THE BLOG
10/08/2010 10:48 pm ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Priceless

I love a good salad bar. Ruby Tuesdays is one of my favorite places to eat out - because of their awesome salad bar. (Though they also have a 980 calorie Veggie Burger - but that's a story for another blog.) Actually, it's because of this feature that my family ends up here more often than not on the occasions when we do eat out. Right now I'm on a five day writing sabbatical and directly across from our hotel is - you guessed it - a Ruby Tuesdays.

I really enjoy being able to pick out whatever I want. Being able to eat a LOT of food and still staying OP (on program) keeps me from feeling deprived.

As most of you know, salad bars can be extremely healthy and a great way to get more for less. But as most of you also know, they can be more fat and calories than eating fast food! (Check out my Salad Bar Cheat Sheet before heading to your next salad bar experience). Part of the problem with a salad bar is that, well, it's really a buffet. The term "unlimited" applies - like a written invitation for seconds and thirds.

I normally have a second helping of salad (two huge ones!). It's almost all lettuce for under 30 calories, with a few perfectly positioned "free" vegetables perfectly arranged around it, topped with a two tablespoon ladle of light ranch dressing. The calories are in line with my program, but I sure feel like a pig walking back to my table. I almost want to whisper to anyone looking at my salad, "There's no pasta or croutons or cheese ... really!"

The truth is, many times I really only need one trip. But I CAN HAVE two, so I often do. Well, last night I choose one.

This was a really big deal for me. I go there all the time. I've never had ONE before.
And though it wasn't easy, it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. As I was sitting across from Mark, there were a few times when I thought, "I CAN have more." But as my stomach settled and I thought about how full I really was, I felt better and better about my decision. The rest of the evening I focused on our conversation and the calling of the lovely salad bar dimmed.

And you know what? When we left I felt amazing.

My "stomach" hadn't missed the extra salad ... AND my "head" had needed the victory. The calorie difference was minimal. The strength that I got by walking away from the second salad was HUGE.

IN THE WORDS OF MASTERCARD
Salad Bar ... $7.95
Diet Coke ... $1.95
Victory in walking away ... priceless.

IT'S NOT ALWAYS HOW MUCH WE CAN EAT,
SOMETIMES IT'S HOW LITTLE WE CAN EAT AND BE SATISFIED.