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Dining Out? Navigating A Temptation-Filled Menu

Lifestyle

Your health influences your work, and to be successful you need to be healthy. After all, you are the face, image and brand of your company. You need energy, vibrancy and clarity to run your business and life. There are also major social aspects to being an entrepreneur: networking, mastermind lunches and client interactions to name a few.


"Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful or about indulgence" - Caryn O’Sullivan

Many people believe that implementing healthier habits leaves dining out and socializing in the past; or when you do eat out, that a plain salad with lemon juice is the only option. This is simply not true, and as said, your business depends on you getting out and being noticed. Eating out is so much a part of our culture, it is hard to avoid – and who would want to anyway? It is fun and effortless – no mess, no clean up, no planning or preparation required. However, with the ease of dining comes unknown ingredients, and for someone managing a food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity eating out can be dangerous at worst, and stressful for most. Even without these precautions, eating out is full of temptations that can steer us far from healthy: the bread basket, cocktails, desserts, fried foods and lots of butter. While those items are alluring and excite the taste buds, they are not waistline or heart friendly.

"Eating out is full of temptations that can steer us far from healthy: the bread basket, cocktails, desserts, fried foods and lots of butter. While those items are alluring and excite the taste buds, they are not waistline or heart friendly." - Caryn O’Sullivan

However, with a little bit of thought and preparation, you can have the best of both worlds: enjoying a social time out and making choices that are high quality and health conscious.

Here are some tips to stay on track, avoid temptations and still have a satisfying and fun experience.

1. Choose a place that has healthy options and not too many temptations. By doing preliminary research online (looking at the menus and reviews of a restaurant) it is easy to find an option that works with your plan. Farm to table, seasonal, and ethnic restaurants like Mediterranean offer plenty of vegetable-based dishes, salads, soups and healthier preparations. Many of these lighter options are found in the appetizer or side sections of the menu, so look beyond the entrees. There is no rule against ordering two appetizers or several sides to compose your meal.

2. Next, ask yourself what you want to eat before you get to the restaurant. Food descriptions on the menu can be tantalizing (on purpose), so deciding before you go will help you avoid the temptations. You can simply look online or call ahead. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions. For instance, if there is a meal that fits your diet like roasted chicken, but is served with French fries don’t be afraid to ask for a substitution like salad or steamed vegetables. If you have food sensitivities or allergies, it is best to call the restaurant in advance to inform them. Reiterate this information when you get there so the server and kitchen are aware of your requirements.

3. Once you have decided on the main meal, develop a strategy to avoid the temptations.c First, refuse the bread basket. Saying “no” to the basket before it is set on the table is much easier than staring at it and trying to resist taking a piece. Next, be aware of fancy cocktails, wine and sodas which come with a lot of sugar and extra calories. Your best option when eating out is to choose plain or sparkling water, especially if you are trying to lose weight. If you do choose alcohol, then make sure you are drinking water in between each glass to stay hydrated and on your game.

4. Dessert is another obstacle, often too tempting to resist. Avoid dessert completely by refusing to look at the menu. Once we see the options, the pleasure centers in our brains light up and it becomes much more difficult to refuse.

If you cannot pass it by or your peers want dessert, then choose sorbet, a light fruit dish or close the meal with an herbal tea like peppermint or chamomile. Herbal teas help you slow down and aid digestion as well.

"With a little bit of thought and preparation, you can have the best of both worlds: enjoying a social time out and making choices that are high quality and health conscious" - Caryn O’Sullivan

Eating out doesn’t have to be stressful or about indulgence. Nowadays there are so many different styles of eating; gluten free, dairy free, paleo, etc., that restaurants (and other people) are fairly accepting of changes or requests. Food is nourishment, and food cooked for you can be even more nourishing even if it is not the healthiest because it is a break from the cooking and clean up routine. For entrepreneurs who work from home, the cooking and cleaning cuts into productivity and as a result, mealtimes are not prioritized. Snacking and munching throughout the day then takes place.

To feel your best, avoid the processed foods, salty snacks, fried food and sweets. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, fruit and high quality proteins to get you through the day.

When you are out or at home, make choices that will energize you and stabilize your blood sugar. You don’t want to be fighting fatigue or ups and downs while trying to focus or work with clients. To feel your best, avoid the processed foods, salty snacks, fried food and sweets. Focus on whole grains, vegetables, fruit and high quality proteins to get you through the day. If you do steer off course (i.e. only sandwiches and cookies at a meeting), it is okay. Move on from there, with a restart plan ready for the next day to get back on track.

5 Min Read
Career

How Fitness Saved My Life and Became My Career

Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each da

If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today.

In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of three, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.

These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.

After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.

About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.

I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again.

When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.

Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.

Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.

Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.

This article was originally published September 12, 2019.