August marks the month where my husband and I are finally in sync about health and fitness goals. Over the last year, it came too easy for us to sabotage each other. Whether I’m feeling sorry for myself or he’s stressing out over the job, we always seem to end up in the same place – one of us suggests we go out for dinner and a few drinks to relax.
Sure we’d always eat low carb, but if I can’t control the food (how it’s prepared, the ingredients, etc.) it isn’t necessarily low carb! Also when you go out carb creep escalates – a dessert here, an extra glass of wine there.
But we’re not just turning to food for comfort. It’s the “atmosphere” of going out to help escape from the daily grind. We’ve created a very bad habit for ourselves and it’s messing with our health and bank account.
We tried cutting back on the dining out. The problem is we worry about hurting the other’s feelings by saying “no” to a night of “fun.” Yet the things we use to do together in the evenings – go on walks, play games, work on puzzles, or mini DIY projects – are just as fun to us.
It’s just too easy to have someone else do all the work – cooking, serving, cleaning up. Sure it’s easy until you realize the drain on your bank account and tighter clothes. Ugh!
We’re so ready to finally say “no” when it comes to dining out. Now comes the heavy lifting – putting it in practice.
Here are our 6 steps to stop eating out:
1. Commit to the Decision
This is the key. If we’re not in agreement on this, it won’t work. Period.
2. Setting the Ground Rules
It’s one thing to say no more going out, but what does that mean? Does going out to Starbucks count? Picking up a bottle of wine on the way home? Pre-packaged “healthy” meals from the grocery store? Do they count? For us they do. And what about those “special occasions?” The problem for us is that we can turn anything into a special occasion. We have to be all or nothing…zero tolerance.
3. Eat At Home 30-Day Challenge
For the month of August all our meals are at home. Period. The only exception is if we do cookouts at a friend’s house (still eating at home…just not ours but we have to make food that we can eat). I find 30-Day Challenges a great way to created good habits.
4. Consistent & Simple Meal Planning
I’m a big believer in setting menus for the week – it was a key to my weight loss. But I’ve been lax in my consistency and left open some holes in my menu for dining out. No more! My goal is keeping the weekday meal plans as simple as possible – more grab and go for our busy lives. But the weekend is for having some creative fun in the kitchen that we can do together.
5. Embrace Leftovers!
Leftovers are the best way to keep my meal plans simple as possible. The work is already done. Another benefit of leftovers? It’s the best low carb form of take-out. Instead of ordering pick up from a restaurant, just take it out of the fridge. Awesome!
6. Redefine “Fun”
Again, it isn’t just the ease of having someone else do the cooking and cleaning. We go out because we enjoy the “atmosphere.” But in reality we’re just leaving our home to sit someplace noisy. Really!?! We’re re-committing to the things we did before my cancer — walking in the nature preserve near our home, playing with the pups at our dog park, playing games, riding our bikes.
Activity is key to burning off the angst of the day.
Day One – Our First Challenge
The first test came last night. The hubby had a bad day at work. He was planning to pick up some charcoal for grilling and mentioned picking up a bottle of wine. My response: “NO! We said no wine or going out.”
We passed the challenge, eating a meal at home without wasting money on wine or drinking excessive carbs. Afterwards, we ended up playing a game together.
“No”… it really is an easy word to say.