One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

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My Strategy to Beat Up 5 Guys (It’s not what you’re thinking!)

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When will I learn not to ask the husband where he wants to go to dinner? WHEN?

By the middle of the work week I’m spent and going out to dinner gives me a much needed break in the evening. So tonight on my home I gave the husband a ring and ask what he wanted to do for dinner. He blurts out.. "Five Guys?"

Aaarrrgh.

Do you guys know Five Guys? It’s a burger joint that ONLY sells burgers. Don’t get me wrong I love a good burger and they have a GOOD burger. I mean real greasy, real beefy burgers. And the fries. Oh the FRIES! They are thick, have skin on them and blow any fast food joint’s sorry excuse for fries out the window.

So I decided to not to worry about it, let the husband have his choice of dinner for a change and go with it. Sometimes you just need to go with it.

I ordered a "Little Hamburger" (Note: it’s not little. It’s perfect. Their regular burger has 2 patties! Who needs 2 patties?!?) and a regular fry for the family to split. Not a large. Not a regular order for each family member. But a regular fry for the whole family.

Here’s my logic when ordering.

  1. I don’t NEED cheese. I used to never have a burger without cheese. Actually, I used to order everything with extra cheese. Then I realized I was wasting anywhere from 2-4 points on cheese alone. What’s the point? A burger is good without it. Now I load it up with veggies instead.. lettuce, tomato, pickles, peppers. I don’t miss the cheese at all. It’s just not necessary.
  2. I’m a picker. I mean seriously, if I’m sitting at a table and there is food in front of me I’m eating it. It’s as simple as that. So to help curb the mindless fry munching I learned to order just enough fries so I can finish them and not feel like a slug afterwards. When the fries are gone they’re gone and there is nothing left to munch. So we get one order for the 3 of us and it’s always perfect. No waste and no overindulging.
  3. WATER. I only drink water when I go out. For starters it’s cheaper. Just ask for a courtesy cup and you’re are good to go. Second, it’s calorie free. You can give me all the crap you want about water not tasting good. It’s flavorless. you don’t like it. Yada yada but I’m here to tell you it’s an acquired taste just like everything else. How many people liked coffee or beer the first time they took a sip. Now how many "can’t live without it." Well, let me tell you, I can’t live without water. I’ve made it a habit. Sure, I could go for diet soda if I want a calorie free option (that’s an acquired taste too) but I don’t want all that crap in my body. That’s just my personal thoughts on the matter. I’m now stepping down from the soap box. :)

So my Five Guys greasy burger meal is still a Five Guys greasy burger meal but instead of your average 1,460 calories (34WWP) (based on what I used to order: Regular cheese burger and regular fry for me alone) I only consumed about 790 (19WWP) by making a few small changes.

Not too shabby huh?

So next time you are about to freak-out about going out, don’t. Little things make big differences. Simply make the best choices you can and go on your merry way. It’s really not that big of a deal.

I’m pretty sure this is what everyone means then they say "lifestyle." This isn’t something I do because I’m trying to lose weight this is just what I do now.

Does anyone have any other strategies they’d like to share when going out? I should compose a list of all my tricks. I have tons!

Note: I have no relationship with Five Guys. I used nutritional information from their web site to calculate that calories.



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Discussion

There are 48 comments so far.

    Runeatrepeat

    February 17, 2010

    I always get sandwiches dry (no mayo) and ask for dressing on the side.

    Jackie

    February 18, 2010

    They have veggie sandwiches there too! It’s not perfect (just all the veggies on a bun with optional cheese) but an alternative if you wanted. But their fries, ahh well fries are my trigger food!

    the other amanda

    February 18, 2010

    Don’t they have hot dogs too? We’ve eaten there once and it made me so sick, I cringe when I see the place(they just opened one up in San Antonio). I knew exactly what you were talking about before I even read the entire post!

    the other amanda

    February 18, 2010

    Oh yes, and My trick I wish I could stand by: Say NO to free bread… Man, I love carbs.

    Reinaldo

    February 18, 2010

    Well, you have to deal with this kind of situation from time to time. For me, I always take the top part of the bun off. It’s just to much white bread, and if I dont take it off I feel really bleh after eating it. That, and my stomach has shrinked since I’m eating normally (not healthy, not dieting, just eating NORMALLY. For me its the way anyone should eat, but for others they call it *healthy eating*. Go figure).

    Mayo, I dont like if its not the light mayo kind. Another example of an acquired taste. Now if a have a coke, it’s the zero cal kind of coke, and regulkar coke just taste… not sugary enough. Like someone took my light coke and add water to it. Same with mayo, the regular, real mayo doesnt taste as good as the light kind. Again, go figure.

    Whenever I’m in this kind of situation (fast food, no salads, all the red alarms go off, run for your life!) I do this: take half of the white bread off. I actually need this to not feel like puking after the *fest*. Eliminate mayo and cheese, and cover EVERYTHING on mustard. And share the fries. Eat slowly, drink a lot of non-calorie drinks (water, light soda, you name it) and remember you can always get home afterwards and finish your meal with a real dessert (a piece of fruit or two that wont make you sick after the fest has ended)

    Katie Johnson

    February 18, 2010

    “….You can give me all the crap you want about water not tasting good. It’s flavorless. you don’t like it.” Cracked me up! Neat post explaining how to do less damage when you’re out to dinner. I’m going to Mexico for a week with my husband’s whole family at the end of Feb. and most meals will be eaten out. I’m going to learn from this post!

    Reinaldo

    February 18, 2010

    Oh and i think you meant “I’m NOT a picker” right there in point number two.

    goodreader

    February 18, 2010

    Roni,

    Another helpful and motivating post. I’m in my 20’s and living on my own, and although there are pros and cons to living alone, as there are pros and cons to everything, sometimes it seems much more difficult to watch my portion sizes. When I was living with my parents, I could at least have shared with them, but now that I have everything in front of me and only me, I find it tempting to just clear all the food away (by of course gobbling it all up)! Your post reminded me that once again, I have choices, and I can make little changes that make a difference. Thank you for the inspiration. Keep up the good work! :)

    shauna/dg

    February 18, 2010

    Love your strategising Roni :) You get to have your fix without all the remorse!

    Tammy

    February 18, 2010

    Good post and a great reminder that you CAN make healthy choices wherever you go! We don’t eat out often in our family. When WE do eat out, darned if I’m going to eat a veggie sandwich when the best burger in town is before me! LOL That’s absolutely no fun and looks quite pitiful to me, unless you ARE a vegetarian and/or REALLY love those veggie sandwiches! Not me. But, yes, as you say, you can eat the best burger in town and just leave off all the fat extras. Eating out is a treat and a break for me and I am not going to settle for some bland, plate of veggies that I could have fixed far more flavorful at home anyway!
    Like you, once my meal is done, I will “pick” at anything that sits before me unfinished. Totally unconcious that I’m doing it! So, even at home, I’ve learned to “plate” our food at the counter. If anybody wants seconds, they can get up and refill the plate. Even the teens won’t get up for a refill. Too much work! LOL

    leah

    February 18, 2010

    I love Five Guys.!!!! The fries are amazing! Thanks for the pointers, I’ve been avoiding burger joints , perhaps I can brave Five Guys again? It wil require a lot of Willpower

    Melanie

    February 18, 2010

    Roni – what a great post! I had to stop my husband dead in his tracks and read the entire post to him. He actually took the time to listen to every word and said “there you go” when I finished. That was his way of encouraging me in not fretting so much about living with this “lifestyle” way of eating. I could not totally agree more! I too love some 5 Guys, but now will always think of ways to cut back more when I eat there thanks to you!!

    Michelle Wanamaker

    February 18, 2010

    Fast food is harder but at a regular restaraunt I will order all veggies as a side even if they want to give me chips. And dressing on the side of course.

    WEIGHTWATCHER MAMA

    February 18, 2010

    your will power is inspiring! NICELY DONE!

    Kim

    February 18, 2010

    I LOVE 5 Guys!!! Always get the “little” hambuger (no cheese) with lots of veggies and the three of us split the regular fries. What kills me there is that our 5 Guys has boxes of peanuts all over the place…peanuts in the shell are a weakness for me – I “try” to keep it to a small handful!

    McLauren84

    February 18, 2010

    Wow, I forgot how much I love Five Guys. And now I want some. Thanks a lot, Roni! JK :)

    Brandi

    February 18, 2010

    Chipotle is my current going out adventure. I LOVE chipotle. Always have.

    I have made some slow progressions to make it into a meal I can feel alright about.

    1) I order the burrito bol not the burrito. Who needs the extra carbs/calories from a tortilla? PLUS it’s a lot less messy!

    2) I ask for a little less rice and a little more beans. Less of an empty filler and more of a healthy carb/protein

    3) I ALWAYS get chicken. It’s a staple. I’ve never even thought about trying the pork or the steak

    4) No to the sour cream. Yes, but ‘just a little’ to the cheese. (I really like cheese…).

    5) I get the mild & the corn salsa so that I can get the added veggie AND it adds more volume to the serving so I don’t feel gipped about the rice and sour cream

    6) Lots of lettuce

    AND every once in awhile, if I’m going to splurge money and calorie wise I will go with the guacamole. It’s a treat :)

    roni

    February 18, 2010

    Brandi – That’s EXACTLY what I do there too! lol Except I skip the rice and ask them to add a few of those grilled veggies they have. The are usually ok with it!

    Lauren @ Eater not a runner

    February 18, 2010

    Great post, I am so with you on the water! I never order anything else.

    Carolyn

    February 18, 2010

    At least if you’re going to splurge, it’s on the good stuff, not McDonalds! ;)

    WaistingTime

    February 18, 2010

    Cute title. My DH and sons like 5 guys a lot. But they go without me. Seems that there are so many of these hamburger places cropping up now.

    I just want to say…WAY TO GO! I know the 5 Guys…I went there once. I had the “All the fat and calories you can eat and then some” value combo. It was the night before my first 5k. Those 5 guys stayed right in my gut for that entire run. :)

    Amanda

    February 18, 2010

    This entry really epitomizes what I have been seeing for the first time. How CHOICES make a difference. Now if you really wanted the whole shebang you could have had it. And not had any extra points for the week. But with some modifications and thinking clearly you were able to take it back to reality. And still have points for the week.

    Love it. I don’t have many tips for eating out. We don’t do it often with a 4-year-old and 7-month-old. But I do try to check out the website for calories ahead of time. That always helps me feel prepared.

    Melissa

    February 18, 2010

    We go to 5 Guys about once a month (LOVE IT) and I do the same things you do–Little Hamburger, no cheese, share the regular fries with the family. Water, no peanutes LOL
    We tend to go to 5 Guys only after a big workout so it feels partly OK.

    Paula

    February 18, 2010

    I order dressing on the side, and then dip my fork in it before diving into the salad…you use ALOT less dressing. Also, for goodreader, if I make food that my family won’t be sharing, I get out the tupperware, if the recipe says, ‘serves 4’ I serve myself and fill up three tupperware dishes. Keeps me from eating more than one serving.

    Sheila

    February 18, 2010

    I am in the same boat. When I ask my DBF where he would like to go, it’s either Five Guys or Popeyes Chicken. We do the same thing and only order a regular fry between use. He eats the majority of them. Also, I only get mustard on my sandwich along with the let, tom, onions and peppers. However, when I get that burger home, I trade the hamburger bun for a whole wheat arnold thin. This also saves points

    rebecca @ durch dick und duenn

    February 18, 2010

    i really dont have a lot to add that others havent mentioned but take Panera for example and their new NI chart..

    i love love love their BBQ Chix Salad, just by removing the tortilla strips, you save a buttload of calories. Honestly, I dont even realize I’m missing them!

    same goes by taking the mayo off of the turkey on country turkey sandwich..

    Nia

    February 18, 2010

    As always, great post Roni! Thanks for the great tips. I just have to remember to LET THE BF EAT MOST OF THE FRIES!!!

    Tami

    February 18, 2010

    I love how you handled your eating out situation. I try to look up the menu and nutritional information before eating out. I do the typical, order with sauces, dressing on the side. I ask for things to be made the way I like them, no cheese, no bacon and so on. I also eat slow, eat half of what I order and take the rest home.
    At the half way point I stop eating, put the fork down and wait for a few minutes to see if I am still hungry-most of the time I am not and I can get another meal out of my entree! I always order water to drink-don’t want to drink the artificial stuff in diet soda.

    Jody - Fit at 52

    February 18, 2010

    Great strategies! I am a weird one.. I just eat first or bring something with me if I don’t like the food at the place…. if they have veggies that are not butter laden, I go for those & have some protein before or after at home.

    This is just me. I know it is not what most people want to do but it works for me. My family & hubby are used to it too!

    Christie

    February 18, 2010

    When I got to 5 guys I get the little burger with A1, grilled peppers, mushrooms, and onions. I don’t order fries I just eat a few of my husband’s fries.

    Alison

    February 18, 2010

    Roni I love this advice. I’ve actually spent the last 2.5years doing WW and being afraid of restaurants, luncheons and invitations to home-cooked meals b/c I didn’t know the NI and wanted the “good stuff”.

    I love the approach of ordering something reasonable and working on your portion size to make it delicious and not tooo too high in calories :)

    I finally went to red robin last week to practice moderation. Yay!

    Courtney

    February 18, 2010

    I would love to hear any more tips and tricks you’re willing to share with us, Roni!

    roni

    February 18, 2010

    Planning post! :)

    Tiger G

    February 19, 2010

    1) I plan on what I’m going to eat before I get there. This can involve looking up the nutrition facts online first or having an idea of my usual food.
    2) I’m not against bringing my own food to a restaurant. If we’re eating Mexican, I bring a baggie of 15 baked tortilla chips. If I’m going to a hamburger place, I order without a bun and bring a 1 pt. bun. It helps that I carry a diaper bag to hide all my food. It may sound anal, but hey it totally works for me and I’m comfortable doing it.
    3) ASK FOR A BOX, ask for a box, ask for a box. They always give you more than you need, put the rest in a box right away. And then most of the time I’ll leave it behind because I know I will eat it in the car or at night as I’m rummaging the fridge.

    Noelle

    February 19, 2010

    I order oil and vinegar for my salad dressing, that way I can control how much I eat and I don’t get lots of sugar and the funky stuff that’s in dressing (most restaurants use commercial dressings that are mass produced and over processed). Also, with oil and vinegar you can taste the veggies, whereas salad dressing makes it a sweet slimy mess!

    Susan Marie Schoch

    February 19, 2010

    I love Five Guys but always get the veggie sandwich loaded with all the veggies and no cheese. Put a little A1 on it and who cares about the burger. Now the fries are another thing. They have great fries and always fill the container and then just enough in addition to make you wonder who alone could eat all the fries in a regular order. Always split the fries with my hubby.

    john

    February 19, 2010

    I’ve had good luck with asking for the server to just box up half before bringing the meal to the table. Never had anyone tell me they wouldn’t do it. The challenge is to not eat it right away when you get home…

    Alana @ Gray Matters

    February 19, 2010

    I’m thankful that restaurants are posting nutritional data on their sites now. My husband wanted California Tortilla today for lunch and I automatically said, “Are you crazy, I can’t eat there”. Well, I got on their website and looked up what I would’ve ordered before Weight Watchers – it wasn’t too terrible, but they had an option to make it lighter and it did – shaved off about 8 points by making small changes.

    Great post!

    Emme

    February 19, 2010

    I think someone mentioned the veggie burger. I love it because it is cooked on the same grill so you get all of the same great flavors. I try not to eat meat or cheese and I think their veggie burger is fab! I do the same at In and Out but Five Guys is better for the veggie burger.

    Deanna - The Unnatural Mother

    February 20, 2010

    Ohhh Post a list!! That would be great… I could use a few extra tips. I just try to look up the nutrition info before I head out, if I can’t I usually panic, and really try to go with broiled, baked, sauteed, grilled w/fish! I also ask for all extras on the side.

    Did you know that at McDonalds they put a glaze on the grilled chicken? I thought it was dressing one day, and they said nope it’s a glaze for the chix, I sent it back and asked for one wiht no glaze, figured it had to save at least 20 calories, plus I felt empowered!!

    Deanna - The Unnatural Mother

    February 20, 2010

    Ohhh Post a list!! That would be great… I could use a few extra tips. I just try to look up the nutrition info before I head out, if I can’t I usually panic, and really try to go with broiled, baked, sauteed, grilled w/fish! I also ask for all extras on the side.

    Did you know that at McDonalds they put a glaze on the grilled chicken southwest salad? I thought it was dressing one day, and they said nope it’s a glaze for the chix, I sent it back and asked for one wiht no glaze, figured it had to save at least 20 calories, plus I felt empowered!!

    Mehgann

    February 20, 2010

    I used to be a soda addict. I tried diet, but never liked the taste. I thought I would never kick it…that I would just have to plan for the extra 3 points every day. Well, a couple months ago, I just stopped completely, and switched almost exclusively to water!!! I’ll have the occasional raspberry iced tea, but it isn’t the trigger that soda used to be for me. I actually had my first soda since Christmas today, and it made me feel gross. Isn’t it odd how habits like that can change so completely?

    roni

    February 21, 2010

    Yup! Now if I can only convince my husband!! :)

    Courtney

    February 21, 2010

    I freakin love Five Guys. It’s new out here, and my DH and I love it. Good burgers, better fries. Mmmm. Good to know the point count. I haven’t looked it up yet :D But it’s totally worth it now and then.

    Christine

    February 21, 2010

    I am a true diet coke addict and quit it cold turkey, I have unsweetened iced tea occaisionally or mix up a huge pitcher of water thts had lemon slices, cucumber slices and mint sitting overnight…VERY satisfying. You can switch it up with different citrus,etc as well. My fav tip ever, the salad dressing on the side, dip the fork into it trick. When Ive done five guys, I also take off half the bread and have just a few fries and a handful of their shell peanuts instead.

    All Women Stalker

    February 23, 2010

    When I eat out, I try to avoid fast foods. I try to stick to slow food places and look for healthy dishes. I’m sure some of these healthy dishes are still calorie loaded but it beats the greasy fast food menu.

    Chloe Davis

    November 18, 2014

    I’m actually sooo so glad I found this post. We’ve just had a Five Guys open in Bristol and I’ve wanted to go so so bad but since starting WW last week and using 20pp of my weeklies on a start of the week treat, I didn’t think it would be possible but you have given me hope! Thanks for the awesome post x