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Be good when you are bad

Every time we go out to eat, I feel like I have one hand in the cookie jar already. Being in control at home is not that complicated. I am the chef in our kitchen. I plan the menu and the meals; I weigh the food, write down the ounces and grams and log it all. It's actually pretty simple math. Stay under your calorie goal, lose weight! I finally understand.

Going out to eat, makes me feel uncomfortable. Some restaurants offer nutrition information on their web page, but most of them don't. I am on my own and feel like I am on shaky ground. The last 1,000-calorie breakfast faux pas has taught me that I can not always trust my judgment -yet.

Four days out of town = 12 meals in restaurants. The 4th of July-weekend made me nervous.

I understand the basic rules. Baked is better than fried, and salads are only good if I don't drown the healthy leaves in a gallon of creamy dressing. 

We went out for dinner the night we arrived. The menu was divine, and the smell that came out of the kitchen made my mouth water. A cute Greek restaurant, a cozy place and I didn't know what to order. "Mom, do you know what you want?" and I shook my head. I had no clue.  

Please, let us know if you have special dietary needs. We are happy to help was printed on the bottom of the menu, and I decided to ask for help.

"Do you have a menu that shows the nutrition and calories?" I asked the waitress -with as much confidence as I could come up with- and she looked at me funny.

She left and went into the kitchen. A while back she returned with an older gentleman. He introduced himself as the cook and asked me what I needed. 

"I am on a health journey and would love to eat a meal with 0 calories," I joked, and we all laughed. My family is used to me, they don't get easily embarrassed -I trained them well. 

A big lady like me is asking for nutrition and calories that must be comical I suppose. 

I felt the need to apologize to the chef -after all, this is my problem, not his, but he interrupted me when I tried. He was happy to help he said, and he sounded genuine.

"I am going to make you something special," he promised, and with that, he left the table and went back in his kitchen.

A while later the waitress came back and served us dinner. Everybody besides me had a mouthwatering plate in front of them.

The chef came out himself and served me my plate. He described and explained the dish to me like I would be somebody special. A thin piece of veal, with a lemon-caper sauce with grilled vegetables, an eggplant mousse and a side salad with a Greek vinaigrette. It was delicious and to my surprise, he didn't charge me extra. My healthy dinner cost the same as my husband's dish -everything was very reasonable. 

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner,  in every restaurant we went, the chefs were thrilled to help me, and it was not an act. I suppose that my particular request might have given them a break from their usual routine. I ate good and felt good about it.  

Visiting the kids was fun. We had a splendid time, and two days later I stepped on the scale and declared Victory. "Victoria" (as many of you know, I did name the scale after all) showed the same weight as the week before. 

Going out to eat once in a while doesn't sound so scary anymore. Now I can enjoy it without feeling bad. 

Still, 44 lbs lost - 96 to go! 


140 votes + -


Gardengal1222 wrote 11 months ago:
I never even thought about talking to the chef at a restaurant to help me choose a meal. I think that is an awesome idea. I am glad to hear that your vacation worked out so well for you. Thank you for an informative blog that can help all of us using MFP.
musicsax wrote 11 months ago:
I've had to ask how things are cooked many times in restaurants; as well as being on a healthy journey for weight loss I had gall stones (surgery was 5 days ago to remove them), so if I did indulge in more fat than the very low fat diet that I followed I would suffer later on that evening/night really badly. The chef was always obliging when I explained and would often cook a meal exactly how I wanted it, grilled rather than fried with a little sauce on the side etc
I always felt embarrassed, but was told that I was the one paying for the meal and there was no need to feel uncomfortable. Too many of us just accept what is on the menu, well done you for asking and staying at the same weight. You are still doing so well!!
Laurie6578 wrote 11 months ago:
It sounds like you had a delightful vacation! Good job on advocating for yourself and not feeling intimidated about asking...that can be so hard to do! You got this!!
thelifeilove1 wrote 11 months ago:
Not only did you eat healthy, delicious foods, but you experienced a gain in confidence about handling your needs in public. Well done!
Wysewoman53 wrote 11 months ago:
Wow! What a great idea! Never in a million years would I have thought about asking the chef for a healthier food choice than is what on the menu! No more 'dry' salads for me! Kudos to you for having the nerve to just ask! Thanks for sharing this.
izzybelle2013 wrote 11 months ago:
I am very proud that you spoke up. That is the hardest part, in my opinion. It shows how serious you are, and I am in awe of you. Great job, keep it up. I want to be like you when (if) I grow up!
jennknut wrote 11 months ago:
I feel every word and sentence you put together in this blog. I always get embarrassed when I have to ask for help so I give in. Do I give in because it is easier? YES and no...I give in because I don't think that I am worth it and honestly because I get to eat what I want. So yes and no. I KNOW we are all worth it and the fact that every chef was so nice makes me rethink eating out. Very inspiring blog, thanks
suzwriter wrote 11 months ago:
It sounds like not only did that chef make your day, you made his day because he got to make a special meal for a special lady!
Sunna_W wrote 11 months ago:
Chefs are awesome like that. Our daughter has a wheat sensitivity and we have had great success with going to family-owned places (not chains / factory food) and they make something special for her. In the EU, particularly, it's a sacred thing within their craft and it's a holy experience. It has helped her to be able to enjoy the countries we have visited and has allowed us to experience the people, one chef at a time.
daneejela wrote 11 months ago:
Woow, that is so awesome!
It must have been a great experience!
LadyLilion wrote 11 months ago:
How fantastic! You know, I've never even considered trying to ask the chef for something special. I always just look at the menu and do my best to figure it out...often with MFP on my phone in my other hand. I may have to give your technique a try!
maureen256 wrote 11 months ago:
You are inspiring, and brave I'm going to give it a try the next time I eat out. Thank you for the tip.
brookielaw wrote 11 months ago:
That is awesome and kudos to you for having the confidence to state your needs. I bet that chef LOVED preparing your special meal and explaining it too. I used to roll "VIP" at a local fancypants hotel/restaurant/bar because I handled everyone's tickets. I used to love to chat with the chef and tell him my personal restrictions and preferences and have him create a custom dish of tastiness. If it weren't for Chef Chris, I would have never had a fig outside of its natural newton habitat. My plates were always beautiful and fresh, and everyone who would see them would immediately try to get the same things. GREAT JOB and keep up the hard work!
Sharon_C wrote 11 months ago:
What a great idea! If I can't find the calorie information my go to is a grilled chicken breast with broccoli. I like your idea better and I bet that chef was excited to expand his culinary skills
wizzybeth wrote 10 months ago:
What a wonderful story!
AriG95 wrote 10 months ago:
This makes me so happy! It warms my heart that they were so happy to help. I guess I always expect the "you chose to come here, lady" attitude, and that you had the exact opposite experience and that kind of support is so awesome.
dredzone71 wrote 10 months ago:
This was a wonderful story to share with all of us, so thank you.
I know exactly what you mean about being the larger person asking about healthy choices. It's crazy to feel 'funny' about that, isn't it? I mean, I do too, it's just strange. People say that bigger people should 'take control' of their diet, or 'get out and exercise', but the minute we do they look at us strangely. It's a catch-22 that I no longer concern myself with, and I'm happy to hear you don't either. Here's to more dinners out!
aeppc wrote 10 months ago:
What a fantastic story to tell!! I have been stopping and starting,trying all different ways to get this 60lbs off of my bones! I and my "newly" husband go out a lot and never thought of asking the chef. Will do so now...thanks!
LayC wrote 10 months ago:
I really enjoyed that encouragement. I would have never thought of that either. Keep up the great work.
heavenandhell wrote 10 months ago:
Brilliant!I love reading your blog, so glad i found it; its like hearing my own words but written down much more eloquently.Thanks
mcelroyrd wrote 9 months ago:
Sounds like a truly great meal and time- from jude and mac
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