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For those of you who come here for the my (supposed) main blog, Regardless, I apologize for the complete lack of real posts. I’ve been in a complete funk when it comes to my writing, so I have pretty much neglected that area of my blog. Hopefully, I’ll get out of the funk soon.

Anyhoo, I actually wanted to write this post (so badly that I’m ignoring this terrible, nauseating headache at almost 1AM to post it) to expand a bit on my biggest tip for weight loss success: having an action plan.

Ok, let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are, you’re going to find yourself in a position where you’re bound to have to make an on-the-spot decision about lunch. It could be as innocent as a friend inviting you out for lunch during your break.

But, Lissa, I pack a lunch so that isn’t a problem.

What if you have one of those bad days where you rush out the door (late, of course) and forget to grab your lunch? What another coworker decides to steal your lunch out of the break room fridge?

For some people, these last minute, unplanned meals out might be more frequent than others. I tend to have quite a few of these moments. Church nights are the worst. I often know where I’m going out to eat for dinner (a late dinner at that… well, late for most people. I tend to eat fairly late on average anyway) within 15 minutes of actually getting to the restaurant. On non-church nights, the situation is often the same. Alex (my best friend) and I often decide where we’re going to eat as we aimlessly drive down the highway.

To be perfectly honest, however, this kind of lifestyle suits me because I know how to handle it.

I know my “safe” options.

Now, the last thing you want to do at an impromptu dinner out is hold up everyone as you search through a slow-loading, teeny-tiny, page of nutritional information trying to figure out your best option. Not is it only going to annoy everyone, but you’re bound to get several comments on your “diet.”

However, I’ve learned that (for the most part), I tend to go to the same several places. There are some chains (Ruby Tuesday, Qdoba, Applebees, IHOP, Red Mango, Pinkberry, Smashburger, Atlanta Bread, Panera, Starbucks, etc.) that I tend to go to regularly. Those chain restaurants are typically alternated with a few basic cuisines: primarily Chinese food and diner food (although Thai and Japanese food are occasional options as well).

So, I went online. Since I’m on Weight Watchers, I went ahead and calculated the Points values for the different foods at various restaurants that I think look good (healthy or not). You can make any note you want for your own lists: calories/fat/fiber/protein/carbs are all good options. If you really want to make it simple, just make a list of the healthiest options available at your local favorites.

Then, print out your list, fold it up, and tuck it in in your car. Next time someone suggests you meet up for a last-minute meal out, you can peek at the list to figure out your best option.

If all else fails (say you didn’t prepare for a specific restaurant), keep to a lean protein, lots of veggies (steamed or raw… no oil needed), light salad dressings (on the SIDE), and keep anything fried or with white carbs to a minimum. However, by preparing for just about every other restaurant in town, you should be able to make an educated decision about your meal.

(Of course, you should definitely jot down your meal [take a picture with your Smartphone if it’s easier] and look up the nutritional information to double check how you did on your own. You might as well make a learning experience out of it.)