4 Tips to Help Your Diet Survive Ottawa Patio Season

July 27, 2013 1:25 am / Posted in , ,

Sticking to your diet can be a big challenge when you’re sitting on an Ottawa patio with a bunch friends. First come the appetizers and the the first round of drinks and later come the burgers and fries, or the deep-fried fish and chips…and another round of drinks. There has got to be a way of enjoying sitting on patios without sacrificing your diet!

Don’t get me wrong; patio season is a lot of fun and there’s no reason you shouldn’t get out and enjoy spending time with your friends just because you’re watching your diet. In this post, I’d like to give you a few ways to survive patio season while still staying on top of your health commitments.

1. Don’t Stress About Your Diet

If you spend the night thinking about your diet, two things will likely happen:

a. You won’t have a good time; and

b. You’ll fall victim to the “What the Heck Effect.”

You’re out with your friends. Life’s short – enjoy the time you get to spend with them. Everyone is allowed to have a slip-up every once in a while.

How This Works: This isn’t going to help you eat right by itself, but stressing doesn’t help you stay on track. It’s actually the opposite. Read the article about the “What the Heck Effect” above and see how stress actually often leads to binge eating.

2. Stop Thinking About it as a Diet

I don’t really like the word diet. It suggests that eating healthy is temporary, or that you need to starve yourself to live well. Nothing could be further from the truth. I tell all my Ottawa clients to think about their nutrition in terms of permanent, sustainable change – avoid processed foods; eat protein and vegetables with every meal; and stop when you’re 80% full.

How This Works: By changing the way you think about your food, you change your attitude towards how unhealthy foods make you feel. You’re no longer denying yourself what you enjoy because you’re choosing the good foods you want from the menu.

 3. Stop After One Drink

I enjoy a good drink every once in a while, but I always limit myself to no more than one. Drinking does absolutely nothing for your body or your diet – alcohol is full of empty calories that add up quickly. What’s worse, drinking often leads to the dreaded “McPilgrimage,” which results in Big Macs at 1:00am or after dinner cup cakes.

How This Works: By limiting the amount you drink, you limit the impact of alcohol on your decision making processes. That means you’re more likely to stick to what you know is good for you and your diet, rather than what impulsively feels right.

 4. Consider Tasty Alternatives

Don’t worry – you’re not doomed to a life of salad and water and you don’t have to always order the burger without the bun. You can have just about anything in moderation without feeling bad. When I go out with my friends, I’ll often have a soda water with a slice of lemon instead of an alcoholic drink, or I’ll have that chicken or fish dish with steamed veggies as the side instead of the fries or mashed potatoes.

How This Works: Think about the reasons you’re sitting on a patio in the first place. Is it to get completely bombed and gorge yourself with carbs? Maybe, but I suspect it probably has a lot more to do with sitting with good company, in beautiful weather and enjoying the Ottawa summer while it lasts.


And even if you do slip up and have a burger with a side of poutine, remember that this doesn’t put an end to healthy living. You can still get right back on your exercise and healthy diet/nutrition program. You don’t have to sacrifice happiness for health. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. If you can try and “Play the Tape Forward” before making a unhealthy choice to see if its really worth the out come.  Eating well and exercising regularly are rewards that you give to yourself, not punishments that need to be endured.



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