Monday, July 16, 2012

How To Lose Weight Eating Fast Food

Fast foods are certainly a fact of life. Sometimes we're in a hurry and the drive-thru window is our only option. And of course, we love the taste of our favorite burger joint meals!
Every chain restaurant has their own website, detailing all the nutritionals for each menu item. But that can be quite difficult to plow through while we're sitting in the drive-thru lane. So I've come up with a few easy steps to help you plan meals that are fast, tasty, and low enough in calories to help you actually lose weight:                                                                                                                               

STEP 1:  Make a list of your top 3 or 4 fast food restaurants.     
STEP 2:  Go to their website to get started. (It's important to go to the company website, and not another site that lists calorie content of foods.  Other sites have information entered by  helpful dieters that are often incorrect.)
STEP 3:  Decide what information is most important to you. Calories are likely to be your priority. You may also be watching your fat, carbs, or sodium. These can all be very high, even when calories are not.
STEP 4: Make note of the menu items you are most likely to order. If you don't like chicken salad, it's not worth your time to see that this item is low in fat and calories. Unless you would actually choose an item solely based on the fact that it's low-cal, look at the sandwiches, wraps and salads you are most likely to eat. You will get both pleasant surprises and extreme shocks when you see the actual calorie levels. Amazingly, you will find that you can save hundreds of calories in some cases by ordering a hamburger and fries, instead of what you thought was a healthy fish sandwich! Some of the chicken sandwiches have over 700 calories because they are fried, made with cheese, topped with sauces, and in some cases even have their buns buttered. This is information you have no way of knowing until you look at the website from the fast food chain that gives you this information.
STEP 5: Make your menus. Once you find the lower cal (or low fat/carb/sodium) choices, build a few meals. I suggest printing them each on an index card that will be easy to carry in your purse or your glove compartment. You don't have to remember anything except the note cards: when you drive up to the window, you'll have all the information you need. You'll know what sandwich or salad to order, what you can have with it, what to order it without (such as mayonnaise) and how many calories you're getting, all from your handy notes.
Remember the 100 Calorie Tip: For every hundred calories you save on your lunch, you can lose a pound at the end of this month. I know it doesn't sound like much, but you can easily save 400 calories a day from your new smart fast food choices. This is going to make a four pound deficit this month without going on a diet or being hungry.  That means eating smart will bring a 36 pound weight loss by this time next year, simply by taking an hour this weekend to write out your smart fast food choices. Who wouldn't want to lose that?!

1 comment:

Shelby Blanchard Stogner said...

This is really brilliant advice! With a two-week-old infant at home, I don't always have the time or energy to cook, and it's often easier to ask my husband to pick up some fast food on his way home from work. A little planning will make me feel a lot less guilty about this, so I can take care of my health and still focus on my son. Thanks for the great post!