I asked Perrine how much people should worry about the amount they eat out, and he replied, almost mocking me. “Why would you worry about eating? No one worries about eating. Squirrels don’t go around going, ‘Oh man, I’m having too many nuts.’”

Perrine understands people enjoy restaurants, so he just had to figure out, as he told me, “what were some ways that we could put together meals at these places that made sense, where you hit the numbers that you need to hit.”

In most cases, protein is not the problem — order a Big Mac or a Crispy Colonel Sandwich. It’s the fiber that can be hard to find. Perrine has an easy solution: Slip an apple in your bag, and you are good to go.

Adventures in eating out

A month into the diet, my wife and I journeyed out for date night. We decided to keep it low key: Arby’s — fast food at its finest. Eating out still felt naughty … and exciting. To be safe, I ordered from the restaurant chapter in the book: Roast buffalo chicken, snack-size curly fries and a side salad, for 32 grams of protein, 7 grams of fiber, 680 calories. I didn’t use dressing because that felt too illegal.

The next week, my wife and I snuck off mid-day and hit up Cracker Barrel, where I ordered (still from the book) way too much food. The Cracker Barrel Country Boy Breakfast includes three eggs, fried apples, hash browns, grits and a sirloin steak: 76 grams of protein, 9 grams of fiber and 660 calories. I forced myself to eat everything, not realizing I could have just chowed down the steak and sampled everything else. Still, my time out with my wife was delicious.

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