OK – I agree – that seems impossible. But you can do it if you really really want to. How do I know – well I managed to lose 30 pounds in 6 months following Weight Watchers with complete devotion – and I eat out almost every single night. That was in 2002 – so not only did I lose the weight – I’ve kept it off for 11 years – visiting my local Weight Watcher’s every single month. But this isn’t about Weight Watchers – it’s about my tricks of the trade, so to speak, and these I gladly share.
1) Plan, Plan, Plan. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to get a look at a menu – if you’re searching the internet you can find the menu’s for most restaurants on-line. And even if they don’t help you out by offering clearly labeled low-fat/low-calorie options – the safe bet is to go for Fish and Salad avoiding like the plague any sauces or sweet dessert. Just make sure there is a fish option (preferably grilled – not fried and not baked) before you agree to go.
2) Have a No-No list. My No-No’s (I love this stuff – so saying no is hard) – Anything fried, Anything breaded, Any salad dressing, No mixed drinks (super fattening), No sodas except straight up soda water. One glass of wine preferably with seltzer water – tops. Notice what is not on my no-no list. I can have a bite of dessert, I can enjoy baked potatoes, and I love beef.
3) Have a Yes-Yes list and put Vegetables on the top. Veggies are always a better idea than potatoes, bread or rice, and most restaurants will cheerfully double up the veggies instead of putting on the potatoes. Your diet is bound to be better with more veggies – and your waist will thank you too. Other Yes-Yes foods – plain baked potatoes with Mustard, Salads with no salad dressing, Grilled fish, quesadilla, lasagna, edamame at Japanese restaurants. Butter is neither a Yes-Yes, nor a No-No. But Mustard is a lot better – and definitely on the Yes-Yes list.
4) Drink Water or Tea – Lots and lots of water and tea. Why? It keeps your hands busy (and out of the bread basket), and it tells your body that water is plentiful. That’s critical to weight loss because if your body decides that water isn’t going to be easy to get – your body will hold on to water like mad. You’ll get bloated, and weigh more. So drink up – as long as there’s no sugar involved of course.
5) Leave food on your plate. The more the merrier. Clearing a plate is definitely not for losers! And one bite is all you need to feel you’ve tried the dish. All bites afterwards aren’t totally necessary. A similar idea I read elsewhere – ask for that carry out container as soon as you sit down, and put 1/2 your meal in it before you start to eat. Out of sight – Out of mind. Plus less cooking for tomorrow. (I actually can’t do this – it feels gross. So I take a knife and drawn line down the middle. Then I try not to eat past the line.)
6) Don’t go out hungry. Really bad idea. You can’t stop eating if you are starving – so it’s a lot easier to have a low-calorie snack before you leave for dinner. Cuts down on how much you will order, how much you will eat – and how much you will pay. Good idea no matter what. My preferred snack – low-fat microwave popcorn at 3:30. Works like a charm.
7) Turn back the bread basket. One of the handy things about eating out in Europe is that they charge you for the bread – so it’s quite clear that not having the bread unless it is seriously special is a waist and pocket friendly idea. Here in North America we love our bread baskets – and it shows. So just say No!
8) Pick at dessert. You really don’t need or want that whole piece of whatever – so take one bite and STOP. My husband jokes that often my dessert is an extra fork. I love just getting one taste of his dessert – I feel privileged, and I cut the calories. If you are lucky and eating out with a friend who isn’t as controlled about their food – they will eat the rest. If not – try ordering a ‘finish’ that is lower in fat and calories – fruit cups are great for example. But I’d rather get a single Biscotti and a low fat cappuccino. Half the Biscotti can come home for Breakfast – and I have a very special ‘finish’ to my delicious dinner.
Just remember – Nothing tastes as good as Skinny and Energetic Feels.