Losing Weight Doesn't Have to Mean Living in a Bubble

Eye Roll 5

empty plate with forkLosing weight may be one of the hardest health challenges some women will ever face. It doesn't help that there are a million theories and strategies, diets, "do"s and "don't"s associated with the process. But one of the theories that far too many seem to subscribe to is that to pare pounds successfully, you basically have to live in a bubble. In other words, it's impossible to get healthier and see results on the scale unless you're eating some kind of pre-packaged, pre-portioned "diet food" from a frozen package, in your house, with the door locked and cell phone on silent (lest someone call and tempt you with an invite out into The Real World). Forget dining out at restaurants -- where there's booze, dessert, BREAD BASKETS, AHHH! -- while trying to slim down! That's crazy talk!

Or is it? Thankfully, researchers are confirming a tasty little secret: Yes, we can totally lose weight while eating out.

As much as I love to cook, I also adore eating out, trying new restaurants, perusing Yelp! for the latest and greatest place to grab anything from a quick nosh to a fancy dinner in our neck of the woods ... or anywhere my fiance and I happen to be visiting. Mexican is my fave. Greek a close second. And oh, yeah, you can't get away with living in North Jersey and not eating out at an Italian joint at least once every 2-3 weeks. Yet ... I've somehow managed to lose weight several times while still doin' the restaurant hopping thing. Go figure!

My theory -- based on some of the smartest lessons learned from Weight Watchers -- is that you can and should indulge from time to time. You can also enjoy foods you love -- in moderation -- and then hop back on the health bandwagon the next day. One meal on a Saturday night is never what makes or breaks the scale in the long-haul. Consistently poor choices are what'll cost you.

And that seems to be what the researchers -- who looked at women in their 50s and 60s -- seemed to find. In the study, women who were trying to lose weight definitely ate out less than average Americans, but not that much less (two to three times a week versus four to five). The difference was that women who were successful at weight loss brought their healthier eating habits to the restaurant table. I would guess like having bread but skipping butter. Polishing off maybe just half a huge entree and taking the rest home. Sticking to one glass of booze or skipping it altogether. But the biggest tip researchers had? Bulking up on fruits and veggies. Hello, no-brainer!

In the end, self-deprivation is never the way to go. Smart indulgence on the other hand? Totally doable.

Do you believe it's possible to dine out while losing weight?

Image via Jules Morgan/Flickr

weight loss, eating out


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Kaymad41 Kaymad41

Before I go out to eat I always look up the menu of the place we're eating. If possible, I find the nutritional content and make my choice before I even leave the house. Even if I've chosen a (supposed) low calorie option, I don't eat the entire meal. I lost 20 pounds last year and we ate out plenty of times.

Belkys87 Belkys87

Kaymad41 am with you

For me it worked like this

- ALWAYS have breakfast , obviously healthy one

-drink lots of water

-never skip a meal

And when it comes to eating there is always a healthier version of what you like

I also created a twiter acct and followed eatthisnotthat , etc to help keep me motivated , also try new recipes etc etc

.LoVe... .LoVeMyBuG.

I have lost weight eating nothing but Panda Express and Ben & Jerry's before. No joke. Obviously that was not the healthiest way about it, but I wanted to eat what I wanted and I also wanted to lose weight. So I counted calories. 12-1600 calories a day, I didn't always eat crap food like Ben & Jerry's but I did eat it twice a week for a while and ate out constantly! I just didn't go over my calorie intake. On the crap food days it looked something like this: Breakfast: Eggo waffle (90 cal) Lunch: Panda Express panda bowl w/ orange chicken & chowmein (900ish calories) Dinner: Ben & Jerry's 1/2 carton of ice cream (600 cal) total calories: 1,590. I obviously don't recommend this diet or anything I am just saying you CAN lose weight eating anything as long as you watch your calorie intake, you don't need to stick with eating healthy choice pre-packaged meals or "special" diet plans to lose weight. Again though, it is obviously better if you make healthy food choices and watch calories, which I do currently to maintain my 60lb weight loss. Just saying you can still lose weight eating the "crap food diet" although it does leave you much hungrier than eating fruits and veggies and lower calorie options. Hope this helps someone, it helped me to know that weight loss really doesn't have to be that complicated, it really is as simple as figuring out how many calories you need and sticking with it. I hear exercise helps too lol, I am working on that part ;) 

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

You just need to know your healthy options. I have healthy options for every chain we visit plus a bunch of generic healthy options for independent places. Salad is a no brainer, just avoid the fatty dressings and too many fatty extras like taco bowls. Many Italian places let you choose veggies instead of pasta now, I've been known to have a bowl of steamed broccoli topped with pomodoro sauce with veggies and beans for dinner. Don't discount the small plates option. Bertuccis for example has some tasty little plates now so I sometimes get a couple of those or one with some minestrone soup. I don't have exact numbers but I figure their Tuscan roasted veggies must be pretty healthy because it's just a dish of veggies and there isn't much oil on them.

sally... sallyjohnson48

It is hard to be healthy 100% of the time. Once nice gift I like to get people is healthy food gift baskets. It is a nice treat, but is healthy. I would love to find <a href="http://giftbasketreview.com">gift basket coupons</a> to help my pocketbook a little.

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