Usually around Thursday I am really tired and not up for cooking, so we go out to eat. Then the weekends we spend all day out and about and usually end up at a restaurant at some point in the day for our "Big meal" for the day (brunch, late lunch or early dinner) And I usually have a drink (or two) when we do. So up until Thursday I am doing great. Then I backslide and while I am still losing a little bit because my backslides are really baseline (meaning what I was eating before I started trying to lose) I feel like I could do so much better if I could get through the weekends eating right.
Has anyone else gone through this? How do you eat when you are out of the house all day on the weekends? Do you have a "go to" meal that is easy to make, and clean up after for those days you are really tired?
There's really 2 ways to approach it: either stop going out for meals & keep to your weekday schedule (which, with a 1 year old, is very easy for me to do as I don't go out), OR (more likely for you), pre-plan your meals and try to adhere to some kind of portion control.
I'll be honest - blowing weekend calorie deficits is a sure-fire way to not reach goal or to stall/plateau, so I would recommend:
- Start a slow cooker meal in the morning so it can cook while you are out and you don't need to be fussed with it.
- Go only to restaurants where you can read calorie options (I carry a list in my pocket) and make low-calorie selections
- Use "rules" (ie. no cream, no sauce, veggies instead of rice, tennis ball size portion, etc).
Have you just started your journey? In that case, I'd probably suggest cutting out these restaurants/drinks or at least choosing the calorie controlled option. I think, *and this is just my opinion*, that until we really have a grasp of the weight loss/or maintenance deal, it's best to realize we can't have our cake and eat it too. We really need to make some hard decisions - because it's that lifestyle that often gets us here on 3FC in the first place.
Weigh in on Sunday or Monday. Really keeps me honest over the weekends!
Do you log your foods? That helps keep me in check too and often times I will log ahead, picking my meal(s) ahead of time and then I know I don't have the calories for that glass of wine or extra bread, or whatever.
Also, I really try hard to workout on the weekends, giving me a little more wiggle room.
Restaurant meals are costly - both dollars and calories.
My advice would be to limit restaurant meals to once on the weekends and plan to cook at home the rest of the time. For your restaurant meal, plan in advance to go someplace where you can eat on plan. An example is Olive Garden - I always get the 400 calorie Venetian Apricot Chicken. It is awesome. (I have a mental list of "safe" restaurants and "safe" choices, I don't even look at menus).
As far as drinking, are you having a glass of red wine (100 calories) or are you having a froufrou drink like a margarita (400+ calories?). I just wouldn't have either - you are trying to lose weight, there is plenty of time (the rest of your life!) to have a drink once you are maintaining your weight loss.
Basically, for me, I have always treated the weekends as just regular days. I plan for them like any other day. I have my healthy breakfast, healthy lunch, put a healthy snack in my purse (we do a lot of running around and errands too) and plan a healthy dinner (either at home or on the go).
SIX YEARS at maintenance weight!
You dont want to cook on Thursday. So Monday-Wednesday cook extra so Thursday is leftover day.
Make a decision to limit your drinking on your "big meal out" on the weekend. Restaurants dont mean free for all. I eat out frequently. Take some time when you are not hungry to pick your most common restaurants and pre-select what you are going to order from each one. Write it down and put it in your wallet. And dont limit your choices to on menu. Think about what mods you can make (i.e. no potato, double veg. or No oil, or keep a few packets of lowcal salad dressing in your purse.)
Keep healthy snacks with you on out and about days so you arent famished at the restaurants.
Plan more. Why do you have to eat out on Saturday AND Sunday. What if you had food that you could heat up in a flash when you get home. Would that be too much of a change too fast. Strategize. Is it easier for you to make better choices when you eat out or to eat out less? Decide NOW, not THEN.
A whole lot of setbacks. Starting over.
Pre planning is really the hardest part! I love the advice you've gotten so far! Do you think you're letting yourself get too hungry so by the time you reach the restaurant you've just lost your control? When that happens to me, I tend to get an ef-it attitude and eat.
Maybe pack some healthy snacks that are portable in a cooler like apples, string cheese, and nuts. Maybe some snacks would help you keep control once you're in the restaurant.
I see nothing wrong with a glass of wine, just one, and then have a salad. Be careful, though, because some are loaded with calories. Just be smart when choosing. Many restaurants will provide nutritional information upon request, which might help you decide what to eat.
I think the best course would be to plan on leftovers at home. I don't cook on the weekends either, but when I'm cooking, I often make extra for leftovers. Leftover chicken or even taco meat is great on a salad!
Even when I go out running errands, I rarely stop to eat out.
__________________ "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!"
"Losing weight is hard. Being fat is hard. Pick your hard."
Total Goal Weight:
I weigh myself every day. It keeps me accountable.
If that weekend eating out routine is important to you & you loathe giving it up, plan for it. Eat 100 or so fewer calories per day during the week, saving the extra 500 for those weekend dining out meals. Then be sure to either look up calories for the places you frequent or if nutritional info isnt available, just eat more sensibly----e.g. eat half a portion, make substitutions (veggies rather than fries). I see no problem with having one glass of wine with your meal. Also I would eat lighter the rest of the day. I'm of the mindset that life needs to be lived so I try to work out smart compromises when something is important to me.
Thank you all for you great advice. There are lots of things I can work in (especially bringing a healthy snack.) I would be great for my budget and waistline to cut back on eating out. I think leftovers are a great idea. Someone (ahem, my husband) thinks leftovers are a cruel joke but if you MUST have them they can only be for lunch. But I think I will make a deal with him. I'll cook on the really tried nights if you do the dishes, if not, it's leftovers (which I actually enjoy)
If he doesnt do leftovers then early in the week make a dinner that has some sort of basic meat main dish and just make extra meat. Then you can quickly transform it into an entirely new meal. Grilled steak or chicken on monday can become steak or chicken tacos on thursday.
Or - considering you are working from a dining out budget. Buy precubed chicken from the grocery. Buy a simmer sauce (some of the indian ones are REALLY good). Chop up an onion and whatever other veggies. Here is the thing about the indian simmer sauces....they seem really high in calories but you can use half EASILY.
A whole lot of setbacks. Starting over.
It's amazing how leftovers can become meals or snacks throughout the week. My mother often has one night where she'll grill a lot of marinated chicken. Way more than we would need for dinner. She does this on purpose as it becomes our lunch wraps certain days!
If you want to save some $$ on going out (and help your waistline) then cook just a little extra during the days you do, you'll probably have enough of a meal for Thursday (and you can always repurpose what you have to make an entirely new, tasty quick meal) and perhaps during the weekend.
That said, if you don't want to give up going out to eat you don't have to. I went out way more than I should have over this summer and that's when I lost the bulk of my weight because I stayed on plan while out to eat.
Many, many restaurants publish their nutritional information online. Get that information before you go out and decide what you want to eat! If you want a few options, download the information to your phone or print it out and bring it with you.
Restaurant PORTIONS are also insane. If the restaurant you're going to doesn't have a "healthy" or "low-calorie" option, then don't eat the entire meal! I know this can be difficult, so when starting out it may be wise to ask for a take-out box as soon as you get the meal and put away half or more before you even start. This has the added benefit of giving you another meal the next day