So I mentioned I’ve been yelping, and I’ve been keeping up with it (in a way I haven’t been keeping up with this blog the last week, bad Quix).  I’ve been trying to review everywhere I go (mostly where we go to lunch, but I did the gym and the thrift store too).  I think it’s a great site, and realized I used it a lot without contributing, so if I go somewhere I haven’t reviewed before, I review it.  If you’ve all but run out of the internets, it’s a great place to look around and see if you can find somewhere new to try the next time you go out.  If you end up going there a lot, contribute and keep the happy fun circle of yelp awesomeness going.

It’s interesting also to use it as a snapshot of my eating habits lately.  In the last week or so I’ve reviewed Mann’s BBQ (lunch today), Sirloin Stockade (Sunday dinner), I owe Thundercloud Subs a review from Sunday lunch, Fresh Choice (Thursday lunch),  El Mercado (Wednesday lunch),  Jimmy John’s Sandwiches (Tuesday lunch), Saltgrass Steakhouse (Sunday lunch), and Austin Diner (Saturday brunch).  Only thing missing was Monday’s and Friday’s lunches, which I already reviewed (pho and I don’t remember Monday…).  On first glance, not exactly the picture of health, huh?

It should be said that generally everything we cook at home is healthy and portioned properly.  These lovely chicken wings?  Never at home, only out at Pluckers, and very very rarely.  Our staples are grilled chicken, Quix-mashed potatoes (pretty much potato, a dash of lite ranch, and a pinch of blue cheese, dried onions and garlic and spices), and heaps of veggies, or lemon pepper mahi mahi, brown rice, and veggies, shrimp stir fry, or the like.  I always stock veggie burgers and wheat buns, and keep stuff around to whip up a gigantic salad at a moments notice.  There is junk food around, but it usually ends up going bad or getting freezer burnt, honestly.  I am that bitch that has had a can of frosting and cupcake fixins for 10 months and they’re still in the pantry, and that still has Halloween candy from last year in the freezer.  I am also that bitch that lets everyone else order the junk food, and then eats a little bit off their plate (evidenced here).  I used to say because it doesn’t have calories on someone else’s plate, but now I realize – a taste is usually enough, and it’s hard to get more than a taste when I have Zliten slapping at my hands.  See his look of disapproval there?

Yet at most places, I know how to work the menu to get something filling, yummy, and totally within my calorie range for the day.  Mann’s today, we split a plate and both left full.  Sandwich places – I just leave off the mayo, leave off oil, pick off SOME of the cheese (I need my calcium, kthx), and stay with cold cuts or chicken, and away from meatballs or anything with the word “salad” in it unless it was proceeded by “side” (no tuna or chicken salads full of mayo and goop).  Salad bar – well, just pile your plate with anything veggie and go sparingly on the rest.  Austin Diner – I just went with a small portion and chose to indulge in fried potatoes, cheese, bacon, and tortilla yumminess.  Steak places are harder, but I usually just compensate by nibbling on mostly veggies and fruit the rest of the day.  Sirloin Stockade was sort of a fail, but I know what to get and what to skip next time.

So, what’s my point?  I guess it’s that you CAN actually lose weight eating out most of the time, or if you’re happy where you’re at, you can at least change your daily diet to be more healthful and less like a college student.  I would be miserable if I had to avoid eating out, so I had to learn how to deal quickly after a month of going home or bringing my lunch every day and finding excuses to stay away from the every weekend parties/bbqs/picnics/group dinners out.  The biggest thing to remember is that not every restaurant meal is a special occasion.  Eat like you would at home, don’t be afraid to throw away food (or take it home, if you’re into leftovers, but I’m really not), and you won’t be stuck at home making chicken, brown rice, and veggies again for the 5th time this week while your friends who invited you out for mexican are having a great time.  When your friends contribute to awesome spreads like this one all the time (homemade bread, salad, my awesome mashed potatoes, coleslaw, bbq’d brisket, sausage, and chicken), you just can’t do that shit without crying in your Lean Cuisine, and that’s no way to live.

If you’re staying home due to financial reasons, fine, that’s another story.  If you’re in the first month of transitioning from counting the pickles and onions on your bacon double cheese burger as veggies to healthier fare, you probably want to avoid the outside world as much as you can (and with your mood, it will probably avoid you back).  However, one of the most freeing things was when I realized I could eat at restaurants and attend parties and still lose weight.  It takes practice, but it’s totally worth it.