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For many of us, eating out can be a challenge when we’re trying to slim. Planning ahead and sticking to our weight loss guns can be more difficult when we’re faced with the sight (and smell!) of our favourite pub grub or a freshly cooked restaurant meal, and sometimes our old triggers could resurface.

If dining out is something you struggle with, we’re here to help. At Slimming World, we have a deep understanding of the psychology of slimming and more than 50 years of experience in helping slimmers to diffuse their danger zones and take control of their triggers.

Our Food Optimising eating plan is based around healthy everyday foods like lean meats, pasta and potatoes – the kind of thing you’ll see on any menu – and that means eating out is perfectly possible for our members. Here’s how Slimming World can help you to eat out and still lose weight…

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Can you plan? (Yes, you can!)

Most high street restaurant chains have online menus. Spending a few minutes thinking about what you’ll have in advance can help you avoid less-healthy last-minute choices.

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Every Slimming World member receives a Food Optimising book, which includes the Syn values of some popular restaurant menu choices. If you can’t find a specific dish, more general restaurant dishes can be used as a guideline. You’ll also have access to a handy online Food Search tool on the app and website.

Take trigger foods off the table

Trigger foods are personal to every slimmer. They’re the things that, once you start eating, you feel like you just can’t stop. In your Slimming World group, your Consultant can help you to identify your trigger foods, and put a plan in place for minimising the effect they have on your weight loss.

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Look up the article ‘Identify your craving culprits’ for more tips on tackling those triggers

Make smart swaps

Remember the saying ‘the customer is always right’…? Don’t be scared to ask for menu substitutions in order to make your own ‘smart swaps’. For example, plain boiled rice is a much healthier option than pilau or fried.

Slimming World member Dan Sullivan

Dann Sullivan has lost 5st 2lbs with Slimming World, while still enjoying meals out. He says:

“I’ve always enjoyed going out for food. It was, and still is, a big part of my social life. These days, I make simple swaps and have the confidence to ask for things to be cooked differently. If I really want something on the menu that I know will take me over my Syn allowance, I allow myself to have it. That’s because I know that this is just one meal, I’ve usually planned it and as long as I go straight back to Food Optimising, it won’t cause me to gain weight in the long term.”

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Our ‘Eating out on the high street’ article has suggestions for simple food swaps at your favourite restaurant chains

Watch out for the tipping point

While for some, an alcoholic drink or two is all part of the enjoyment of eating out, it’s wise to be mindful of our ‘tipping point’. Slimming World research shows that, after a certain amount of alcohol (for some people that’s one glass of wine – for others it might be three), our inhibitions weaken – along with our best intentions. Once we pass that tipping point, many of us will go on to eat and drink much more than we’d planned – and if we feel tired or hungover the following day, we might also choose high-fat, high-sugar foods and cancel any exercise plans, too.

TAKE THE QUIZ: Members can find more info in ‘Say cheers to your weight loss’ including a link to a quiz to help you find your own personal tipping point

Keep a slimming mindset

One meal won’t make us put on weight. The real danger area is the potential switch in our mindset – the feeling of ‘I’ve blown it now, I may as well forget Food Optimising altogether’. And that’s what could make all the difference to our long-term weight loss success. In Slimming World groups, we share effective science-based strategies, based on 52 years of experience in the psychology of weight loss, to help you overcome obstacles while staying in a slimming state of mind.

MORE FOR MEMBERS: Take a look at ‘Getting into a slimming mindset’ for more on trigger foods, slimming danger zones and self-sabotage traps

Visualise success

Visualisation is one technique that can help us to stay in control of our menu choices. While she knew she absolutely could have enjoyed a restaurant pud while Food Optimising, Slimming World training manager Gill Allsop decided that she wanted to give dessert a miss and order her favourite main meal instead. Here’s how she used visualisation to help her stick to her choice on the night:

“I knew I was going out for a meal and, for me, it’s not the main meal that’s my problem, it’s the pudding. So I pictured myself in the restaurant. In my mind the waitress would come to the table, ask, ‘Do you want a dessert?’, and I’d say, ‘No, thank you’. I practised this every day.

When it was time for the actual meal, the waitress came over (I knew she would because she’d been coming for weeks!) and asked me if I wanted a dessert and I said ‘No thank you’. I didn’t even have to think about it. I lost 3½lbs that week!”

MORE FOR MEMBERS: The article ‘Picture yourself slim’ has more visualisation tips and a helpful video to guide you

So, if you enjoy eating out, there’s no need to abandon your slimming plans – Slimming World members will find all the support they need to stay on track, both in group and on the exclusive member website. 

And should you fancy a night in, Slimming World members have access to more than 1,900 recipes on the website and the Slimming World app. With ideas for special occasions, Fakeaways, Sunday roasts and much more, you can create your own slimming-friendly menu (and guarantee the very best seat in the house!)

Yes you can with Slimming World - Find out more about our unmissable offers and free 28-day eating plan

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