For those who weren’t aware, for the past 20 days I have given up eating at restaurants for the Tshirts & Twine Jump off the Ladder Challenge. I won’t lie, initially it was pretty rough. I definitely had intense sushi cravings, and there were nights when nothing in the fridge looked appealing and I wanted so badly to cruise down the hill and indulge in an Indian buffet. But I didn’t. I stuck with it, I brought lunch to work, and I scraped together meals with what I had at home. Initially, I knew I would probably save a little bit of money from cutting out restaurants, but I gained so much more from the experience that I never expected.
- I lost two pounds. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but I am a very very small person. Two pounds is like 2% of my body weight. From a calorie and portion perspective, restaurant food and home cooked meals are not created equal. I was eating smaller portions of more wholesome food and without making any other lifestyle changes I overcame the weight plateau I’ve been at for months.
- I paid off my credit card. Since I wasn’t adding a bunch of restaurant bills to my balance, and I wasn’t spending money on more expensive restaurant food, I was able to pay the full balance of my credit card. This a feat I had not achieved in nearly a year.
- Grocery shopping became less stressful. Rather than a big Costco run every month, then relying on restaurants to fill the gap until the next Costco run, we mixed up our shopping habits. Tristan and I had adventures at Sprouts, peacefully browsing the aisles for things we needed for certain recipes rather than trying to battle the herds at Costco while maneuvering an oversize shopping cart. Also we were spending like $400 a go at Costco since everything there is HUGE.
- I learned new recipes and taught Tristan my favorite recipes so we can cook as a team. I even started a blog to catalog and share the recipes I love.
- Eating in has now become a habit. Initially, I was reaching for pre-prepared meals and cans of soup as a substitute for restaurants when I didn’t feel like cooking. Slowly that adjusted to cooking simple meals, then more complex meals in large enough quantities to take leftovers for lunch. And when I look in the fridge, I no longer find what is in there unappealing. I can always find something good to eat. Rather than going out as my go-to reaction to lunch or dinner, I think about what’s in the fridge instead!
So at the end of this challenge, I plan on permanently reducing the nights spent eating out to a few times a month. It’s been so beneficial I couldn’t even imagine going back to 4-5 days a week that I was at before.