Wow I got some great suggestions! Thanks! Among my favorite: Eat an apple and drink water before eating out. I think I'll do hot and iced tea when friends are eating late at night, and maybe order cut fresh veggies to munch on if we're out late. I'll also back up the eating out just one day a week. It's still a lot of eating out, but marriage is all about compromise, and I need realistic goals. Thanks for all the feedback!!
5/25/12 9:47 A
Eat an apple and drink a large bottle of water on the way to the restaurant, that way you are a bit more full before you even get there.
When your food comes to the table, immediately ask for a to go container and place half of your dinner in the box to take home for another meal. (If you sent this with your hubby for lunch(?), would this help him feel like he's easting out more?)
Order the healthiest items on the menu as a general rule.
Order an appetizer or salad as your meal, just becuase you've gone out to dinner, doesn't mean you have to eat the same amounts of food others at the table are having. Or you can eat your dinner before dinner and just drink water and be a dinner companion without actually consuming food.
Pick up some new cookbooks from the library and flip thru them with your husband to get different dinner ideas.
If you can incorporate some/ all of these ideas, you've made improvements already. It sounds like this eating out is a part of your normal lifestyle, and you are the only one changing your eating habits, then you need to take responsibility for this and not expect everyone around you to change of the flip of a dime.
Self discipline is difficult many times, but like anything else, the more you practice the better you'll get.
5/25/12 9:33 A
I agree that honest communication is the key.
Another thing that may help with eating out -- I ask for a to go container with my entree, and before I start eating, I pack the container with what I won't eat. So the only food left on my plate is the right portion. Do I get looks? Yeah, sometimes. But usually the person I'm with says some version of, "wow, that's smart. I always eat too much!"
as long as you can digest and sleep at the same time, there isn't any reason not to eat late. in other words, if eating late disrupts your sleep, then you should not eat within a few hours of bed. if it doesn't bother you, that means you can eat up til bed with no issues. so if you have friends who eat late, save some calories for that late night eating and you'll be fine. if it does bother your sleep, then you have an automatic excuse. "i've been having problems sleeping lately and i've found i can't eat x many hours before bed. i'd still love to hang out, so i'll just have hot tea and enjoy your company instead.'
as far as the hubby goes, you have to remember that you are the one changing the status quo. it's sort of like if you can home and went to set your stuff down on the table you usually do and found that hubby had rearranged all of the furniture in the house and there wasn't a table there anymore. you've basically decided to make a big change to both of your lives without consulting him. so if you want him on board, you need to make it easy for him. count up how many times you eat out on average. this is going to be your base number. make it your goal that next week, you're going to eat out one time less than your base number. and put it to hubby this way when he suggests going out to restaurant z. "how about instead of z, we stay home and i make meal y that you like so much?" that way you can control what goes into the meal [and don't go crazy healthy all at once] and hubby still gets something he likes. it's a compromise. and keep at that til you're both used to going out a little less. then try and cut another day of eating out out. if you're doing breakfast or a sandwich type lunch, mention that you're getting sick of paying ridiculous prices for stuff that's so much cheaper to make at home. again, ease into this so he has time to adjust and/or do his own thing if that's what he wants to do. once you get used to less, ease it down again. as far as what you should be eating when you're going out, again start where you are. make a list of the places you tend to go and make a list for each place of what you usually get. these are going to be your base numbers. your initial goal isn't to suddenly and magically start ordering and eating just the right amount, it's to make a slightly better choice than you did the last time. that's all you have to do. beat how you did the last time you ate there. it might be something as simple as splitting a flatbread or tuna at outback instead of having the bloomin onion. it might be leaving a single mushroom in an order of mushrooms left on your plate. but if you keep making tiny little changes each time you go, you're going to be making better choices overall. because once you've left that first mushroom, you can leave a second. and once you've left the second, you can leave the third. and once you keep doing this you can get to actual portions of food. my personal rule for eating out is to never eat more than half my entree [or a fifth of an order at chinese places since an order is a quart of food -and that's without rice!]. that means that even if i made a poor choice and picked the 2000 cal bomb on the menu, i'm only eating 1000 cals. and since most menu items run in the 1200-1600 range, eating half means i'm making my dinner 600-800 cals and also eating much closer to actual portions. and it's certainly possible to work a 600 cal dinner even into a 1200 cal diet [and by diet i mean simply what one eats]. if you're cleaning your plate, it's unreasonable to expect yourself to be able to eat half your meal and be okay with it. start by trying to leave 1/4 on your plate [to take home or to just leave when you leave, doesn't matter, though if you start taking home more stuff a fridge full of leftovers is a good argument against eating out tonight]. if that's too much, then start by leaving a bite of everything and work up from there. and start paying attention to portion sizes. baked potatoes at restaurants are closer to 10oz of potato. that's about three servings of potato -for one meal. salad dressing, at least in my area, is in the process of transitioning from a 2oz serving [which is 4 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup] to a 4 oz serving [8 Tablespoons or half a cup]. knowing that measurement and being able to identify those serving vessels makes it easier for me to eat less of it. i have yet to encounter a restaurant salad large enough to merit 1/4 cup of dressing. if you pay attention to what you're eating and what you're getting you can use that knowledge to make better choices.
Offering to host can go a long way too! I've been able to move some of my happy hours into my home instead of out, which gives me much more control over the food served.
And have handy suggestions for non-food centered activities you can do.
Finally, learn to be a menu maven....it is possible to eat out and eat healthy. You just have to remind yourself that the value is in the social interaction...food is secondary. Then, order healthy, simple foods.
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5/24/12 10:12 P
This is a problem that 90% of my clients deal with- I usually suggest kind but blatant honesty, because it allows the other person to see your point of view and respect your personal decisions.
I would try something like, "Honey, I would really, really love to go out with you, but I can't because of my new diet. If you would support my decision by helping me prepare a nutritious dinner together it would really mean a lot to me."
Or, "I love to spend time with you, but I know I won't feel good about making changes in my diet if I derail myself by eating out- maybe we could spend time together another way?"
When it comes to friends, I suggest similar methods- if they're you're friends, they'll understand and respect your decisions.
Also, it's always an option to have friends over for a healthy dinner or appetizers during a ballgame or movie night- that way, you can control the food portions and type.
I have two major diet issues. First, my husband CONSTANTLY wants to go out to eat - the hard thing is, I enjoy it too. So I say yes, then eat too much, then feel bad about it. Second, our friends eat really late and we hang out with them all the time. So my question is, how do I manage my weight with eating out and eating late all the time? What are nice things to say that will communicate that I don't want to go out, or I can't eat tat late with our friends? Thanks! :)
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