Eating out while losing weight?!

Hey y’all! I was hoping to get some opinions/experiences from my fellow MFP friends! I’m 5’6 / 182lbs and my goal is 165 lbs for now! I’ve gotten down to 167 but was needing to starve myself on WW to maintain, I weight lift 5 times a week and do cardio 3-4 times a week for 20-30 min! I’ve been tracking macros & practicing IIFYM with a coach for 2 weeks! I know some people don’t agree with eating out on a regular basis, but on the weekends, my fiancé & I enjoy eating out for dinners! Maybe 2-3 times a week! I track as accurately as possible (although I’m aware it’s probably never 1000% accurate) and over estimate if I’m unsure. I’m just hoping eating out won’t compromise my weight loss! Before when I would restrict eating out/ or eating “frozen” protein options like fish, chicken, turkey patties, I would eventually binge and back track! I want to lose in a way that I can maintain as a lifestyle!

Please share your experiences!


  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 41,081 Member
    I limit eating out to once per week typically. I'm not very good about eating half my meal or whatever and boxing up the rest and when i eat out I want to enjoy it. I keep it to once per week because pretty much if you're not ordering off a low calorie menu you can basically count on 1,000+ calories.
  • strongwouldbenice
    strongwouldbenice Posts: 153 Member
    I try and prelog whatever I'm going to have (google their menu) to make sure I'm not going crazy with calories, and save around 1200 calories for it from both eating light that day and leaving 100-200 each day leading up to it. Love having a meal out to look forward to!
  • LivingtheLeanDream
    LivingtheLeanDream Posts: 13,345 Member
    I limit eating out to once a week and usually share a main as portions are inclined to be far too big for me.
  • PixelPuff
    PixelPuff Posts: 902 Member
    You can always ask them to take special care, too. Example, sauces on the side, switching out the carbs for veg, etc. Even at places with mostly not-so-good food, there will always be an option you can make a change with to be healthy. <3
  • nowine4me
    nowine4me Posts: 3,986 Member
    Pick a few places you like and study the menus. Make a plan and stick to it. Most places will double up veggies in lieu of starch, which saves cals. So grilled shrimp, salmon, chicken with asparagus, corn, green beans salad, etc. dressings and sauce on the side, one glass of wine only. Boom!
  • bogwoppt1
    bogwoppt1 Posts: 159 Member
    I stick to appetizers. Usually a soup and one other choice. That is usually plenty of food and I often enjoy it more than one main course.
  • Tblackdogs
    Tblackdogs Posts: 322 Member
    Know that restaurant meals will be high in sodium. So you might "appear" to gain weight overnight! Also, restaurant meals are almost never lo-cal. So as someone else recommended, maybe limit yourself to one meal out, per week, until you've gotten close to goal. And leave lots of calories by eating lightly the day you're going out and maybe exercise a little extra. Finally, think about what you're hoping to get out of the restaurant meal. Looking to not have to cook? Looking to be social? Looking for some different tastes than you get at home? All of those things are workable. Getting tipsy or pigging out will likely derail your weight loss. Simple as that. So if you want to go out for the right reasons, then limit yourself to restaurants where they print the calorie counts or have websites where you can peruse the nutritional information. Or, if you have no idea about calorie content, stick to one drink and an appetizer. You'll enjoy being out, not having to cook and feel like you're not living in "diet prison."
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 11,048 Member
    edited March 2018
    Or you can order a main dish taking some care to ensure that it is appropriate for your calories/goals.

    Red Robin Onion Rings (appetizer menu) as an example are more calories than one of their burgers with fries, especially if you order the burger lettuce wrapped and without mayo and/or limitted amounts of cheese. Or nachos. Or artichoke spinach dips... at other places. So planning to order from the appertiser menu doesn't always make sense.

    A protein and veggies with no butter/margarine or a side salad with no dressing/dressing on the side should be do-able in most restaurants. Protein could be anything from a piece of sad fish (not for me :lol:) to a chicken breast to a 6, 7 or 8oz steak... usually the smallest they have available...

    While it is harder to do at ethnic restaurants, I've certainly ordered Pho without noodles but with extra sprouts, or chicken (thighs) with broccoli or gai lan in chinese places. Indian places are a bit tougher. But a couple of pieces of chicken ticka or tandoori chicken and some roti no butter might do the trick. (The veggies at Indian places are not a problem... the amount of oil they are drowned in IS!)

    Use your imagination and don't be shy about ordering what YOU want.
  • Mslmesq
    Mslmesq Posts: 1,001 Member
    I eat out a lot. It’s never been a problem. But it does help to eat lighter. Don’t eat all and take some home for lunch the next day. Or split a meal with your fiancée. Two salads and one entree. Or just order a couple appetizers and side dish.

    Tonight we went out and I’ve been eating out a lot and definitely have some high sodium weight gain, so I tried to keep it light. Small salad to start and a baked potato for the main course. But I also considered a cup of soup and some appetizer portion crab cakes.

    Eat out my friend. Enjoy life. Just don’t do it gluttonously every night. ;-)
  • Leannep2201
    Leannep2201 Posts: 441 Member
    Last time I ate out, I got an appetiser and a salad. Had a glass of wine. Time before that, some shellfish with a side of steamed veg. Gave the bread it came with to the hubby.
    I also save calories to allow for a few more. Or I look up the menu and plan before I go, if it’s online. I go back to favourite places- eg on Friday nights I don’t get home till after 10pm so I have to eat out, or take a packed meal. Eating out always wins, and I usually go to the same place and order the same thing, because it’s easy- I know how many calories my meal is!

    Been working for me. It’s definitely manageable, but I find pre-planning helps a lot.
    Good luck!
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,633 Member
    usually when i eat out its my only meal of the day (depending on what it is, of course)
  • debrag12
    debrag12 Posts: 1,066 Member
    never understood getting sauce on the side, only eating half etc. I'd never order salad or soup not worth the money to me, I just make sure what I eat + drink fits in my calorie allowance
  • onward1
    onward1 Posts: 386 Member
    I try not to eat out often, but when I do I go big on the fillers, like salad and veggies, a lean protein, like fish or chicken. Lots of water and a glass or two of wine. I do a rough estimate in my head how many calories I'm consuming and don't beat myself up if it's more than my allowance because it always seems to work out in the end.
  • endermako
    endermako Posts: 787 Member
    I've eaten out twice in three weeks, and even though I picked the low calorie healthy options it has still stalled my weight. I wouldn't risk it until you have a steady routine down and then maybe you can eat out once a month.
  • Janice6543
    Janice6543 Posts: 92 Member
    edited March 2018
    Some of my strategies when eating out...

    1.Skip a meal for the day or just have a 200 calorie protein bar for dinner if you had a big lunch.
    2. Always go with the diet soda
    3. Kids meals are your friend! This weekend, had ikea kids meatballs, mash potatoes and apple slices to easily stay under 400 calories.
    4. Share a meal with a friend or bring half home.
    5. Always skip the bread basket.
    6. My biggest tip is don't be afraid to eat light at a buffet or not eat your whole meal when out. You are paying for the enjoyment of a night out, not to stuff yourself beyond full.
    7. Peruse the online menu ahead of time is possible
  • tylersilverdude
    tylersilverdude Posts: 1 Member
    I would typically fast until that meal and then fast afterwards as well. Skip the dessert, go for lots of water and diet soda.
    I would also sprinkle some salt in my water before going out, try to get full from that and diet soda. I would then expend a lot of energy at the gym doing some type of weight lifting regiment.
    Then I would go to the sauna or do some low intensity steady state cardio. That way you will be more insulin sensitive as well.

    Oh and another tip, eat all the protein first! And take a big sip of apple cider vinegar before going out!
  • toxikon
    toxikon Posts: 2,384 Member
    If I'm going out for food I'm damn well enjoying a thick juicy burger and fries! I make it work by:

    1. Only eating out once a week, tops
    2. Intermittent fasting on the day of the meal (skipping breakfast and having a light lunch)
    3. Eating a bit lighter on the days before and after (sometimes)

    It all comes down to balancing your weekly averages and working those special calorific meals into your plan. One bad meal won't kill your deficit (unless you really go crazy) as long as you're doing well on the other 6 days of the week.
  • Lesscookies12
    Lesscookies12 Posts: 140 Member
    Sometimes it's difficult to determine caloric intake while tracking. However, if you eat something like grilled chicken veggies, or grilled salmon with veggies, or a salad that would be more healthy than something super oily. I also don't try to lose weight while traveling I maintain instead. Good luck!!
  • AndOne8675
    AndOne8675 Posts: 151 Member
    I keep it simple...3 glasses of wine and french fries. I make sure it fits in my weekly goal. Once in awhile, I like wine more than food.