Well, excuuuuuuuuuse me! Sorry asking to box half of my meal is such an inconvenience!

Oh boy! What do you think about this?

Dining out can be a challenge for those of us whose weight goes up much easier than it comes down. If we only eat out a few times a year for special occasions going for the “full experience” won’t upset our weight loss/maintenance efforts. We can enjoy a drink, the bread basket, the ideal entree of our choice, and even dessert! There is no reason to reduce our pleasure by skimping because it’s so far out of our everyday way of eating.

Some, actually many of us, eat out often. It seems to be a necessity of modern life. We aren’t home at mealtimes or we just don’t feel like shopping for groceries, cooking a meal and cleaning up after it’s done. If eating out is a regular part of our lives, we have to do what we need to do to make those frequent meals in restaurants support our weight management.

In the August 31, 2015 edition of the Portland Forecaster Natalie Ladd wrote an opinion piece: Dishin’ That: Dealing with diners who don’t think outside the box. In it she describes her frustration, or I’d go so far as to say disgust towards diners she calls “hoarders.”

What I didn’t peg them for was that they were hoarders.

Although fully entitled to do as they wish with what they order, hoarders are the folks who take home everything they didn’t, or don’t intend to, eat on the premises.

Hoarders are the people who ask for take-out boxes well before their meal is served. They ask if wine can be corked and brown-bagged. They ask if take-out containers are microwavable. And they ask if those containers can please be double-bagged.

– Natalie Ladd

Ladd laments the inconvenience she suffers when “hoarders” ask to take home part of the meal. She recognizes all of the reasons why people may want to eat less than what is served, but clearly understanding doesn’t mean she “gets it.” Apparently even the people who eat all that they can or they want and ask to take home the leftovers is an inconvenience for her but she says she “rolls with it.”

Do I have any sympathy for her? No. Do I have empathy? Not even empathy. I do not have, but I do have a suggestion: find another job.

I am well aware that most restaurants don’t pay their servers minimum wage. I know that they expect diners’ tips to make up the difference. A good server can more than make up the difference. I tip 20-30%. Sometimes I’ll even leave a tip that’s as much as 50% of the total bill – tax included!

Sometimes the servers get stiffed with a little tip or no tip at all. I have sympathy for them when they work hard at giving good service. If small or no tips happen a lot, maybe it’s the patrons or just maybe, it’s the server. If depending on the generosity of the public to bring home a decent wage is too stressful, then find another job.

I don’t ask for half of the food to be boxed before I eat it, but I see nothing wrong with people who do. It’s a useful strategy. They know themselves and they know that the restaurant serves portions that are bigger than they want or need. They are working to manage their weight and it’s wise not to have too much good-tasting food on the plate placed before them.

If you happen to be visibly overweight and you ask to have some of the meal boxed before it’s served you are making yourself a target of fat-shaming. (Yes, Nicole Arbour, you bigot, fat-shaming is real!) Pretty much whatever you do in a restaurant when you are a very big person brings unwanted and often unveiled, hostile attention. Now the challenge of eating out and losing weight has just been made harder thanks to the nasty confession of Ladd.

So to all of you who are managing your weight, those who don’t like to waste food, those who don’t make enough money to spend 10 or 30 or 50 or more dollars on a meal just to throw part of it away, it’s okay to ask to have it bagged or boxed before or after it comes to the table! Like the good king says, “have it your way!”

If you sense any attitude just tell them to take it up with Jackie Conn!

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.