Friday, April 4, 2014

No Gains, No Grains - Eating Out



A group of Primal/Paleo/Grain Free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. A great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding.

This month's topic is about eating out Paleo style! Well Paleo style for me. I follow the Paleo lifestyle about 85% of the time. The other 15% is spent on things I can't give up like red wine, cream in my coffee and energy gels and sports  nutrition sportives during long runs. When I was actively losing weight, I ate very similar to Paleo. I followed a low carb, high protein, low sodium, low fat diet. This consisted of lean protein, low carb veggies and very limited fruit. The job I work at requires that I eat out a lot with clients. I probably eat out 5-6 times per week for work. And it is always client's choice. So how was I able to lose weight, and now maintain my loss while eating out so frequently? I used my voice.

When I first went low carb, I remember panicking a bit whenever I ate out with clients. I had no control over the location and whether or not there would be something I could order from the menu. I was lucky for a while, then one day I was taking a client out for a birthday lunch. She chose an old style pizza parlour to eat at. After perusing the menu, I realized that there was truly nothing on that menu I could eat. There was a tossed starter salad, tons of designer pizzas, but nothing like grilled chicken with vegetables or anything. Chicken breast was a pizza topping, and so were lots of veggies including broccoli, peppers and of course mushrooms. So I asked the waiter if the chef could make me a grilled chicken breast with a side order of sautéed mixed veggies. He went into the kitchen, came back out a few minutes later and said it wasn't a problem. That is the moment that my eating out anxiety disappeared.

After that, I became very vocal in restaurants. Sometimes I wouldn't even look at the menu and would just ask for grilled chicken breast with veggies, or with a salad. I have yet to be turned down for any special request I have made. Restaurants are more than happy to accommodate dietary restrictions. You just need to ask. If it is a sit down establishment, I can pretty much get whatever I want. Fast food becomes a bit more tricky. There are some places I know I can't eat at Tim Horton's comes to mind. But I do drink the coffee there. And I haven't eaten (or had to eat) at KFC or Taco Bell. Luckily, most of my clients prefer sit down places to fast food. Although places like McDonald's and Wendy's have salads, I tend to stay away from them if I can. Too much processed stuff. I will do Subway in a pinch because I get to pick exactly what goes into my salad. Rotisserie chicken places are the easiest for me to eat at. 


Different meals out. Buffets are my favourite because there is always a variety
of things I can eat. I sneak cheese in every once in a while and pay for it later:(

I eat at Chinese buffet a lot. I actually like the buffet option. Although high in sodium (WATER, drink lots and lots of water), there is a lot of variety to choose from. There's a salad bar, grilling station, carvery (roast), fresh fruit. I'll get vegetable dishes, and because I'm not sure how they're prepared, I always consider Chinese buffet a cheat meal. I also tend to over eat at buffets in general. That is my binging past rearing it's ugly head. Although I'm making better food choices, a binge is still a binge. And being uncomfortably full is not good.

Some other favourite restaurant meals to order if I'm feeling particularly risqué? Bunless burger with sweet potato fries (I would only get fries if I'm training, normally I'd opt for salad), fajitas wrapped in lettuce leaves and once in a while I'll order chicken wings (non  breaded, but deep fried). I don't pay as much attention to sauces or toppings in a restaurant. I'll ask for spreads to be left off, but I don't sweat it if there's sauces on dishes. And I have no idea what kind of fat/oil they're preparing my food in. And I just have to let that go. I do tend to eat more Primal when I eat out which I always pay for later. I don't do well consuming large amounts of dairy. Particularly cheese. But I never learn.

I know that eating out while following a specific diet or lifestyle can seem daunting. But it doesn't have to be. You  just need to find your voice and ask for what you want. I have eaten out consistently since the beginning of my weight loss journey. I had no choice because it is required of my job. But I made it work for me. During my active weight loss phase, I never had a gain regardless of the fact that I ate out at least once per day. I remained as diligent eating in restaurants as I did eating at home. And during weight loss I was much more mindful of sauces and toppings than I am now. And another tip? Don't bother looking at the menu if you can help it. Too much temptation! I just asked for grilled meat and veggies. Made my life so much easier.


The results of low carb, high protein, clean eating.
140 pounds gone.

Now I ask you to go check out how my BBFs (best bloggy friends) manage eating out. I'm sure they have awesome advice to share with you as well. Go take a look. I know you will not be disappointed. These women are truly amazing and each is a huge inspiration to me. And a big congratulations to Karen who is 2 years and 2 months into weight maintenance:) Yay Karen!

Against the Grain
For Life
Living the Life
Garden Girl

7 comments:

  1. Thanks Leigh! I've started eating this way for about a week. And by golly its actually working...the scale is not cooperating as much as I'd like but as far as feeling full and no cravings... its amazing. Its not that hard for me as a vegetarian because I added in fish.
    Do you eat mayo? And Butter? or stick to olive oil only or no oil at all?

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  2. Thanks, Leigh! I love celebrating milestones.

    I can so relate to going to places that I used to eat high carb foods and just doing coffee. Great solution on your pizza place grilled chicken. If they have the ingredients, I've noticed most restaurants will go the extra mile. So glad you can make client lunches work. :)

    Thanks for sharing your eating out strategies! Karen P

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  3. GREAT solution at the pizza place!

    Funny, I realized I almost NEVER eat mega franchise fast food anymore...and it's been so long it didn't even hit my radar when I wrote my similar post. :)

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  4. "So I asked the waiter if the chef could make me a grilled chicken breast with a side order of sautéed mixed veggies. He went into the kitchen, came back out a few minutes later and said it wasn't a problem. That is the moment that my eating out anxiety disappeared."

    AND THAT IS WHAT A GOOD RESTAURANT SHOULD DO.....EVERYTIME

    All the best Jan

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  5. As usual Leigh, you are simply bloody amazing!!! I love how you ask for different food and get it - especially at that pizza place. Seriously, you are such an inspiration to so many I truly hope you realise the enormity of what you achieve every day.

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  6. Leigh! You do look fabulously in both the fotos! You so inspire me! No grain, isn't my thing, but sure enough it worked like a charm for you!

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  7. I have never really asked for something that's not in the menu..I did not even think that works..I make it a point to check the menu before I go out and then decide if I should go their or some other place. Most places already have options for lettuce wraps or bunless burgers the only thing I have asked for is separate salad dressings...I am going to try asking once :)

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