Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Dining Out on a Diet

This week on the podcast, we are talking about dining out on a diet. As a person that lives alone (for now), I hate cooking for myself. I can’t just cook for one person, so I end up making a massive recipe for something and I eat it for five days straight or until I get tired of it. I eat out or order Uber Eats a lot. I got into the habit when I moved out to the Dallas area and began working downtown within reach of many different restaurants.
When I first had bariatric surgery and slipped into a low-carb diet back in 2019, I found there were limited options for eating out. Of course, I can give many reasons why you shouldn’t eat out when you are on a special diet, but life circumstances have taught me over the years that you sometimes cannot avoid eating out, especially when you travel a lot or commute for work.  In a previous blog, I wrote about my method for choosing travel snacks on a special diet that I prepared on my vacation last summer, and I will touch on that later on in this blog.

Here are my tips for dining out:

Know your diet.
  • This is important when you are trying a new diet. I keep it pretty simple and go for only meat, veggies, and a bit of cheese when it comes to my diet. In my coffee, I like unsweetened almond milk and maybe a little packet of sugar-free sweetener, but often I leave it out.

Have a go-to list of places you can eat.
  • I mentioned in my previous blog that I made a list of restaurants that I could go to on vacation when Jason and I went on our road trip. I also have a go-to list of restaurants I can eat at around my work, and a list of restaurants I can order takeout when I am at home. These lists save me time when I need something quick.  A few years ago, I commuted an hour to work and another hour and a half to two hours home again every day. I would often get home late and be too tired to cook. I had to keep a go-to list of restaurants that I could order from or eat on the way if I didn’t have ready meals at home. Usually, I stopped by the grocery store by my house (pre-covid it was open 24 hours) and bought a ready meal or a pre-packaged salad that I could eat for supper.

Have a go-to list of snacks that you can eat at work or on your commute.
  • A lot of times I wait too long to eat. If I do that, I begin to get/feel sick. I had to start carrying snacks in my backpack or purse along with a protein bar that I could eat when I was feeling hungry. My favorite go-to snack is trail mix or raw almonds. I will also carry a package of raw vegetables with me for a quick pick-me-up. I keep a list of gas stations that carry the type of protein drinks I drink and easy snacks I can buy if I am desperate. Before our trip, I bought snacks in advance in case I got caught in a pinch.

Don’t be afraid to go off your diet if you have to.
  • This one is BIG. Oftentimes we beat ourselves up if we go off our diet. I have been in plenty of special circumstances where I have waited too long to eat and HAD to eat something that wasn’t necessarily on my diet (or healthy for me). If you are dieting to lose weight, a one-day slip will not ruin you for life. If you have the self-control to have a “cheat day,” more power to you. If you are afraid of slipping up. Don’t forget your travel snacks!

Tomorrow is a new day.
  • When you are on a diet, a great mantra to have is “tomorrow is a new day” because it really is! If you mess up one day, you are not messed up forever. You can always start over. This, of course, can apply to anything you have going on in your life. Tomorrow is definitely a new day.

In conclusion, there is no perfect method for eating out if you are on a special diet. I can only tell you what I have learned in the past three and a half years. Do I stick to my diet all the time? No. However, I do tell myself that it isn’t the end of the world and I can always start over. That mantra has helped me keep my weight loss steady. 

I want to hear from our readers! What are your eating-out tips and tricks? Do you have any favorite restaurants that you eat at if you are on a special diet? Comment below!

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