L2 Fitness Blog

Restaurants Swaps Are The Key To Sustainable Weight Loss

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Ever struggled to stay on track with your weight loss plan when eating at restaurants?  Yes? This is for you.

Simple and easy meal swaps at restaurants are the key to sustained and long term weight loss.

You Eat Out More Than You Think

This is a very common barrier. Let’s think of all of the times you are faced with eating at a restaurant…

  • Birthdays (yours, your family, your friends, etc.)
  • Anniversaries (see above)
  • Date night
  • Girls/Boys night
  • Stagette/Stag
  • Friends or family in-town
  • Work lunch/dinner
  • Christmas parties
  • Traveling
  • On holidays
  • I’ll stop here, but could go on.

That took me about 10 seconds to rattle off. As you can see there are A LOT of times where you’re going to be faced with eating at a restaurant. For some, this will occur more than others. But the faster we learn to navigate these situations the faster we can achieve sustainable weight loss.

Frequent eating out is a common barrier I see with clients. I will admit that frequent eating out can make it more difficult to lose weight, but it doesn’t have too. We just need to think about a few common principles. Just telling you to stop eating out may work in the short term but I would rather arm you with the tools needed to handle all situations that are thrown your way.

Learning To Navigate Restaurants Is The Key

A large part of what I do as a weight loss transformation artist is help people find a plan that fits their lifestyle. As I am sure you know it is much easier to push a square peg through a square hole.

During consultations or strategy sessions we evaluate goals, starting points, nutritional knowledge and importantly lifestyle and barriers.

During a recent strategy session of of my clients (we will call Douglas) we learned that he has a weekly date night with his wife. Date night is non-negotiable.

In a situation like this, there are two options:

  1. “No more eating out.”
  2. Show Douglas how to navigate eating out so he can continue to achieve his weight loss goals with weekly date night.

We know that a happy wife = a happy life. So Option 1 is a not an option.

We’ve all heard the saying/proverb:

“Give a Man a Fish, and You Feed Him for a Day. Teach a Man To Fish, and You Feed Him for a Lifetime.”

My version…

Stop a man from eating out. He will progress for a week. Teach a man how to navigate eating out, he will progress for life.

One Change = 1200 calories

Meal Before

Turkey Club Wrap: 960 calories
Side Fries: 691 calories
Side Ceasar Salad: 130 calories

Grand Total: 1781 calories

Occasionally having dessert… Mud Pie comes in at 800 calories

Meal Make-Over

Steak Sandwhich: 540 calories
Side Fresh Veggies: 35 calories

Grand Total: 575 calories

Net Difference: -1206 calories

With one simple strategy, Douglas cut down over 1200 calories per week. This works out to a deficit of over 200 calories per day for the remainer of the week. But more importantly, Douglas can still take his wife for a lovely date every week.

Restaurant Eating Weight Loss Tips

Plan ahead

Review the menu ahead of time and look at nutrition information where available. Work with a coach who can provide direction.

What Would You Eat At Home?

Order simplified meals that resemble what you may make at home.

Ask For Substitutions

Don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions: No added butter or oil, grilled instead of breaded or fried, dressing on the side (these are generally not an issue)

Order Off-Menu

Don’t be afraid to order something that isn’t on the menu. Often I will order a grilled lean piece of protein and a side of steamed vegetables. This isn’t on the menu but most restaurants can provide this.


When all else fails, identify your protein and your vegetables. Keep it simple.

Watch For Sneaky Calories

Watch out for high fat intake items: Cheese, sauce/dressing/mayo, bacon, nuts, avocado, fried, etc. These items can typically add up calories very quickly. Sometimes things may sound healthy like a “Turkey Club Wrap” or a salad but when you see that it has cheese, mayo, bacon and avocado you can bet the calories are higher than you think.

Small Changes Make a Big Impact

One of the keys to success when I work with clients is finding the changes that make the biggest impact. The big rocks as they say. Tackling eating out is a big rock. As you can see here, with one simple change you can potentially facilitate weight loss. Or on the flip side you can see how easily it is too overdue it when eating out. One simple meal per week does have a lot more power than you think.

If you’re interested in Nutrition Coaching please contact us and we will show you how to create create sustainable weight loss!

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