"To be honest, that exact behavior is how I got to over 200 pounds. I worked long hours in a very stressful job and would "treat" myself all the time... lunches out..."
^ Yep, me too. "I work hard, I don't have time to make lunch, I shouldn't have to make lunch, I deserve....."
A lot of what I "deserved," I am still carrying around with me... my body is only just now starting to metabolize off the Chubby Chicken Dinners I ate last fall lol... I "deserved," I "enjoyed," and I turned those "treats" into excess body mass. In retrospect, it wasn't a very good idea.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
4/29/13 5:04 P
To be honest, that exact behavior is how I got to over 200 pounds. I worked long hours in a very stressful job and would "treat" myself all the time... lunches out, dinners out, snacks at the bakery, etc etc etc. After all, I deserved it.
So, yes, I think you need to give up using food as your treat. There's nothing wrong with eating out, but doing it at a high frequency makes it really difficult to do, and still lose weight. I still eat out for lunch once a week, but I pick places that are healthier and have their nutrition information posted.
There are plenty of other low-cost things you can do to treat yourself that don't involve eating out at a restaurant. Take a nice walk while listening to your favorite music or podcasts that you can't listen to around your kids, go to a farmer's market and take your time perusing all the produce (and you can even buy some to eat too!), go get your nails done, go to a matinee movie if you have the time, go to a coffee shop at get a low calorie drink while reading your book/ipad, go peruse an antique store, and now that the weather is getting better, make yourself a healthy picnic lunch and go to the park and read and eat your lunch. Sometimes I even just like to take a drive/walk around a neighborhood that is scenic and/or has fancy houses and dream about living there.
Even if you feel like you're at a "healthy place", check the numbers! We have a sit-down chain here that has several healthy options and touts its use of fresh ingredients - but it's still possible to order a 1200 calorie burger (and that's not even including the fries)! The first time I only ate half and took the other half home - when I went to track I promptly threw that second half away!
I would encourage you to track everything you eat. You may find that you have room for a bigger "treat" on a certain day if all your other calories are in line. Plus it's so easy (at least for me) to overeat 100 calories at a time if I'm not tracking. I am not successful with weight loss unless I'm tracking everything.
Fitness Minutes: (1,818)
771 4/29/13 3:58 P
It is possible to eat healthy at restaurants, but you have to plan for it. As an example, Subway now offers chopped salads. These can be made very healthy because you are allowed to pick what goes into your chopped salads, such as chicken breast and lots of different veggies. But the portion is large. If you divide it in half, it is quite reasonable.
The trick is to do your homework ahead of time, via the internet. Most restaurants now post nutritional information for their foods. Think ahead and do your research, make a plan and then enjoy yourself!
I'm going to tell myself that I WILL have a burger...but not very often, and only if I feel like I'm at a healthy place.
I'm going to cut it in half, and take the rest home (I have a big family...lots of people will eat it up.)
I'm going to put the restaurant meals in my tracker, even if I am not currently putting the rest of my meals in the tracker. Those restaurant meals tend to be tricky so they NEED to go in the tracker so I can be more honest with myself!
Thanks for your tips! I'm glad you didn't say "no more restaurants, ever!"
4/27/13 6:22 P
I make it a point not to eat at places that don't have their nutrition information posted on the internet. There are two exceptions...a couple of raw, vegan restaurants nearby...because I just can't go wrong with them. What I see on the plate is pretty easy to figure out nutrition-wise.
I use food as a treat all the time, but the key is to know what you're getting yourself into, tracking EVERYTHING even if it doesn't look pretty on your nutrition tracker, and being committed to exercise.
4/27/13 6:09 P
It's definitely possible but you just have to be smart about it. Eating out every day really isn't considered a treat (at least not for me). You also have to consider what you are eating in addition to your "treat", in other words take into account what you are eating for breakfast, snacks and dinner. Other things are portion sizes, which restaurants are notorious for doubling and even tripling at times, method of cooking, add-ons, etc. As for eating healthy at restaurants, one thing I like to do is look up a particular restaurant's menu online to see what my choices are or to see if they have a healthy options sections, which a lot of commercial restaurants are including. Try to stay away from fried foods and sauced items. The more components a salad has, the less heathy it tends to be. One thing I've noticed when eating out is that most restaurants are more than willing to accommodate dietary needs or swapping out different options. So for salads: ask for your protein to be grilled instead of fried, ALWAYS ask for your dressing on the side and choose a fat free option or just plain olive oil and vinegar, try to avoid or at least limit the amount of cheeses, croutons and deli meats added to a salad (Cobb salad looks yummy but is one of the least healthy salads), the more fresh raw veggies the better! If a meal comes with the option of half or full size, choose the half size. If that isn't an option, when they bring out your meal, ask for a small side plate and use that to serve yourself a portion and box up the rest to take home with you. This can be done with any type of meal/cuisine. If you still want to enjoy a burger, the less condiments and add ons, the better. Avoid mayo, BBQ sauces and other specialty sauces or simply ask for the sauce on the side and spread a thin layer on your burger or sandwich, the same goes for ketchup, although regular mustard can be used a bit more freely. Also, something I like to do when I order specialty burgers is I cut it in half and box the rest, you get all of the indulgences but less calories! Instead of fries or chips, ask for steamed veggies on the side with no salt. If you still want your fries fix, try to only eat half a portion. Don't be fooled by sweet potato fries, they are not healthier than regular fries unfortunately. Personally I like to use treats or indulgences when I've actually earned it! I use a cheat day once a month for foods that I love but I know are not so great for me or for when my friends and I want to try that new restaurant/bar that just opened but don't feel like limiting myself (of course I also try to avoid overindulging!). I usually give myself a little treat (a fav dessert or a bowl of ice cream) once a week ONLY if I worked extra hard on my workouts and I ate healthy and within my range that week. Granted, this is what works for me and you should find what your happy medium will be. In the end, it's all about making smart choices when eating out. Hope this helps!
i think you have to find a balance between a treat and the usual. if you're doing this five days a week, that's really no longer a treat, that's your habit. that being said, it's not impossible to do, you just may need to cut back a little. eating out at restaurants you have to keep a few things in mind. the first is that restaurants generally have at least two portions of food that they put on the plate to serve you. so if you're eating a whole lunch, that's kind of like eating two lunches. so if you really want to do this, try cutting back to two or three times a week, saving half you lunch, then having the second half the next day. that way you're still not cooking and you're not overeating. another thing you can do is to look at menus. there are some things that some restaurants have that are better than others and poking through the menus before you buy the certificates can help you buy certificates from places that offer steamed veggies as a side rather than poutine fries. depending on where you live would it be possible for you to only buy certificates that you can walk to? increasing exercise can help decrease the impact that calories have. or as an alternate to buy certificates from places that have a park somewhat nearby that you could park at the park, walk a little, walk to the restaurant, have lunch, then walk back and around a little more?
you can also look for non-food related things to go out and do. what with groupon, living social, amazon local and the other 40 or so companies that do this you should be able to find certificates for non-food related things to go out and do.
one other thing that you can do is make your own frozen dinners. if you're making something for dinner that would reheat and freeze well [try a little portion if you're unsure], make a larger amount of that when you make it for dinner for the whole family and freeze a portion or two for your lunches. try to pair your frozen dinner lunches with getting out of the house for a non-food trip.
if you haven't made it to the nutrition section of the articles and videos section, head over there. there are a ton of articles about menu watch words, tips and tricks for eating out, different cuisines and so forth helping you to pick the best option where you do go.
Something else that might help is only doing it once a week, or even once every two weeks to make it a real treat. Restaurants cook with heavy creams and serve extremely large portions. You're going to have to create a deficit somewhere or make this habit a lot less frequent.
I think the problem lies in the portion sizes you get from the restaunts you are visiting and the lack of being able to track what is in their food. Maybe cut back on your frequency and ask for smaller portion availability. Good luck!
Hi friends, My husband has a job which requires him to eat out frequently for lunch and dinners with clients. I was jealous...home all the time with the kids, tired of cooking...I wanted to know what all that restaurant stuff was about!
I found a really cool website where I could purchase gift certificates for a buck or two, and with a face value of $10, that could buy me a nice lunch at a restaurant, while the kids are off at school. What a find.
So, I have gotten into the habit, after a morning of work (and looking forward to a hectic afternoon and bedtime), I run off to the restaurant and have lunch relaxing with my book or ipad, and feel SO PAMPERED to have food cooked for me! Love it! The problem is, I'm putting on so much extra weight. It's hard to say "no" to the burgers, and even the salads might be dangerous at restaurants.
Do I need to give up using food as my treat? Or is it possible to be healthy at the restaurant? Gina
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