I've known for a couple days that I'm having dinner out with a friend who I haven't seen in a while. I'm super excited, by the way! Anyway, so I knew going into today that I'm going out for dinner. Our choices were down to a couple so I just looked at menus for the two (both local; not listed in most calorie counters like chain restaurants) and used info from the bigger chain restaurants. I know it may not be an exact calculation, but it should be pretty close.
I looked at menus and decided on a fish dish at either place, both accompanied with a side salad and either a choice of potato or steamed veggies. We decided on the place, so I planned ahead and calculated out my dinner.
I love salads, so that wasn't an issue...Regular house salad with light dressing. Easy. I'm struggling with the potato or veggies. I have not had a baked potato in ages...Honestly, I have no idea when I last ate one. The potato sounds amazing at this very moment. I would likely dress it with a little butter and sour cream, both of which will be full fat because that's how these restaurants are. I'm okay with that. I usually don't eat enough fat during the day, so full fat stuff won't hurt me. Honestly the debate over a potato or veggies has been a small battle in my mind. Both sound good, but the potato sounds a little better. However, I know that the steamed veggies would be healthier.
I still haven't officially made up my mind, but I did track the potato. Now that I tracked it, I'd have to eat a snack when I get home if I go with the veggies because I'll be under my daily net calories. At this point, the potato sounds easier so that I don't have to find something else to eat and re-track.
According to MFP I am 277 calories over my daily net of 1200...I'm at 1477. SP has me at 1480. No matter what I decide, the difference between the two isn't a great deal. It's funny how sometimes these sites can be different; luckily today they are not very different.
Today is a day that I will do 30 minutes of crossing training. I will probably do a little bit more. I plan on doing this after dinner because my time right now is limited....There is just not enough time between work and dinner to workout, shower, and get ready to go. I have about an hour between when I get home and when I need to leave. I was planning on biking and if I bike, I'll likely do a few extra minutes because my heart rate doesn't go very high when biking. I only need to burn 277 calories to get to my net daily goal so that's not too bad. I am anticipating having to do a little longer than 30 minutes because I know that I do not burn 300 calories during 30 minutes of biking. I suppose I'm okay with that. I'd like to burn a whole bunch of calories but I guess that isn't necessary.
It's nice going into dinner knowing what I want (love that menus are online!) and that I can plan my exercise accordingly. I knew all day what I would want to eat, so I guess that helped me to better plan. It's the last minute dinners out that can cause problems for people.
Planning ahead not only makes tracking for the day easier, but I think it's much more relaxed that way. I know that I've gotten a little anxious at last minute dinners about what to eat, trying to estimate calories, wondering if I worked out enough, making sure what I eat is light enough so that I can workout after.... And so on. Tonight I can go to dinner and know that I'm having a (mostly; minus that potato) healthy meal and that I can still exercise.
Some people may look at this negatively and say that I'm being obsessive. I'm not. I know what it's taken for me to lose weight and being diligent (NOT obsessive) is important. Tracking is vital and for me planning plays a part in that. Some people may say "don't worry about it; you can go over a little" or "it's okay to have a cheat day." That's fine...For them. If they enjoy that philosophy, great. Sometimes I tell myself that too. However, after having had too many days in a row of being unhealthy, I'm in a very serious mode right now. I allowed myself those off-track times last week. This week? Not so much. It is entirely possible to go out for dinner or go to social functions and still be healthy... You just have to plan ahead!
Planning is important if you're trying to lose weight; whether a few pounds or a lot. It's important to plan menus, plan your day, and for some people even your week (I can't do that; I change my mind too much). You should plan your exercise as well as your food. Do you always need to plan? No. Don't do it if it doesn't work for you (but please, at least, track!). If you're at a stable, happy weight and you just eat healthy and exercise in general, then you probably won't worry so much about planning...As long as you stay on-track.
From my own experience, planning has worked. I've seen it work for others too. I think that everyone wanting to lose weight should try it out for a short time. You won't know if it works if you don't at least try. Yes, it takes time. I feel that it is time well-spent. I know I'm where I am thanks, in part, to planning.
Whatever you do; stay healthy!