This was a social weekend with a lot of eating out. There are only so many salads you can eat before you've just had enough greens. So I guess my dilemma has two parts.
1. How can you eat out (at restaurants like Chili's, Uno, IHOP, Applebees, etc) and still maintain your correct amount of calories for the day? I'm so tired of salads, and most of them have too many calories any way.
2. What can I do this week to "detox" from that horrible eating I did this weekend?
Does it stretch your stomach or something because my appetite is so much bigger than it usually is today!! I'm finding it hard not to give in today too.. but that's just a slippery slope.. :(
1. Eat chicken or salmon or even steak, but only half of the meal. (Incidentally, I discovered the other day that Uno's "less that 600 calories" salads were really only less than 600 for half the salad. That's cheating! I'd much rather have half a real meal as half a salad!) And avoid the appetizers and bread.
2. If you just mean getting back on track with the weight loss, then I'd suggest just not letting it get to you. Just go back to your normal eating and exercise plan. If you feel the need to compensate, up the ante on the workouts. But really, you most likely did not exceed your maintenance calories (or at least not by a lot), so it's not like you actually gained anything over the weekend--at the worst, you just slowed your weight loss by a couple days.
Oh yeah, and drink lots of water to flush out the sodium.
First, congratulations on your weight loss! We ALL have bad days (sometimes even weekends...or weeks...), and the most important thing is to not beat yourself up over it. You're human, and life happens. Use it as a learning experience and move forward from here.
There really isn't any way to "atone" for a bad day of eating--a lot of times people try to exercise excessively or restrict too much in the following days, which just plain doesn't work. You end up depleting your body and it can lead to a binge, which can easily turn into a cycle of restricting and binging. Instead, just get RIGHT back on track with what you've been doing calorie and exercise wise up to this point. Even if you overate by 3500 calories for two days (which I SERIOUSLY doubt), that's only two pounds. So start today fresh. Eat lots of high volume food. Get fiber to flush out the crap. Tons of water. You'll feel better in a day or so, I promise.
As far as rstaurant eating in the future, I wish I had good advice for you, but I HATE eating out for the same reason you do. Honestly, I'd rather stay home and 1) get a larger meal, 2) take in less calories, and 3) know EXACTLY what I'm actually putting in my body. On the off chance that I HAVE to go out, I plan for it well. I choose places that post their nutrition information online and I pick what I'm going to eat before I even get to the restaurant so that I'm not tempted to divert from my plan. Applebees and Olive Garden are actually good choices because they both have "healthy" menus with nutrtition info available. If I can't get my hands on a menu before going out, I will generally just get a house salad, ask for salsa on the side to use for dressing, and then eat my "real" dinner when I get home. Sucks, but that's life. We deal.
OK, second question first, the only helpful detox I can think of is lots of water. You probably didn't eat more than 2000 to 3000 extra calories, which is less than one pound. What you probably did was intake WAY to much sodium, and now you are retaining a couple of pounds of water. Try for 128 ounces today and tomorrow, and you should drop any extra weight over one pound. Exercise with lots of sweat also helps.
As far as what to do at restarurants, my mother and eldest daughter taught my wife and I a little secret. Your server will be quite happy to bring an extra plate and sell you a baked potato or better yet steamed veggies, all you need to do is bring a friend who wants to be healthy and split the entree. Works like a charm.
Edited to add: We also "save up" calories, shorting ourselfs 300 on Thursday so we can have 300 extra on Friday when we go out. Amazingly, this pretty much covers one Chili's El Presidente Margarita each...... I will happily go to bed hungry Thursday for a Margarita Friday.......
I found a really good bean stew recipe online that I'm going to make. I'll make a big batch and have that for dinner for three nights. I'm heading to the store to buy more fresh veggies and plan to eat them with every meal.
No matter what the damage we think we did on the weekend, it's still so much better that what we would have done if we weren't trying to lose weight. I ate 2000 calories yesterday but I could have easily eaten 4000. Keep that in mind and don't kick yourself too hard.
If you are going out to eat a lot there are some things you can do to help your eating while out.
Order a SIDE salad (not a dinner salad) with vinaigrette dressing on the side. Avoid cheese/croutons/etc. Get a side order of veggies, beans, or a baked potato without all the toppings, and it makes for a decent meal. Or, get just an appetizer, if they aren't all fried and cheesy. Get a side salad and a bowl of non-creamy soup. Or, get a healthy meal, like grilled chicken and steamed vegetables, and see if you can trade the starch option (rice or potatoes or whatever) for extra veggies instead. Make sure you avoid high-calorie drinks, and go very light on the bread/chips.
Afterwards, forgive yourself and get back on track!
There's really no way to "fix" the damage. Don't try to over-restrict your calories to get back on track or anything, just eat well and stay healthy this week...at most you gained MAYBE a pound, which is nothing in the long run!
As far as how to eat better when you go out - I second most of what everyone says. The Guiltless Grill at Chili's isn't bad, and more and more places are offering better for you options. If there's something you really love and want to have (for example, I LOVE the fiesta lime chicken at Applebees, but the whole entree is about 1200 calories), HAVE IT! Just eat half of it and then have it again the next day :)
Just be smart - grilled chicken is better than fried, get sauces on the side, ask for no cheese, etc, etc. :)
I will say that we would never in a million years - NEVER - eat at Chili's, Uno's, IHOP (*especially* IHOP!!) and Applebee's. Well... okay, I personally might eat at Applebee's but it would not be with my DH, because he hates the place.
We do not eat at national chains, and the reason is primarily because the food is all dumbed down for the mass market. That means tons of fat and sodium and very little veggies. Worse than that - the portion sizes are just.... ridiculous. Ask any non-American and you'll hear that. The portion sizes are a huge problem. Go to a non-chain restaurant, and you will get a smaller portion, so even if they drench it all in butter, you're still going to end up eating less!
No matter where we go, I usually only eat about 1/2 of my meal. If I was forced to eat at one of the national chains you listed, I'd only eat about 1/3. I take the rest home for leftovers, for example today I used up 3 oz of chicken from a restaurant meal on a salad (spinach, the leftover chicken, 1/2 orange.. mmmm it was good!).
I also nearly always order a side salad (no matter how lame the offering), with dressing on the side. I eat this while everyone else is having their appetizer, and it helps take the edge off my hunger.
As for entree I don't stick to just salads. I only order the salad if it's something intriguing I haven't tried myself at home. I often will order an appetizer as a meal.
If none of the appetizers appeal, then I will usually read the entrees concentrating on the veggies served with them. For example if an entree has roasted brussel sprouts or asparagus, I'm going to pick that one. I do also tend towards entrees in this order: 1) vegetarian 2) fish 3) chicken and finally 4) occasional red meat if I haven't had it in awhile and it's not a huge honking slab that takes up the whole plate (yuck).
I tend to steer clear of pasta in general - but not always. If I've had a long run that day, or plan one the next day, and I haven't had any starches all day long, then pasta with veggies or marinara sauce is a good choice - but I eat less than 1/2 of it and take the rest home.
I am very picky and apt to ask for reduced fat, dressings on the side, steamed veggies, etc, etc. Also another major trick of mine is to have them double the veggies and skip the fries or potatoes. For example this weekend I had chicken with asparagus AND green beans, skipping the mashed potatoes.
I rarely eat the bread served - unless it is warm. Warm bread is worth a bite or two, IMO!
Dessert: we often also order dessert. I know, I sound like a pig... but I lost the last 15 lbs this way!!! Really, I did!!! The trick is that we only order dessert if it's something unusual. I almost always steer clear of chocolate desserts because chocolate makes me crave more chocolate. But bread pudding, rice pudding, anything with fresh fruit, cannoli... yep, we'll try it, but we split just one dessert... and I eat maybe 4 bites, at most half of it. My DH is a fast eater. ;-)
Oh... and I don't drink sodas - I order plain water. But I DO have wine with my meal. When I was in dieting mode, I got used to having wine spritzers or just one glass. I'm in maintenance now, so I've eased up a bit on that and might even have two, if it's a long lingering meal!
The vast majority of places we eat at have no calorie counts listed anywhere. So I usually have no idea. All I know is, I lost weight anyway.
But yes, the day after a restaurant meal (or a weekend of eating out), my weight will blip - and it's the sodium plus added weight of the food working it's way through. It eventually evens out.
I think it can be good to shock the system and keep it guessing. A zig-zag dieting approach.