Being social while counting calories

Whenever I read over community posts, especially for people asking why they are not seeing progress, many commenters bring up weighing and measuring all of your food and that being the key to weight loss. I agree it is a key component, but I find this go to solution a little puzzling with eating out or in social situations. Do the people giving this advice shut themselves in and only eat at home where they can weigh and measure everything that goes into their food? Is it possible to eat out at restaurants that don't post calorie amounts or are not in the database and still lose weight?


  • AspenDan
    AspenDan Posts: 703 Member
    Gotta compromise...most things i weigh food but a few times a week I have to worries
  • PinkPixiexox
    PinkPixiexox Posts: 4,142 Member
    Yes. I don't weigh my food, I don't own kitchen scales - but I have a lot of common sense. I refuse to weigh a banana before I eat it. If I over estimate, I over estimate. I will always over estimate than under. Carrying scales around with me isn't normal behaviour - In my opinion (before I get shouted at hehe). Definitely weigh loose foods such as rice and pasta etc - otherwise, common sense and being aware. I've lost 25lbs on this approach - and still losing.
  • jemhh
    jemhh Posts: 14,271 Member
    I always mention the importance of having good estimating skills when it comes to food portions. We eat out quite a bit, both at places with nutrition info and without the info available. It's pretty easy to get good at estimating if you put your mind to it. In addition, if going out is something that you do on a regular basis, it becomes more mundane rather than a special event where you want to splurge with calories. That makes calorie control easy in those situations.
  • EmmaFitzwilliam
    EmmaFitzwilliam Posts: 482 Member
    edited August 2015
    I go out with friends pretty regularly. Some nights, like this week, I have really extravagant meals. It's reflected in my diary. I went over that day by 1000 calories. One day won't make that big a difference.

    I go out for Fancy Tea once a month, and have tea sandwiches, scones, and dessert. And I log every calorie.

    I drink more water and strive for more activity when I know I'm going out. I do my best to stay well within my goal most days so the occasional high calorie day won't be a big deal. And sometimes I go out and I choose a salad entree. It is possible to go out and eat sensibly and not feel constrained; it is also possible to make allowances on an occasional basis for a "blowout" evening.

    To address the portion/scale question - 15 months in, I hope I have an accurate sense of how much food I am eating. Or I use an entry I consider reasonably comparable. I don't fret too much about not having weighed/portioned one meal a week, or one meal a month. Many database entries are patently wild guesses, anyway.
  • OneHundredToLose
    OneHundredToLose Posts: 8,534 Member
    Last night I went out had had beer and wings with some friends, and I maintained my calorie limit. Since I knew I'd be going out, I just ate less throughout the day to account for it, and then didn't overdo it at the bar.
  • Kalikel
    Kalikel Posts: 9,626 Member
    I've found that my only problem is dating someone new. It's just too bizarre for most people, the weighing food, counting calories and not eating out, I hate telling new people about any of it. But they're going to find out sooner or later, so I just do.

    Friends are cool with it. New guys - up for grabs.

    If they're not going to be able to deal with it, better to find out early, anyway! :)
  • Ashtoretet
    Ashtoretet Posts: 378 Member
    I overestimate my calories, or at least attempt to, if I have to be social. Do some cardio to give yourself a few hundred extra calories and eat very low cal the rest of the day, or just fast.
  • court_alacarte
    court_alacarte Posts: 219 Member
    i have quite an active social life. i've recently come to terms with the fact that i'll never be at my high school weight ever again because i love a good happy hour and am a total foodie who loves going out to restaurants and trying new things.

    yes it is possible to go out to eat without knowing how many calories you're eating and still lose weight, but just be smart about it: don't order an appetizer, don't order the fried stuff... or if you do choose the chicken alfredo over the grilled salmon, don't eat the whole meal. if you know you're going to a huge feast and/or drinkfest, plan for it and limit your calories or work out extra hard for that day. however on days i eat in, i'm a total lazy-*kitten* and make myself sandwiches, canned soup and crackers, or frozen meals so i can easily track the calories.

    i'm all about not giving up your social life just because you're on a diet. i've been there actually... it's boring :P
  • foreverslim1111
    foreverslim1111 Posts: 2,538 Member
    I meet a group of friends about once a month at a local restaurant for brunch. I usually order the same thing each time. It's called the "comb special". It's 1 egg, 1 bacon or pork sausage patty, 1 piece of toast, and 1 serving of hash browns. I usually have the bacon (the sausage patty has too many calories), the toast I get with butter on the side (they give you a little 1 t packet of butter) and I have them sub tomato slices for the hash browns. The first time I ordered this way, I went home and looked it up on MFP and I believe it came to around 250 cals. Then I put it in the recipe builder and saved it as a recipe under Restaurant Breakfast. So that's how I cope. Obviously you can't weigh it at the restaurant but you can make good choices and then go home and calculate the cals. It's a little bit of effort but I really enjoy the meal more knowing I'm not over eating. Hope this gives you some good ideas.
  • lemurcat12
    lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886 Member
    edited August 2015
    I ate out at restaurants (no calorie counts) 1-2 times a week when actively losing. I just assumed it was a huge amount of calories and budgeted for it.
  • DeguelloTex
    DeguelloTex Posts: 6,658 Member
    Why are some people so driven to see so many things as all or nothing?

  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 26,378 Member
    Yes, I estimate calories at least once a week. If I wasn't losing weight, I'd review how I was doing this, but it seems to be working fine.
  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,465 Member
    Portion control is very important in social situations. Eat no more than half the meal, ask sever to omit high calorie items such as fries, chips, minimize bread & pastas, other trigger foods, etc. there's nothing "wrong" with these foods except they tend to be high in calories, low in nutrition, and are trigger goods for many people.
  • LeslieB042812
    LeslieB042812 Posts: 1,799 Member
    I eat out a lot. It definitely makes it harder to stay in my calories and makes my weight loss slower, but (on the plus side) it makes life much more enjoyable. Besides, my husband really likes eating out and I think he'd leave me if I stopped! (JK!!!! before people jump on that)

    I usually guesstimate by looking up a bunch of restaurant entries in the database that are the same or similar to what I'm eating. If the calories look unreasonable, I won't use that entry and I usually skew towards using the highest calorie entry (unless it seems unreasonably high). Like foreverslim1, I also save my go to restaurant meals as meals in MFP to make logging easier (like there's a cafe we eat breakfast at a lot and I get a croissant with an egg white omelette--that's saved in my meals, using entries for other restaurants).
  • Bshmerlie
    Bshmerlie Posts: 1,026 Member
    As you said the posts that you were referring to are when people can't explain why they are not losing weight. If you're not having that trouble then guestimate your food. As someone said the important thing about eating out is to make sure you watch the portion size. And avoid the high calorie items on the menu. Limit the chips and bread at the beginning to only a tiny portion. Whenever I eat out I automatically think its gonna be at least 1000 calories so I plan my day or my weekend accordingly. That is why I switched to a 5-2 diet. I do 1200 calories five days a week and 2200 on Friday and Saturday. That way I can enjoy my weekends, have fun with my friends, eat out when I want and not blow my diet for the week. And surprisingly its actually not that hard doing the 1200 during the week.
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,628 Member
    im very social and log all my food. i eat out a LOT, and drink and ... whatever ;)

    its when people post they arent losing weight that we get finicky over being more accurate.
  • EmmaFitzwilliam
    EmmaFitzwilliam Posts: 482 Member
    lorrpb wrote: »
    Portion control is very important in social situations. Eat no more than half the meal, ask sever to omit high calorie items such as fries, chips, minimize bread & pastas, other trigger foods, etc. there's nothing "wrong" with these foods except they tend to be high in calories, low in nutrition, and are trigger goods for many people.

    This too. Last time I went out, we ordered ceviche, which in that restaurant is served with chips. Tortilla chips are something like 15 calories each, so we asked for no chips.

    I like bread, but frequently we ask for no bread because bread is 150 calories a serving I'm willing to give up. (More than 150 if you add butter or olive oil and vinegar.) (Not always. Some restaurants have bread that's worth sacrificing 200+ calories for, and I do.)

    I ordered pasta carbonara - and split the order with a friend.

    You learn to make it work, and to balance healthy choices and still having fun and feeling sociable.

  • I weigh everything at home. I have taken my scale with me to a relative's house before, but it depends on the family member. If it's a big gathering, I'm probably not whipping out the scale. If it's more like food is being provided as fuel and not as a social/celebratory thing, and it's someone who is supportive, then I am bringing it. No, I don't take it to restaurants. I have weighed takeout at home to make sure nutritional information online had the correct weights listed.
  • BWBTrish
    BWBTrish Posts: 2,817 Member
    At home i weigh everything
    Out i guesstimate... and you get pretty good at it when you weigh everything at home... Never accurate of course but it does the job.
    And also remember you might be making your deficit smaller over that day because you aren't accurate and under estimate your food...but it is that you have to eat 3500 OVER your maintenance level to gain weight.
    So moderation is the key.

    Learning your portions and next day back on track. :)
  • nordlead2005
    nordlead2005 Posts: 1,303 Member
    edited August 2015
    My social life doesn't revolve around eating. I go play disc golf, ultimate, or music with my friends.

    If I do eat out I estimate. You learn to estimate by measuring at home. I also compensate by bringing my appetite (i.e. not eating beforehand)

    If someone is eating out all the time, can't figure out why they aren't losing weight and post here asking for help, then the answer is that they have to decide. Do they eat out and not lose weight, or do they weigh food at home and learn portion control?