Customize your meals the same way you’d customize a new computer or car and you’ll be able to eat more of your favorite foods without the regret.
Know the nutrition facts when you choose your ingredients. You can start with turkey instead of roast beef and cut calories in half right there. Choose an ounce of Jarlsberg lite over cheddar and save another 46 calories. Don’t be afraid to add ingredients. It’s always more fun to add, and besides, adding can be good for you. For instance you can add yummy fresh vegetables to a sandwich to bulk up on fiber and nutrients in exchange for some of the more fattening choices. Add your favorite mustard (there’s so many great one’s to choose from) to any sandwich instead of mayo and save another 90 calories and 10 grams of fat.
Some of the chain restaurants are helping dieters by allowing for this kind of customization through technology. Specialty’s Cafe and Bakery is a great example. When picking dressings for a large salad you can see (on a computer screen you order from) that most of the dressings pack a whopping 300 + calories except for the balsamic vinegarette which has only 60 calories. Onto the sandwich–you can pick your bread wisely. One would think the wheat bread would be your best choice, but no….it has 80 calories more than the ciabatta. And then you can add sprouts, cucumbers, pepperocini, and tomatoes to make your sandwich exciting without adding many calories at all AND boosting the nutritional value immensely.
My clients at Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss often say things like “it’s impossible to know what’s in the food at restaurants”. Here’s a video taken in Cabo San Lucas Mexico demonstrating how to eat a delicious tortilla soup w/out blowing your #’s–all you have to do is customize it. If you bring your smart phone or a pocket calorie counting guide with you, you’ve got what it takes to stay conscious at all times. Oh, and the skinny margharitas allow for some well needed relaxation without piling on the calories of regular sweet mixed drinks–just beware of how many, or that consciousness will be out in the ocean.
One way to achieve and maintain weight loss is to develop the skills to eat anywhere. It’s easy once you make customization a ritual.
For a refresher on thinking like a thin person while dining out when you don’t have the calorie counts in front of you, see my earlier blog, “I’ll have whatever she’s having”.
Ellen is a psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco and Redwood City, California. She specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and incorporates the use of mindfulness into the treatment of depression, anxiety, and emotional overeating. She runs a holistic weight loss program called Center for Thoughtful Weight Loss, www.thoughtfulweightloss.com. You can email Ellen at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter at @thoughtfullellen.
Copyright © 2012 Ellen N. Resnick, LCSW