Friday, December 7, 2012

Almost a Week…

And I’ve managed to stick to plan on both the exercise and nutrition front. I’m trying to figure out whether I have more trouble sticking to the nutrition plan on the road (eating at restaurants) or at home (snacking).

One of the big challenges while on the road is sticking to my calorie budget. In 2008, California enacted a law that requires restaurants to post food energy (calories) and nutritional information on menus. The caveat is that this information is required only in restaurants with over 20 units. So, unless I’m eating at a restaurant that is part of a chain, this information isn’t readily available.

I suppose it’s entirely possible to eat at chain restaurants 100% (okay – 90%) of the time. Not real exciting in my book. Part of the fun of travelling is searching out local cuisine. Now, Sacramento isn’t exactly the gourmet spot of the world, but there are some restaurants that can cook up an excellent dinner (let me know if you want to know of some).

So, the challenge becomes figuring out what I *should* eat when I look at a menu. And before you say “That’s pretty easy – stick with salads.” let me say “BOOOOORRRRRRRINGGGGG!”

Here are some things I do to stick to the plan while travelling:

  1. Log log log: Immediately. After each meal. I use the myfitnesspal app on my smartphone. Knowing what I have left in the calorie department for dinner allows me to make an informed menu choice at dinner.
  2. Plan ahead: Know that we’re going to to burgers in the evening? Don’t pig out at lunch. And if I logged lunch, then I’ll know whether you can have those onion rings with dinner. Especially if I use my logging app and know how many calories in those rings *before* I’m tempted to order them.
  3. Serving size: Get good at approximating serving size. Know what two tablespoons of ranch dressing on a salad looks like. I’m not into counting the number of fries I’m stuffing into my pie hole.
  4. Search for healthy alternatives: Side salad instead of fries with the burger or garlic bread with the spaghetti. (Boring with a little “b”).

The most important thing to remember is that calories are approximations. There is no way to know (outside of some pretty detailed and expensive testing) my exact BMR. Nor is there anyway to know exactly the number of calories in the (approximately) 4 ounce braised short rib on my plate. But, if I’m close, then statistically, it will all work itself out in the end. If not, I gain a pound or two (not a disaster), and adjust my daily goal.

The way I look at it is this – I’m away from the comforts of home. I’m not going to kick horse turds down the road over a few calories….

Calorie budget:

  • Goal: 1780
  • Food: 1831
  • Exercise: 0
  • Too few/(too many): (51)


  1. actually, salads can be as bad. there is this woman at my work, that will go to the grocery store where you can make your own salad. she comes back thinking she is eating healthy, but when she puts on 3 gallons of dressing, and 1 pound of ham, 6000 cal salad disaster. then there are those that think just because it contains the word salad, its healthy, like taco salad at taco bell. Good luck eating on the go, it can be challenging. I have been using my fitness pal app with good success. take care.

  2. Of course, you will know you are on target based on your weight loss tread and/or clothes fitting looser trend.

    Never give up!

  3. yeah it is not "easy" to "just order a salad". not when you have all those yummier options! try to avoid the "cheesy" or "creamy" descriptions on the menu. (yeah cheese is delicious, but also calorie heavy!) there are probably some other keywords to try to avoid... i just came think of them.

  4. I really love this post - I go through all the same challenges. I'm forever torn between going to the restaurants that either post calories/that I know are healthy, or trying something new. It's always a struggle between enjoying the local culinary scene or not gaining weight - such a frustration! I use MyFitnessPal too, and just do my best to find something similar to what I ate.