The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight

The Restaurant Diet: How to Eat Out Every Night and Still Lose Weight


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Restaurant Diet Plan

The ultimate guide for people who want to dine out guilt-free! The Restaurant Diet, offers a diet plan that takes the pressure off of dieters who love to eat out. The Restaurant Diet is also a cookbook, featuring 125 mouthwatering recipes from 100 critically acclaimed restaurants from coast to coast, all with nutritional facts. In The Restaurant Diet, author Fred Bollaci, who lost 150 pounds (from 330):

  • Teaches readers how to read a menu
  • Explains how to ask important questions of the restaurant staff
  • Gives guidance on how to have food customized to your dietary needs
  • Provides insights into converting this into healthy eating at home

Eat out to your heart's content and not be overweight: As Fred teaches readers how to eat out and lose weight, he reveals the real secret: It’s not about preparing “clean” food at home, or going “whole” and excluding wheat, sugar, and dairy. Nor is it about counting calories or grams. It’s about WHY one overeats in the first place. Fred reveals his story of growing up in an Italian family, and how his parents’ divorce led to his eating compulsions. He tried every fad diet, but Fred was searching for a lasting solution. With the help of his doctor, a nutritionist, a trainer, and a psychologist, he was able to devise a four-phase diet and exercise plan. Fred proves that if he can do it, anyone can. He has kept the weight off for six years, running four marathons ― he looks great, feels great, and can enjoy great food and drink wherever he is.

Guilt-free restaurant dining: Featuring recipes from America’s most noted restaurant chefs, as well as original recipes from Fred’s own kitchen, The Restaurant Diet is for the 19 million Americans who love to eat out on a regular basis ― and the 38% who are overweight.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781633537026
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 01/15/2018
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Fred Bollaci is an entrepreneur, world traveler, sommelier, and international healthy gourmet lifestyle, food, wine, travel, and fitness expert who has enjoyed the gourmet lifestyle since childhood. Fred grew up on Long Island and currently resides in Delray Beach, Florida. He has spent numerous summers traveling extensively throughout Italy and Europe.

An attorney concentrating on trusts and estates, foundations, partnerships, real estate, elder law, and other business matters, Fred has a law practice that services Florida’s Gold Coast (Boca Raton/Palm Beach/Ft. Lauderdale/Miami) and Gulf Coast (Sarasota, Naples and Greater Tampa Bay). Fred is a frequent guest motivational speaker and is available for speaking engagements for private groups as well as organizations, and is available for personalized consultations, in-person or via phone or Skype.

Since the spring of 2015, Fred has been a columnist for the quarterly Appetite and writes about his Golden Palate lifestyle for the luxury lifestyle contemporary arts and culture magazine VENU.

Comedian, musician, and actor Dick Smothers is half of the legendary comedy team, The Smothers Brothers, with his older brother Tom. The duo, which recorded many successful comedy albums, starred in the sitcom The Smothers Brothers Show and the variety show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. He appeared in the Martin Scorcese film Casino, among others. He lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Read an Excerpt


Solving the Restaurant Problem

Successful dieting in a restaurant is a lot more than a matter of willpower, planning, choices, and self-control. It is all of these things, plus the added requirement of learning how to embrace losing weight by going out in public and dealing with people who will be preparing and serving you a substance you've likely had major problems with — food. You have to train them to help you, not tempt you. This can be done in a nice, but firm way. You don't want to come across as a jerk, but you don't want to be afraid to speak up, either. For years, I was afraid of what other people thought of me, so I often wouldn't say anything — even if keeping quiet had been against my best interests. To succeed, I needed to change how I conducted myself.

Learning to lose weight in restaurants is partly a social skill that can be learned and practiced. I liken this to how our parents teach us etiquette or enroll us in classes when we are kids — so we know how to go out into the world and behave like ladies and gentlemen, rather than barbarians. People who work in restaurants will be far more responsive and cooperative to someone who is civilized and well-mannered than not.

The first time I sat down in a gourmet restaurant with my mom as a little kid, I saw at least five forks in front of me and started to cry. My mother had to teach me how to use these utensils. There is a proper etiquette to dining out: saying please and thank you; knowing which fork to use and where to rest your knife; and things like chewing with your mouth closed, using your napkin, etc.

It is important to have good social skills and physical presentation for a variety of reasons. Mainly, though, if you are overweight there might be some stereotypical perceptions from the restaurant staff that work against your favor. As an obese person, I was frequently ridiculed in both my personal and professional lives. I can attest that fat people are often treated worse than thin people. We need to work harder to overcome perceptions and act comfortable in our skin. In business or anything in life, you need to play the part in order to gain respect. If you are well dressed, polished, and presentable, you are already halfway there.

Your goal is to win over the restaurant folks by being as engaging, open, polite, and respectful as possible. You want them to want to help you. You want to be welcomed with open arms, not shunned. As a formerly overweight diner, I used to think I was expected to order a lot; first, because I wanted to eat it; second, because I thought the folks in the restaurant would find it odd that someone fat would not want to eat; and third, because I had done it for so long at many of the same restaurants, I thought it was expected. I used to think the owners, chefs, or staff who I tipped based upon the large amount I ordered (and large check) would be offended if I started ordering less. In my family growing up, some of my older Italian relatives were truly offended if we didn't clean our plates! Combine the fear of offending your grandparents, aunts, uncles, or whomever with mind-blowingly delicious food, and we have a problem. I thought this was the way the world worked. For many years, I ate out many times a week, and frequently ordered and ate too much. I was a regular at many restaurants where the staff knew me and treated me well, serving me everything I ordered and telling me about fattening specials, since they knew I would likely try them. Many places made a lot of money having me as their guest, and the staff members were well tipped based upon how much I ordered and ate. Changing my mindset and attitude was the first step towards changing my entire restaurant experience, which would enable me to be comfortable in restaurants — both the old and familiar as well as the new and make these places part of my successful weight loss.

I was at my heaviest weight ever. I wanted to lose weight. How was I going to do it? I decided from day one that I needed to walk in with a positive and determined attitude and share with the folks at the restaurant that I was seriously trying to lose weight and wanted them to work with me so I could continue to enjoy dining there. A hallmark of great service is knowing your customer. People used to assume I wanted to eat a lot when I was fat — especially at many of the restaurants I frequented, where I often ordered and ate way too much food. Whether I was going to eat someplace where I was known as an overeater, or someplace new, I needed to change that perception and broadcast loud and clear what I was doing. I needed to introduce people to the "new me" and, in many cases, reintroduce myself to people who knew the old me. I had to let the world know I was now the guy who was getting healthier, changing his life, and developing a more positive relationship with food. Anybody who didn't understand or like it — that was their problem. I was determined to keep eating out but I was going to eat better, and eat less. I was going on a diet unlike any other. I was finally doing it my way!

As the customer, it is your prerogative to tell the folks at any restaurant what you need and want, and how you need them to work with you. For example, in a nice way you will want to ask them not to bring bread to your table or to stop them from telling you about the twelve-layer chocolate cake for dessert.

If you are among the many people who have a long history of overeating and failed attempts at dieting, you are extremely vulnerable to mistreatment and neglect at a restaurant — even if the folks working there don't realize it. I know firsthand how one little comment can throw off an otherwise successful day and send you into a tailspin. It will take practice to become partners with restaurants, but it is well worth it. The majority of your experiences are likely to be wonderful, and you will find pleasure in the food and the camaraderie. However, if the people in the restaurant have a negative attitude towards you, then move on. If you are uncomfortable in any restaurant for any reason, or have difficulty controlling yourself, or you come across an owner, manager, or staff member who is less than accommodating, go somewhere else. No matter how good the food might be, it's not worth the aggravation or temptation — there are many other fine establishments with food just as good that would warmly receive you.

Especially early on, be cautious when dining with others. You'll want to eat with people who respect your goal and your need not to have food pushed on you. Preferably, you'll find friends, colleagues, or family members who will be glad to join you, and respect your request that they work with you. If you are uncomfortable dining with anyone or in any situation, it is perfectly alright to politely excuse yourself. Lastly, avoid dining with anyone who is an overeater, that you may have overeaten with in the past, and who is not interested in changing their habits. Why subject yourself to the added pressure? You need to maintain as much control over your environment as possible in order to succeed.

What about fast food establishments? The strategy of making the staff, chefs, and owners partners in your weight-loss success story is of course better suited to fine dining establishments and family-run operations, than it is to fast food restaurants. While I am not a big fan of fast food, there are times when fast food is the only convenient option. Yes, you can occasionally eat fast food, but you need to choose selectively. Fast food restaurants frequently offer many unhealthy choices and the staff isn't interested in your desire to lose weight.

Here, especially, we are responsible for making the right choices, often in a hurry, and from a large menu board filled with many unhealthy choices. Still, most fast food restaurants offer some healthy options, and many also have nutritional information available which will soon be required to be conspicuously posted in chains nationwide, making your life much easier. It takes a little effort, but you can navigate even a fast food establishment by taking a little extra time to review the nutritional information and make healthy choices. In fact, before going to any restaurant, you should get into the habit of doing a little research and making your choices before you get to the restaurant. I will show you how in the coming chapters.

For success at a fast food establishment, I suggest always having a few "go-to" items that you can eat in a pinch, like a salad with low-fat dressing, a healthy wrap, or grilled chicken sandwich, for times like when you are rushing between business meetings or running through an airport to catch a plane and haven't had time for a proper meal. Although my focus and passion is on eating in gourmet restaurants, we all find ourselves from time to time in a situation where fast food is the only option available. I know, the above options may not sound as enticing as a burger with fries, but at least you will have put something healthy and nutritious in your stomach rather than blow it on a meal that contains as many calories as you wish to consume in an entire day. If you think smartly ahead on this, and can hold off while traveling, then you will have a gourmet meal awaiting you when you arrive at your destination.


For your convenience, I've provided a list of my Top Dining Out Tips — your very own starter's guide to eating out and losing weight. It arms you with a strategic plan to help make losing weight in restaurants easier. Fortunately, in today's world we can let our fingers, web browsers, and apps do most of the work for us. Gone are the days when dieters had to awkwardly carry around a book and look up calories or point values, make often inaccurate guesses, or blindly worry about whether we are "being good." Today, we can map out our entire meal in just a couple minutes before we leave our home or office.

1. Review the menu and plan in advance whenever possible. Many restaurants post their menus online, others may e-mail or fax you a copy of the menu at your request. If you want to know the daily specials, or have any special requests as far as a specific item or special preparation, a phone call in advance is a good idea. I always try to do my "due diligence" by looking over the menu and figuring out what I am going to eat before leaving for the restaurant. Make realistic selections for your proposed meal, and then plug the foods you are planning to eat into a calorie counting program or app, such as; you can determine if your choices are within the calorie budget you will adopt in Phase One with the help of your medical practitioner. If the restaurant has "heart-healthy" or reduced calorie menu items with the calories listed, take advantage of them. Some restaurants publicize their calorie counts, but if your restaurant or the exact dish is not listed, make well-reasoned estimates. Taking a little time and thinking before you go out, order, and eat will save you in the long run. Know before you leave the house what you are going to have, and stick with your plan. Print or take home a "to-go" copy of the menu with your selections circled and calorie estimates written down and save them in a folder at home for easy future reference. In the rare exception that you are unable to view the menu in advance, ask for a menu when you arrive at the restaurant. Take it outside and look over it. If you don't have the luxury of pre-planning for a particular meal, have your smartphone handy with your calorie counting app and see if what you are planning to eat is within your budget before you decide to order. Walking in knowing what you're going to have and then vetting those choices is your best bet.

2. Further to number one, after you eat, be sure to log everything you consumed in your calorie counting app (such as Be sure to plug the food/calories you consumed into your app after each meal. (In many cases, I did it before I even went to the restaurant, and I would simply follow along, so my meal was a well-planned roadmap.) This is helpful especially early on when you are new to this. I mention Livestrong specifically because it is the primary program I used throughout my weight loss, in addition to several other calorie analyzing software I used to calculate calories in recipes I made at home, which I will share later. There are other programs and apps available; my advice is to try using several for a few days and see which one works best for you.

3. Look for things that are baked, broiled, grilled, pan-seared, poached, or roasted, as opposed to fried or sautéed.

4. Look for sauces, soups, and preparations without butter or heavy cream.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions about how a food is prepared or what ingredients are in it. Not everything is obvious. For example, "Seafood Chowder" doesn't clarify whether or not there is butter or cream.

6. Avoid dishes with sugar (especially Phase One) and fattening desserts.

7. Pairings are important: If you are trying to be healthy, choose a light pasta or a fish or meat dish, not both.

8. Order colorful foods: Foods that are "colorful" often have more vitamins and are healthier than their less colorful counterparts. For example, a sweet potato is much better for you than a white potato. Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. Vegetables like multi-colored peppers are great roasted and are full of vitamins; Swiss and rainbow chard are also great options.

9. Don't go out to eat while starving. It's best to have a couple of light, healthy snacks during the day in addition to your main meals. Never allow yourself to get to the point of being famished. If you are really hungry, have a handful of grapes, cherries, or strawberries a few minutes before you go out, or drink a glass of water. This will take the edge off so you don't arrive at the restaurant famished.

10. Stop eating before you are stuffed. (This goes for eating out and at home.)

11. Timing is important. Don't go out to eat late in the evening, unless you plan to be up to take a walk and digest before bed. Plan to finish dinner two hours before bed and be sure to leave enough time to take a leisurely walk after you eat. If you are traveling or have to eat late, make a point to walk afterwards. People who work late hours often fit a workout into their day, before dinner. Another timing tip is to go when the restaurant is less crowded, if possible; try to avoid the ever-popular 7:30 p.m. dinner reservation. Going a bit earlier or later will likely result in a more relaxed experience, where the restaurant's staff is more likely to "get it right" the first time. In the event anything gets lost in translation (like a sauce ends up on the meat or fish instead of on the side), politely send it back; you are the customer and you are entitled to get your food the way you ordered it.

12. When you arrive at the restaurant, start by introducing yourself to your server and staff. Politely them that you are trying to lose weight and you would appreciate their help and assistance — before anyone starts describing the decadent chocolate cake. Meet the manager, chef, and owner. If you are already a regular customer, tell them why you would like to continue patronizing their restaurant (the food, the atmosphere, you have been dining there for years, etc.). If you are trying the restaurant for the first time, tell them that and let them know you will be happy to return if the experience is good.

13. Be polite and friendly to everyone — smile. Most restaurant owners, chefs, and staff will be glad to work with a customer who has a good attitude and is looking to get well. People also like a comeback story. Smart restaurant owners would prefer to help a customer than lose a customer.

14. Eat either in the bar area or in the restaurant — not both. Starting at the bar with a drink (and possibly snacks or tapas) and then sitting down in the dining room is a temptation to drink and eat more than you need to. It's easy to lose track of what you've eaten or continue to pile on. Occasionally, I would just eat tapas, or small plates, in the bar area with a glass of wine. (Refer to the discussion about the pros and cons of Happy Hour dining in the next chapter.) Some Happy Hour menus offer great values and healthy choices.

15. Avoid salty nuts and chips. The salt causes thirst and makes you retain water; salt may also lead to hypertension. Nuts and chips are a favorite "freebie" at bars, which encourages you to eat continuously as bowls are refilled — and also order more high-calorie drinks. Nuts aren't bad per se, in moderation. Chips, however, are essentially high in fat and calories and are lacking in nutritional value. If you are considering guacamole, many restaurants serve it with fresh vegetable crudités as a healthy alternative to nachos.

16. Consider choosing restaurants you are familiar with — at least in the beginning. You will have a comfort level and idea about the kinds of foods they offer, and people may know you. If this is the case and they view you as an overeater, it is important that you change this perception immediately by telling them that you are in the process of losing weight and want to continue to eat there — only you need to eat healthier. However, you should avoid any restaurants that have been particularly problematic in terms of overeating or too much temptation with high-calorie foods, especially in the beginning. Some people prefer trying places they have never been and hence where they have no history of overeating. I first went to familiar restaurants and then tried new ones. I found it much easier because I felt comfortable at these restaurants and knew the staff, chefs, and owners at many of them quite well. In fact, the very first night of my weight loss I dined at Morton's of Chicago (see the next chapter for an illustration of how I dined there). Each of us is different. You'll have to go out, try it, and decide what works best for you.


Excerpted from "The Restaurant Diet"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Fred Bollaci Enterprises, LLC.
Excerpted by permission of Mango Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Dick Smothers 8

Letter from Fred's Personal Physician and Cardiologist Dr. Gene E. Myers, MD, FACC 10

A Letter from Fred's Nutritionist, Maureen Buchbinder, Nutrition and Health Coach, Educator, and Chef 12

Letter from Fred's Therapist Linda B. Sherr 14

Preface 15

Introduction 25

Part 1 Taking It Off! The Four-Phase Gourmet Weight-Loss Plan 29

Chapter 1 Solving the Restaurant Problem 30

Chapter 2 Phase One-Beginning 47

Chapter 3 Phase Two-Opportunity 88

Chapter 4 Phase Three-Challenge 94

Chapter 5 Phase Four-Achievement 96

Chapter 6 Summary of Key Weight-Loss Tips 109

Chapter 7 Conclusion 122

Part 2 Recipes 124

Chapter 8 Recipes from Some of My Favorite Restaurants 125

Chapter 9 A Few of Fred's Favorite Healthy Gourmet Recipes 382

Appendix A Top 12 Tips for Eating Out and Dining at Home 412

Appendix B Phase One Sample Breakfasts, Snacks, and Desserts 415

Resources 418

Acknowledgements 419

About the Author: Fred Bollaci 422

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