How often do you eat out during weight-loss phase?

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  • Sophsmother
    Sophsmother Posts: 83 Member
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    My daughter and I eat out for dinner 4 or 5 nights a week. She actually needs to gain about 5 lbs, so I find it easier to take her out to her favorite places so I know she'll eat something filling.

    For me, it's been really tough. I can find something healthy to eat at most places we go to, but accounting for every calorie is tough, and sticking to my diet is even tougher when tempted by so much food. You just don't know exactly how much something weighs or what other things are going into the meal that aren't listed on the menu (butter, oil, etc.). I've been tempted to bring my food scale with me so I can make sure that the 6-ounce filet does indeed weigh 6 ounces.

    Do any of you find it tough to go out to eat when you're actively in the weight-loss phase? I'm on 1,200 calories a day with about 65 lbs to lose, so I don't have much wiggle room with calories. Should I cut back on eating out for a bit? I feel like I should be able to handle eating out, but I've woken up too many mornings with swollen fingers from too much sodium and all the other great things that eating out can bring on. I'm not a failure if I can only eat at home for a while, am I?

    Seems like you already know what to do but you want "us" to tell you...

    If you're daughter needs to gain and you need to lose the best thing for both of you is for you to eat at home so that both can accurately track what each is doing. Assuming your daughter is old enough since "she needs to gain weight" she can cook for herself too.

    You can fit in eating out too... but you don't seem to know how to accurately track anything so for you I would say not to. I would suggest doing some research and learn how to track food properly.

    Wow, that last paragraph is so frickin rude. Thanks for the support. I was just reaching out for some help. Real classy.
  • OhReally42
    OhReally42 Posts: 138 Member
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    I definitely agree with having her help you cook, so she'll be able to do so for her self when she's older and then she can be involved so she knows what goes in it. Do you know why she doesn't like the meals you make? Maybe there's something you could do differently.
  • AskTracyAnnK28
    AskTracyAnnK28 Posts: 2,834 Member
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    Briargrey wrote: »
    It's not a 'lifestyle' if you're doing it to cater to her whims about not eating your cooking. But yeah, not a parenting forum, so whatever. Let her walk all over you and let her build up (probably) bad habits at the same time.

    Where do you eat out at? What do you typically eat when there? What does she typically eat?

    Putting on weight really shouldn't be about cramming your face full of crap. Losing weight shouldn't really be about cutting out everything until you go crazy and switch to cramming it. Moderation and all that. Catering to a 10 year old under the guise of 'it's my social thing' just seems...off to me. But yeah, whatever.

    *** high five ***
  • stealthq
    stealthq Posts: 4,298 Member
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    Francl27 wrote: »
    This is just my personal opinion, but when we get hungry enough, we will eat anything that is available, whether we like it or not.

    Doing it simply because her daughter doesn't want to eat at home not only teaches that it's healthy to eat out for virtually every meal, but teaches that she can get her own way by being different.

    ETA: This is again, my opinion.

    Agreed.

    I agree with the second part, but not the first. Some kids really will refuse to eat and will starve themselves to an unsafe point. In that case, it's more important to get food in the kid than to worry about what food it is, or what behaviour problem you may be creating down the road.

    But, with the daughter down only 5 lbs, it doesn't sound like it's reached that stage. She's under-eating enough to be careful that she not drop more weight, but not enough that she's making herself ill.

    If it were me, I would make raw fruit and veg available to her all of the time along with dips like hummus, peanut butter, or cream cheese to increase calories and fats. Because I like to cook, I'd try to improve my cooking skills by reproducing the restaurant meals she likes, and in the meantime, supplement the fruit and veg with takeout.
  • KylaDenay
    KylaDenay Posts: 1,585 Member
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    segacs wrote: »
    I'd never presume to tell someone how to parent their children. But have you thought about the lessons that you're teaching her? Is that really the message that you want to communicate to your 10-year-old, that it's okay to turn her nose up at so much perfectly good food and that eating out that often is healthy? Not only for her nutritional needs, but also for her financial health as an adult, I'd think it would be better in the long run for her to learn healthy eating and cooking at home, and you can get her involved in the food prep and cooking so she learns these skills for life.

    As for you, why 1200 calories/day? Sounds like if you have 65 pounds to lose, you're bigger than is reasonable for someone who's eating such a low calorie goal. (1200 is usually only appropriate for smaller, older women). If you set your calorie goal to 2lbs/week, try setting it to something more reasonable, like 1 or 1.5 per week, and see what MFP gives you. You should have more calories than that.
    I have to stick up for myself here...I don't think going out to eat often is bad parenting or teaching my kid anything other than we get to go out to eat often. It's a part of our social life that's important to us. And it was the same for me when I was a kid. Some people eat at home, some don't. Believe me, if I thought it was detrimental to my daughter in any way, I wouldn't do it. It's our lifestyle.

    I was just curious if other people ate out that often while trying to lose weight and if they had a hard time. Looks pretty split down the middle. I think I'll cut back a little and see how we do. But thanks for all the great feedback. I feel much better.

    To me the bolded is the issue. You are 65 lbs over weight and your daughter is underweight. Wouldn't you think it is causing bad/unhealthy eating habits?

    Also you are going to get the opinions since you brought it up in your OP.
  • AskTracyAnnK28
    AskTracyAnnK28 Posts: 2,834 Member
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    I lost 65 pounds since I started MFP in August. I don't think I could have done it if I ate out multiple times a week. I needed to weigh measure and log my food very carefully for months so I could finally get to my goal weight. I've only eaten dinner out 3 times :(
  • segacs
    segacs Posts: 4,599 Member
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    I have to stick up for myself here...I don't think going out to eat often is bad parenting or teaching my kid anything other than we get to go out to eat often. It's a part of our social life that's important to us. And it was the same for me when I was a kid. Some people eat at home, some don't. Believe me, if I thought it was detrimental to my daughter in any way, I wouldn't do it. It's our lifestyle.

    I was just curious if other people ate out that often while trying to lose weight and if they had a hard time. Looks pretty split down the middle. I think I'll cut back a little and see how we do. But thanks for all the great feedback. I feel much better.


    You asked for opinions. We're giving opinions. Feel free to do with them what you like.

    But you claim that it's not detrimental to your daughter in any way. However, you also claim that you ate out all the time as a kid, too. So wouldn't you say you learned those lessons from your parents, and now you're passing them onto your daughter?

    Look, I enjoy eating in restaurants, too. There's nothing inherently wrong with them to mix things up, for the social atmosphere, or even just as a break from cooking.

    But when you say your daughter refuses to eat the food you are cooking for her? Obviously you know that's not a good thing -- which is why you're working with the pediatrician and dietitian and are here asking advice in the first place. If you thought everything was perfectly fine with what you were doing, you wouldn't be here asking about it.

    I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm simply offering some food for thought. Do with it what you will.
  • berlynnwall
    berlynnwall Posts: 669 Member
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    segacs wrote: »
    I have to stick up for myself here...I don't think going out to eat often is bad parenting or teaching my kid anything other than we get to go out to eat often. It's a part of our social life that's important to us. And it was the same for me when I was a kid. Some people eat at home, some don't. Believe me, if I thought it was detrimental to my daughter in any way, I wouldn't do it. It's our lifestyle.

    I was just curious if other people ate out that often while trying to lose weight and if they had a hard time. Looks pretty split down the middle. I think I'll cut back a little and see how we do. But thanks for all the great feedback. I feel much better.


    You asked for opinions. We're giving opinions. Feel free to do with them what you like.

    But you claim that it's not detrimental to your daughter in any way. However, you also claim that you ate out all the time as a kid, too. So wouldn't you say you learned those lessons from your parents, and now you're passing them onto your daughter?

    Look, I enjoy eating in restaurants, too. There's nothing inherently wrong with them to mix things up, for the social atmosphere, or even just as a break from cooking.

    But when you say your daughter refuses to eat the food you are cooking for her? Obviously you know that's not a good thing -- which is why you're working with the pediatrician and dietitian and are here asking advice in the first place. If you thought everything was perfectly fine with what you were doing, you wouldn't be here asking about it.

    I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm simply offering some food for thought. Do with it what you will.

    QFT x 1000000
  • lizzocat
    lizzocat Posts: 356 Member
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    I eat out 1 - 2 times a week (usually weekend dinners) and I think even that's excessive when you're trying to lose weight. It's nearly impossible to be sure of calories, and if you're eating our 4-5 times a week, there's a good chance you're going over somewhere, whether it's your macros, your sodium, or your calories. BUT if you're overestimating, you might also be undereating on those days as well. It's just really hard to be super serious with weightloss when you eat out that much.

    If you absolutely HAVE to eat out for your daughter, what about ordering in? That way, she get's what she wants and you can prepare yourself something in the house?
  • CA_Underdog
    CA_Underdog Posts: 733 Member
    edited March 2015
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    It's a part of our social life that's important to us. And it was the same for me when I was a kid.
    Frequently eating foods where the nutritional info is unknown is hard to fit into a healthy lifestyle, especially when you're trying to lose weight. I could eat at Panda Express or Five Guys every day in a week (ugh!) and lose, only because I know what goes into the food. Some people work extravagant daily meals in--they do this by getting in daily exercise and lightening up other meals.

    You can go to these places for your daughter and to be social without eating more than a few nibbles--just eat before you go. Else, it's your desire to eat out holding you back.
    segacs wrote:
    But when you say your daughter refuses to eat the food you are cooking for her? Obviously you know that's not a good thing -- which is why you're working with the pediatrician and dietitian and are here asking advice in the first place
    And I do wish you luck with your pediatrician and dietitian. I hope there's a longer-term plan and it all works out well. Sometimes you have to keep bugging those folks. :)
  • mom2ava07
    mom2ava07 Posts: 186 Member
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    I have eaten out twice in the last 2.5 months, and one of those was my birthday. I just don't find it logical for my husband and I (who are both dieting) to fork out $50 bucks or so when we can't order what we really want anyway. I just stay away.
  • AgentOrangeJuice
    AgentOrangeJuice Posts: 1,069 Member
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    Are you eating at clean whole food restaurants?
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,763 Member
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    Are you eating at clean whole food restaurants?

    For weight loss purposes, this is meaningless.
  • Sophsmother
    Sophsmother Posts: 83 Member
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    Briargrey wrote: »
    It's not a 'lifestyle' if you're doing it to cater to her whims about not eating your cooking. But yeah, not a parenting forum, so whatever. Let her walk all over you and let her build up (probably) bad habits at the same time.

    Where do you eat out at? What do you typically eat when there? What does she typically eat?

    Putting on weight really shouldn't be about cramming your face full of crap. Losing weight shouldn't really be about cutting out everything until you go crazy and switch to cramming it. Moderation and all that. Catering to a 10 year old under the guise of 'it's my social thing' just seems...off to me. But yeah, whatever.

    Thanks for posting. I'm gonna leave my daughter's dietary needs up to the specialists as they know what they're talking about and have been really helpful. As for parenting advice, umm, thanks...I guess.

    For me, I was just asking how people who dine out often manage to still lose weight. I never go to chain restaurants only because there are tons of family owned places to eat all within walking distance from my house. And they are cheap and good and you can get fresh food, which meets both of our dietary needs. But like I said in the original post, I know there are hidden calories.

    Anyway, I meet with my dietician tomorrow. She's going to give me some really easy recipes for home that even I can't mess up. I'll get my daughter involved in the cooking and see if that helps her. But I'm just trying to focus on me in this post and am sorry I mentioned her needs at all.
  • CA_Underdog
    CA_Underdog Posts: 733 Member
    edited March 2015
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    And they are cheap and good and you can get fresh food, which meets both of our dietary needs. But like I said in the original post, I know there are hidden calories.
    If they have hidden calories, are they really meeting your dietary needs? Panda Express chops their vegetables fresh everyday--and no hidden calories or sodium or saturated fat! :)

    I do support local businesses whenever I can in good conscience. The bagel shop in my neighborhood won't publish anything about their bagels, so I won't shop there. The one in the next neighborhood--where I go when I want one--guarantees no trans fats and publishes the full info for five sample bagels. It's smaller wonder their portions are also slightly smaller.
  • njitaliana
    njitaliana Posts: 814 Member
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    We go out to eat about once a week, and I have taken off 65 lbs. I purposely eat at chain restaurants (such as Ruby Tuesday, Applebees, Uno, Longorn, etc.) because they all have their menus and nutritional info online. Then I just enter the recipe as it is listed, such as, "Longhorn Steakhouse chop steak," and MFP has all the caloric info in the database, so it comes right up. I believe the calories are accurate, and I have never had a problem losing while eating out. But, like you said, there is a lot of sodium in restaurant food.

    You can always pick up takeout for your daughter and then cook a meal for yourself at home. Or pick up something like a milkshake for her to take home to have with your home cooked meal, to help her gain. Or she can make herself a sandwich or something she likes. She is at the age where her taste buds will be starting to change, so it would help her to keep trying things to see if her tastes have changed.

    It's always best for the both of you to eat at home, since you can control what goes in the food and you won't get all that sodium. But, it's important to do what you need to do to make it work for you.

    I'm not sure why you think eating at home would make you a failure. I eat at home most of the time because it's healthier and cheaper.
  • tulips_and_tea
    tulips_and_tea Posts: 5,711 Member
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    This is just my personal opinion, but when we get hungry enough, we will eat anything that is available, whether we like it or not.

    Doing it simply because her daughter doesn't want to eat at home not only teaches that it's healthy to eat out for virtually every meal, but teaches that she can get her own way by being different.

    ETA: This is again, my opinion.

    OP, I'm going to give my honest opinion - then back away from this thread before I'm flamed: I think your 10 year old daughter is manilpulating you. Why should she eat your home cooking when she knows that if she refuses you'll take her to Applebees (or wherever)? Maybe her picky eating is a result of an underlying issue? Is she doing anything else to seek your attention? Has there been any sudden changes in her life?

    In my day if we didn't eat what was put in front of us, we went to bed without any dinner. Case closed.

    Also - you must make a lot of money to be able to afford that kind of lifestyle where you can eat out 5+ times a week. I'm jealous!

    OK - I'm leaving now B)

    *fistbump*

    Yep, I agree with this as well.
  • segacs
    segacs Posts: 4,599 Member
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    If they have hidden calories, are they really meeting your dietary needs? Panda Express chops their vegetables fresh everyday--and no hidden calories or sodium or saturated fat! :)

    Eating at a chain instead of a local restaurant simply because it publishes nutritional information seems illogical to me.

    Maybe it's because I live in a place where almost no restaurants publish any nutritional info whatsoever (other than American fast food chains like McDonald's, which, again, not judging anyone who like them, but I personally don't.) But even published calorie counts from chain restaurants can be wildly off. And locally-owned restaurants that cook with fresh ingredients usually make food that tastes better, which, yeah, is personal preference, but if I'm gonna spend my calories on a restaurant meal, I want it to be as tasty as possible.

    The point isn't to debate chain vs. mom and pop restaurants. The point is that restaurant food is all well and good, but being able to cook and eat at home is important.

    OP, sounds like you're taking the right approach: Working with the professionals to try to help your daughter, and taking steps towards getting her more involved in cooking and meal prep. No need to go cold turkey on the restaurants -- just try to stagger them a bit more so you're not so dependent on them.

    I wish you the best of luck!
  • Briargrey
    Briargrey Posts: 498 Member
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    Yep, stick to the professionals for both of you, since you quite obviously don't want the advice you're getting here. [And of course, no one good would advocate you listen to internet people over licensed professionals, unless they're coming off like quacks and it's obvious to everyone around you that you need a new doctor!]

    Yes, you can lose weight eating out. You can even be healthy doing it. It can be very hard.

    I get that you got offended. It's a tricky subject. For your health and hers, the professionals are going to be best to listen to, although you're getting solid advice here. Actual specifics vary from person to person but if you're generally healthy, then the general advice here is pretty global.

    BTW, any specialist saying 'take your daughter out to eat 5 times a week' -- is probably an idiot. I can't think of ANY special need that would require that.

  • tulips_and_tea
    tulips_and_tea Posts: 5,711 Member
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    KylaDenay wrote: »
    segacs wrote: »
    I'd never presume to tell someone how to parent their children. But have you thought about the lessons that you're teaching her? Is that really the message that you want to communicate to your 10-year-old, that it's okay to turn her nose up at so much perfectly good food and that eating out that often is healthy? Not only for her nutritional needs, but also for her financial health as an adult, I'd think it would be better in the long run for her to learn healthy eating and cooking at home, and you can get her involved in the food prep and cooking so she learns these skills for life.

    As for you, why 1200 calories/day? Sounds like if you have 65 pounds to lose, you're bigger than is reasonable for someone who's eating such a low calorie goal. (1200 is usually only appropriate for smaller, older women). If you set your calorie goal to 2lbs/week, try setting it to something more reasonable, like 1 or 1.5 per week, and see what MFP gives you. You should have more calories than that.
    I have to stick up for myself here...I don't think going out to eat often is bad parenting or teaching my kid anything other than we get to go out to eat often. It's a part of our social life that's important to us. And it was the same for me when I was a kid. Some people eat at home, some don't. Believe me, if I thought it was detrimental to my daughter in any way, I wouldn't do it. It's our lifestyle.

    I was just curious if other people ate out that often while trying to lose weight and if they had a hard time. Looks pretty split down the middle. I think I'll cut back a little and see how we do. But thanks for all the great feedback. I feel much better.

    To me the bolded is the issue. You are 65 lbs over weight and your daughter is underweight. Wouldn't you think it is causing bad/unhealthy eating habits?

    Also you are going to get the opinions since you brought it up in your OP.

    Yes. Your daughter may need to gain weight now, but I'm afraid you're setting her up to fail in the future. She needs to learn how to eat regularly and healthfully at home. Picky or not, she can find things she likes to eat. You can help her and yourself that way.