Taking All the Fun Out of Dining Out

I dine out – a lot.  I don’t always make it a giant extravaganza, it may just be apps and a drink with friends, a sushi roll, a sandwich.  But, being the foodie I am, more often than not, I want to try a LOT of things and last night was no exception.

I watch what I eat every day – track my calories, my grams of fat, protein and carbs and I stay within the limits as directed by Eat to Perform.  I am usually a little low on my fat, a little high on my carbs or protein but very rarely by a lot.  I drink a lot . . .OK, I’m not alcoholic but I like a drink with my meal or to unwind at the end of a long day.  I have cut back to 4 or 5 nights a week and when I do, usually have just 1.  Sweets are my enemy #1 and if I were doing anything to sabotage my efforts, I would guess I still eat too much sugar.  I still stay within my carbs for the day when I have a little piece of cake, a couple of pieces of dark chocolate or that half a donut but I WILL eat it.

So, last night, I go out with a very good friend of mine, who hasn’t been out in a while and I want to really treat her (i.e. US).  I want to breakdown what I ate for you to show you how quickly it all can add up, even when you are really trying to be careful:

Appetizers:  I ordered the caprese salad, which is one of my favorite dishes. I could eat one every day.  I track all of my calories through fitbit.com and a middle of the road caprese salad is 320 calories and I ate half of it so starting with 160 calories.

Next, my dining companion got the always delicious spinach and artichoke dip, which I think we all can agree, ain’t the best for you and can be even worse depending on the ratio of cheese to veggies. . .and this one was very cheese heavy.  I only had 1 small piece of French bread (104 calories) with the dip on top, which I estimated at 197 calories and 17 grams of fat for a total of 300 calories for just one serving and this dish came with 8 pieces of bread and a giant bowl of dip.

Drink:  To wash all of this down and to relax with my friend at the end of a VERY long work day, I ordered a plain, vodka martini with 3 small blue cheese stuffed olives – a total of 150 calories.

Entrée:  I ordered the chicken marsala, to get my protein in and instead of pasta, got a side of red potatoes instead, which I would like to note – did NOT eat.  A giant platter of 2 large chicken breasts comes out with tons of sauce and the potatoes under it and I only have half of one chicken breast.  Looking up chicken marsala, I choose a 5 ounce serving, which may be a little high but I always err on the side of caution, for a total of 180 calories.

Dessert:  I adore the gelato from this restaurant so I asked them to bring me just one small scoop of their vanilla salted caramel gelato.  Only half a cup of this delicious stuff is 170 calories and I left a little in the bowl so giving myself a break and shaved a little off that to come up with 136 calories for my serving.

Anyone add all that up yet?  A salad with mozzerela, tomatoes and basil, one piece of bread with spinach and artichoke dip, a martini, half a chicken breast and a tiny little cup of gelato?  998 calories!!!  Almost 1,000 calories in one meal when I only get 1,800 calories in a day.

I was shocked when I got home and finally added it all up.  I knew it was a lot of items but I thought I had done really good on my portions.  How did I come in for the day on my food goals?  Only about 200 calories over, which was made up mostly of extra fat and carbs.

*sigh*  So, not a good day but you know what?  When you are SO careful every other day, you feel like you should be able to splurge a little like that every once in a while.  I think that’s the biggest problems with diets, eating plans, etc – the deprivation makes you feel like you are owed something you avoid because let’s face it, it just isn’t that good for you.

This guy who came up with Eat to Perform admits he almost exclusively eats meat and veggies.  Hmmmm, is that really a good diet for someone to have SO little variety?  Yet, I can’t help but keep wondering why this plan has been SO unsuccessful for me.  Am my workouts not intense enough?  Are my cheat days like this one I’ve described, too frequent?  Or is my body just changing and making it tougher to get and keep weight off than it did before? I hate using that last one as an excuse – I’m a women, my hormones are crazy, I’m short, I’m 42. . .SO WHAT!  That doesn’t mean I can’t keep at it, keep trying to stay as fit as possible, keep up my workouts and just do the best I can to put good things in my body.  I may not be a meat and veggie eating machine, I may have this extra 5 pounds on my gut and ass that flat out REFUSES to budge but I do feel like I am doing the best I can and still have the life I want to live.

What about you???

EDIT:  Ha ha – if you actually did the math above on my dinner, it doesn’t equal 1,000 calories because I forgot one item.  I also got soup with my meal and picked Italian Wedding Soup, which isn’t particular high calorie or fat but it was a giant bowl!  I only ate half of it, which added an additional 85 calories to my meal.  THERE, I think that about does it.

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