Question: Dear Luise: I would like to find a way to eat out and not pork out. My food plan works really well when I am at home, but at restaurants, I just lose it. The menu is always too much for me, but staying home is worse. I know this makes me sound like a wimp, but it’s still a problem. Thanks, Dwight
Answer: Dear Dwight: You don’t sound like a wimp to me…you sound like a relative!
I have no idea what foods you can and can’t eat, so my suggestions will have to be examples of what works for me. Most diets plans now contain a section on which fast food restaurants can be visited and what can be ordered there, but that doesn’t work for me, since I need to be wheat, salt and sugar-free. Sounds simple, right? Sure! Don’t eat!
OK. I would suggest that you find a food chain in your area that you can trust to be consistent. Then, find one thing on it that you find satisfying and legal. Limit the number of times you allow yourself to “drop in”, so they don’t start asking you where your sleeping bag is, and then enjoy!
For me that turned out to be the Denny’s chain in Western Washington, USA. They have a Three-egg, Veggie-cheese Omelet to die for. I have to pass on the hash browns and toast but I can substitute cottage cheese and sliced tomatoes for the starchy stuff. Unless a person has been on a highly restricted diet that has become permanent, there is no way they can imagine how great it is to pop into an eatery and get real food.
So, look very closely at what works for you. You know what that is. Once you have solved the problem, don’t ever open another menu and look at another colored photograph…(drooling on them is childish and unsanitary!) Just bop on in and order what works. If you can’t stand to watch others pork out, take a fellow-sufferer with you or go alone. The right privacy sometimes has to be set up so you don’t fall off the wagon. It helps for me to remind myself that it’s my problem and I’m the solution.
And yes, it has often been very hard to get those near and dear to understand. I asked a very close friend to send me pictures of the Great Wall of China when she took her big trip last year and I got a lifetime supply of fortune cookies. Yikes!
Make a game out it…outsmart the system, your friends and yourself. Be well! Blessings, Luise