Addicted to Restaurants
Are you addicted to restaurants? So are lots of Americans. What
used to be a “treat,” going out for dinner, has become more
common that cooking at home, and we think we’re better off? Think
again. Restaurant eating, fast foods and highly processed foods
are turning us into a nation of tubby’s. It’s time to take back
control of our waistlines.
You choose where you eat, and you choose what you eat. Here are
some suggestions to begin to make better choices.
Restaurants Exist to Make a Profit
The bottom line is restaurants exist to make a profit. They pile
on the extra butter and rich cream sauces, caramelized sugar
toppings, cheese sauce, double-deluxe, new improved, and whatever
they can do to make the food so enticing, so delicious, we just
cannot resist. Fine for an occasional splurge, but not everyday
fare, and herein lies the problem.
Extra Value Meals
McDonalds started the trend by offering slightly larger portions
for a bit more money, and every other food establishment quickly
followed suit. Extra value they called it. Who wouldn’t order a
bit more for only pennies? Today nearly every restaurant, fast
food or sit down dining, serves gigantic quantities that boggle
the mind. There is usually enough food served for two, sometimes
Reading in Restaurant Confidential (get a copy of this book and
read it until it sinks in), the calorie count in the typical
restaurant meal is so staggering it ends the surprise of why
obesity is rampant and on the rise. Cheese fries with Ranch
dressing are listed at having over 3,000 calories and 217 grams
of fat (91 of them saturated). That’s an entire day’s worth of
food, and it’s considered an appetizer. Most people don’t just
eat the cheese fries either, so add in the rest of your day’s
calories and you end up with far more than you may realize.
Anyone who eats out regularly (at least once a day) is likely
consuming closer to 5,000 calories a day, which easily explains
their being overweight.
Getting the Calories Out of Restaurant Food
Unless you mentally make it okay to pay good money for very plain
foods, you’re not likely to solve this puzzle. Here are a couple
of painless ideas you can put into action at restaurants:
1. Just say NO to super sizing. The size you ordered is already
too big. Stop super sizing and you’ll save money (see How to Save
Money and Lose Weight).
2. Skip the bread and rolls served with most meals. Most family
restaurants still serve a bread basket with your meal. Unless
it’s a fresh baked loaf, or some special bread, just skip it. You
don’t need to fill up on ordinary bread when you’re paying good
money for a meal – just push it away – it’s not that good. You
can do it, if you want to – it’s not that hard to simply choose
not to put a roll on your plate. Try it, just once and see if you
don’t walk out of that restaurant feeling strangely powerful.
If you can’t skip the rolls, at least skip the butter. That’s
right. Eat it plain. Bread all by itself is good enough.
3. Stop ordering drinks with your meals. I stopped buying the
soft drinks many years ago when I realized they are a huge cash
cow for the fast food restaurants. For pennies, they sell you a
squirt of syrup and soda water and act like they’re doing you a
big favor by only charging you $1.29 for a giant 64 ounce soda.
Start saving those dollars. If you take the meal home, just don’t
get a drink, and if you’re eating it there, ask for water, or at
least switch to diet drinks. Never drink “fat pop.”
5. Trim visible fat and skin. You really love the skin – of
course it tastes good, it should, it’s pure fat. Do you want to
get leaner, or do you want to eat fat? You choose. I never eat
chicken skin, and never eat the visible fat hanging off a steak,
good taste or no. You have to decide what you want more, the
second’s worth of pleasure of a yummy taste, or a lifetime of
carrying around an extra 40 lbs?
6. Ask for a doggie bag at the beginning of the meal. When the
food is served, immediately portion off some to take home for
tomorrow. Some restaurants always serve too much. Do this at
those establishments to get used to the idea.
7. Get a copy of Restaurant Confidential and start checking out
how much you’re eating. Yes, I mentioned this twice. It’s
important. If you think eating out isn’t causing part of the
problem, I say, you’re fooling yourself. This little book can
help you realize what’s been going on, and then you may find it
easier to choose other dishes, split the meal into two, or skip
8. Order one dinner and ask for an extra plate. Many restaurants
will do this for $1.00 or $1.50 extra and it’s well worth it.
Then share the meal with your friend and you split the cost
straight down the middle.
Turn Eating Out Back into a Treat
If you really want to get a handle on your weight problem, then
first look at where you eat, second what you eat, and third how
much you eat. If you absolutely cannot give up going to
restaurants or fast food places every day, then you must start
ordering plain, unadorned foods. I you can’t do that (which I
can’t) then just go out less often. Turn it back into a treat, a
special occasion type thing, and then eat whatever you want. Find
what works for you, and then do it.
Train your Eye to Accept Less Food
Start training your eye to accept less food on the plate. We’ve
taught ourselves to expect heaps of food, but your body doesn’t
need such huge quantities. Frankly, it takes a very tiny amount
of food to supply our needed nutrients.
If they developed a pill which contained all the calories and
nutrients our bodies required, no one would want to take it. We
like to eat. Eating is pleasurable, it’s part of the makeup and
experience of being human. Take back control of that most basic
of human needs. Cook at home for friends and bring joy back into
your life through food.
If I Ate Out More Often I’d Gain Weight – it’s That Simple
I know I maintain my weight with an average of about 2,200
calories a day. That’s more than most dieters strive for, so how
do I get away with eating that much — I make better choices.
If I started eating out at restaurants more often, I’d suddenly
be eating nearly double what I eat now (calorie wise), without
even trying. Double the calories and guess what? Weight gain
won’t be far behind.
Trying to radically change your approach to food or exercise is
rarely successful. More people that are successful at losing
weight and keeping it off do so by making changes and
incorporating them into their lifestyle. Start now. Choose one
habit (such as eating out every day) or regular food you eat, and
decide to cut back on how often, or the quantity. Set a plan, and
Make a deal with yourself and keep it. If you find you cannot –
that you set yourself too strict a cutback, then modify it and do
it again. Keep at it and you’ll be successful.
If you eat out every day during the week for lunch, here’s a plan
to make a small change. Carry your lunch one day a week, or save
the extra from dinner out on Sunday night for lunch on Monday.
Get together with your coworkers for a walking lunch every
Wednesday. If there’s a gym of fitness club in the vicinity of
your work, join along with your coworkers and make an agreement
to work out together three days a week, at lunch time. Take brown
bag foods you can eat at your desk those days.
These small changes add up to big results. Try a couple in your
daily life and see what happens.