To most dieters, that phrase is almost like a death sentence. Your head start whirling as you go into an internal battle of "Do I eat what I want?" or "Do I do what's right?" But, what if you did both! I think that would cause a head explosion as the two battles collided.
In an earlier entry, I touched on restaurant portions and how crazy big they are. If you remember, I told you, you can eat what you want, but cut it all in half! I still stand by that. My husband will get that whim where he'll want to go out to eat steak. I'll have that steak with him, and I'll enjoy every bite. But I order an 8 oz steak and cut it in half. And you can enjoy that potato with your steak, but don't ask for extra butter or sour cream. Even better, don't even ask for it loaded. I eat mine with the tablespoonish of butter and sour cream they give you with it and call it good. Add salt and pepper if what they serve you isn't taste enough.
Another thing to remember when eating out, veggies are still your friend! You can eat as much salad, as many green beans, corn, squash, whatever tickles your fancy, and you won't have to worry about dipping into your daily points. Of course, if you order these things fried, battered, scalloped, blackened, buttered, or breaded, they will more than likely be higher points for you. Also, watch the salads, because some of the dressings served with salads can eat up your points quicker than everything else in it!
Buffets are a tricky one. You don't realize how fast the points add up until you sit down and total them up! A good start is to have a plan. First thing I do is take the first plate and load up with a big salad. I usually skip the croutons and just put a little cheese, since those do add up quick. Use the lightest dressing you can find! When it comes to the main dish, load that plate with veggies. Make sure they don't include the above bolded words. Then go for a meat, but make it a small portion. I definitely don't recommend going for seconds, unless you for sure want to go over your daily quota. Dessert is a tricky one, so that I'll leave to your discretion. They usually offer frozen yogurt, sugar free treats, and things like that. I usually splurge on a bit of ice cream, about 1/2 cup worth, with a little hot fudge.
One of your biggest allies is planning ahead! If you know you'll be going out to eat and even better, if you know where your going, do a little research on what to have ahead of time. Most chain restaurants have their nutrition information on their website. Just plug it into your calculator and you can estimate how much your eating. Make sure you look up the nutrition info for everything you plan to eat, including any bread on the table. Another decent source is Dotti's Weight Loss Zone. But I warn you that some of the point information is a little out of date. If you can go to the restaurant site to check, I recommend that!
Those are the best solutions I can offer for eating out. They have all worked well for me! As with anything else weight loss, will power and self control are key!