Weight Loss Reality Check: Before You Eat Out Again...

What Restaurants Hope You Don't Do Before Your Next Meal

I am working with a couple on my 30-Day Boot Camp program (view the program at www.keepyourbetterhalf.com), which means we kick their butt twice a day and carefully manage every morsel that goes into their body.  Last week my client couple wanted to go out on a date night.  With two youngs kids at home, a short time at the corner sit-down restaurant chain (Applebees, TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesdays, Houlihans, etc.) was the best that could be arranged for the night.

Before sending them off to the restaurant, we went online to check out the nutritional data from their menu...

Chicken Caesar Salad: 1020 calories, 98g fat, 786mg sodium

Lettuce Wraps: 586 calories, 71g carbs, 1865mg sodium

Prime 5 oz Sirloin Steak (with green beans and baked potato): 1054 calories,  53g fat, 93g carbs, 2516mg sodium

And so it went for everything on the menu.  Lots of calories, too much fat, terrible amounts of sodium.  If one person ordered an appetizer and entree or entree and dessert, it would be easy to clear 2000 calories...and all after 7pm.  Yikes!

Here are the weight loss reality checks that restaurants are hoping you don't make before dine with them.

Weight Loss Reality Check #1: Check the Nutritional Data for Your Intended Meal Beforehand

Don't be a casualty of the calorie.  Many restaurant foods will kill you in at least one category (calories, fat, carbs, sodium, cholesterol), if not more!  Go online and find the nutritional information for the restaurant's menu.  Deciding what to eat and how much of it is easy when you are looking at their awful nutritional data!

Weight Loss Reality Check #2: Budget Calorie Consumption by the Clock

In America, we tend to eat the most calories when our body is least equipped to handle them: dinner! Talk about a recipe for a weight gain!  If you want to give your body a fighting chance to handle your out-to-eat calories, be sure to eat lighter the later you eat.  If your out-to-eat meal is a 12pm lunch, you can go a little heavier than if your out-to-eat meal is an 8pm dinner.  In America, we would all be better off if we swapped lunch and dinner.  It is crucial to eat lighter at a restaurant, and very light if it's late.

Weight Loss Reality Check #3: Be Wary of Sodium the Day Before and Day After Eating Out

Most restaurants douse their foods in sodium.   They are shameless in their use of sodium.  With this in mind, prep your body the day before eating out by having a super low sodium day.  Also, give your body a light sodium day the day after eating out to allow it to recover!  In the US the RDA for sodium is 2400mg per day (which is a ton compared to the UK's 1600mg).  If you are interesting in keeping off of blood pressure medication, pay attention to sodium!

Wrapping It Up

Getting fit and losing weight are tough things to do on a restaurant diet, and almost impossible to do on an unorganized restaurant diet.  To increase your odds of fat loss and weight loss, check restaurant information online before you order, budget your caloric intake based on the clock, and go easy on the sodium before and after a restaurant visit.

Adam Erwin is a personal trainer (with a nutrition background) who travels the world working with people who want to experience fat loss and weight loss in record-time. He currently resides in Minneapolis, MN and loves to train with people whose health does not match their lifestyle. Adam works closely in the Eden Prairie, Wayzata, Excelsior, Minnetonka, and Edina communities.  Visit www.keepyourbetterhalf.com to learn more about his work.