Going to Cheesecake Factory Was So Hard! How do you eat out with friends?
My boyfriend and I started Atkins over the weekend. I've never been "thin," but living in the South this year put me above the recommended range for my height. We decided to do Atkins because it is basically our normal diet (we are heavy meat and cheese people), minus bad carbs. The only change in our diet right now is: no rice, pasta, oatmeal, almonds, or fruit, but I know the latter three will be re-integrated later. So far, we are really happy, and this weekend we're going to say good-bye to our carb life by taking our crackers, rice, and pasta to a food bank (this is a big step because we buy in bulk, so have 15 lbs of rice and 6 boxes of barilla pasta). My boyfriend is a marvelous cook, so he plans all our meals, and I just sit back and enjoy. For example, for dinner on Wednesday, he braised a pork shoulder in chicken broth, then flavored it with some salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary, made a side of pureed cauliflower and a side of kale with bacon. It was all delicious and well within our carb range for the day.
Anyway, everything was going along swimmingly, then yesterday, a friend convinced us to go out with her to dinner and a movie. We went to cheesecake factory, and it was depressing to look at this menu of pages and pages of delicious things we couldn't order! Luckily, our friend got foods that I would never get so I didn't feel bad once we got our food. But, it was the first time this week that I thought making this permanent, healthy change in our lifestyle would not be sustainable. You can't always be hermits and refuse to eat out! How does everyone else do it?!
It's easier if you pick restaurants that have healthy things that you enjoy.... The Cheesecake Factory is a tough one for me, since I love their chicken and pasta dishes, and I'm not really enamoured with their salads, which are the only things that have nutritional data. On the other hand, Ruby Tuesdays is an easy restaurant for me-they have nutritional data on the chicken dishes that I'd probably want to get anyways.
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DBF & I went to the Cheesecake Factory with a friend over Valentine's Day weekend. He is low carb eating as well (not Atkins...more of a Protein Power type plan). We both ordered the herb crusted filet of salmon & a double order of steamed broccoli (they are very accomodating at making substitutions of extra veggies instead of potatoes or fries). Since it was Valentine's Day, we splurged and ordered a silce of the 6 carb cheesecake. I had about 3 spoonfuls...tasted very sweet to me. It looked like they had some great salads too. They also serve steaks & chops as well as, eggs & omelettes. When in doubt, eggs or omelettes are usually a safe bet. Of course, there is also always a burger with no bun. Eating at restaurants is not really that difficult on Atkins
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I'm not on Atkins, but low carb in general (keeping my carbs to a max of 50 grams per day is best for my blood glucose levels--type 2 diabetes). We go to Cheesecake Factory once in a while. I get the same thing there as I do any restaurant--protein and veggies! I'm picky about veggies, but most places have broccoli, which I like. So, steak and broccoli, pork chops and broccoli, chicken and broccoli...a few places also have mashed cauliflower. I've had spaghetti squash at Bonefish. I've been able to find carb-friendly meals at every restaurant I've been to. Italian places are the trickiest, but it's doable. When all else fails, I get a chicken caesar salad, no croutons
Highest known weight: 324
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Last edited by jillybean720 : 07-25-2008 at 11:13 AM.
I'm not necessarily carb counting - more just trying to make sure I maintain an overall good balance - but I rarely have problems dining out (the only places I simply will not go are fast food places and chain pizza parlors ) It does take a little practice but once you are familiar with what foods you want to avoid and which ones you are good with, you can find something at almost any restaurant - even if you put together your own meal from *sides*. The hardest part is resisting all the not so healthy stuff you used to like but, that really does get easier after a while too.
Big change I've made that really helps me make better menu choices is my choice of wardrobe if I know we might be stopping for a bite. I used to wear my "eating pants" you know, like sweats, elastic waistbands, or something loose like that so I would be comfortable after I stuffed myself . Now I intentionally wear something that's a little fitted in the waist - not so tight that I get the muffin effect - just snug enough that they tighten up a little if I try to reach across the table for the bread basket
Dieting is hard. Maintenance is hard. Being fat is hard. Pick your hard.
Like a few people said, there are great restaurants to go to that will be really easy to get nutritional food at.
Whenever my dad takes me and the family out, I hope that it's either Apple Bee's or Chili's. Apple Bee's has a Weight Watchers menu and Chili's has something similar. A lot of food places are adding those types of foods to their menu, too. It's about time restaurants help out the people who want to lose weight!
I know there are things I can eat at all these restaurants... it's the things I can't eat that drive me crazy!! We looove eating out. It used to be the largest category of discretionary spending for us. Thank you for your comments! It definitely makes me feel better to know that other people fight the same urges to indulge (and succeed). It's good and surprising to know about some of these restaurants like Apple Bees and Chili's because we actually drove by them, but thought it would be harder to find something at those places since I've only ever gotten pastas at Apple Bees and Quesedillas at Chili's.
I'm new to Atkins (this time around), but I know which battles I'm likely to win and which I don't want to aggravate myself with. I spent the weekend out of town and with family and friends, eating out every meal. No problem. I've made up my mind I'm sick of being fat, and I'm responsible for what I eat. Choose the restaurant - I had great grilled grouper with tomatoes, scallions, and portobellos and a spinach salad one night. Went out to a great brunch place - scrambled eggs, bacon, and an order of sausage links. Fabulous Italian restaurant - grilled chicken with a yummy veggie topping, asparagus, no problem.
But I'm never going to the Cheesecake Factory. Not a battle I'll choose. You can do this!
NEW YEAR'S CHALLENGE: 10 pounds Start: 207 (12/04)
"My weakness has always been food and men - in that order." Dolly Parton