Going out to eat should be something everyone can look forward to. Sadly, since starting this fitness kick, I've come to dread situations in which I have to go out for dinner, especially if it is a Monday or Tuesday. The idea of not being able to really monitor my intake or truly know exactly what I am eating is pretty scary. Don't get me wrong; I love to eat, and eating out is one of my favorite activities . . . just not right before a Weigh-In Wednesday!
When trying to lose weight, the time and the day when you hop on the scale really impact what number you will see. The salt content of food, the drinks you consume, and, obviously, the volume and calorie content of what you eat all influence your weight. This is really compounded together when you head out to the restaurant because, chances are, all of those factors will come into play. Most restaurant food is heavily seasoned simply because seasonings make food taste good; it is more than typical to have a drink or two with dinner; and, lastly, how much butter is really in that sauce? The problem with this situation? Most people go out for dinner and then weigh themselves in the morning, right after a night of delicious, buttery, flavorful food.
Personally, I have a really hard time not eating everything on my plate. I was taught that there were starving kids around the world, so naturally I had to eat as much as I had put on my plate and not waste anything. Portion control has always been very difficult and I assure you I cannot be trusted to comply with this strategy. So, is there a way to cope with this delicious dilemma? Honestly . . . I don't think so. And I don't know if there should be a way. Going out to eat is a social activity and lets you take time to relax and have fun with friends. I think as long as you try your best to make good decisions with what you order, that's all you can do.
I usually make plans at least a few days in advance and, if I know I have a restaurant in my future, I just try to make the best of it and get an extra run or two in. I'd rather run an extra couple of miles and be able to enjoy Martini Monday at Cecelia's than have to miss out for fear of the dreaded scale.
At the end of the day you have to be able to have fun and eat out without worrying too much about what the scale will say. After all, you can work off those martinis with a little bit of hard work.
In New York State, they’ve taken some of the fun out of eating out, by putting the calorie counts on the menu. Last week I was dying for a charbroiled burger (some days you just HAVE to have a burger), but I couldn’t even order one when I saw that they were 1200 + calories per burger (not counting the fries). I ate a salad instead – not nearly as satisfying. There ARE healthy choices on the menus, you just have to look for them.
When I would go home on breaks from college and we would go out to a restaurant, there were some places where literally all I could order were side dishes. Everything else was so bad! I would get cereal, green beans, side salads, or baked potatoes everywhere we went! But I guess that’s just the way some diners work: burgers and fries, and if you don’t like it, go somewhere else with better salads!