What is your strategy? Do you avoid eating out, shun fast food, make all your own food? Or do you eat out in moderation and know what you are consuming when you do eat out?
Making my own food at home is the best, but it's not always possible for me. I look at the nutrition info for fast foods, and pick the healthiest, most low calorie foods. It's harder at restaurants, because nutrition info is not available, and I think restaurants are even worse than fast food joints. At restaurants they give you a bread basket, a salad with too much cheese and dressing, huge portions, foods with too much fat, sugar and sodium. They use butter, oil and salt very generously, to make everything taste good. You also feel more "obligated" to eat dessert or drink alcohol when you eat at a restaurant. At least with fast food places you can look at their nutrition info online, decide what you want to get and know exactly what you are eating. I'm able to eat below 500 calories (700-800 if I want to "splurge") at fast food places and I order drinks below 150 calories at Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts/etc. My strategy at restaurants is to skip appetizers, eat 1/2 of my entree, skip the bread, alcohol and sugary drinks, and share my dessert, taking only a few bites of it. I don't really enjoy alcohol, but if I did I'd have one drink (preferably red wine) and skip the dessert, not have both at the same time. I estimate that the average restaurant meal (for me) is 1,000 calories. I eat lightly for my next 2 meals (or my 2 previous meals) to "fit" those calories into my plan. I eat out about 2 times per week, and I drink 2-3 Starbucks type coffee drinks per week. So far this has been working for me, and I've been losing on average 2-3 lbs per week. I like feeling like I have control over fast food/restaurants, and not like I have to avoid them because they control me. I want long-term lifestyle changes and not just short-term weight loss due to a strict, unsustainable diet.
12-23-2009, 07:59 PM
The only things I get at fast food places are the chargrilled chicken sandwich from Chik-fil-a (300 calories), vanilla ice cream cones from McDonalds (150 calories) and diet Cokes.
Thighs Be Gone
12-23-2009, 08:08 PM
Every once in a blue moon I will get a plain vanilla ice cream cone. Otherwise, I never, ever stop for fast food.
12-23-2009, 08:09 PM
I no longer eat fast food, save the rare ice cream cone from McDonalds. And even that is becoming less frequent. It just makes me feel ick.
I do go to restaurants, and I have to order carefully because too much will upset my stomach, but how OP I am really depends on how special the experience is...everyday meals are on plan and well-planned for, special meals I definitely go a bit over.
Thighs Be Gone
12-23-2009, 08:10 PM
Also wanted to mention--if I seriously missed fast food, then yes, I would fit it in...honestly though, I don't miss it...
I loved Arby's "back in the day." I looked into fitting in an order of Curly Fries and a large Jamocha shake--if memory serves me correctly it was 13-1400 calories for those two items. I would enjoy them--but not THAT much!
12-23-2009, 08:13 PM
I too have found fast food easier than restaurants with which to plan. Nothing like ordering Sea Bass at Paesanos, called ahead to see how it was prepared, grilled etc. Eat half just to be sure, to find out the next day at lunch with full lighting to see it had been slathered in butter/EVOO.
At MacDonald, I get the chicken salad, water and call it a day.
I have the same strategy as yours. I am so skeptical of any food prepared outside my home. When was the last time I added sugar and oil to hamburger meat for hamburgers? When food tastes sweet, I suspect added sweeteners as opposed to peak of freshness.
12-23-2009, 08:45 PM
I haven't touched fast food for about 8 weeks now. That's mainly because it's one of my 'triggers', as in I know that if I eat it today I will want it tomorrow and the next and the next, etc. My husband and I have never been bid on the restaurants, so we haven't eaten there either. The first time in the last 8-10 weeks was this last saturday for dinner. My mom and step-dad took us out to a place of our choice so we picked Olive Garden. I went online beforehand and looked up calories. Then made my choice. It so happened they had books with the calories in it when we got there and there was a better choice that was similar to what I was ordering with a noodle I liked better! Imagine my happiness!! I had salad with dinner (no breadsticks) and a linguine pasta with tomato/basil/something else sauce (with water to drink). I ate only half my meal and had the rest the other night for dinner. :) I don't suppose we'll be going out to eat anytime soon...
12-23-2009, 08:48 PM
I get fast food usually at least once a week...I just check nutrition online first and do it on one of my high cal days (I calorie cycle) so I'm not spending the majority of the day's calories on one meal. But I order different items than I used to...before I'd get one of the value meals that comes w/ a medium fries and drink. Now I get a cheeseburger, small fries, and small drink. Saves me money too cause all that stuff is on the dollar menu, lol. And I find I'm honestly satisfied with the smaller portions - the one time I've ordered a value meal since I began this diet (only cause they don't do cheeseburgers on the late night menu - grrr!) I found I was full before I got near to finishing it - but I did anyway just cause it was "there". So I guess the key for me has just been reassessing the choices I made before and finding new options that I like and satisfy my tastes while fitting into my plan.
Restaurants though I hardly do anymore...so many of them don't have nutrition info and the ones that do, so many of the dishes are just too high cal to be workable unless I eat only a tiny fraction of them.
12-23-2009, 09:43 PM
When I lost the first big chunk of weight, I was eating fast food nearly every day, or deli food, as I was on the go and did not see myself as important enough to make a trip to the grocer for lunch fixings for just myself. In any case, I researched the calories, had that "Well butters, THAT'S why I weigh 270 cotton-picking pounds" moment, and planned out a variety of 750 calorie or less meals to choose from at the main places I'd stop along my busy days. I cut out the Hi-C and such instantly.
Now, as my diet has improved vastly (I AM worth a trip to the grocery for turkey and whole wheat bread!) and the last time I ate fast food without planning it carefully, I was, shortly after finishing, quite spectacularly sick to my stomach.
I plan ahead if I am eating out. We are on the go a lot, and fast food is going to happen since we are not exactly rolling in discretionary food funds.
Grilled chicken, unsweet tea, no sides - salads tend to be SAAAAAAAAAD at the major FF joints, so I do skip them. Gee, iceburg and a carrot sliver. Thanks.
I just plan ahead. And then I stick with the plan. Especially now that my stomach has voted, in no uncertain terms, "NO MORE ONION RINGS!".
12-23-2009, 10:00 PM
I NEVER eat fast food anymore. Most of the time I prepare meals at home but if I know that I'm eating out, I'll go to the restaurants website to check out the nutrition information (most chain restaurants have nutrition info online). But if it's not available or I didn't plan ahead, I just try to pick the healthiest option and skip the bread, salad dressing, etc. It's worked for me so far.
12-23-2009, 11:07 PM
I plan when I can but if I'm going to a new place with friends or what not I look for the healthiest thing *that APPEALS to me* and ask for all sauces/dressings on the side. I also don't mind deconstructing food in front of people, removing anything I didn't know to ask be removed or just don't want to eat and set aside or give away. I drink lots of water and iced tea during the meal so that I can make sure I'm not eating big portions just because they are there. I can honestly count on one... two hands (XD) the number of times I have ordered alcohol at a restaurant in my 27 years - too EXPENSIVE for my wallet and my waistline.
I do think that it takes time to just STOP when you're not hungry anymore and I think not eating out during that adjustment helps. I did this whole weight-loss thing once before (the gain was a buu-storm of grah) and I remember two times that I could just tell I was in a whole different mind-set. Once, my mom picked me up from uni and I told her (in advance) that I wanted fried ice cream at Chi-Chi's. I didn't eat a bunch of fried American-Mexican before - I just ate my ice cream, drank hot tea, and went home. I also had already worked-out that day and was feeling GOOD. The second time I saw how far I had changed was a 2AM IHOP run where I ordered the multigrain country pancakes and literally ate 1/4 of one of two giant cakes. I was satisfied and left all the other food on my plate for another hour of gabbing and then boxed the rest for later consumption.
So tl'dr I'm sure you will get to that "lifestyle-change" and do what you have to in the meantime.
12-29-2009, 03:36 PM
I don't do fast food anymore, well, maybe three times a year.
If we have pizza, we usually make it ourselves. That way I can choose what I want on my pizza and make it as (un)healthy as I want it to be. Plus, it's fun to experiment! I didn't have any pineapple handy a few weeks ago, but I did have a banana...so I put the banana on it. It was great!
At home we don't have any deserts.
If I do go to a restaurant, I always choose the healthiest/leanest/ less fat option. I do have a glass of wine. I do have desert. Eating out is a treat for me. By having a desert and usually eating fish (which I love) I am really treating myself I really don't feel guilty!
I do have to say that the restaurants we go to are very good. They use fresh foods and make there own sauses etc....all very fresh and not too fat at all!
12-30-2009, 04:47 AM
I eat out at restaurants often, always have, always will! I sometimes treat myself to something fattening, but before i take a single bite i cut everything in half and put the other half on my BF's plate! Usually i go for the salad option. If the dressing is fatty (blue cheese, ranch...) get it on the side. I usually just ask for a vinaigrette. Sometimes my BF and i share two things, I get the Healthy option, but have a few bites of his not so healthy meal and vice versa. This helps with cravings for me.
As far as fast food... I rarely eat it. The other night my BF got McDonalds for the first time in over a year. I had two bites and a few fries...ended up making me bloated, gassy and to be honest, constipated. Not going to eat that again for a long while!
12-30-2009, 05:09 AM
I don't go to fast food unless I am with a group of friends and they are going there, and this happens very rarely. I also got it a few times on campus last semester when my motivation to live reached an all-time low and I had no desire to get more difficult food to obtain (jk jk but homework sure does get to you sometimes!) but I still got smaller portions and count the calories when I do.
Restaurants... we go out like once a weekish? I only drink water or unsweetened tea, so that's a no-brainer, but in general, I try to get a lunch portion, or if not, pick a smaller meal. Eating half and taking it home doesn't go well with me. I'd rather order an appetizer and no meal than order a meal and take half home, because I don't like being tempted by it. Then I RARELY get dessert afterwards. Often when I know I'm getting a smaller meal I end up getting a cup of soup, because I love soup. <3 Usually I'll end up at about 1,000 calories for a meal out. But those days I just plan to eat 2,000 for the day (maintenance calories) and eat the other two meals a bit smaller. Eating 2,000 cals once a week isn't going to slow my weight loss down THAT much!
I like my current plan, because it is very liveable, and I need it to be liveable for me to stay on it forever and maintain my loss.