I can't even wait a day before continuing, because looking back on all i've learned is so exciting and encouraging to me. Looking back is an excellent Mercury-retrograde activity.... ;-)
Since the beginning of the year, when i've been at home and doing the cooking i haven't failed to lose weight, and when i've been eating out a lot, i haven't failed to gain. It's that simple. Because i know what the pitfalls are, i haven't gained MUCH, and i haven't failed to lose it again, but it just goes to show you what happens when other people are in charge of the kitchen.
Other people's condiments are full of industrial-seed oil, sugar, texture- and flavor-enhancers (like carrageenan, guar gum, MSG, etc), preservatives (which may or may not be a problem), artificial colors (which sensitive people find problematic), and so on. Other people don't properly nixtamalize corn, ferment grains and legumes, soak nuts and seeds -- in other words, they take shortcuts that ruin potentially-nourishing substances. Other people believe advertising propaganda, and think grain-fiber is a good thing, and that metabolic poisons are "a good part of this balanced diet." Other people don't realize that anti-meat "information" is frequently from veg*an sources.
Yes, you can eat out. You can eat out a McDonald's, for heaven's sake, and not ruin your health. What you CAN'T do is make any assumptions about what you're getting. The "best" Italian restaurants are known to use artificial "olive oil." Almost any restaurant steak is going to be seasoned with things you really don't want to consume. The first thing i look for in an omelette is, whether the egg is homogenous or streaky with white and yolk -- if you have doubts, it's best to order the eggs fried rather than scrambled, because GOK what might be in there.
So, when i was in Texas in Jan/Feb and again in May/June, when i was in San Francisco a week in each the spring and summer, and when i had houseguests for a week in April, i did a LO-O-O-O-O-OT of eating out, and it totally screwed my weight goals. Most of the time, i tried to eat according to what i know is best for me, but on about a half-dozen occasions (single meals, that is) i completely FEASTED. The thing i've learned from feasting is, though, to FAST afterward, for a meal or a day. When i'd get home again each time, especially when my husband was still out-of-town, i'd get right back on my VLC diet and/or the Strong Medicine protocol, and i'd be back to normal within days. I've gained and lost the same five pounds, four or five times, but i'm about eight pounds down from the first of the year. Twelve to go.
And rather than thinking it a privation to go back on my "diet," i resume my eating pattern with RELIEF. I just don't feel good when i'm eating like other people do. When i eat my 100 grams each of animal protein and fat per day, i don't feel hungry and food-obsessed, and my brain works, and i hurt less, and i'm HAPPY. I don't like to snack anymore, even though the thought of cocktails and antipasti STILL has allure. I still enjoy some junkfood, but i know it comes with a price i don't like to pay.
I have a lot of sympathy for people who haven't found the "formula" that works to tame their appetites and control their intake for maximal comfort. Until i tweaked the Strong Medicine and my supplement list to "fit" me, i did a LOT more thinking about food with longing!* Now i tell myself, "You're perfectly satisfied, and you feel great on these foods -- you're losing weight with no hunger. Don't even think about luscious foods you're not allowing yourself RIGHT NOW -- you'll have them later. Meanwhile, make progress while there are no distractions!" And i AM! :-D
* I also did a lot more planning, shopping and cooking; a lot more SPENDING of money and time. I love the change.