I am a huge proponent of eating in moderation. I don’t believe in denying yourself foods that you love. My favorite food is cheesecake. Do I eat cheesecake all the time? No. I have cheesecake maybe twice a year but I make sure the really enjoy it when I do have it.

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I believe denying yourself of foods you love lead to binge eating. If you want something, have it but don’t go overboard. If you are at a birthday celebration have a small slice of cake, don’t eat a piece the size of your head. Is it your birthday? Or Christmas? Enjoy yourself. Eat what you want and get back on track the next day.

Now, eating out can fill you up on calories but you can fit eating out into your goals. I eat out several times a week. I eat fast food too. Too much food causes obesity, not fast food. If you like fast food, why not enjoy it? It always helps to plan ahead. If I know I am going out to eat I might eat less at breakfast or lunch or even the day before or after. I might get an extra workout in. Or I might just plan my meal around how many calories I have left. There is so much you can do to negate a meal out.

I have lost over 30 pounds by eating whatever I want, as long as it fit in my calorie goal. I believe it is important to know what your calorie goal is and to track what you eat. I will cover figuring out your calorie goal in next Friday’s column,

Now, there may be some people who struggle with sugar addiction. Personally, I do not have this issue but I know a few people who say if they have sugar (added, not like in fruit) they cannot stop. I don’t know if this is an addiction issue or more of along the lines of a binge eating problem. They are starting to do studies on sugar as an addiction and I can see where this may come in play. If you aren’t someone with this addiction then you should have no problem eating whatever you want within your calories.

Examples of what I eat:

Saturday I went to Dunkin Donut and had a brown sugar and cinnamon latte (180 calories) along with a cookie dough donut (380 calories). I stayed under my calorie goal and reached my protein goal of 100g. I had a protein smoothie for breakfast, pizza dip for lunch, a cliff bar after my workout, fish & sweet potato for dinner and trail mix for dessert. I ate fairly healthy for breakfast and dinner plus got to have some treats.

Last Friday night I went to In & Out. I got a double double meal but got it protein style. I saved a ton of calories just by cutting out the bun, plus I eat too many carbs as is so forgoing a bun doesn’t bother me. A lot of places are using lettuce wraps instead of buns or tortillas. It is a great way to save calories. When this trend first started I was not a fan but after trying it out I really like it. The lettuce is so refreshing and I don’t feel so lethargic afterward.

Besides In & Out lettuce wraps are also available at Carl’s Jr and Jimmy John’s. I also enjoy the double chicken chopped salad at Subway. It’s basically a foot long on spinach instead of bread. The way I make it the salad comes to about 350 calories with 40g of protein. It keeps me full for quite some time. I don’t need an afternoon snack if I eat this salad.

Sometimes you can make adjustments while eating out and still satisfy the craving. If you are trying to lose weight I highly recommend not cutting out any foods or food groups. I believe you can lose weight while eating whatever you want. Plus then when you reach your goal weight your diet won’t change. If you cut out carbs, lose weight and then try to add carbs back in you will more than likely gain weight back. If you just limit your intake while losing weight you are more likely to keep the weight off. Remember, your diet is something you should be able to maintain for the rest of your life. If you can’t sustain never eating out you shouldn’t cut out restaurants while trying to lose weight. It is just not realistic.


Jenna Volden has a degree in business and has spent the last 10 plus years working for others. She believes it is time to start her own photography and writing business. She enjoys running, coffee and helping others achieve their goals. Gluten-free foods are a lifestyle, not a choice, for her due to celiac disease. She is currently based in Phoenix, Arizona.