About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dining Out... Why?

I was over at Candi’s Blog reading about how she has a problem with going out to eat and her story really struck a chord with me. As you all know I’ve been struggling over the last 20 or so days and one thing I will say is that I’ve started going out to eat pretty regularly again. Surprisingly, I never really thought about “why” until today. To give you some perspective on how addicted I am to dining out, last year I spent roughly $8000 on dining out. That’s a little more than $150 each and every week. Last year was the first year my wife and I started tracking that information and the final number actually made me sick to my stomach.

For years I’ve been telling myself that taking my wife and kids out to eat was a great way to give my wife (stay-at-home mom) a break from her daily grind. After giving it some thought, I now believe that to just be an excuse to go out, the real reason is just a little bit less altruistic…

Like Candi, I was part of a single parent family that did not have much money. When I went to college it took me 6 years to get my engineering degree because I had to work nearly full time to pay my way through. When I got my first job, it was like hitting the lottery! As you can expect, Engineers make pretty good money and I was not prepared to handle my new salary. For 2 years my wife and I went on a spending spree buying anything and everything that represented the “status” of having money. I wanted to show the world that I was not poor even if it meant spending more than I made. We bought new “loaded” cars and clothes and expensive furniture. After the first year we moved to Greensboro NC and that just opened up the door to even more spending on a fancy apartment in a gated community, big screen TVs, trips, and yes, going out to all the restaurants the south has to offer.

Now fortunately for me, this story doesn’t end with me going bankrupt. After those first few years, my wife and I both realized that money and status weren’t really making us happy and instead we chose to start living a life within our means and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought. 3 years later we had paid off our debts and were in the process of starting our wonderful family.

So what does this all have to do with going out to eat you might ask? Well to be honest, living a life where you truly don’t care what others think is much easier to say than to do. I’m starting to believe that my dining out is still my way of showing my family, friends, and complete strangers, that I can afford to do so. I think it’s a status thing for me; why cook my own food when I can pay someone else to do it for me and my family. As I write this it sounds absolutely terrible to me, but at the same time it feels true.

There have been times when I have taken my family out to eat for every single meal through the weekend! I’m not exaggerating, we’ve done this multiple times. What’s amazing is that there have been times when nothing sounds appealing to go out for and so we just drive around until we come across a restaurant that we are “willing” to go into. Chinese? No, had that yesterday. Mexican? not really feeling it. Burgers? Well I guess so since nothing else sounds appealing. Does this sound like the behavior of a normal person?

Dining out should be a special event, not a normal way of life and if I’m not going for the food but rather to show people that “I can”, then what’s the point? What’s even more ironic is that you would expect that if I’m going out to eat all the time because of status that I would be going to only the “expensive” places. You would be wrong… with 3 kids in tow we actually end up at a lot of the “Kid Friendly” places that typically have mediocre food at reasonable prices. How’s that for status?

I don’t have the solution to my problem, this is one of those self-realization posts where you don’t really fix anything, you just realize you are doing something wrong. I’m open to any comments about this or if anyone has a similar experience I would love to hear about it.

Oh yeah, and thanks to Candi for getting me thinking about this! Go check out her blog HERE.


  1. I would find it almost impossible to eat every meal out and not gain weight. I still remember moving to Dover, Delaware when my kids were little and living in the Holiday Inn for two full weeks. We ate every meal out. We were not careful in our choices either and I gained ten solid pounds that stayed with me for the next three years. I don't want to ever repeat that. :)

  2. This is EXACTLY how I feel most times. I actually worry that when I graduate from school & start nursing that I'm going to go crazy with eating out now that I am "able" to!! It scares me to think about. I am MUCH more responsible when I don't have the money to blow....I guess that's a different problem that we both have to deal with. Great post & thanks for the reference to my blog :)

  3. Good analysis. I think most of us don't even realise why we do the things we do.

  4. Great to go through so much inner discovery that has led to such great self-realization. I just got back from a 4 day, 9 meals in restaurants vacation, and managed to lose a pound. 2 meals a day, and virtually no grains was the key to my success. But it's not easy to do for most. Good luck on working this out!

  5. I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking your family out every weekend for dinner. As long as it’s within your budget and that you still get to keep some of your income as savings, then, why not? My father does the same for the family. Every Sunday, he’d take us out for lunch at our favorite diner, while my mom would cook meatballs and spaghetti on Saturdays. It’s become a tradition, as a matter of fact, since we’ve been doing the same things for the last 20 years.

    Eustolia Nitta