I also suggest finding a similar restaurant meal from a chain--if you decide to break it up into parts (6 oz steak, etc), make sure you don't leave out added fats used to cook. People who cook in restaurants tend to have a heavier hand with things like butter and cooking oil than those of us who count calories do at home... I always allot at least a thousand calories for any kind of restaurant meal; if it's especially indulgent or there's an appetizer, it could even go up to 1500.
BUT, if I save the calories, I don't worry overmuch when I actually get to the restaurant (as long as it's a designated splurge meal... I calculate and try to choose wisely if it's just meant to be a regular meal). Sometimes I just substitute a McD's combo into my counter and call it a day instead of trying to figure out how many calories I actually ate.
Valentine's Day was the first day this year I didn't calculate *AT ALL*... it was a little nerve-wracking :D
Fitness Minutes: (27,770)
1,169 2/18/14 3:43 A
Restaurant food has a huge amount of salt in it. I always show an increase the morning after eating out, even if I have had something like grilled chicken and a salad with no dressing. The best thing you can do is increase your water consumption to help flush out the water you are retaining.
As others have said, it becomes easier to figure out what you are eating and track it once you have been doing it a while. Always assume that there is butter in what you are eating, unless you specifically ask for there not to be. Restaurants want you to like their food, butter tastes good, therefore, butter is added to all sorts of things-steaks are usually slathered in it, grilled chicken, pretty much all sauces.
Fitness Minutes: (365)
2/17/14 10:55 P
I wouldn't worry about what the scale says a day after a splurge. My boyfriend and I had a huge cheat meal on Valentine's Day - we both had lots of bad-for-you (but oh so delicious) Mexican food and margaritas, and I weighed myself 2 days afterwards and my weight was the same. No loss, but I'd take that over a gain. :) Keep in mind your weight can vary quite a bit day to day, so I think bi-weekly or even weekly weigh-ins show more accurate results.
As far as eating out goes, it is hard to know exactly what you are consuming. I don't eat out all that often anymore, but when I do I stick to my favorite "seemingly healthy" restaurants. I use my best judgment when it comes to ordering a healthy dish, such as getting fish or a grilled chicken wrap over a burger. I also tend to ask them to cook without any added oil, butter or sauces, which most restaurants are happy to accommodate. I think as long as you don't eat out too often (no more than 1-3 meals a week) you should be fine. It also helps if your family and friends are supportive of your healthy eating goals and understand the need to eat at some place like a cafe or a grill over a pizza place!
Thanks, Bunnykicks, for your reply. Not only was it helpful, it really made me feel a lot better.
2/17/14 2:29 P
Ok firstly I want to point out, you did not "gain two pounds" of actual fat, from one Valentine's meal splurge. I'm not surprised that the scale went up - scales go up and down all the time, sometimes by pounds at a time, over the course of the average day. It'll mostly be "water weight" and "undigested/uneliminated bulk" that's still in your system - both of which will correct on their own over the course of a day or two.
As far as tracking restaurant meals - it's always a bit of guesswork. You can look up similar dishes at chain restaurants to help you make an educated guess, or you can try and recreate the meal in your nutrition tracker from its base ingredients (i.e. "about 6 ounces of striploin steak, about a half cup of vegetables, the veg tasted buttery so let's add about a teaspoon of butter... about a cup of spaghetti, about a half cup of sauce).
The more you track, the easier it gets to guesstimate these kinds of meals. Don't worry about not being able to get it right down to the calorie, just track as best as you are able - treat meals like valentine's dinner don't occur often enough for it to matter if your tracking was a bit inaccurate for the meal.
I've been tracking my meals since I got my new FitBit Flex. I never did this before I got my Fit Bit. Doing this has really opened my eyes on what is in the food I eat, the number of calories I'm eating compared to the calories my body is burning. No wonder I wasn't losing weight or gaining weight! Once I figured out how much I could eat compared to how many calories my body was burning, I actually lost a pound the first week, the desired goal.
I'm so glad SP has a recipe calculator to help me figure the calories and nutritional info per serving of the recipes I make. That, too, was an eye opener to find out what is in the food I eat and the calories per serving.
So long as I cook my own meals and prepare my own snacks, etc, I can track the food I eat. It may take time, but at least I have the info I need to track it.
BUT MY BIG QUESTION IS THIS: How do you track food you eat at a restaurant that has no nutritional info available?
I went out to dinner for Valentine's Day, thinking it would be a treat for me, that someone else would cook for me. Well, the menu had no nutritional info on what I had to eat so I had no clue on how to track what I ate, so I didn't track it. I weighed myself the next day, and I was shocked that I gained two pounds!
I know if I cook all my meals I will know what's in it; it's better for me, and I will have the info I need to track the food a whole lot better than if I eat out. But it would be nice to eat out once in awhile! But I don't want to gain the pounds I lost because I can't figure out how much I can eat of what is served.