Eating out is something that I used to absolutely hate — until I started to implement these 5 simple intuitive eating tips for dining out.
When I was in the thralls of my disordered eating/weight obsession days my anxiety would go through the roof if I didn’t know exactly how many calories I was eating or exactly what the ingredients were, which made eating out pretty much impossible to enjoy. It was torturous, actually.
These days though, that’s not the case. And thank GOODNESS. Yes, food is nourishment, but lets not forget that it serves so many more purposes beyond basic survival like cultural expression, bonding, the economy, and – the best in my opinion – enjoyment! The food scene is so hot right now and I swear a new unique and trendy restaurant pops up daily. I’m so happy that I’ve re-learned enjoying the act of eating out without becoming a hot mess of anxiety. Plus, date nights out are way more fun now!
Joe and I have been trying to do one new thing each month for 2018- so far it’s been a success! June’s new thing was trying a local restaurant that cooks from scratch using fresh, local and organic ingredients. By practicing a few intuitive eating principles I was able to order what I wanted, eat enough to fill me, stop when satisfied, and leave the restaurant 100% happy!
Here are my 5 tips on how to reduce anxiety and eat intuitively at a restaurant:
- Order what you want. Don’t order a salad because you think that is a “better” option. If you ignore your desires you’ll end the meal dissatisfied. This may very well cause you to go home and finish off the last of the cookie jar or ice cream carton- leaving you feeling worse than if you would have just ordered the burger that you were craving in the first place.
- Pay attention to your food. Eating out is social, so be sure to engage with those you are with, but also be sure to actually TASTE your food. It’s easy to mindlessly gobble down a plate of fries while chatting, only to realize you don’t know if you actually enjoyed the taste because you were too busy gabbing.
- Check in with your hunger. Along the same lines as taste, be sure you are checking in with your hunger level. As you eat your dish notice the signals your body is sending you and pay attention to them. Are you starting to feel satisfied? Are you already feeling full? If so, take note. Put down your fork, acknowledge your satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) and honor that. Your body will tell you if it needs a couple more bites or if it’s time for a doggie bag – but only if we listen.
- Move on. Did you forget to do any of the above? Maybe you ate your dish so fast you hardly remember the actual taste or ordered dessert despite being stuffed from your main dish. Guess what- no biggie! You don’t gain weight from one indulgent meal. It makes many a meals to do that! Remember that, so don’t sweat it.
- Relish the experience. Eating out is an experience. From the people you are with, to the décor of the dining area, the entire event is something to take in. Take a second to acknowledge these things and be grateful that you are able to take part in the experience!
I hope these simple strategies help you to enjoy your next night out. If you want to learn more about intuitive eating please comment or fill out the contact form, I’d love to talk!