The Restaurant Meal Surprise

Photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash

If you're female and of a certain age, then perhaps you are having the same struggle I am.  A few extra pounds (and maybe sometimes more than a few), and that incorrigible belly fat that appeared one day and just won't go away. To get rid of it means to lose every extra bit of fat on you first.  It is the last to give up and leave.

For those who are unaware, there are serious health risks to carrying your excess wait primarily around your waist. The risks of cancer, dementia, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, adult onset asthma and even migraine headaches all rise when you carry your fat in this area.  Scary to say the least. My doctor is on my case to deal with mine.

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While I was always
naturally skinny, even after childbirth, bad choices in my 40's combined with menopause created a new reality.  I began to struggle with a scale that seemed to go up a pound a year with the highest percentage landing around my middle.  A year ago I had a physical and my doctor again discussed with me that it was time to get this in check. The numbers on some tests were rising in a way that was concerning.

I do not diet. I think it's absolutely non-sustainable. Instead I chose to activate my LoseIt app and have it set daily caloric goal for me to meet. The app adjusted that goal by how much exercise I did as well. Want to eat a few more calories, then exercise more. Typing in every single bite that went into my mouth was eye opening.  Meals I thought were smart choices were loaded with hidden calories. My serving sizes were way off base as well.

Restaurant meals became another source of woe.  A few restaurants show the calories in their menus along side the descriptions of each dish, but most don't. I can only assume they don't want you to know.  When there was nothing listed, I just tried to make reasonable choices.  Salads were okay once and awhile as losing weight shouldn't be about total deprivation, but even salads could be way higher than I thought. And I wanted to try something different than I would eat at home. I make salads here all the time.

Afterwards a restaurant meal I would do a web search to find where they listed the calories per meal and it was honestly usually shocking.  My last two meals from a restaurant were a Dragon Bowl from Brown's (1030 calories) and Szechuan Chicken Lettuce Wraps from Cactus Club (990 calories).  WOWSER. That means I can't have breakfast and have to have a super skinny meal for my other meal to justify that, plus get some serious exercise in. It's just crazy.

Photo by Nadine Primeau on Unsplash

In the future I guess I need to go through the menu of a restaurant BEFORE I eat there to see what the calorie counts of the different dishes are, but honestly I also think they need to start creating their meals in healthier ways.  We tend to eat out or order in way more than our parents did, and that can take a huge toll on our health - both how long we live as well as our quality of life as we age. 

I will continue to do what I always do - cook at home with fresh ingredients as much as possible and only indulge in packaged food, takeout and restaurant meals on a very limited basis. It's the only way to reach my health goals which is increasingly important. And I am committed to slow and steady. If it takes two years, but that means I have made a healthy lifestyle a habit I can sustain, then I win.  I want this change to last a long time as I intend to stay active and vibrant for many years to come.

Want to read more? Here is an article from the Mayo clinic that offers a basic overview and suggestions for trimming belly fat - This article found on Healthline also offer 19 tips to help lose that resistant belly fat, things not found in the first article -  What intrigues me most is #15 as I've been hearing that from other sources. 

If you have struggled the same way I have and found some great tips that work for you, please comment on this blog. The more ideas, the more personal experiences shared, the better for us all. Let's do this together.