Making Reservations with Some Reservations

I try to avoid eating out while dieting.  The food is too tempting and if I manage to stick to the plan while at a restaurant, I often feel deprived and that I am wasting money.  But sometimes it just can’t be avoided.

My husband and I go out to eat with another couple about once a month.  We have been doing this for several years and love choosing new restaurants.  All four of us eat a lot at these meals!  Our favorite is an evening of shared tapas; we order plate after plate until we are past stuffed – and then we get dessert.  It’s fun – the food, the company, the whole experience.  But it’s certainly not diet-friendly.

During my last stint on South Beach I managed to make it through more than one restaurant meal staying on program.  This can be uncomfortable since it is very obvious that I am moderating my eating.  No bread, no dessert – what’s gotten into her!  As I lost more weight and felt more in control with my eating, I allowed myself to cheat for the one meal out, then I’d immediately get back on track and quickly take off the overnight weight gain.  Off course then I started my long slippery slide of weight regain and cravings which led me back to overeating at restaurants.  More fun in the moment, less fun come the morning of regret.

Our next dinner out with friends is less than a week away.  I have already decided what I will eat that night.  I chose the restaurant after carefully looking at the menu to ensure there was more than one palatable option that would fit within my diet.  And I chose a restaurant that did NOT have too many menu items that looked purely irresistible to me.  No chocolate mousse for dessert.  And no shared tapas!  I have already warned the female half of the couple that I am dieting again; she is understanding despite never having weight problems herself.  I will enjoy my meal and the company, push the bread basket far across the table, and sit with a smile while everyone else has dessert.  Not even an extra fork for me.



Filed under dieting, food, low-carb/South Beach, restaurant/social eating

12 responses to “Making Reservations with Some Reservations

  1. stellachiara

    I would not give up the meals. It sounds like you enjoy them very much.

    Imagine sitting at home while they are out, doing what you would really like to do, too. I know what I`d be likely to do – binge.

    Instead, you could see them as your monthly treat and reward for doing well for the rest of the month. THis does not mean having tapas and chocolate mousse and everything else you fancy.

    But let`s be honest – we need to learn how to deal with eating out anyway, if we want to do this for good. We cannot always avoid it, so we may as well start learning how to do it responsibly now!

    Chosing the restaurants carefully and deciding in advance what you`d like sounds a good plan, and that`s what I do (when I can). Otherwise, I have a few rules, such as no bread, no potatoes and only one glass wine. I usually have fish and veg for a main, and if I really want a pudding, I chose ice cream. (I`m low carbing at night).

    What I also enjoy as a dessert is coffee with Bailey`s. Tastes heavenly, for about 100 kcal. Much better than watching!

    Good luck!

  2. waistingtime

    You are right! Thank you for the advice. Interestingly I can remember the exact meals I ate while at my dieting best last year but those while eating with abandon are all a blur. Pistachio encrusted tilapia (very yummy) and salmon with double the veggies skip the starch.

  3. Sunny

    You know, I totally disagree with Stella. I’ve been on South Beach since April. I have lost 70 pounds, and I’m 58, so that’s really a lot in that short a period of time. I have NOT stopped going to restaurants at all during this new journey. In fact, I still enjoy every Friday lunch bunch with my gal co-workers. And I stay faithful to South Beach and my goals in the process. Wanna know how I do it? I challenge myself to research (feeds my inner geek) the potential places we might go, and pick out or CREATE the best food choices possible that meet my tastes and stay true to South Beach Phase II goals. The satisfaction of SUCCEEDING far, far outweighs any momentary “gee, that would be great to eat” moments. At most restaurants, you don’t need the bun with the hamburger or chicken sandwiches! Get everything else they are loaded with, and enjoy them bunless. Don’t get the french fries. I get onion rings instead, and eat 2-3 of them, then de-bread the rest and enjoy them that way. I get dressing for salads on the side, and use the ‘dip the fork tines’ in the dressing, then in the salad, to minimize the damage. If it’s a Mexican restaurant, I either abstain from the chip and dip/sauce altogether, or allow myself 3, count them 3, chips.

    Dessert? 2 tablespoons total. That’s enough to get the taste/flavor and participate, but not blow your diet, have regrets. It’s not a waste of money; you are still enjoying it, you would’ve paid all that money to pig out, so why not pay it to eat responsibly and more healthfully?

    One meal of overeating generally makes you pay 2 days to 1 full week to recuperate. it’s SO not worth it!

    This is how you eat and live responsibly. It’s a committment to yourself, your goals, and your loved ones to take care of your body. You owe it to yourself to learn to live responsibly. You’ll discover NEW joys: feeling good about yourself, looking good, and a total lack of regret! 😀

  4. Sunny

    oops-I didn’t read Stella’s post all the way through. I read just the first couple of paragraphs. My bad. LOL 😉

  5. laurajean64

    Today will be my first outing since the New Year. I’m taking the kids to a mexican place that has cheese dip, one of our favorites. I’ve asked that they not let me eat more than three chips with cheese (gotta live a little!) I’ll order grilled chicken and vegetables and drink water, not margaritas.
    Planning ahead of time will hopefully payoff for me, and I hope it does for you too. We can do this!! Yes we can!!!

  6. waistingtime

    Laura – good luck. Let us know how it goes – here or on your blog.

    Sunny – left my reply on your blog. Thanks, as always, for your insight. You have been very successful at this and your shared wisdom is a great help.

  7. Sounds like a great idea- I can’t give up my restaurants totally either- but I do my best to make great choices!

    Btw love your blog! I feel the same way you do- I don’t tell anyone I know about my blog- hubby knows- but I asked him to not read it lol. I don’t know if he does but I’d rather PRETEND he doesn’t 😉

  8. waistingtime

    Thanks Beerab. And I can’t make any comments about my hubby because now I know he might be reading this!

  9. I find it hard to eat out as I’m not into salads. So I end up having stuff that has lots of calories 😦

    Keep the bread basket away from me!!!


  10. I’m not a beacher, more of a primal wannabe. (Trying to undo 12,000 years of human evolution, I guess…)

    At any rate, I don’t eat bread, either. The first couple of times I ate out with our friends, they (politely) passed the bread basket to me. I think they may have even commented, “no?” when I passed it along. But that was the end of the conversation.

    Now, though, they are almost “trained” to keep the bread basket on their side of the table. I didn’t have to tell them about my lifestyle choices, or get into a conversation about nutrition. They just kind of … adapted. They’re friends, after all.

    My point is that I think dieters get more worked up about the potential awkwardness of refusing a food (or alcohol) at social functions than they need to be. If you don’t make it a big deal, it won’t be a big deal. If it is, then you probably need new friends.

    Now, refusing food around your mother, or mother-in-law, is a whole different kettle o’ fish. But, this comment is long enough as it is.

  11. waistingtime

    I think you are probably right. What makes it harder for me is that this couple has been through me dieting to goal, then eating everything again at meals. My own fault. I am going to do what I need to do this time and forever! Thanks for the pep talk.

  12. Daphne

    We go out to eat twice every week. We just love it. When we go, we employ two strategies to keep our calories down (we don’t do South Beach so carbs aren’t an issue for us). The first is to split a meal. We order one dish and an extra plate and split it up. No appetizers, no desserts. It is hard to eat too much that way. The other is to bring our own containers. Before we take a bite we put half of the dish in the container for another meal at home. Of course this strategy doesn’t work for tapas (or Dim Sum which our family loves), but it does work for a regular restaurant meal.

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