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SUPERGIRL76 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (300)
Posts: 17
11/19/12 5:50 P

this can be a real problem. i myself try to order salad w/dressing on the side, lean chicken or fish. skip out on creamy sauces and anything breaded.

WHITNEY0089 SparkPoints: (9,536)
Fitness Minutes: (3,771)
Posts: 22
11/19/12 2:42 P

My husband and I have been dealing with this ongoing problem as well. The way we've been dealing with it, and having pretty good success the last few months, is to limit ourselves to only eatting out 3 times a month, which still sounds like a lot to most of you but it's definately a cutback for us. We've been able to say no by allowing ourselves to take the money we've saved and splurge on things we wouldn't have normally been able to afford like new clothes, or garage things in his case, haha. It makes eatting at home not seem so bad when you know everytime you do it its like earning yourself presents. Also now when we go out to eat I feel like I can splurge a bit more when before I was worried about ordering salads with the low fat dressing and avoiding the bread basket. Now we make it more of a special occasion and I order what I really WANT instead of what is healthiest.

SWEET-T SparkPoints: (35,213)
Fitness Minutes: (20,875)
Posts: 1,350
11/19/12 2:03 P

I don't

LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
11/19/12 2:00 P

JPATT1822- It can be difficult to change habits. I think that is why you have to examine why you are going out to eat so much.

If you truly enjoy eating out you don't have to give it up to eat healthier. You can change the choices you make at the restaurant and people can give you advice on that.

If you do want to reduce the number of days you go out to eat then I think you will have to learn to be strict about it. You will have to find alternatives and have a plan in place before the question comes up.

If you go out to eat every single day make it a goal to reduce that number to 4 days a week to begin with. Tell your boyfriend in advance that those are the days you will go out to eat. Make specific meal plans for the other days so you won't cave so easily. After you get it down to 4 days for a few months try cutting it down to 2 days a week.

Maybe buy a new cookbook with your favorite type of food and make a big deal about testing the recipes together. I've done that with an Indian cookbook and it was a lot of fun.

If your boyfriend likes going out maybe you can talk about only going out for coffee or drinks instead of a full meal or finding non-food places to go together.

HUNNA13 Posts: 180
11/18/12 4:07 P

Order what you like, but eat in moderation. Just because they bring you a giant plate of food doesn't mean you have to eat it all. You can enjoy the next day...and the next day if you want.

CHESAPEAKE60 SparkPoints: (7,725)
Fitness Minutes: (12,886)
Posts: 438
11/18/12 10:40 A

I love eating out and wouldn't want to say no. I don't think it is hard to eat out and be healthy at all. Most every restaurant has grilled salmon and/ or other grilled fish. Just ask for it plain with any sauce on the side. I have my first and last bites with a bit of the sauce and eat the rest without. Salad with dressing on the side to just drizzle a 1/2 tsp or so on and grilled veggies for the side. Yum yum. As for the cost, I always take half of the meal home with me so I have dinner for 2 nights for one purchase. I drink ice water so no extra cost for a drink.

And meanwhile, it helps in keeping with a healthy life style because I am getting different flavors that I don't get regularly at home so I don't get bored or feel like I am having to miss out on a fun and social activity that I so enjoy.

SMOKYBLUE1 SparkPoints: (37,823)
Fitness Minutes: (58,590)
Posts: 1,030
11/17/12 8:53 P


GOPINTOS Posts: 6,263
11/17/12 5:49 P

I didnt read everyone's so I am sorry if I repeat.

But really, this is an easy one for me. Because I got fat and aged decades because we ate out ALL.THE.TIME!! And I do not ever want to go back to that sad dark place in my life.

DH still asks me all the time though. I think for a couple of reasons, well one mainly. He doesnt want to cook and he doesnt expect me to, so he asks if I want to go out.

And since he asks, which is a yes or no question, I say no and I usually say why. Sometimes that is because I don't have that many calories left for the day, or because I just don't want the extra weight gain and bloat that might come with it, or I might already have something in the frig that needs to be used up.

He understands, but he still asks. So I just let him know that I would rather not. He eats out every week day for lunch, so I am trying to help him out also, with breakfast and dinner at home.

Now, that is not to say that I wouldnt go out now and then, but we don't make a habit of it anymore, not like the 3 meals a day and after school snack like we use to.

I do go out with friends about once every 3 months or so. They are all busy also, so when we do get together, it is special. Sometimes I make choices close to what I would eat at home, and sometimes I have something special. I just have to realize that I might pay for it for a couple of days or a week in terms of water weight gain & bloat and my pants too tight for a week.

JPATT1822 SparkPoints: (421)
Fitness Minutes: (255)
Posts: 5
11/17/12 5:22 P

Thanks for all the advice, everybody! All of it was very helpful and made me realize how much money is being spent on this form of entertainment I've seemed to become addicted to. It could be spent on better things. I need to rearrange some priorities, I believe, and going out to eat doesn't need to be near the top of the list! Now, if I can get my boyfriend to see things my'd make it much easier.

For those of you that said "Just say no"..if it were that easy, I wouldn't be on here looking for help. emoticon but thanks! Maybe soon, I'll be able to do just that!

SUEK24 Posts: 1,139
11/12/12 1:58 P

I apply the Zone meal guidelines when I eat out , which is often. That way I can enjoy eating with friends and having a healthy balanced meal at the same time. I eat lean protein the size and thickness of my palm, load the rest of the plate with veggies, and then add a little bit of monounsaturated fat (like olives, olive oil or guacamole). I pass on the bread, pasta, rice, potatoes and chips, or sometimes have a little bit in condiment sized servings. On a menu this might translate into a chicken Caesar salad (go light on the croutons, add a bowl of veggie soup for up the veggie content), or a Greek salad. Another great choice is grilled salmon with veggies and a side salad.

Edited by: SUEK24 at: 11/12/2012 (13:59)
LOUNMOUN Posts: 1,334
11/12/12 1:47 P

I guess it depends on why you are going out to eat.
Do you go out to be social?
Do you often get caught not having a meal planned or food in your house?
Do you dislike cooking?

I would choose 1 or 2 days a week only for going out to eat. I would only go out on those days. When I got used to that I might move to only every 2 weeks or once a month.
I would plan meals for the rest of the week at home. I would shop so I had the ingredients for those meals in advance.
I would find other ways to be social.

NIRERIN Posts: 14,274
11/12/12 7:30 A

there are two approaches to this. the first question is do you really want to go out?

if the answer is yes, then you need to figure out how to do that. part one of that is figuring out why you want to go out. if you happen to like eating out as opposed to cooking, then you need to figure out how to eat out. start reading all the spark articles on eating out and not breaking the nutritional bank. start manually plugging in your favorite meals and figuring out their caloric cost. this will establish where you are when eating out right now. then you can work on finding an option that is better than what you were getting before. it's doesn't have to be a pristine choice, it just has to be a little better than what you were doing before. it can be as simple as having a burger instead of a cheeseburger. it can be as simple as skipping fries if you like one of the 700+ cal burgers. or eating your burger open faced. all you have to beat is what you would have had otherwise. and that is a step in the right direction.
if you like eating out because of the social aspect, you can work on finding ways to get that social connection without food. instead of waiting for your friends to ask you out for dinner, invite them to go ice skating or hiking. find a group to volunteer with so that you're focusing on something besides food. and if you really want food and friends, try inviting them over for a game night or some other activity where you provide the food [which means you have control over what is there].
if there is some other reason why you prefer to eat out, name it and figure out how you can get it for fewer calories.

if the answer is no, then you need to figure out how to say no. if you want to spend time with the people, but don't want the added calorie burden of eating out, you're back to inviting them over so that you have control over what is being served. and if you're saying no because you have found that you can't reduce the calories of the things you like to a reasonable level and be satisfied, rotate your rejections and acceptances. in other words, when susie asks you this time, accept and try. but the next time she asks you, then you need to pass. you can do every other, you can accept every third, skip every third or accept/pass on every fourth. if you keep a little paper with you with your usual inviters and a column for passes and a column for accepting, then you can keep track to make sure you're not totally passing on your people. and a "no thanks" or "not this time" is all you have to say. you don't have to explain your reasoning to anyone.

GRACIE4ONE SparkPoints: (24,761)
Fitness Minutes: (30,280)
Posts: 1,408
11/12/12 2:05 A


Fitness Minutes: (20,400)
Posts: 2,704
11/11/12 9:58 P

"No, thank you."

N16351D Posts: 2,349
11/11/12 9:41 P

I cannot imagine going out to eat often. We only eat out when we have to such as for travel. The rare times we eat out at fast food chains (Burger King, Taco Time, etc.) it is an enjoyable treat. Even then I bring fruit, vegetables and sandwiches to cover meals for the first day. We also eat out for one meal when we have out-of-town visitors to show them some great restaurants in town. Lately, though, I will prepare more meals at home for house guests because our fresh, organic garden food from our yard, our view, and my choice of music beats any restaurant any day.

I took a two girls out for lunch recently as a treat for their birthday. I paid $8 for one grilled cheese sandwich, that I could make at home for about $1. The kids loved the treat, but next time I will bring a sandwich from home and buy them an ice cream cone in town.

Unless I was married to someone with a large income such as lawyer or doctor, there is no way that on our teacher's salary we can afford to put kids in college, pay for daughter's wedding, take care of our cars, home, take a vacation once every few years, and save for retirement. After living frugally, and living below our income for 40 years of working, my husband of 30 years is ready to retire as millionaires.

Looking back on our household budget for any given year, our eating out expenses (including taking house guests out for dinner which is rare) was about $200 a year.

How can anyone afford to eat out often? This is mind-boggling to me, and unless you are ready for retirement and have all of your debt paid off (including your home!), it seems terribly foolish.

Studies show that around 75% of Americans have unmanageable debt on their credit cards. Depending on which source you read, the average is around $30,000 per person in debt (more or less as sources change).

In our current economy, millions of marketable people are out of work. Many houses were foreclosed on in recent years. Gas has risen sharply in recent years (but now it is coming down a little).

Do the math. Figure out your debt. Get it paid off. Figure out how much you need to retire. Plan for unexpected expenses, or emergencies. Have car insurance and medical insurance.
Pay for your children's needs.

Who can afford to eat out even a few times a week? It costs thousands of dollars less per year to learn to cook and make it at home!

BARBRAKAV SparkPoints: (6,456)
Fitness Minutes: (5,113)
Posts: 25
11/11/12 9:14 P

We eat out several times a week - when I know we are going out, I visit the restaurant's webpage and look at the menus - and plan my meal, looking up values etc. before I go. I find, for portion control, its generally easier to mix and match appetizers/salads. I am also vegan, so some restaurants work out better than others - for example, Mexican is a little easier than a steakhouse (assuming the Mexican restaurant doesn't use lard.) I recently had a great meal with friends, I got a salad and black beans, mixed them together using salsa for dressing - even adding some quac - wonderful!

BARBRAKAV SparkPoints: (6,456)
Fitness Minutes: (5,113)
Posts: 25
11/11/12 9:14 P

We eat out several times a week - when I know we are going out, I visit the restaurant's webpage and look at the menus - and plan my meal, looking up values etc. before I go. I find, for portion control, its generally easier to mix and match appetizers/salads. I am also vegan, so some restaurants work out better than others - for example, Mexican is a little easier than a steakhouse (assuming the Mexican restaurant doesn't use lard.) I recently had a great meal with friends, I got a salad and black beans, mixed them together using salsa for dressing - even adding some quac - wonderful!

AJBOTV SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (9,122)
Posts: 183
11/11/12 11:27 A

It depends on why you're going out to eat. Is it a social activity? Try to change it so food isn't the reason you go to hang out with friends or with your SO. I used to eat out all the time with the ex-boyfriend. I'd come home from working a nine or ten hour day and there'd be no groceries, no food, and I'd be starving. He'd say let's go out to eat...and I'd go. Needless to say, I gained about 20 pounds in that miserable relationship.

With the next boyfriend, we made sure our activities didn't revolve around food. We'd either make dinner together (always fun!), or go for a hike, etc. so our dates weren't just mindless eating. It got easier for me since I went vegan so we couldn't just go out and mindlessly eat.

You can also try splitting a meal with someone. When I do go out to eat, if I'm with a girl friend I'll always split my meal. Yesterday my mom and I went out for lunch and we ordered a veggie burger and fries between us. We cut the burger in half and split the fries. Both of us were full but not disgusting full afterwards.

And you can always compensate with calories. If you know you're going out for supper, have a lighter breakfast and lunch. I went out for lunch yesterday so I had a light dinner: a veggie salad.

SCTK519 Posts: 2,086
11/11/12 10:41 A

I'd love to eat out all the time but there are two things stopping me: 1) the health aspect & 2) it gets expensive! If you can't focus on #1, focus on #2. Track how much you're spending going out to eat and think about all the other things you could buy with it. I understand that going out to eat is a social activity so limit yourself to 2 meals a week. I never go out to eat by myself and that helps. If someone at work is going out to bring food back, I don't do it because I'm just eating McDonald's at my desk then.

LOVELYLANA9 Posts: 2,171
11/11/12 9:22 A

My husband wants to eat out all weekend. #1 I don't want to spend that much money and #2 it is hard to eat healthy when eating out. I have gotten him down to just eating out once a weekend and then I'll order fish or something that I hope isn't too high in calories. He is overweight & definitely doesn't need to eat out all of the time but that's how he was raised.

AM_MORRIS87 Posts: 1,665
11/10/12 4:46 P

It's a hard thing to get use to at first, but after a while it will become your new normal. I only go out to eat once in a while, and when I do, I HAVE to go to a restaurant where I can track the nutritional info. If a restaurant doesn't offer the nutritional info, I will not go there.

My sisters looooove going out to eat, and they use to beg me to go. But eventually they realized I was always going to say no, so they quit asking lol. I try to offer an alternative like, "Let's get coffee instead!" Or if a group of people really want to go out to eat, but I can't spare the calories, I'll just take my oatmeal with me and eat that. I don't feel weird or out of place. And I get a lot of satisfaction when I'm mentally comparing my 300 calorie meal vs their 1200 calorie meal.

Just say no. And when you DO go out to eat, don't let it be spur of the moment. Try to plan it in advance so you can decide what you're going to eat, and that way you can adjust your calories for the rest of the day accordingly.

ORODEO73 Posts: 527
11/10/12 7:06 A

I try to eat something before going out and let the others eat while I drink or snack on something light. Salad eating would be good at this time. I heard someone ask for burger toppings in a place who saod they didnt have salads.

STARDUST2K4 Posts: 1,376
11/9/12 9:11 P

I struggled with saying 'no' to eating out all the time too. My fiance' and I would spend upwards of 300 dollars a month at one time just on eating out. (that was when I was at about 330 pounds) I would cave in immediately, and I wouldn't care if I couldn't find nutritional information.
I still eat out, though much less frequently. When I do, if the nutritional information isn't available, I just do my best to 'guestimate' rounding up.
I don't like eating out that much anymore because now I can't justify spending so much money on food that I could have made for a fraction of the cost at home.

JPATT1822 SparkPoints: (421)
Fitness Minutes: (255)
Posts: 5
11/9/12 6:18 P

Meg-thanks for the ideas! I think I'm going to go with the second...pick a coffee house or somewhere I know.

MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
11/8/12 9:18 P

If you're looking for a way to say no to going out to eat, have people crash at your place and make dinner together. If that's too time consuming, or like me, you don't really want a last minute group in a less than perfect apartment, suggest a restaurant or coffee house you KNOW and enjoy.

MEG-NATALIA07 Posts: 679
11/8/12 9:13 P

I don't eat out much for the sake of my budget but when I do...
If I learned anything from my weight-loss it's that it had to be livable or it wasn't going to happen. There are times to be strict, and there are times to celebrate. When I wasn't sure what was going to be served, I'd have a lighter day--more vegetables, lean protein, etc and allow for the indulgence(s)later. (You can do this the day after too, just don't skimp on calories, eat nutrient rich foods with lots of potassium: avocados, squash, vegetables, nuts and oils.. Drink extra water to flush out the salt. When eating out you have to let you brain relax as well--don't stress the day after when the scale is up a pound or two. Weight that adds in a day, is usually carb or salt, so just go easy on the refined carbs and salt and keep up your exercise. Plan ahead, and enjoy your meal.

Edited by: MEG-NATALIA07 at: 11/8/2012 (21:15)
SHARONSOWN Posts: 1,746
11/8/12 9:04 P

Whoa, I'm trying to imagine that particular problem. My beloved and I go out to eat maybe once every three or more months! Wish I had some words of wisdom, and I'm sure someone will, but as for me,.....

Still overwhelmed by the concept!!! emoticon

JPATT1822 SparkPoints: (421)
Fitness Minutes: (255)
Posts: 5
11/8/12 8:39 P

I cave at the slightest mention of going out to eat. And what to do when I can't find nutritional info for the menus?? Grrrr...well....maybe if I didn't cave and just ate at home. Hmmm.

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