Wow, where did the time go? I’ve been wondering that a lot lately especially since I you may not have heard from me in a little while. Do you ever ask yourself that? I’m asking myself that all the time. Doesn’t it seem like the time just keeps going by faster and faster as we get older. I’m certainly wondering the same thing when I look at my children. It’s still hard to believe that my baby is growing up. Those of you who have read my book Choose to Live will remember the funny tales about her, my little undercooked purdue chicken. She was just 8 months old when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 33 and 3 years old when I was told that there was nothing that could be done to save me. That was 11 years ago this month. In fact it was 11 years ago exactly this week. I still think back to that day and think about how it could have all been so different if I hadn’t said No, you will not tell me my outcome and decided that I was going to find a way to live. So as most of you know, Kevin and I have been cancer free for 11 years and have done all kinds of really cool things since then. It’s also pretty cool that it happens to be breast cancer awareness month. So my beautiful little baby is now 14 and this week in the same week as I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer 11 years ago, she had her Confirmation. Wow, there was so much emotion as I sat next to my 87 year old mother in law and I realized just how blessed we both were to be there. It could have all turned out so differently if I had made a different choice back then.
As a family, we place a huge emphasis on “experiences” more so than material things. So when I asked her what she wanted for her confirmation, she said she wanted to go to the hibachi grill with some friends and family to celebrate. We had a great time as they chef chopped and diced and flipped knives and pieces of zucchini through the air and we had to catch them in our mouth. It was a lot of fun, a great experience in so many ways. A question that I get asked a lot is what are your tips for going out to eat? So read on for the article on “must knows” for eating out!
One of the questions I am asked most frequently is “What do you do when you go out to eat?”
Well, first and foremost — I eat!! I know…it’s a little more complicated than that when you want to eat healthy, but it’s a start. I know that it can be challenging when you are out to dinner with friends and family or maybe at a party. You might even dread it or say I’d rather stay home. Trust me I really know, I’ve been there. If you know anything about me or my story you know that prior to being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, my diet was pasta, pizza, candy, ice cream and any other carb I could get my hands on. Oh, and by the way, veggies and salad, I didn’t even know how to make them or order them, so I didn’t! Truth is, I didn’t like them and didn’t want them. Now I LOVE them! I even crave them, and even more importantly I love the way I feel when I eat them. No one is going to say that making changes like this is easy—certainly not me anyway. It was one of the hardest things that I had to do in my life – keeping in mind that I had to go completely 100% cold turkey overnight; I literally did it in a day. Once I did make the changes though, I realized how incredible I felt and that I was making progress in improving my health. When that happened, it gave me more incentive to continue.
So I thought I would throw together a few tips that might help with that little dilemma of what to do when you go out to eat.
1) MINDSET – This is always the most important thing that I focus on when I work with people who are ready, or nudged, to take the plunge to a healthier lifestyle. If you are doing this because you just want to look and feel healthier or because you have a health issue and you feel now is the time to take control of your health. There’s a whole lot more to it, but I figured I would just give you one possibility to help you stay strong. That is…when you are with family and friends, make it about the experience, not the food. Treasure the fact that you have friends and family who want to be with you and hopefully who you want to be with. Next would be…don’t think about this as a forever thing, just look at it as one step at a time, one day at a time. Lastly if you can avoid it, you don’t want to go cold turkey and completely transition your diet and lifestyle in one day and then go out to eat the next day. If you have the flexibility, plan out your success as best you can.
2) TAKE CARE OF YOU! So often we are worried about what people will think, we feel like we are an inconvenience or we are too embarrassed to feel or look different so we don’t do something that is important for us and we don’t ask for what we need. So…ask your friends if they would be willing to try a new healthy restaurant or avoid the ones that you know have your absolute favorite dessert in the whole wide world so that you won’t be tempted. Also, if you know certain things are a real temptation for you ask them if they don’t mind supporting you in not having them brought to the table which leads me to the next tip.
3) EAT FIRST, ASK QUESTIONS LATER – Very often I eat before I go out to eat and I definitely eat a lot before I go to a party. If you are full, you are much less likely to be tempted.
4) REMOVING TEMPTATION – Your willpower is strongest before something is put in front of you, so don’t have it put in front of you! When you call ahead to make a reservation at a restaurant let them know that you have a very special “health related” diet and really need help sticking to it so could they make a note not to bring bread or dessert to the table. Your willpower is strongest here. Next when you arrive at the restaurant before sitting, remind them that you don’t want any bread or dessert brought to the table and don’t sit until they have told the waiter. Your willpower is so much stronger at this point. When you sit, before they bring anything over remind them again. And of course when they are clearing the plates from dinner remind them not to bring over the dessert menu or cart . I understand that if other people are with you, they might want bread but why not ask ahead of time if they can support you in this. Trust me, it really does get easier and easier to have the willpower, especially when you start feeling great!
5) A LITTLE ON THE SIDE – When ordering dinner, confirm what comes with a meal and make sure that they aren’t adding anything extra to the plate like that cream sauce that would put you over the edge.
6) KEEP IT SIMPLE – This was one of the best words of advice I got when I first started on this path. Keep it simple, slow and steady wins the race. Ask the chef to prepare a huge salad as an appetizer with lots of fresh or grilled veggies on it, maybe some olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and even some herbs. Then you can have grilled chicken or fish with no sauces, just lemon and garlic and lightly steamed or grilled veggies on the side. If you are just transitioning, you can even bring your own gluten free wrap if you want to fill yourself up a little more. I always manage to find something on the menu that I can tweak a little and still enjoy.
7) THINK AHEAD – See if they have a menu online, call ahead or pop in a day before and pick out what you know you can eat. If you have to make substitutes then think of those ahead of time, write it down. That way when you get to the restaurant, you don’t even have to continue to be reminded of other options and to be tempted by opening the menu.
8) OH NO! NOT MY FAVORITE! If you are going to a friend’s house, ask them not to make your most favorite highest temptation foods and bring an alternative. There are lots of health food places that make things you can bring.
9) PARTY ON! If you are going to a party, bring something that’s healthy for you and that you love to eat so that you make sure you are taken care of. It helps if it can be something that others will love as well, don’t try something too radical. Something that I always bring to parties is a huge salad with lots of good stuff in it like cut up red, yellow and orange peppers, roasted peppers, some nuts and maybe some sunflower seeds or pepitas. I don’t mix it up ahead of time, I put it all on top of the salad because it looks prettier that way. Then for an additional splash of color you can put some fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries in the center or on the side. You probably don’t want to eat them because of the high sugar content and you don’t have to, but others will be enticed to dig in if they are there. Quinoa is another great side dish that is filling and you can put in your salad to fill you up. Quinoa is great because it is a great replacement for rice and pasta and has many amazing benefits. It is basically tasteless and is great at absorbing the flavors easily of seasonings and sauces.
10) BE EASY ON YOURSELF! If you do slip up, and have something that you know you shouldn’t have, don’t beat yourself up over it. Savor the experience and know that you are making progress and doing better than you ever had before!
Obviously, I’m a big proponent of eating healthy, right? There is so much to share about the topic of “Avoiding Temptations” that I dedicate an entire class to cover this in my Vibrant Life Virtual Intensive.
“This multi‐faceted approach healed us of not only our own life‐threatening health issues of stage 3b and stage 4 cancers, but also chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, chronic headaches, migraines, intestinal issues, severe sinus issues and more.” Are you frustrated that you feel sick, tired or lousy and no one can tell you why? Join Joyce O’Brien, author of Choose to Live, as she shares the secrets to creating a vibrant life brimming from the inside out with physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Get to the root causes of your ‐ or your loved ones’ ‐ health and well‐being issues using the 7‐Step VIBRANT process.”