival nutrition strategies (and why create yours)

You’ve got a work deadline tomorrow, your electric bill is due, you barely slept last night, and the dog is sick. On top of it all, you’re beyond stressed about the results of the election. It feels like the walls are closing in. With all this emotional stress, you stop eating in a way that’s in line with your goals, because sometimes it feels like all you have to look forward to is your next treat.

Life gets really tough, and all we want is to make it a little bit easier. So, we slip into bad habits, whether that’s overeating crap, skimping on sleep, or killing ourselves at the gym to numb the pain.

Please tell me I’m not alone!

Read More »

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing. Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Why I’m against clean eating

Spoiler! I won’t teach you how to “eat clean” but if you want to learn how to enjoy your life without falling off track,  New Year, New You could be for you! 

As you swipe through your Instagram feed, you can’t help but notice the dozens of before and after pictures, flat stomachs, lean arms, and shapely legs. Reading the comments, every post seems to say the same thing.

I was overweight and then I started eating clean. The weight fell off!

Before starting to eat clean, I could never attain a six pack.

With clean eating and exercise, I was able to drop to [insert super low number]% body fat!

Even with all this social proof, as a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, I will NEVER preach the clean eating gospel.

Read More »

How moderation supports fat loss

You stare at a strict meal plan, unsure if you can eat another meal of chicken and broccoli.

A group of friends invite you out for dinner and a round of drinks but you’re not sure you can go AND eat on plan.

You really want to achieve your goals but can’t help but wonder if there’s another way.

If you’ve ever felt this way, I’m with you.

The good news is that there IS another way to change your body.

Read More »

Post Workout Recovery: Why Take A Rest Day

Who’s ready for the weekend?!

Here in the United States, it’s an extra long one as we celebrate Labor Day. I for one am spending the weekend on the beach in California with my family. Are you doing anything exciting for Labor Day? Let me know in the comments below!

Labor Day

With a weekend full of relaxation and frivolity (oxymoron? I think not) ahead of us, I thought it would be a good time to chat about rest’s role in fitness and how much you ACTUALLY need.

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Moderation defined.

I talk about moderation a lot on Katherine Lynn Fitness. I’m pretty sure it was the topic of my first ever blog post. It’s a personal goal every morning to live my life a bit more moderately than the day before.

But is moderation eating only one bite of dessert a day?

Exercising every single day?

Drinking more water?

Moderation Defined

Even though it’s a common topic for ME, I realized, I’ve never really defined it. I go on and on about living moderately but never took the time to explain wtf I meant. Oops.

Wine, Protein, Veggies

So.

What the heck is moderation?

Read More »

diet plans my way

Diet Plans and Your Portion Sizes Guide

How much food is enough food?!

Such a simple question but so. so. so hard in practice because there are 1000 diet plans out there. We tell ourselves, it should be easy: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.

Well, it is super simple…and it isn’t. There is so much information out there that it’s hard to know what’s true, what’s BS, and what’s finally going to get you results. In reality, it all comes down to one idea, portion control, but there are a thousand ways to achieve it (this is why nutrition coaches have jobs 😉 )!

Read More »

Moderation as an Accomplishment

Happy Tuesday, all! We made it through Monday! How was yours? Ours was super mellow. I made some naked (no tortillas) tacos that required absolutely no real ‘cooking’ and tasted this bad boy. OMG. SO. GOOD. Happy to share the recipe if there’s interest!

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I’m also working away on a costume for Juno. Google is having a puppy fashion show on Thursday, and Juno is going as a ladybug. I am NOT crafty, but her outfit is coming along…

 

Today, I would like to return to a previous concept, moderation. I’ve written about it a little bit but would like to share a personal struggle and some actionable tools that may help you.

As with many of us, exercising and movement are big priorities for me. I prioritize my workouts early in the morning and “get my steps in” almost every day. Historically, when I achieve both, a feeling of accomplishment washes over me. When I don’t, anxiety and negative self talk ensue.

Enter last week, 9:59pm. Although I had done a great lifting workout, my work day was full of meetings, evening full of studying (read: a lot of time on my bum), and I still was exhausted. Cue all the feels.

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Recently, I’ve decided that these feelings of inadequacy are BS, and it’s time to start creating that mindset shift. Movement (or lack thereof) is not inherently good or bad, guys; it’s just movement. It’s all in our heads, so we can change the way we think.

How? Actively choose to change your thought pattern and embrace the discomfort zone. Here are a couple strategies I’ve used.

  • Continually modify your goals to set yourself up to succeed. If you are consistently missing your mark, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate.
  • Remove all moral connotations or ideas of worth. Regardless of what you did or didn’t do, remind yourself that you woke up worthy and good.
  • Fight back! Do the opposite of what the ‘shoulds’ tell you. In the example above, my mind was telling me, just go walk around the block, you can get to 10k steps. Instead, I grabbed my nighttime snack and went to bed 🙂

I hope these help! <3