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How do you eat out often and maintain your weight?

this was inspired by a post on the LA board where several chowhounds stated that they had lost weight by eating most of their meals out at restaurants. My experience has been the opposite where I find that it's easiest to maintain my weight when I eat lots of lean proteins, vegetables and some fruit that I've all prepared myself for most of my meals and then order conscientiously when going out. I find that it's hard to eat out at restaurants for most meals and still be aware of caloric intake because, unless it's at someplace that's required to post caloric information, it's impossible to know how many added calories are in the food. But, if others have had the same experience of the chowhounds I mentioned above, I'd be very interested to hear about it. I'd especially be interested to know what you were eating for meals at home prior to switching to eating out for most meals.

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  1. mostly what i was cooking at home was a meat and poultry based diet because they were so easy to cook and store and because they didn't make the whole house smell like fish.
    when i go out, i order vegetarian and fish dishes. good vegetarian food is, in imho, more labor-intensive to make, and requires more ingredients per dish (thereby increasing the waste factor), and so this type of food is perfect for restaurant meals.

    now, sometimes i'll do a hybrid: i'll get some very flavorful indian food to go(i.e. the bhindi at BAWARCHI, or the curried mustard greens at BOMBAY GROCERY) , take the stuff home and mix in some steamed tofu, and i have a high protein, highly satisfying, very flavorful, and much less calorically dense dish.

    1. I don't eat smart when I go out but I have to give my brother major props. I would guess on a slow week he eats out four nights. A couple of years ago he committed to taking half his meal home. With that diet he lost over 20 pounds and he's happy as a clam.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cameraman

        Portion control is definitely key, whether eating at home or out. I tend to eat about half the portion when I'm going out and am unembarrassed about taking the other half home for leftover lunch the next day. I also tend to stick to wines instead of cocktails and avoid the bread basket. But the most important thing is exercise. Exercising will help you burn those calories!

        1. re: CreativeFoodie42

          I actually think that portion control is far more important than exercise. I think exercise is important, but if you consume, say, an extra 1000 calories at a meal because of imprudent portion control, that's a freaking ton of time on the stairmaster to burn that off and probably time that most people don't have in the day to devote to exercise.

          1. re: mollyomormon

            This is totally true. It is much easier to not eat 100 calories than it is to burn it off.

            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

              Bravo! I was asking a friend a while back..."what do you think would be easier to do, keep your mouth closed and not eat that cookie, or go out jogging for 20 minutes? I'll take not eating the cookie!"

            2. re: mollyomormon

              An extra 1000 calories at one meal is a lot. I burn around 450 calories in 45 minutes on the stairmaster, which to me is time very well spent over worrying about portion sizes. Portion control to me means stopping eating when I just begin to feel full, not cutting my meal off halfway through regardless. Exercise gives me this freedom, and clears my mind and energizes me to boot.

              1. re: Frosty Melon

                An extra 1000 calories at a meal is indeed a lot, but certainly not too much of a stretch when eating out. A slice of carrot cake at Cheesecake Factory is 1500 calories alone, so I don't think that it's unthinkable that someone who has a couple of cocktails and dessert with dinner could easily consume an extra 1000 calories in a meal out. I am with you, though. I stop eating when I get full and that approach seems to work for me.

        2. My method for not gaining weight, whether I eat at home or in restaurants, is 1) to exercise regularly (which also just makes me feel better all-around), and 2) not to order things or cook things (very often, anyway) that are obvious calorie bombs. So, I almost never order creamed things or cheesecake or deep-fried things. But when I really want them, I do. And that's where all the exercise comes in!

          1. I never intended, as it was my post that seemed to spark the discussion, to say that one cannot eat out and maintain a healthy weight. I do it all the time. Hamburgers and greasy fries are great. But the point I was trying to make is that when individuals start to learn at home first as to what food they are eating, weight control is much easier. Sure you can always do things like order dressing on the side for a salad, but what's in that dressing? Was it made with soybean oil which is terrible for your omega-6 to omega-3 fat intake ratio or EVOO? Also, when we prepare foods ourselves, we have better control over the amount of food we eat. It's much harder to make a huge meal than at a restaurant where you can order something that's very calorie dense. Restaurants also tend to have a heavy hand with salt. Relying on a program to structure your meals for you does not teach good eating habits.

            2 Replies
            1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

              actually, i find it to be easier to manage my weight and health when eating out.

              having a fridge full of leftovers is negative for me.
              i know for sure, that the kind of healthful, low cal food that i need to eat is not going to be consumed by anyone else in the household, so unless i want to cook one meal at a time (think, homemade pasta sauce for one, etc), home cooking is fraught with hazard.

              by having a regular rotation of restaurants it gets clear really fast which restaurants/dishes are packing the hidden calories and which ones aren't. (at this point in the game, i can practically work backward from looking at the scale every morning to figuring out what the calorie count was for the prior two days.)

              as an example, i know, that for vegetarian/hippie food, i can go to THE SPOT in hermosa beach and order their super burrito (which is huge), divide that burrito in half and eat half of it there, and presuming i've been reasonable the other two meals of the day, i will not gain weight. it's not important to me to know the calorie count, if i know the CONSEQUENCES. on the other hand, i would NEVER try this with an unknown, untested restaurant.

              i know that the dressing at 26 beach is probably about 60calories a TBL.
              i use 1 Tbl of the dressing and at least 2 TBL of lemon juice from the lemon wedges that i have them bring.
              i KNOW that if i've been reasonable with my other two meals of the day, i will not gain weight by having this dish for dinner.

              i NEVER eat hamburgers, period. when i worked in a hot dog stand in college our staff befriended the staff of the hamburger stand across the street. burgers that taste good are basically all fat.

              french fries are NEVER on my plate, but i'll sometimes steal a fry or two from my daughter.

              because i eat in restaurants, doesn't mean i am forced to order unhealthful things.

              also, i respectfully disagree with your statement, "Relying on a program to structure your meals for you does not teach good eating habits"
              imho, there are TONS of ways to learn good eating habits. what works for you isn't necessarily the end-all, it is just the approach that works for you.

              my approach has worked for me. i lost the weight, my blood panels are unbelievably good, my blood pressure is phenomenal, and i've kept the weight off for 6 years now, eating out more meals than not.

              did i mention that i love the social benefits of going out to eat as well? eating out with a bunch of friends is one of my favorite things. life would be a lot less fun if i had to give that up.

              1. re: westsidegal

                I cook for myself in a house full of guys. I often make food ahead of time that I can heat up later. For example, chicken breasts. I cook a bunch of these at once and can use them for future meals in a variety of ways. I know exactly what's going into it. The majority of the food that needs refrigeration and not frozen fits in a mini fridge. I eat something like 90% of what I buy and rarely have leftovers.

                I'm glad you're in a situation where you've found a rotation of restaurants that works for you. Bravo. The problem is, not everyone has great food options nearby. More often than not, people just grab what's quickest and easiest. That's my warning. People who train themselves to rely on outside sources to provide healthful meals without understanding what they're eating is problematic in the long run. The original poster had problems with portion control. How does ordering a salad that's hundreds of calories more than something they can make at home teaching them portion control? The problem is that if they train themselves into thinking that as long as they eat this one item, it's going to help them maintain a healthy diet, they can easily be duped when they dine elsewhere where the options are not so healthful. I only know what to pick because I spent many years working on getting my heath in check.

                When it comes to dieting, I'm a bigger proponent of nutrition more so than just straight calories. Sure that dressing is just 60 calories per TBL. But what type of calories? Is it made with soybean oil? How many grams of salt is in it? Cutting calories will definitely help you lose weight, but there's more to health than just losing weight.

                I eat burgers and fries because I know that if I do, I have to reduce my intake elsewhere. I can better dial down the calories on one end to help compensate when I make food myself.

                We will have to agree to disagree on the approach to good eating habits. It's my belief that relying on other people to provide you healthful meals, which is what the other OP was asking for, does not teach you why the things you are eating are good for you. This makes it difficult for when people have to make choices outside the box. Sure, you'll eventually have to learn some time. My point is these kinds of lessons should be learned inside your own kitchen before you jump into the wild world of eating out. My approach definitely worked and continues to work for me. 70 pounds of weight loss is no laughing matter. I use to have high cholesterol at the young age of 18. I no longer do so and even my doctor is amazed at what I've been able to accomplish.

                I love eating out don't get me wrong. It just takes time to get into the habit of eating well and eating healthy at the same time when not at home. Did I mention that's it's also cheaper to make your own meals, and you can also have dinner parties in your home?

            2. When I am away from home for extended periods of time and eating in restaurants I always lose weight.

              At home there seems to be constant snacking, especially at late night and I usually bake fresh bread every day, how do you not eat at least some of it. I think for me it’s because I consume more calories at home because the food is better and easier to get to, while away can’t really get a snack at 10PM that is worthy of eating so I just go without.

              As far as what we eat at home, it runs the gamut, my wife, although she is a little biased, says the food I make at home is just much better than you “everyday” restaurant food so it’s hard not to eat more of it.

              1 Reply
              1. re: RetiredChef

                Simple solution; stop baking!:) I know it's hard if you love to do it. Sincey hubby has been trying to lose weight I almost never bake anymore; not even healthy breads because theyre just too tempting. When he's back to a healthy week I'll limit myself to once a week; it will be something to really appreciate.

              2. The first step is to become aware of portion size (I found, by using a food scale, that I was eating a lot less than I'd thought for years) and what foods work best for your individual health and weight loss. I, too, cook proteins and veggies and use healthy fats liberally at home. Sounds like you're already doing a good job with this stuff.

                In restaurants, I order roasted and/or grilled or braised proteins, mostly, ask that bread not be brought to the table (unless we're with a larger group) and for no starch sides, just extra veggies, preferably sauteed in olive oil. I can find something to eat in any type of restaurant, pretty much.

                Chinese food ordered without rice, added sugar, corn starch and msg still usually raises my blood glucose, so while they'll often reduce those things, a lot of sauces are pre made and aren't reliably on my diet plan, but an occasional off plan meal is okay as long as it's not a blow out.

                I'm usually pretty full after a salad, and never have room for other appetizers plus an entree any more. Dessert is shared on the rare occasions that we order it.

                I think if you order grilled portions you can guesstimate the sizes of, sauces/dressings on the side as much as possible and skip the bread/rice/potatoes, you should be able to maintain or lose while eating out.

                5 Replies
                1. re: mcf

                  I actually don't really have a problem maintaining my weight (I'm a healthy size 2/4), but if I was eating out the majority of my meals, I think it would be more challenging. Even though I feel confident being able to eat appropriate portions of food, I just think foods that are less nutritionally dense than what I cook with at home (I don't keep refined sugar or flour around) tend to sneak into restaurant foods. I guess this is less about weight than food because my point was more that it's easier for me to eat healthfully if I'm eating the bulk of my meals at home. That was I also feel more comfortable splurging on the occaisional restaurant dessert.

                  1. re: mollyomormon

                    Definitely. My priorities are the same; nutrient density, weight maintenance (and tight diabetes control without meds for many years) hence no starches or sugar.

                    Aside from stray ingredients, I just don't want to eat farmed fish or feedlot meats and dairy, or non organic or IPM veggies, so cooking and eating at home becomes a lot more attractive in terms of quality and environmental impact.

                    1. re: mollyomormon

                      I agree with this completely. It's much easier to eat healthfully if you're cooking yourself. But maybe the people who find it easier when eating out do not cook as healthfully as you and I do. If you're making mac-n-cheese, burgers, and bacon all week, then a few restaurant meals could help you out....

                      1. re: visciole

                        This makes sense. While I enjoy cooking, it does require some effort to make it to the farmer's market/co-op and the other places where I buy food to make the kind of food I prefer to eat. I can understand how that's not really doable or preferrable for some people and how, if they know a certain amount about nutrition, they might be eating healthier out than at home. Interesting discussion...

                        1. re: mollyomormon

                          My first thought was that folks who eat that way at home probably aren't inclined to radically alter their habits when they eat out. Just an observation, no stats to back it.

                  2. This is a good post. I have a lot of friends that are foodies as I am and other friends that are chefs. Bottom line is that I go out to eat a lot and I do not have portion control. I TRY to eat grilled chicken or fish with olive oil and veggies as much as possible and tell them not to make my food with butter or cream, but there are also a lot of indulgences. I can have a bite or 2 of dessert, but I stop there. I would rather enjoy a few glasses of fabulous wine. I do find that I cook very healthy at home, but I also tend to snack more than if I was away. Exercise 4 times a week is very helpful.

                    1. I hardly ever eat out. When I do eat in restaurants, like on vacation, I gain weight rapidly. I understand the theory of not eating the entire meal that's put in front of you but it's almost impossible for me to put it in practice. When I cook for myself I can control the size of my portion. And what's in the food.

                      1. I envy everyone who can eat out and control their weight.

                        I used to travel 30-70%, and eat out 1/2 the time even when I was home. My weight ballooned under this arrangement, and it wasn't until I started cooking everything I ate that I could finally control my weight. I have friends who still live and work under the same conditions I did, and are in "ridiculously good shape". I can't do it. Kudos to those of you who can.

                        I cook everything, pack my lunches, control my snacks and yo yo up in down in weight 5-10 pounds at a time.

                        Good luck! I love fooding in new restaurants, but I'm to the point where I won't do it for health reasons.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: tomishungry

                          when i was traveling 70% of the time, i was thinner.
                          it was the constant availability of good-tasting (albeit healthful) food at home that caused weight gain.
                          the high-cal garbage food that my teenager kept around never even tempted me.

                          just knowing that there was a whole, cut-up, fresh, juicy pineapple in the fridge would mean that the whole thing would get consumed as a bedtime snack. maybe it would take two or three trips to the fridge, but the whole thing would be gone before lights out.

                          because i eat out all the time now, my weight is down.

                          1. re: westsidegal

                            I think the key probably to why you're able to make this work is that you've found a handful of restaurant where you know which dishes you can order consistently and still maintain your weight. Do you think it would be more difficult if you were eating at a new restaurant almost every time you ate out?

                            1. re: mollyomormon

                              I have several friends who do not eat or cook at home. The only thing they eat is a quick piece of fruit in the morning before running off to their work.
                              Two of them have never used any appliance in their kitchen. It's not for me but for them it works. Every single one of them is thin and in excellent shape...not only physically but health wise.
                              They all eat at a variety of places and none of the restaurants are on a consistent basis. They've all learned how to eat properly, what to look for when ordering off a menu and I'm amazed how well they maintain it all.
                              Exercise and eating out is a huge part of their overall lifestyle.

                              1. re: latindancer

                                Good for them. One though this discussion brought to mind (probably an obvious one) is that people go to restaurants for very different reasons. It sounds like part of the reason your friends go is because they don't want to cook and so they've found a way to eat healthy without doing so. For me, most the time I'm going out to eat, it's because I want to try things that I don't make for myself at home. Thus, it would be rare for me to want to go out and order a salad, because I can make a damn good salad for cheaper at home. If I'm going out and I see pork belly on the menu, I want to be able to try it since that's not something I prepare at home. Cooking most of my meals (I eat out usually around 3 times a week) at home makes me feel like I can splurge a little and have a bite of pork belly without guilt.

                                1. re: mollyomormon

                                  "it sounds like part of the reason your friends go is because they don't want to cook..."

                                  Actually it really doesn't have anything to do with wanting/not wanting to cook.
                                  They're all in the same business and a 15 hour work day isn't unusual.
                                  They know how to eat properly and it makes no difference where they do it.

                                  1. re: latindancer

                                    15 hour work days are also not at all unusual in my line of work, unfortunately. I do know how to eat healthily, but I just have found that it's easier to incorporate more nutrients into my diet when I'm preparing the food. Kudos to them for finding a way to do it a restaurants.

                              2. re: mollyomormon

                                new restaurants are killers.
                                couldn't 'work' my weight control system if i had to go to new restaurants all the time.
                                you are absolutely correct:
                                the bulk of my meals are eaten in a handful of restaurants and i restrict myself to those dishes that are nutritionally dense and those that have a protein/calorie ratio that is high enough to keep me satisfied.

                                new restaurants are like caloric wild cards.
                                often they hide calories (heck, i used to do this when i worked in a restaurant because it made everything taste good; trust me, if you add a pint of lard to the chili, the chili tastes better).

                          2. My weight has been the same and healthy for about 20 years and I am beyond middle age. I do all the cooking at home and we eat out 2-4 times per week. The "secret" is to really understand calories and not to get hung up on diets per se. The cooking experience also allows me to have a reasonably good idea of what is in most restaurant meals; it is quite possible to make a good guess. Portion size DOES count. I limit myself to 1 piece of bread and if I eat dessert it is always shared. It truly is calories in versus calories out. It is an astounding fact but TWO portions of the same food have TWICE the calories of a single portion regardless of whether it is spinach or flan.

                            Two other comments, although it is desirable to remain or achieve a healthy weight, one can certainly do it by following the calories in/calories out mantra. But many folks seem to conflate a healthy weight with a healthy diet. Vegetarian meals are certainly healthful, but they can be quite high in calories. One certainly can maintain a healthy weight with an unhealthy diet. Again, I am just discussing weight control, not healthy eating as this was the original question.

                            Along these lines, exercise, done properly, is healthful and can be useful in maintaining and losing weight. However, the average workup doesn't burn up as many calories as one may think. My point is, exercise should be part of ones routine, but for most folks what you eat is a much more important factor than how much you exercise.

                            1. One issue that has not been discussed is the fact that restaurant portions are the same size no matter what size person orders them. For a small person such as myself, that is very difficult to deal with when eating out. Either I am condemned to making a meal out of a starter (and these are generally the highest-fat items on the menu) or I end up with a plate of food that is way too big, encouraging overeating. (Yes, it is *possible* to stop eating after only half an entree, but when you've paid for the whole thing it just seems wasteful and annoying. And when you're traveling, doggie bags are not an option.)

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: travelmad478

                                fwiw, it seems to me that the high end restaurants have smaller portions.
                                the 'entree salad' served at my favorite 'fine dining' restaurant is about half the salad that i would need to be satisfied.
                                this is not the case with the lower level restaurants whose customer base favors getting a lot of food for the money.

                              2. If I go to a restaurant that is not serving anything I am interested in trying, then I eat the healthiest thing on the menu. Often at restaurants I order whatever I want, regardless of calories. But since I eat out fairly often, I tend to cook very healthy meals at home, mainly vegan. This "extremes" approach works for me. It also saves me the trouble of trying to locate quality meats and fish for home cooking.

                                Also, I don't waste calories on drinks. I only drink water and/or wine. And I don't order dessert, unless it really is something great. I am tired of the basic cheese cake/molten chocolate cake/sorbet dessert list.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: maria.clifford

                                  i share your approach to beverages and to dessert.
                                  most sodas and sweetened beverages not only add calories in their own right, but they STIMULATE appetite. there have been studies that show that even DIET sodas are appetite stimulants.
                                  such stimulation is DISASTER for me.

                                  imho, most restaurant desserts just don't provide nearly enough pleasure to justify the calories they add on, not to mention that they are prime delivery systems for partially hydrogenated fat.

                                2. I most def second Maria's drink approach. With only the rare exception of a really renowned mixed drink or to avoid being a party pooper, I almost never drink anything caloric (at least at restaurants).

                                  And the obvious: very rarely do I eat deep fried things or cream-based things (mainly because I don't love the taste of them so the enjoyment I get is minimal compared to the angst of jiggly thighs).

                                  The third thing that I know a lot of skinny people do, intentionally or not, is to seriously indulge every once in a while (can even be once-twice a week depending) then really cut back the rest of the day/next day. I find this approach really doable because 1) if you ate half a cow the night before (Korean bbq, YUM!!), it's pretty easy to get through the second day on vegetables and fruits because you probably will get sick at the thought of consuming meat or fat, and 2) even if you don't naturally have a tendency to cut back the second day, just think, you can endure anything for a day, right? It's just one measly day of being a rabbit, and hey, that half a cow was pretty darn worth it, wasn't it.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: chennypenn

                                    i DO offset days of heavy eating with days of 'watching it,' but i WOULDN'T call it 'natural tendency.'
                                    my 'natural tendency' is to eat anything and everything incessantly.
                                    on the days that i cut back it's because either my scale or my jeans are telling me i'm out-of-range.

                                    to some extent, there is a weekly pattern to all of this. on friday nights i usually go out eating and drinking with a group of friends. i have never been successful at controlling myself on friday nights. normally i offset the friday night fun by strictly dieting most sundays. still, i know the limit on the 'fun,' and i don't schedule anything that might be tempting on sundays.

                                    1. re: chennypenn

                                      I think I would fit into the "skinny"(I'm not skinny, but I'm not overweight, and I'm in good shape) people indulging every once in awhile. I'm not a big meat eater, but sometimes I will go out and order something with a lot of cream/cheese/butter/FAT :) and feel full for the next couple of days, just eating light meals. I'm thinking of a place I like that makes really good cheese enchiladas...mmm

                                    2. I love Pho so much and consider it a healthy food.

                                      I want to try Jared's Subway diet but eating Pho instead, for lunch and dinner.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: pdxgastro

                                        I love Pho, too and want to agree with you. The only problem is that the next morning I weigh about two pounds more just because of the salt intake.

                                        1. re: pdxgastro

                                          It's "healthy" but it still has rice noodles. For myself, rice/rice noodles equals weight gain if I do it too much. Noodle soups therefore are a treat for me and not something I eat on a regular basis.

                                        2. I have no problem maintaining my weight no matter where I eat. Of course, when you tip the scales at 275, it may be easier.

                                          1. I used to eat out often when I was skinnier than I am now, and managed to maintain my weight, for the most part. At the time, I had just quit smoking and I focused all my thoughts and energy away from cigarettes and onto counting calories and fat. So, I usually had a pretty good idea of what I was eating throughout the day. When I went out to eat (which was probably about 3 times a week, give or take) I went to places I could look up the nutritional content online, and ordered reasonable food items. Sometimes I'd go someplace that didn't offer that kind of information, so I just naturally gravitated towards the seafood or poultry selections, opted out of any creamy sauces, ordered my veggies sans butter... but on occasion--maybe once every week or so--I'd order whatever the hell I liked, and that worked pretty well for me for a while. I also exercised like a maniac! So that probably helped out a bit, too.

                                            I was eating out like that for a good 10 years, so I can barely remember what I ate before then. Probably whatever my parents made or had leftover in the fridge. And I do remember subsisting primarily on caesar salad and cheese fries throughout my teens, but I had a good metabolism back then that allowed me to eat that kind of delicious garbage!

                                            1. For me it's easier to control my weight when I eat out. I can order just exactly what I want, the way I want to have it prepared. It's like having a stocked pantry and a personal chef at your disposal.

                                              Even salads are better out. I never have all the variety at home. I may have lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, but a salad out usually has lots of other stuff too. For example -shredded carrots, beets, cabbage, edible flowers, Ahi tuna, shrimp, crab, salmon, shaved parmesan, etc. Usually, I have plenty of fish on hand, but I'm probably not going to cook a little of each type to throw in a salad.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                I agree. When I eat out, the portion size is likely to be much more restrained than what we'd cook (and eat) at home. If I cared about my weight (and I don't really), I'd do better to eat out more often.

                                                1. re: Harters

                                                  Yup. Portion control is my stumbling block. Just last night I tried a new "healthy" recipe. I followed it exactly, except for the part about about making seven chicken breasts for three people! So now I need a recipe for four leftover pieces of chicken. But is four pieces enough? What if everybody wants two? What if they're still hungry? You see my point.

                                                  Ugh, maybe we should just eat out.

                                              2. About two years ago I finally got to my desired weight, about 60 lbs less than my peak, by learning about food, excercising, and generally following the calories in - calories out mantra. I have since been able to keep it off, although my dedication to exercise has waned considerably. A couple things:

                                                1. As part of this process I read a lot about food and decided to learn how to cook. Now I love to cook. But research and cooking taught me so much that I now feel quite capable of quite accurately estimating the calories of meals I eat.

                                                2. This knowledge has actually prompted me to dine out more often than in the past. I've generally found that I can control my weight while dining out simply through portion control. A lot of the time I leave some food on my plate, whereas in the past I would almost habitually clear it. I try to limit carbohydrates and fatty foods as I have found that they add more calories than they are generally worth taste-wise. Another one is salads, which I have never really enjoyed -- before I would eat them for reasons I still can't fathom, and now I might dip my fork into a salad, maybe, once a month -- for me the taste just doesn't justify any added calories the salad contains. And pretty much the only calories I drink are alcoholic in nature. Sure, I've made some sacrifices but none that I would regret, and there isn't anything I ate before that I wish I could eat now.

                                                3. The biggest thing the process gave me was a greater appreciation for food. Now I eat, almost exclusively, what I want, whereas before I would often eat just to eat. Of course, a lot of what I want to eat wouldn't be considered healthy food - that fried fish sandwich and french fries every Friday, the pizza I eat multiple times a week, the burger I get around once a week or the steak I eat almost as frequently. I just have a realistic appreciation for how many calories are in the meals I have, know how my body reacts and am able to compensate by cutting out the food items I don't enjoy and focusing on those I do.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: MonMauler

                                                  I really like your approach and attitude towards food, MM. It's a much more sustainable method of eating. I'm working on controlling my portions better. I eat lean cuisine's every once in a while, and try to make my portions of food similar to theirs. You could probably get 2-3 meals that way out of restaurant-sized portions. And with a big glass of water and lots of veggies on the side stocked with nutrition and few calories, you're more likely to feel satisfied at the end of the meal without sacrificing flavor.... For those things that I know I probably should never ever eat, or can't stop myself once I start (like a big plate of cheese fries, yum) I only eat them once every couple weeks as my cheat meal. Cheese fries are my crack/cocaine, so I know I can't even attempt not to gobble the whole dish.

                                                2. Eat a really healthy, and big breakfast. I also try to eat a really healthy lunch. I find when I do this, I can eat most anything I want for dinner. I don't feel guilty because I filled my body with goodness during the day (fruits, veggies, whole grains like steel-cut oatmeal, yogurt), and I also find that I don't eat very much portion-wise for dinner because I filled up on really healthy foods during the day that take a long time to digest.

                                                  I think the number one way to lose weight in general is to eat breakfast. Did you know that one of the ways sumo wrestlers gain weight is by skipping breakfast? Yes, they do this to slow their metabolism.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: focioncroci

                                                    And lunch, too. I always eat as soon as I get to work, but for years i wouldn't eat again until I got home. When I added a meal replacement shake in between, I lost about 5 pounds from that alone. Now I try to eat every few hours, small snacks: low-fat yogurt, or fruit, or cut-up veggies, small handful of nuts.

                                                  2. On the whole, 2 - 3 times a week but, I intentionally plan to take doggie bags home and the next morning do an extra burn at the health club.