1. Eating Out Challenges

The American lifestyle is fast and it’s changing constantly. We have crazier schedules than ever before. Family meals at home are nearly extinct. No longer do dads come home by 6:00 P.M. to their family and a hot meal waiting at the table. No longer do moms stay home slaving over the stove. For that matter, the kids aren’t home anyway because of their various after-school activities. Breakfast today is often quick, easy, and grabbed on the way out the door. Lunches are typically packed or picked up at work, school, or at the diner. And dinner? Well, that’s up for grabs in most families, depending on the day of the week. Weekends do offer a little extra time for many families to be together at mealtime.

2. You Can Eat Out and Lose Weight

The trend to eat out is not going to stop. Although we should all try to eat at home more often, I’d be a hypocrite

if I told you to stop eating out altogether. Admittedly, reviewing a restaurant menu comes with challenges when trying to lose weight. However, what I love about my program is that you can eat out and lose weight.


The frequency of eating out has risen by more than 66 percent in the last two decades. Current estimates are that Americans eat more than a quarter of total meals out of the house.

Monitor the Times You Eat Out

It is difficult to keep track of extra calories and large portions when you eat out. Let’s face it—you don’t have total control over what goes into restaurant food. Try to monitor the times you eat out. This is particularly important if you are trying to lose weight. Rather than inadvertently running into a restaurant at the last minute with starvation pangs, plan for those times each week when you want to eat out. On the flip side, plan meals that you can prepare for yourself. For example, during the week you can plan to pack yourself one or two breakfasts or lunches instead of eating out every day. This can help you manage your food intake better.


  YOUR Life

For most people, eating out occasionally will not cause a problem with a healthy lifestyle. It all depends on what is ordered and what is eaten.

Select Restaurants That Offer Choices

There are so many restaurants available to you. Choose with care. If someone else selects the restaurant, order extra carefully. In any case, try to frequent restaurants that offer a wide variety of foods and preparation methods. And, by all means, do not be afraid to speak up! Ask servers how the food is cooked. If it is not to your liking, talk to the chef about making a special request. I get so specific when I order that I often get lovingly teased.

Remember, you are a paying customer. Most chefs are happy to please you. If not, don’t frequent those restaurants. It’s smart to care about what types of foods go into your body and how they are prepared.

Make Healthy Menu Selections

Look for menu items that are low in fat. Stay away from fried, batter-dipped, and creamy foods. You can often substitute fresh fruits and vegetables for French fries, hash browns, or potato chips. I order my veggies steamed with no butter. They are less soppy that way and taste better. Order your salad with the dressing on the side. If you have turkey or roast beef, the gravy should also be on the side. This way you can control how much is poured on top. Avoid extra butter or margarine. It adds up quickly.

Cyndi’s Secrets

If the salad dressing you ordered on the side comes in a gravy bowl, don’t eat the whole serving. One level tablespoon or less is plenty.

Baked potatoes are very nutritious. However, order them plain instead of stuffed with butter and sour cream. Watch the bread basket, too. Does it make sense to eat a loaf of sourdough bread slathered with butter before you gobble up your sandwich? This can double or triple the amount of bread you consume.

Watch Your Portions

A big part of the success of this program is portions. I should say “a small part,” because it is small portions that can help you lose and maintain your weight. Some meals are actually four to six times the recommended serving size. Many people like to be served big portions in restaurants because they feel they get what they pay for. However, when your waist size gets bigger it’s an even bigger price to pay. When you are eating out and that huge, delicious fish or chicken dish is sitting in front of you, the temptation is staring you in the face. Stop for a second and tell yourself that you do not have to finish it. Take some home for another meal. Make a split down the middle of your meal before you even start eating. If it helps, you can even put half away in a doggie bag before you start to eat. Out of sight, out of mind. You can even share your meal with someone else. This is really romantic on a date. Many guys I have dated have thanked me for the weight they lost just because I encouraged sharing.


Watch out for the latest trap in advertising. It’s called “The Fourth Meal.” You don’t need a complete extra entrée at the end of the night that’s processed and loaded with fat. Stay away from fast food at midnight, and no, that chocolate cake in the fridge is not calling your name!

Try Desserts Occasionally

I love desserts! That is one of my weaknesses and may be yours too. If so, do what I do and opt for a healthier choice. Try fresh fruit, sherbet, or angel food cake topped with fresh strawberries. These satisfy the sweet tooth and taste great too! Of course a “little” portion of dessert is okay as long as it’s part of your “discretionary calories.”

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