February 20, 2019
February 11, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Ketogenic Diet
We all know that iconic restaurant scene from “When Harry Met Sally.”
No, not THAT scene.
The scene where Sally orders her salad and pie exactly the way she wants them only to engender THAT look from the waitress.
Well, that’s the look I often get when I order at a restaurant.
Because for most of my life I have been fat. It destroyed my childhood, teenage years and twenties. You probably think I’m being hyperbolic, but I’m not. The pain it put me through was severe.
It wasn’t until I had bariatric surgery and then discovered low-carb diets that I was able to get away from that.
Even after discovering low carb diets, I had a long period of adjustment where I would occasionally slip up and eat bread or fries or sweets –and it caused me all kinds of problems.
It’s been a long process of trial and error, but with time, I’ve been able to develop a number of strategies and coping mechanisms to combat it. Here are my top two—
Send the carbs back to the kitchen
One of my key mechanisms for staying strict to my diet is to avoid temptation whenever possible.
Now, when I go to a restaurant and someone puts bread in front of me, I recognize it as a very real threat to me and I request it be removed.
When french fries or rice find their way onto my plate, I make sure that the plate is not left at my table. Why? Because I quite like not being a fat slob who everyone laughs at and I’m not going back that situation!
Temptation is very difficult for most people to withstand. It was nearly impossible for me when I was struggling with obesity. But that all changed when I realized that I didn’t have to be perfect all the time.
Instead, I’ve found that the key to success on any diet is first accepting that it’s human to give into temptation, and then taking action to reduce your exposure to the things that are likely to make you break.
It’s OK not to have a willpower of steel, as long as you take steps to manage your situation.
So if you know you can’t say no to the cheddar biscuits at Red Lobster or the fries with your burger, don’t leave them on the table. Ask your waiter not to serve them or to take them away if you do. Not only will this help you to not give in, but it also means that less food goes to waste! Everyone wins.
Ask for good fats
When you’re on a high-fat diet, one of the major pluses is that you feel fuller and you have a harder time overeating.
Unfortunately, a lot of the low-carb options out there aren’t necessarily high-fat. So if you stick to what’s given to you, or you exclude the carbs that were supposed to accompany the meal, you’ll find yourself hungry.
And when you’re hungry… that makes you more likely to cave in to something not on your diet.
So to make sure that you both stay on keto and feel full at the end of the meal, don’t feel bad asking your server for some extra fats. If you have a steak or some grilled vegetables ask for a side of butter to add on top. If you have a salad, ask for olive oil and then be really heavy handed with it.
Or you can always double the meat or cheese. You might have to pay a little more, but your health is worth it right?
Just as you need to be prepared for the fact that you may be tempted when you go out, you also need to prepare for the fact that when you leave out the carbs on a standard dish, you might be left hungry.
By requesting some extra good fats you’ll feel fuller at the end of your meal and much less prone to give in when they pass around the dessert menu.
Don’t be afraid to ask
One of the keys to taking responsibility for your own health is defending the health choices that you’ve made.
By understanding yourself and when you’re most likely to break your diet, you can take steps ahead of time to either remove temptations or to ensure that you are stronger (fuller) against them.
It doesn’t matter if people roll their eyes at you or make fun of you for being so particular. At the end of the day, it’s your health. It’s up to you whether or not you take care of it. So don’t be afraid to assert yourself.
Asserting yourself doesn’t make you rude or lame. You can still be polite when you ask for changes in a restaurant. Trust me, even though I can be demanding, I still get plenty of repeat invites to dine out. And way more than when I was fat and miserable to be around.
How has your experience been ordering keto-friendly food in restaurants? Let me know in the comments below!