Applebees Please

I must say that Weight Watchers has made me incredibly cognizant when navigating the world of eating out. We have amassed many traditions as a society that bring us away from home at mealtimes and thus I welcome this new found awareness. For example, my family along with another hilarious family of four meet at Applebees every so often... Ten on the dot for some half price appetizers. I used to to think that this was the best promotion ever until I started watching more carefully my food intake. Let me introduce you to the former Francesca.

6:00 pm- Eat a complete and nourishing meal, maybe pasta or a steak. But definitely an entire meal. No skimping on dinner. I NEVER skimp.

8:00- I start conceiving of all the appetizers I can possibly consume without being rolled out on a stretcher of course. I have my sights set on the Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Boneless Buffalo Wings, and Potato Skins... Yes, all three.

9:45- Hop in the car and begin salivating.

9:55- Arrive and exchange pleasantries with our friends. Dilly-dally and order drinks until 10 pm. Then the party begins.

10:00- Among eight grown people, we order between 10 and 15 appetizers and share among ourselves. I eat all of mine and then polish off my sister's nachos. She never finishes them... Ever.

10:45- We are all pleasantly full but the conversation is roaring. Cracking jokes and laughing uncontrollably, it is a lovely evening. I am uncomfortably full but somewhere in the back of my mind, I gather that I have enough room for dessert. "I will have the Strawberry Shortcake Shooter please... or nah, on second thought I will have the Triple Chocolate Meltdown!"

11:00- Finish the entire dessert, even the assorted syrups that garnish the plate. We all talk more and eventually overstay our welcome. The family rolls on home and settles down to rest... pounds of food wreaking havoc on my tummy. Flavors that are not meant to coexist are happily cohabitating. I slip into a food coma of sleep and awake 8 hours later with a bit of discomfort. Despite the food child I am carrying, I opt for Chocolate Chip Pancakes with whipped cream for breakfast. Don't judge; it is my favorite breakfast even after a night of overeating.

The remarkable thing is I never bat an eyelash when ordering not one but three appetizers, after dinner nonetheless. And who could really resist that molten chocolate goodness. Don't lie; you know you want one as you read this!

Enter my healthy lifestyle of moderation... I decided to research the nutritional information for Applebees online so I would be more aware of calories and such. I think I may have lost a few years off my life when I saw just what I was eating. WARNING: Do not consult the nutritional information online if you enjoy Applebees! You will immediately go into cardiac arrest at the mere thought of how many calories you are consuming. It is off the scale my friends, and the dessert is an entirely different story! So now I am ready to enter the battlefield versus the temptation and the showdown begins.

Friday night we head to Applebees and luckily the woman who introduced me to Weight Watchers in the first place is in attendance. We vow to one another to prudently survey the illustrious under 550 calorie meal options and WW compatible menu items. I opted for grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, and some steamed vegetables. I had one to three bites of any appetizer I chose, but I savored each bite. No falling victim to impulsive tasting and I felt good!

Ok, truthfully it was TORTURE watching everyone else eat whatever they wanted. but that is the sacrifice we make to be healthy. A few minutes of pleasure is not worth the repercussion of feeling uncomfortable in your skin. My friend Chris saves me the last bite of his Sizzling Apple Pie and oh boy, did I let that taster linger as long as I humanly could. But it was a good evening and I made healthy choices; I think I won the battle but the war rages on!