My Kriptonite: Restaurants

Ok, so as serial starter I have some learnings. One is that restaurants are my kriptonite. I can't go and just order a salad and a chicken breast. I'll go and then beer and or wine plus the steak, the chips, the bread and sometime the dessert. What is really hard for me is that it's my way of socializing. It's where I meet friends and where I do business. That's why confinement helped me in that sense.

Any ideas on how to break this vicious circle ? Basically I think I have to prevent myself from going to restaurants. But also my wife and kids wan't to go out on weekends. I lose 2 pounds, gain 3 pounds and like that is goes on. Maybe I behave from Monday to Wednesday and then thursday is like time to celebrate and back on again.

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Replies

  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,513 Member
    You know, I would just stop analyzing, and excusing and just suck it up and do it. There're always going to be hurtles in the way. If you don't want to jump over them and keep going it's a choice. Those of us that have been on here for years have seen a lot of excuses. They don't help you reach your goals. You can figure this out and hope you will. Good luck. You've got a decision to make.
  • gisem17
    gisem17 Posts: 50 Member
    The first I notice about restaurants is that they put a lot of salt in their food. Excess salt causes water retention and water retention causes a jump on the scale. I usually gain 2 lbs or more in water after eating out. It eventually flushes out, but it's still discouraging.
    I preload my meals into MFP so I know how much (in calories) my meal is going to cost me. That is especially important when I eat out. Some of my favorite meals are more than my daily caloric budget. If I know going in what I'm going to order, it helps me stay on track.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    You know, I would just stop analyzing, and excusing and just suck it up and do it. There're always going to be hurtles in the way. If you don't want to jump over them and keep going it's a choice. Those of us that have been on here for years have seen a lot of excuses. They don't help you reach your goals. You can figure this out and hope you will. Good luck. You've got a decision to make.

    Thanks for the advice!
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    The food you can control, you may just not want to. The concern is the alcohol. If you feel compelled to drink and you cannot get it under control yourself you may need help.

    If you can control both then it is up to you to stop listening to your own lies and stop allowing your inner child to call the shots. This was what I had to do. I believe in letting my inner 6yo have the treat but only, now, on my more mature terms. At least most of the time... I do slip up because old habits run deep but when it happens now I no longer believe the lies about it. I take responsibility and move forward.

    It is exceedingly rare for me to go to a restaurant and only order a salad. I make whatever I eat fit in my calories most of the time though. I do know the scale will temporarily go up because of the sodium. If you don't know this yet read this:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations/

  • 88olds
    88olds Posts: 4,173 Member
    I lost weight and have been maintaining for years eating lots of meals in restaurants. Haven’t been in a restaurant now since March and I really miss it.

    When up against the kind of thing in your situation I’d ask myself this- do I want to cross restaurants off my list, or work to find a solution? Sometimes it’s just easier to avoid certain things.

    In the big picture I think what we are doing is trying to learn to live within some reasonable limits. What is it about restaurants that causes you to reject limits?

    Start with responsibility. Go back to your post where you say I “I can’t go and just order a salad” and change it to “I won’t go and just order a salad.” Now you’re in control, not a victim of some sort of mysterious force.

    Why won’t you order a salad? Chips or bread basket? Those are specific problems. Can you keep them off the table? If with the family, keep them out of reach. As a last resort, try some willpower. Speaking of willpower how about skipping the alcohol? It’s not so much the calories from alcohol, it’s that it weakens resolve.

    And just a random thought- when I was growing up eating out was reserved for special occasions. Special occasions were a time to operate outside of normal limits. Now, thanks to advertising, there’s this idea that every day is supposed to be special. Good day, bad day, Friday...all special. Default to a grilled chicken Caesar, dressing on the side, no croutons.
  • 88olds
    88olds Posts: 4,173 Member
    PS.

    I don’t want to leave the impression that ordering salad solves this. I’ve learned the hard way. Look at the numbers at a family dining restaurant salad. Many of them are calorie bombs. I ordered a chicken Caesar at Chili’s once that was about 1000 cals. That’s when I was learning to do my research and planning beforehand.

    And concentrating when ordering is key. Everyone relaxed, talking, it’s easy to be distracted and revert to old habits.
  • Diatonic12
    Diatonic12 Posts: 32,344 Member
    There's only choices and consequences. We can control the factors.

    There are non-modifiable risk factors we can't change but lifestyle factors can be changed. It starts with one step so make it small. That old All or Nothing Approach to food narrative runs on a loop through the brain. The brain is the biggest factor of all. It's a food bully. It doesn't want change. It's a brat. It throws fits when it doesn't get its way.

    We can learn to moderate ourselves with food. You're going to have to ride this out one meal at a time. Start tracking your data points. One a one day at a time basis you can make changes. It needs to be more close to the heart. Dig deep. Find the deeper reasons for doing this or none of it will ever stick.

    Those reasons are personal and they come from your innermost being. They give you momentum. They keep you going and going and going. Find yours.
  • nanastaci2020
    nanastaci2020 Posts: 1,072 Member
    Personally I know I can drink (alcohol) at home for less $, and I'm wary of buying drinks at restaurants because I'm picky and would hate to spend the $ and then NOT like the drink. If its easier for you to budget having a drink or two at home occasionally, focus on the $ saved by NOT drinking at restaurants.

    If you know you want to have a certain meal + desert, then plan for it. Don't tell yourself "I'll go and have a salad and NOTHING else' if that is not realistic. Instead, plan for the extra calories that day. Have a small breakfast & lunch. Get in an extra walk to help earn more calories. Maybe even eat under goal by 100-200 calories for the 2-3 days leading up to the day out.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,513 Member
    edited October 2020
    You know, I would just stop analyzing, and excusing and just suck it up and do it. There're always going to be hurtles in the way. If you don't want to jump over them and keep going it's a choice. Those of us that have been on here for years have seen a lot of excuses. They don't help you reach your goals. You can figure this out and hope you will. Good luck. You've got a decision to make.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Another idea for restaurants that I use is to order what I like, eat half, and take the other half home for the next day. I'm getting older--almost 66 and can't eat a huge amount of food without suffering later. This is what I and my husband do often. We order water and a pizza each, eat half and take the rest home, we then split a dessert. So, as I told you, there's always a way.
  • suzij27
    suzij27 Posts: 199 Member
    For me, I am finding it better to go to restaurants rarely. Covid changed the habit of going out a few times per week to less than once a month. It has helped me be consistent in my weight loss journey. I meet friends to walk or we do brown bag lunches/dinners, sit outside at a social distance

    I think with practice you will get better at ordering. As others have said, consult the menu in advance, find what fits your calories, and commit to yourself that is what you will order. Impulse decisions are more mood driven or based on what others are ordering.

    For me, weight loss is a commitment. Initially it required willpower to break the habits. Ultimately you have to decide what you want more - impulsivity/loose rules or guidelines that help the scale go down.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    gisem17 wrote: »
    The first I notice about restaurants is that they put a lot of salt in their food. Excess salt causes water retention and water retention causes a jump on the scale. I usually gain 2 lbs or more in water after eating out. It eventually flushes out, but it's still discouraging.
    I preload my meals into MFP so I know how much (in calories) my meal is going to cost me. That is especially important when I eat out. Some of my favorite meals are more than my daily caloric budget. If I know going in what I'm going to order, it helps me stay on track.

    Yes, Sushi Night is 2 lbs more even if I've eaten clean all day. And Roger with the salt and the oil and all the rest.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    The food you can control, you may just not want to. The concern is the alcohol. If you feel compelled to drink and you cannot get it under control yourself you may need help.

    If you can control both then it is up to you to stop listening to your own lies and stop allowing your inner child to call the shots. This was what I had to do. I believe in letting my inner 6yo have the treat but only, now, on my more mature terms. At least most of the time... I do slip up because old habits run deep but when it happens now I no longer believe the lies about it. I take responsibility and move forward.

    It is exceedingly rare for me to go to a restaurant and only order a salad. I make whatever I eat fit in my calories most of the time though. I do know the scale will temporarily go up because of the sodium. If you don't know this yet read this:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations/

    I really have more psychological pressure on the food than on the alcohol. Basically I have the all or nothing mentality in the restaurant because it's like "I need to get the most of this experience" so I basically have to have all the experiences ( starters, mains, desserts, beer, wine, bread ). In my house I can control myself more.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    88olds wrote: »
    I lost weight and have been maintaining for years eating lots of meals in restaurants. Haven’t been in a restaurant now since March and I really miss it.

    When up against the kind of thing in your situation I’d ask myself this- do I want to cross restaurants off my list, or work to find a solution? Sometimes it’s just easier to avoid certain things.

    In the big picture I think what we are doing is trying to learn to live within some reasonable limits. What is it about restaurants that causes you to reject limits?

    Start with responsibility. Go back to your post where you say I “I can’t go and just order a salad” and change it to “I won’t go and just order a salad.” Now you’re in control, not a victim of some sort of mysterious force.

    Why won’t you order a salad? Chips or bread basket? Those are specific problems. Can you keep them off the table? If with the family, keep them out of reach. As a last resort, try some willpower. Speaking of willpower how about skipping the alcohol? It’s not so much the calories from alcohol, it’s that it weakens resolve.

    And just a random thought- when I was growing up eating out was reserved for special occasions. Special occasions were a time to operate outside of normal limits. Now, thanks to advertising, there’s this idea that every day is supposed to be special. Good day, bad day, Friday...all special. Default to a grilled chicken Caesar, dressing on the side, no croutons.

    Thanks for writing, yes I can prevent ordering grains, carbs and alcohol. But my brain is like saying, come on you are here, enjoy the full experience. And if I order like the salad and the protein my brain says kind you are no getting most for your money, you are not enjoying or ordering what you want and you are paying for it and it makes me feel dumb.

    Obviously then comes the remorse and another day lost from a weight control perspective and trust in myself.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    Diatonic12 wrote: »
    There's only choices and consequences. We can control the factors.

    There are non-modifiable risk factors we can't change but lifestyle factors can be changed. It starts with one step so make it small. That old All or Nothing Approach to food narrative runs on a loop through the brain. The brain is the biggest factor of all. It's a food bully. It doesn't want change. It's a brat. It throws fits when it doesn't get its way.

    We can learn to moderate ourselves with food. You're going to have to ride this out one meal at a time. Start tracking your data points. One a one day at a time basis you can make changes. It needs to be more close to the heart. Dig deep. Find the deeper reasons for doing this or none of it will ever stick.

    Those reasons are personal and they come from your innermost being. They give you momentum. They keep you going and going and going. Find yours.


    I'm generally all or nothing in everything but in food I don't sustain it. It's deeply rooted as a reward mechanism for successes, for battling stress and for socializing.

    Very good advice you give on the one meal at a time.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    Personally I know I can drink (alcohol) at home for less $, and I'm wary of buying drinks at restaurants because I'm picky and would hate to spend the $ and then NOT like the drink. If its easier for you to budget having a drink or two at home occasionally, focus on the $ saved by NOT drinking at restaurants.

    If you know you want to have a certain meal + desert, then plan for it. Don't tell yourself "I'll go and have a salad and NOTHING else' if that is not realistic. Instead, plan for the extra calories that day. Have a small breakfast & lunch. Get in an extra walk to help earn more calories. Maybe even eat under goal by 100-200 calories for the 2-3 days leading up to the day out.


    I do it outside as a socialization, sharing routine. Very good advice on the planning. Not a great planner so will have to get better at it.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    You know, I would just stop analyzing, and excusing and just suck it up and do it. There're always going to be hurtles in the way. If you don't want to jump over them and keep going it's a choice. Those of us that have been on here for years have seen a lot of excuses. They don't help you reach your goals. You can figure this out and hope you will. Good luck. You've got a decision to make.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Another idea for restaurants that I use is to order what I like, eat half, and take the other half home for the next day. I'm getting older--almost 66 and can't eat a huge amount of food without suffering later. This is what I and my husband do often. We order water and a pizza each, eat half and take the rest home, we then split a dessert. So, as I told you, there's always a way.

    Good tip, in my country it's not so normal the To GO box but now more and more so I'll try this.
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    suzij27 wrote: »
    For me, I am finding it better to go to restaurants rarely. Covid changed the habit of going out a few times per week to less than once a month. It has helped me be consistent in my weight loss journey. I meet friends to walk or we do brown bag lunches/dinners, sit outside at a social distance

    I think with practice you will get better at ordering. As others have said, consult the menu in advance, find what fits your calories, and commit to yourself that is what you will order. Impulse decisions are more mood driven or based on what others are ordering.

    For me, weight loss is a commitment. Initially it required willpower to break the habits. Ultimately you have to decide what you want more - impulsivity/loose rules or guidelines that help the scale go down.


    I agree, Covid helped me with that. I couldn't do plans with people which are almost always eating out so I ate home and at home I control myself.
  • NovusDies
    NovusDies Posts: 8,940 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    The food you can control, you may just not want to. The concern is the alcohol. If you feel compelled to drink and you cannot get it under control yourself you may need help.

    If you can control both then it is up to you to stop listening to your own lies and stop allowing your inner child to call the shots. This was what I had to do. I believe in letting my inner 6yo have the treat but only, now, on my more mature terms. At least most of the time... I do slip up because old habits run deep but when it happens now I no longer believe the lies about it. I take responsibility and move forward.

    It is exceedingly rare for me to go to a restaurant and only order a salad. I make whatever I eat fit in my calories most of the time though. I do know the scale will temporarily go up because of the sodium. If you don't know this yet read this:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations/

    I really have more psychological pressure on the food than on the alcohol. Basically I have the all or nothing mentality in the restaurant because it's like "I need to get the most of this experience" so I basically have to have all the experiences ( starters, mains, desserts, beer, wine, bread ). In my house I can control myself more.

    What makes having every course and alcohol defined as getting the most of out of the experience?
  • Lastchancetochange
    Lastchancetochange Posts: 146 Member
    NovusDies wrote: »
    NovusDies wrote: »
    The food you can control, you may just not want to. The concern is the alcohol. If you feel compelled to drink and you cannot get it under control yourself you may need help.

    If you can control both then it is up to you to stop listening to your own lies and stop allowing your inner child to call the shots. This was what I had to do. I believe in letting my inner 6yo have the treat but only, now, on my more mature terms. At least most of the time... I do slip up because old habits run deep but when it happens now I no longer believe the lies about it. I take responsibility and move forward.

    It is exceedingly rare for me to go to a restaurant and only order a salad. I make whatever I eat fit in my calories most of the time though. I do know the scale will temporarily go up because of the sodium. If you don't know this yet read this:

    https://physiqonomics.com/the-weird-and-highly-annoying-world-of-scale-weight-and-fluctuations/

    I really have more psychological pressure on the food than on the alcohol. Basically I have the all or nothing mentality in the restaurant because it's like "I need to get the most of this experience" so I basically have to have all the experiences ( starters, mains, desserts, beer, wine, bread ). In my house I can control myself more.

    What makes having every course and alcohol defined as getting the most of out of the experience?

    And that is exactly the same question that popped in my head when i wrote it. I don't really have an answer to that.
  • snowflake954
    snowflake954 Posts: 7,513 Member
    You know, I would just stop analyzing, and excusing and just suck it up and do it. There're always going to be hurtles in the way. If you don't want to jump over them and keep going it's a choice. Those of us that have been on here for years have seen a lot of excuses. They don't help you reach your goals. You can figure this out and hope you will. Good luck. You've got a decision to make.

    Thanks for the advice!

    Another idea for restaurants that I use is to order what I like, eat half, and take the other half home for the next day. I'm getting older--almost 66 and can't eat a huge amount of food without suffering later. This is what I and my husband do often. We order water and a pizza each, eat half and take the rest home, we then split a dessert. So, as I told you, there's always a way.

    Good tip, in my country it's not so normal the To GO box but now more and more so I'll try this.

    It's not normal in Italy either, but I and my husband go where it is available on purpose. It solves a lot of problems, because you can order what you like. It does take a bit of discipline to stop and say--this comes home. You have to firmly make up your mind before entering the restaurant, and order things that you can take home. With COVID many restaurants offered takeout to survive and have the containers ready.