Weight Loss Support - Eating out on a diet




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lissvarna
09-08-2011, 01:13 PM
Hey!

Just started exercising a couple weeks ago. I've gone 5 days a week so far (my minimum is 4). I'm doing about 45 mins of cardio each time and a bit of strength training. (Trying to increase that soon). My mini goal is to lose 15lbs; ultimate goal is 30 to 40 lbs. Also, I'm eating about 1500cals a day. I know for real weight loss it should be less, but I'm easing in I guess.

My diet has been on and off; it's been mostly acceptable, with a few slip ups. I don't enjoy cooking, plus I work full-time and I'm a part-time grad student, so I don't really have time to cook anyway. I eat a lot of yogurt and lean cuisines, haha.

My biggest issue is eating out. I love to do this; I really enjoy dinners with my boyfriend and friends. I feel like there's gotta be a way to go out every week without ruining my diet.

I've completely cut out beer (so sad), and if I'm drinking I have mainly gin & soda water, sometimes wine. If I know I'm going out later, I eat very well all day and save as many calories for the meal as possible. I've been eating only 1/2 of whatever meal I get and saving the next half for an indulgent lunch the next day. But, yesterday for example, the sandwich I ordered was SO greasy that even half of it had to be loaded with calories.

Obviously salads seem like a better choice, but as we know, sometimes they are just as bad or worse than sandwiches or entrees.

I'm not looking for "don't eat out!!!" responses, because it's not a sacrifice I want to make, even if it takes me longer to lose a bit of weight. Just wondering if anyone wants to share their tips on eating out weekly without ruining your diet. Thanks! :)


sacha
09-08-2011, 01:24 PM
I made myself a rule: don't eat it if you can't count it. Be annoying and demand to go to places that publish calorie information. Pick out your favourite meals (ie fav Subway, fav Wendys/McD's) and keep the list with you. I can tell you exactly how many calories in a grande latte or Mcbreakfast meal. Carry protein bars/snacks if you find yourself somewhere that you can't count.

Once you've been in the game long enough and can estimate calories very well, then it's time to estimate. But if you are new or have a reasonable amount to lose still, I think it's best to stick with what you know or to plan ahead and bring something. Good luck :)

khat
09-08-2011, 01:41 PM
I eat out often. Sometimes it's just a sandwich, sometimes is a full-on dinner. I always order something with lots of veggies. I eat pasta (even if it's not wholegrain) or risotto, sometimes I just go with the vegetable soup and some salad, if I'm in a mexican restaurant I go for fajitas and I eat the tortillas with veggies and salsa.. I don't know, I don't really stress about it as long as it's something with veggies. I never have dessert and my dressing is always plain olive oil and balsamico. You can always ask whats in the dishes. I always pretend to have food allergies and thats why I'm asking so they don't think I'm being a pain in the a** :D


JayEll
09-08-2011, 02:00 PM
Depending on your plan, there are many good choices. Grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, even a small grilled steak are all quite acceptable.

Some of my "ground rules" are:
- No cheese, no rich sauces, especially white sauces.
-I skip the pasta and potato offerings and instead get two different vegetables or double vegetables or a vegetable and side salad. Dressing is always on the side.
- No appetizers, either. Often these have as many cals as an entree!
- If it's one of those places that automatically brings bread or biscuits, I ask them not to--or if I'm with someone who wants them, I just tough it out and don't eat any.
- Oh, and do I need to add that I skip dessert? I might have coffee or decaf after instead.

You'll find you can be pleasantly full after eating such a meal.

Jay

carter
09-08-2011, 02:04 PM
This is a favorite topic of mine because I love wonderful food and have made room in plan for eating it in restaurants from time to time. I eat out about once a week on my plan, and I have developed a number of strategies for making room for this weekly meal. Sometimes it's a "fine dining" sort of thing, other times ethnic food or something else along those lines.

At a fine dining meal, I will drink a cocktail or wine with dinner, not both. I don't touch the bread (it's easier for me to eat none than to just eat a little; your preferences may differ). If I order a first course, it's a simple green salad with the dressing on the side - I tend not to choose salads loaded with cheese or nuts. For my main course, I try to order fish (no more steak frites for me), and pay attention to what the accompaniments are. I don't finish very rich, fattening accompaniments. Finally, I do not order dessert.

At ethnic restaurants, I don't order appetizers, unless it's something very contained and adaptable to my plan, like edamame. I have regular manageable choices for each of the ethnic restaurants I tend to go to - chicken kabob platter with no rice and extra salad at the Lebanese place, sashimi at the Japanese place, spicy fish soup at the Korean place, dal with either rice or naan (not both) at the Indian place, and so on. You get the idea. I don't go in thinking "hm, what would I like to eat?" I go in knowing what I am going to order and I order that. I have also used the technique of putting half the meal in a takeout container before I start eating, at restaurants with particularly large serving sizes.

At sandwich places you are never bound by the special sandwiches listed by name on the menu. If they have a "Super Turkey Club" on the menu with three slices of bread, bacon, cheese, and mayonnaise, then they can make you a turkey on wheat with lettuce & tomato. I often ask at sandwich places what types of vegetables they have, and ask them to pile onto the sandwich as many as they are willing to fit - lettuce, tomato, sprouts, cucumber, green pepper, pickles, whatever they have.

At any restaurant you go to, never be afraid to ask for substitutions - "can I please have a side salad instead of the potatoes?" - or to ask them to just leave something off your plate. The worst that happens is that they can't make the substitution you want - you haven't lost anything by asking. Also look for "sides" on the menu - sometimes you can order a side of green beans or broccoli or something, if you are like me and enjoy bulking up your meal with lots of vegetables.

The last thing I'll say is that I do not fret about counting calories strictly on the days I go out to eat. I eat carefully during the day that day - no extra snacks - and I know there is room in my calorie budget for this weekly meal. I loosely follow a calorie-cycling plan I orient it so that the highest-calorie day is the day of the week I typically go out to eat.

Now, I am not winning any awards for speedy weight loss - it's taken me two years to lose 100 pounds - and some might argue that if I ate out a little less often I might be able to lose more quickly. But I'd rather be on a slower plan that I can stick with long enough to lose 100 pounds than be on a speed-maximized plan that I can only stay on long enough to lose 40, which is what has always happened to me in the past. I am very, very glad that I get my weekly restaurant meal.

You can do it, too - it just takes a little discipline and a little forethought.

dragonwoman64
09-08-2011, 02:06 PM
what type of places do you eat out at? some places it's easier to get your food without certain extras that can cut back on the calories/fats.

you might want to consider finding or figuring out what the calories would be for what you'd order at a several places, so that you can make informed choices of what works for you with the plan you're following.

another idea would be to eat some of your veggies and/or fruits before hand, then ordering something small

April Snow
09-08-2011, 02:51 PM
grilled steak or salmon and veggies are my go-to meals for dining out. I will also get a salad as a side, or as a main entree with some kind of protein on it, if I am comfortable that there is an acceptable dressing choice and then I ask for my salad to be made without all the calorie-laden extras like cheese, croutons, olives, etc.

sontaikle
09-08-2011, 02:57 PM
I live in New York, so the calories of meals are right on the menu. This helps me eat out yet stay within my calorie counts.

However, many places publish this information online if you live in a place where this isn't required to be on the menu. Try to find out where you're going in advance so you can find the calorie counts before you go and plan your meal accordingly.

If you can't get the calorie count, don't eat the whole meal! Ask for a takeout box and put half of it away before you even start and eat it the next day :)

Lovely
09-08-2011, 03:07 PM
"Don't eat out" would be a silly rule for me, as I'm going to occasionally eat out at a restaurant. That's life. If this lifestyle change is truly a lifestyle change, then eating out is going to happen!

My general rules:

- Have a plan.

- If I know I'm going to eat out. Eat lightly the day of. Save my Points for the meal.

- If the restaurant has a menu online or nutritional information. Select what I'm going to eat beforehand.

- Decide if I want to indulge in the breadbasket, or appetizers or dessert.

- Avoid creamy sauces, heavily cheesy things, or items that I know come in ENORMOUS portions (usually pasta bowls).

That's it for me mostly. :)

Munchy
09-08-2011, 03:53 PM
Depending on your plan, there are many good choices. Grilled chicken breast, grilled salmon, grilled shrimp, even a small grilled steak are all quite acceptable.

Some of my "ground rules" are:
- No cheese, no rich sauces, especially white sauces.
-I skip the pasta and potato offerings and instead get two different vegetables or double vegetables or a vegetable and side salad. Dressing is always on the side.
- No appetizers, either. Often these have as many cals as an entree!
- If it's one of those places that automatically brings bread or biscuits, I ask them not to--or if I'm with someone who wants them, I just tough it out and don't eat any.
- Oh, and do I need to add that I skip dessert? I might have coffee or decaf after instead.

You'll find you can be pleasantly full after eating such a meal.

Jay

I do all of this. I almost always get salad without the cheese, croutons, dressing, etc OR grilled/broiled whatever meat with double veggies.
I usually eat half of the meal and save the rest for another day.

kelly585
09-08-2011, 06:07 PM
I am not in the same situation as you since I am a stay at home mom which means cooking is part of the job but I do love to eat out. Since its harder with little kids and not very enjoyable its not as often now.... when I do though I order nothing deep fried but I will still eat more then just a salad. I try to do the "bad ok great" scale I now never eat from the bad foods and try to stick with the ok and great choices. Good luck!

PreciousMissy
09-08-2011, 06:39 PM
I always pretend to have food allergies and thats why I'm asking so they don't think I'm being a pain in the a** :D

Me too! But just because I don't like peanuts.

Which please don't think that I take food allergies lightly, but people are always more accommodating if it's going to instantly kill you (allergy) rather than kill you over years of neglect (high cholesterol, obesity...)

Anyway, to answer the original poster...

I had that same problem today. I went to a restaurant that didn't have nutritional information. I picked a similar restaurant and based it off their nutrition info, and then added calories because the portion size was bigger.

I just try to pick the healthiest thing I can but always make sure I allow for the calories.

ETA: I also follow a calorie cycling plan and have allotted my higher calorie days closer to the weekends because that's when I tend to eat out more.

mzKiki
09-08-2011, 06:43 PM
I think if you're eating out only once a week it shouldn't hurt your weight loss too much.
when I know I'm going out I usually look @ the menu online and plan what I'm going to order ahead of time and adjust my intake earlier in the day. (Some restaurants don't publish calorie content but you can sometimes get the calories in certain dishes from other sites like calorie king or livestrong) restaurants with salad bars are great choices and you can eat as much salad as you want and still have a decent main course.
Hopefully this isn't a "diet" and is a lifestyle change so you'll just learn to incorporate it into your life.

mzKiki
09-08-2011, 06:45 PM
I am not in the same situation as you since I am a stay at home mom which means cooking is part of the job but I do love to eat out. Since its harder with little kids and not very enjoyable its not as often now.... when I do though I order nothing deep fried but I will still eat more then just a salad. I try to do the "bad ok great" scale I now never eat from the bad foods and try to stick with the ok and great choices. Good luck!

Ahhhh Kelly just once I would like to go to a restaurant and not have to ask the server to please bring more crayons...LOL. I figure in 12 yrs or so I can enjoy a nice restaurant meal again.

Beach Patrol
09-09-2011, 10:53 AM
Hey!

Just started exercising a couple weeks ago. I've gone 5 days a week so far (my minimum is 4). I'm doing about 45 mins of cardio each time and a bit of strength training. (Trying to increase that soon). My mini goal is to lose 15lbs; ultimate goal is 30 to 40 lbs. Also, I'm eating about 1500cals a day. I know for real weight loss it should be less, but I'm easing in I guess.

My diet has been on and off; it's been mostly acceptable, with a few slip ups. I don't enjoy cooking, plus I work full-time and I'm a part-time grad student, so I don't really have time to cook anyway. I eat a lot of yogurt and lean cuisines, haha.

My biggest issue is eating out. I love to do this; I really enjoy dinners with my boyfriend and friends. I feel like there's gotta be a way to go out every week without ruining my diet.

I've completely cut out beer (so sad), and if I'm drinking I have mainly gin & soda water, sometimes wine. If I know I'm going out later, I eat very well all day and save as many calories for the meal as possible. I've been eating only 1/2 of whatever meal I get and saving the next half for an indulgent lunch the next day. But, yesterday for example, the sandwich I ordered was SO greasy that even half of it had to be loaded with calories.

Obviously salads seem like a better choice, but as we know, sometimes they are just as bad or worse than sandwiches or entrees.

I'm not looking for "don't eat out!!!" responses, because it's not a sacrifice I want to make, even if it takes me longer to lose a bit of weight. Just wondering if anyone wants to share their tips on eating out weekly without ruining your diet. Thanks! :)

First of all, :wel3fc:


You say you're eating "about 1500 calories a day" -I assume you're calorie counting, then? & 1500, that's probably a good start, but I would suggest that you change that "about" and use some sort of calorie tracker so you can have more accuracy.

Also, eating "half" a meal is one easy way to eat less calories, & something I incorporate when I'm eating out, so I think you're doing well there! And ya know, ya really don't have to "sacrifice" much of anything in order to eat out once a week. NOT EVEN BEER, LOL!! - you CAN have beer - enjoy one light beer before or during your meal - nothing wrong with that! And salads... they can be yummy, but boring. Somewhere once upon a time, somebody decided that "dieting = salads" Well it certainly doesn't have to be that way!

Here are some of my personal tips:
1) choose baked or roasted over fried whenever possible
2) Yuuummmm! protein!!! - fish, shrimp, chicken, lean beef
3) pile on the veggies!
4) drink water with your meal
5) have either an appetizer OR dessert - not both (or heck, neither, if you're so inclined!)
6) sometimes an "appetizer" serves as a full meal, IMHO, so I quite often do that
7) ask for sauces, condiments, extras "on the side" so you can choose how much of something to incorporate into your meal

Good luck, & continue coming here for support - 3FC is awesome like that!!! :D

kshe78
09-11-2011, 11:17 PM
This is my biggest challenge! But for me it's not that I "want" to eat out, but I have to. I am on the road for my job about 60% of the year, so it's 3 meals a day, for anywhere from 1 to 10 days at a time. It makes it super tough. I know WHAT to eat, but when I'm busy, and stressed, and tired, I don't make very good choices. :(

luckymommy
09-11-2011, 11:28 PM
You got some great advice. I don't know if this was already mentioned, but if I get a salad, I ask for the dressing on the side and just dip my fork into it before each bite....and if I get something like a protein, I ask them to make it with cooking spray instead of oil. It's not always possible, but it cuts down on calories. If going to Subway, I always get the chicken breast sandwich with lots of veggies, no mayo, just dijon mustard and I have them take the white part of the bread out of the inside....it doesn't change the flavor or how full I feel and yet it cuts down on calories. Happy eating! :)

ennay
09-11-2011, 11:39 PM
I made myself a rule: don't eat it if you can't count it. Be annoying and demand to go to places that publish calorie information.

I have exactly the opposite rule. As much as possible I try to avoid chains. If I am going to eat out I want higher quality for my calories.

I never order main dish salads, not only are they usually MORE caloric, I have an enormous CSA at home and if I want to eat salad I can do it at home.

Focus on protein and veggies and you'll do ok. But I dont try to always get the healthiest choice. I try to get the best out of what I really want. Nothing makes me more prone to binge than a dry chicken breast at a restaurant and sitting there disappointed because I really hate chicken.

When I was traveling for work and DID eat out at chains I had written down what I would order at each place in a card in my wallet.

cherrypie
09-12-2011, 01:32 AM
I read an article with some actress (don't even remember who) and she said it's not hard to eat right in a restaurant, it's hard to order right. For some reason that really helps me when I sit down to order. All I have to do is order smart, and most restaurants have something healthy, and that is the only thing I have to do.


btw, don't tell servers that you have allergies when you don't. They actually will make everything from scratch again to make sure that it isn't contaminated with the allergen. It's really not that big a deal for them to cook something that they prepare when ordered without the sauces or extra oil.

Wannabehealthy
09-12-2011, 10:46 AM
We started eating out often after my step-children got married and moved out. That was my downfall, because I wasn't careful. Now I have learned how to choose a healthy meal and I know what each restaurant has to offer. I stick with baked or grilled fish or chicken and add a cup of soup, salad or vegetables. Denny's has a great Talapia and I just order it without the sauce. You can always order a grilled chicken salad without the cheese or french fries. Or sometimes I order a grilled chicken breast with a side salad, then I cut up my chicken and add it to my salad. There are usually less unwanted items in a side salad. Restaurants are becoming more mindful that many people are looking for healthy choices, and are offering healthy options. And my husband and I aren't forced to eat the same thing, which is what happens when I cook at home.

MusicalAstronaut
09-14-2011, 07:09 PM
I'm a college student and trust me, it's so much easier to eat out on my way from class to work. The way I've worked this into my new (dietttttttt) life is by checking out my favorite places online. Most places have the calorie information posted on their website. So, look there and see what's in your calorie range. Make a list of the foods that pass, and stick to it! A good tip is to avoid pasta & cheese dishes. Those are insanely calorie-heavy. I don't even know what they do to the food to make it that bad for you! :P If you go to a sandwich plate, nixing mayo and cheese is a big help. If you can't bear to give it up, ask for half the normal amount. That's what I do and honestly I can't tell a difference in taste.

Larry H
09-14-2011, 09:57 PM
I am a calorie counter. 1500 is my number and since I started with 3FC in January I have eaten out a couple of times a week.

The internet has helped a lot as most chain restaurants and many others have online nutrition listings. This allows me to decide what to have before I go.

My wife loves CICI'S Pizza Buffet, Usually not the best place for a diet. I know that I can have 3 slices of alfredo pizza at 120 calories a slice and add a salad without the cheese and fat toppings and my meal will be in the 400 calorie range.

I go from time to time to Golden Corral, Again not the best place for a diet.
I eat no meat of any kind and start with a salad with nothing but vegetables, no meats cheeses etc; Then I hit the vegetable steam table and load my plate with a varieties of vegetables. Finishing my meal with a dessert of water melon pieces. When I total it I am usually in the 400 Calorie range.

My wife also loves to eat at Wendy's. Wow she hits all the places that are hard for dieting. Even the salads there are high calorie. Oh well my online research pays off again and I ask for a plain Chicken Wrap with a Diet Soda and I am out and under 400 calories.

I have done the same at Denny's, IHOP, Red Lobster, and many many more.
With a little thinking out of the box and research eating out on my diet is enjoyable and on plan.

The great news is that if I can do this then anyone can.

Larry,