This is something that has changed for me during my weight loss journey. At some point during my weight loss journey (probably about 2/3 years in) I recognised that I just could not afford to eat out every week….
I used to plan every trip out of the house to include some food, ie, trip to town = lunch in a pub, trip to the garden centre = cake and coffee. Now, my trips out of the house are planned around my food – so I make sure that I am back home for a lunch that I have already planned or made (soup, salad, etc) OR I will take a packed lunch with me if I know that I’m going to be out over my lunchtime.
So for example this week, I have a meeting that starts at 11.30am and goes on until 1pm. As I don’t eat breakfast, it’s crucial that I eat my lunch between 12 noon and 1pm or I start to feel really hungry. I will therefore make up a bowl of salad and take it with me in a cool bag with cutlery and a serviette plus a flask of water. If people are going to arrange meetings over the lunchtime period, then they just have to put up with my munching a salad whilst we talk! Usually other meeting attendees are very complimentary about my healthy bowl of food and I’ve never been told not to eat it (I always make sure I warn people that I’m going to eat my lunch at some point!)
We rarely eat out now – usually just special occasions. In itself, that is quite nice as it makes it a bit more of a treat. I recognise that isn’t a popular choice for many, but as I am short, sedentary and don’t have a lot of weight to lose, I sadly have no choice.
With previous weight loss attempts, before my mind set had changed, I would often look at the menu – see what choice I “should” make (in terms of fewer calories), and then at the point that the menu choices were being taken I would still end up selecting the thing I “really” wanted )often quite calorific)! I would feel I was missing out if everyone was having a dessert, so I’d inevitably cave in and have one too.
My mindset has changed, as well as my palette. I’m not bothered by many of my previous “favourite” menu choices – for example, fish and chips, or a curry with rice and a naan – I simply cannot physically eat that amount of food and I don’t like to pay for food and waste it. I’d rather have new potatoes to fries.
I LOVE vegetables and therefore I will look for restaurants that serve plenty of fresh vegetables with their dishes.
As portion sizes in many restaurants if often too much for me, I’ll sometimes select 2 x starters…. or I’ll choose a side salad and another side dish and have those with a starter as my main course.
I only have dessert if I see something on the menu I “really” want; again, many of the choices I’ll just find too sickly or stodgy. I’d enjoy a pavlova or a creme brûlée – but won’t fancy cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding… I’ll often just have a mouthful of the husband’s dessert (if he can be persuaded to part with it) and a nice coffee.
I purposefully select restaurants which serve higher quality (nicer) food in smaller quantities.
At the end of the day, it is all about my choice. What do I want more – that meal out, that dessert – or to lose weight?
It does help that I love cooking and I really enjoy the food that I prepare. I am often disappointed by a meal cooked by a restaurant – finding it too salty, too greasy or too bland.
I know I make it all sound so simple… but believe me, these changes didn’t happen until well into my weight loss journey. My new “normal” just became my normal “normal”!