Week 3 of my “Small Changes” no-diet approach to weight loss is handling restaurants, buffets, and fast food. Oh my!


Combat restaurant overload

Restaurant portions can be huge, which is no help if you’re cutting calories. You also lose control over ingredients, but you always have control over your menu choice and you certainly can ask for substitutions to keep you on track:

  1. Try splitting a meal with a friend.
  2. Ask the waiter to box up half of your meal before it’s even served to you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for items to be swapped or left off – i.e. taco salad served in a regular bowl instead of the fried tortilla shell and with the dressing left off or on the side (dip the tines of your fork in the dressing first, before each bite).
  4. Beware the added calories of the breadbasket, or the chips and salsa. Just ask for it not to be brought out at all. Free food doesn’t mean free calories.


At the buffet

Though it might be advertised as “all you can eat,” you certainly don’t have to! Remain strong in your calorie counting convictions by making a choice ahead of indulging.

  1. Commit in advance to eating just one plate, and avoid wearing loose fitting clothes. Choose only the foods you really enjoy. Remember that it’s always the first bite or two that’s best, so you don’t need huge servings of everything to feel satisfied.


  1. Choose to fill up on fresh produce and lean proteins first, skipping the sauces and dressings.


Fast Food

It’s fast for convenience, and sometimes we really need that. But convenience doesn’t mean you get a free pass with calories.

  1. Stay away from anything that says double or triple, supersize, mega, biggie or jumbo.
  2. Order a kid’s meal instead when you really want a burger and fries.


Regardless of where you’re eating out

These two tips will help you keep calories in check no matter where you’re eating.

  1. Pair your meal with a calorie free beverage like water, unsweetened iced tea, or black coffee.
  2. Pay attention to your personal hunger meter and stop eating before you feel uncomfortably full.