Yes! You can enjoy restaurant cuisine and special occasions

and not wreck your plan!

Go have fun! Follow our 7 Tips.

A letter from

Weight Watchers of Philadelphia, Deb Wright, General Manager

Dear WW Philadelphia Member,


Something that challenges many Members, even experienced Members, is eating out.


My first reminder to myself or any other Member is: every time we eat out it is NOT a special occasion. Sometimes it is just breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Sometimes it is for the convenience of not cooking or cleaning up, or just because….


I’ve met Members who eat out almost every meal of the week, it’s their lifestyle. Those Members are very successful with weight loss and maintenance. They’re eating a meal out, not celebrating a special event. They use the same portion control and use of ZeroPoint foods the rest of us use when eating at home.


Another tried and true tip for eating out, be the first one to order. This helps me by not hearing everyone else’s order and thinking, “Oh that sounds good” and changing my mind about making a sensible choice as I had initially planned.


Move the bread a little out of reach or if no one else is eating it, quietly ask the server to remove it from the table. There’s nothing wrong with bread. I love bread. That’s the problem...I love bread, and hitting the bread basket with copious amounts of butter or olive oil doesn’t usually fit into my daily Points target very well.


Sometimes portion sizes are the problem. Sharing a large portion with another person or ordering small plates instead of the larger entrée is a possible solution. Asking the kitchen to put half of the food in a box for you to take home for lunch or dinner the next day can be the way to combat the American-size portions we’re used to seeing on the plate.


Don't get me wrong–there are times when eating out is truly a special time. It’s a birthday, anniversary, or vacation. Those are the times to use your Points and Weekly Points. That’s what the Points are there for. Enjoy the cocktail/mocktail and dessert. Celebrating with food is a pleasure of life none of us should miss out on.


It doesn’t matter if you’ve just got started and lost your first 10 pounds of if you’ve been at this for what seems like forever and you’re maintaining a 70-pound weight loss, you have the tools and the skills you need.


With the ideas below and the extra tips you hear at your workshop this week, you’ll be successfully navigating the best restaurants in our area.


Have a delicious week WW friend,

1.Check online to know what’s on the menu before you get there

A successful dining out experience when you’re watching your weight begins with advanced preparation. Look at menus online before you go to find out what’s available; think about what you might order and see which meals you can order customized to fit your Points budget. For example, if you know there’s a dessert you’re dying to try, plan it in advance so you know to use weeklies or fit it into your daily budget –cut back during other parts of your meal. "If you’re famished, have a piece of fresh fruit before you leave for the restaurant, so you won’t end up overdoing it on the bread basket or choose a less healthy meal option when you arrive. “Don’t deprive yourself at home, and you won’t go overboard once you’re out,” Ruggiero says.

2.Look out! Here comes the bread basket!

“Request that your server not bring bread and butter or chips and salsa to the table. Instead, ask that they bring those items with your entrées,” says Kim Lyons, a former trainer on The Biggest Loser and the author of Your Body, Your Life. “Most people eat too much bread or too many chips before their meal, and even though they’re no longer hungry, they still eat the meal they ordered afterward.” If the bread is served with your entrée, you’ll be more likely to stick to one piece, and focus on enjoying your main meal.

3.Don’t forget about liquid calories (they add up quickly!)

Remember that even though moderate drinking can have health benefits, the empty calories in alcohol can add up quickly. Restaurants often supersize beverage servings, so instead of the official 5-ounce-serving glass of wine, which is 4 Points, you usually get twice that much,and there's 8 Points right off the bat ... without adding any food, yet!

“If you want to indulge, have a nice glass of wine or a skinny cocktail, such as vodka and a splash of juice or soda,” she says. “Remember that the portions in restaurants might be more generous than you would have at home, so sip it slowly and have water with your meal.” To really feel satisfied with just one drink, she advises trying something new and different, and focus on enjoying the experience, not downing a few of the same old drinks without thinking twice.

4.Beware of sneaky calories on salads and veggies

Salads and vegetables are healthy sides when prepared certain ways. But they can also be vehicles for loads of extra calories if they’re soaked in dressing or oils, deep-fried, or piled with cheese, croutons, and dried fruit. Toppings, mix-ins, and some cooking techniques can pack on fat, calories, and added sugar. Instead, don’t be afraid to customize a salad or side dish to make it healthier.

For salads, order dressing on the side to save calories, and skip croutons entirely. If you’re ordering vegetables, ask how they’re prepared and see if yours can be made with as little butter or oil as possible, Lyons suggests.

5.Opt for light entrées — and take notice of portion sizes

When ordering your main meal, go for fresh fish first! Remember all seafood has ZeroPoints; or lean meat, and avoid anything fried or sautéed, Ruggiero says. Although sautéed stir-fry may be a healthy option for you at home, in a restaurant, you have no control over how much high-calorie oil is used. She recommends choosing the top three dishes you would like and asking the waitstaff for recommendations on the lightest, healthiest option of the three.

One of Timmerman’s best tips: Box up half the meal to take home before you start eating. Multiple studies have confirmed that not only are restaurant-size portions constantly growing, but the bigger the portion size, the more likely you are to consume more of those calories, according to a report published in the November 2014 issue of the journal Advances in Nutrition.

“If you box it up and take it off the table, you’ll pace yourself based on the amount you have left,” Timmerman says. “Chances are, you’ll feel just as full by the end of the meal.” Timmerman also suggests avoiding “unloved” calories by skipping fattening foods you don’t really want and making small substitutions you’re not likely to notice, such as lean sirloin over a New York strip steak, black beans instead of refried beans, and steamed rice instead of fried rice.

6.Focus on quality over quantity — and be picky

“If your food doesn’t come out with dressing on the side or no breading like you ordered, send it back,” Lyons says.

Ruggiero recommends seeking a quality experience, whether that’s fresh produce, organic meat, or an interesting cocktail, rather than large-quantity portions when you’re dining out. Be sure and speak up and ask for what’s good for your diet. The goal is to leave any restaurant feeling satisfied, and not like you sabotaged a week’s worth of hard work at the gym.

“Remember, ‘diet’ doesn’t mean deprivation,” Ruggiero says. “You can go out and lose weight at any type of restaurant — Indian, Thai, Italian. The challenge is choosing the healthiest items.”

7.Don’t Let Your Sweet Tooth Be Your Downfall

If your sweet tooth always kicks in at the end of a meal, stick with lighter options or share a decadent treat with your dining companions. “Fruit with honey or cream or sorbet make luscious options,” Ruggiero says. “Remember to always ask about portion sizes before you order, so you can be sure to split a portion if they’re large.”

The same rule you used with the main course can go for dessert, too: If the restaurant serves massive slices of cheesecake or brownies, ask for a box when you order and take some home. Want an after-dinner coffee? Order lattes with nonfat milk, and always ask for nonfat milk to splash in your coffee instead of whole milk or cream. And if you eat out multiple nights a week, keep dessert to just one or two nights. Think of it as an occasional treat to look forward to, not a guaranteed end to every meal.

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