How to Order Well and Lose Weight

Even powerful women like you need to lose weight sometimes. We diet. We go to maintenance phase. We are working out. We look good, we feel good. But when we go out to eat, we eat things we would never bring in the house: bread, potatoes, dessert – just a bit here and there but here comes the poofy belly again.

Then going back to strict maintenance isn’t enough. It is time for another diet. Sigh.

When I saw the video from Ray’s 888 birthday party I knew I had to go on a diet.

When I need to lose weight, I eat lots of fish, tofu and veggies. High fiber, no sugar cereal with fresh ground flax seed, a small amount of fresh fruit and skim milk or light soy milk for breakfast. Fish or tofu with veggies and a small amount of brown rice for lunch. NO carbs for dinner, fish or tofu with veggies.

I prefer Zero tolerance on sugar. I find it easier to “just say no”. I can get vicarious pleasure from smelling my companion’s desserts. Leading up to this diet, I was sampling desserts and had developed a craving.

Every year that goes by, brings less wiggle room in what I can eat. And dieting takes longer. This time it took a full month for any weight loss to kick in.

Diets are harder for women. Usually, men have a higher percentage of lean muscle mass which makes it easier for most men to lose weight more quickly. Any diet and maintenance of weight must include very regular exercise. I try to get 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise every day and light weight training 2 or 3 times a week.

The issue of how to enjoy eating out without gaining weight came up in a discussion about the new Los Angeles restaurant CRAFT on SingularCity. It is possible to have a wonderful meal at CRAFT and other great restaurants without gaining weight simply by following my ordering guidelines:

How to Order Well:

Don’t Order List Key Menu Words:

Butter (butter sauce, cooked in butter)
Fried (the only exception is fried tofu)
Rice (with the exception of brown rice)
Bread (includes buns, sandwich bread, croutons and phylo wrappings)
White Potato
Sauce (caution for anything with the word sauce – ASK if it is heavy)
Dessert: except for fresh fruit, tell them you don’t need a dusting of sugar
Go easy on beans
Go easy on salad dressing

Do Choose These Menu Items List:

SMALL portions of white chicken, turkey or pork meat
Brown rice (small portions)
Yam (small portion, no butter, no maple syrup)
Fruit (not canned)
Olive Oil

During the diet phase, I keep alcoholic beverage consumption to once at most twice a week, keeping quantity to reasonable limits.
If you like tonic drinks, use diet tonic.
Drink lots of water.
Just forget about fruit juice, soda and any sugary drinks.

Especially if you are at a fine restaurant, your waiter should be able to assist you if you explain what you want to avoid. Be careful with fish advice. Fish oil is good for you. Don’t let the waiter steer you to a species of fish that is dry.

I have had several jobs in the food and beverage industry and learned how to order out of necessity.

Please let us know any ordering tricks you have learned.

Update: My follow-up to this article, back in shape, Take Responsibility for Your Fitness.

About Linda Sherman

International, multicultural marketing pro, Linda brings a distinguished background of international subsidiary CEO/CMO to her Social Marketing expertise. These include CEO Club Med Japan, Barilla Japan and CMO Wal-Mart Japan. Managing Editor, Boomer Tech Talk, she is passionate about senior services including senior health care and housing. Linda Sherman has been featured and quoted in Forbes, The New York Times, Christian Monitor and other leading publications. She devised and implemented an innovative guerrilla-marketing plan for ZIMA in Japan that produced a lasting, profitable success. Linda has hands-on technical skills in building and search optimizing WordPress websites and an influential on-line presence. Her company, The Courage Group, provides personal and start-up branding, digital film; social marketing strategy and training.

Connect with Linda Sherman on Twitter and Instagram @LindaSherman.


  1. Well said, Linda. I’d like to add one idea. How about only eating a portion of each course and taking the rest home for tomorrow’s lunch (or dinner). I find that works best for me.

  2. Order carefully, drink a lot of water, take half of it home in a box, and go easy on the salad dressing.

  3. Excellent advice. Often women eat as much as their men, not realizing what you explained above about gender difference. When I go out, I tend to go to good buffet restaurants – (they are fairly popular here in Australia) so there is always a lean and healthy selection as well as the “no go” zone.

    Rosie Peters’s last blog post..Eat Breakfast to Lose Waist Fat

  4. Cheese, corn, pasta and butter are all fine, in moderation. How about ordering and then leaving food on your plate when you feel full?

    GreenMtnFoxRun’s last blog post..Healthy Lifestyles: When Your Sweetie Doesn’t Sweat

  5. @rosie Yes, I think it is part of the marriage weight gain. In Japanese, they call it “shiawase buttori” or happy fat. But it’s easy to mistakenly cook for two and “split the meal”

    @Marsha (greenmtn)There is dieting and there is maintenance. In my opinion, the items you list do not belong in a weight loss program. Small amounts of corn and cheese could be OK during the maintenance phase following a successful diet. I find there is no need for butter or refined wheat in my diet at any time. Have you tried brown rice? It is very satisfying. You and I obviously have different nutritional philosophies. I do work with an accredited professional nutritionist. There are many different diet theories. If you are only counting calories you can keep your weight down but refined/processed foods are less healthy. If you work out enough you have a larger margin of error.

  6. Linda, if a person can eliminate foods without feeling deprived, then no problem (unless of course they’re foods that are essential for good health, which is generally categories of foods, not individual foods). We’ve found, however, over the 37+ years we’ve been working with women, that ‘forbidding’ foods often sets us up for overeating them at some point. If butter and refined wheat aren’t foods someone wants, clearly there’s no need for them in their eating plan. But rather than saying we ‘shouldn’t’ eat certain foods, our encouragement instead is to eat what we want, but be clear about our definition of ‘want,’ making sure that it includes how we feel as a result of eating certain foods. That sometimes takes work to understand and begin to clearly know when a food we eat doesn’t affect us well, but once we know it, we usually don’t want it anymore. That’s our combination of nutritional/behavioral philosophy, knowing that our beliefs and attitudes about what we eat has a major impact on our eating behaviors. The major difference, I guess, in our philosophies may be that we don’t think dieting works long term for most people. We try to help people eat in a way that consistently helps them stay within a range that is healthy for them, so they don’t have to ever diet.

    Marsha’s last blog post..Healthy Lifestyles: When Your Sweetie Doesn’t Sweat

  7. Marsha, I completely agree with the notion of modifying “wants”. I have though found it easier to “just say no” to sweets. I find that a little taste of this or that is a slippery slope whereas the more I don’t have it, the more I don’t miss it.

    In terms of dieting, of course it’s ideal to never need to but it’s also a good idea to keep an eye out to when it’s time for an adjustment. My husband and I have been healthy eaters and exercisers for many years but every year our bodies respond to some degree of aging and sometimes we get caught with the need for a weight loss back to normal maintenance eating.

    I agree with you that creating a sensitivity to eating what we healthily want is very important. My wants are really quite well toned. I have trained my body to “want to” exercise every day. But a sense of responsibility for my health and taking action when needed works for me too.

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