Eating Out - Weight Loss and Restaurants

 
     We all love to eat out at restaurants.  Just try to get into a restaurant on a Friday or Saturday night. There's usually a waiting line ( Weighting Line ).  In my experience with patients who are working on getting thinner, eating out is a major source of problems.  It ruins many a diet.  We need to learn, and put into action, strategies to be able to enjoy a meal out at a restaurant and not put on extra pounds and not feel stress and guilt.
 
     The first thing that must be done is to have a strategy.  Going into a restaurant spontaneously and just looking at the menu is an exercise in futility.  With today's technology, it's easy to know what the restaurant is serving.  Just check the website on your phone and see what might be a healthier and lower calorie option.  Choose something you would enjoy eating before you sit down at the table.
 
     When you know in advance what you are going to order, the pressure is off.  Never look at the menu while at the table and just order what you had pre-selected.  Another problem is that most restaurants bring a loaf or basket of bread to the table when you are seated.  If you've decided to have bread with this meal, ask the waiter for only one roll or a slice of the bread instead of the whole loaf or basket.  Otherwise, ask the waiter to not bring any bread at all.
 
    Now you are in control.  Continue your control by making the advance decision to select a lean protein such as lean beef, chicken, turkey, veal, or fish and seafood items.  Select a couple of vegetable sides.  Now you have a lean and green healthy meal.  If you have decided to have a starch such as a potato, then it's best to cut the portion down.  One trick is to cut a baked potato in half and set one half at the edge of the table for the waiter to take away.  They will ask if something is wrong, but just tell them you're controlling calories and you don't need a take home box for it.
 
     Be careful with salads.  Avoid the cheese and always get the dressing on the side.  I use the old Weight Watchers trick of dipping my fork in the dressing before I spear my salad.  I get the taste of the dressing and only eat a couple of teaspoons full with the entire salad.  Certainly desserts present an issue and if you are in the fat burning mode they must be avoided.
 
     Other tips:
     1. Don't starve yourself during the day that you are going out for dinner
     2. Avoid alcohol with your meal
     3. Avoid sodas and sugary drinks
     4. Leave some food on your plate ( you either waste it or waist it )
     5. Stay away from fried and deep fried foods
     6. Slow down your eating
     7. Split meals with your spouse or friend
     8. Look at the calories on the menu, just for fun
     9. Drink a full glass of water before eating
    10.Enjoy
 
     Develop these habits and you'll be able to eat out often and live a lean, long, full life.

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