For years I was in a constant battle with my body. That meant I was in an all-out war with food.
I tried every diet known to man. I stressed over everything I ate, everything I didn’t eat, and everything I thought about eating. Food-based fear was at the center of my life.
Needless to say, the one of the things I feared the most was when a friend would say the dreaded words, “Let’s go out to eat!”
Restaurants were the bane of my existence. And if I knew that a dinner out was in my future, I defaulted one of these fear-based strategies…
I would spend the day “saving” my calories, knowing that I would eat everything in sight the second I got to the restaurant (which I usually did…)
Or, I would go to the restaurant, tell the waitperson that I wasn’t hungry, maybe order a drink, and pretend that was enough. But then I’d hit a drive-thru on the way home, super-size everything, and eat every bite (and continue binging for the rest of the night on anything else I could find in the house…)
Then there was the thing where I allowed myself one piece of bread at the restaurant, only to consume the entire basket (after which I figured I’d blown my diet anyway, so I might as well keep eating…)
Of course, there were also the times when I said NO to dinner invitations altogether because I just didn’t trust myself to keep the food frenzy in check.
No matter which tactic I chose, the same thing happened.
I made myself miserable. I missed a happy experience with friends and loved ones. And usually wound up binging anyway.
These days, I see eating out in a whole new way. I happily join friends and family at restaurants without fear, guilt, or panic. Eating out is fun again, and I haven’t looked back!
Are you ready to be free of restaurant fear, too? It’s time to stop declining dinner invites because you don’t trust yourself with an unlimited menu.
Watch the full video below where I show you how to navigate any dining out experience without stress, panic, or misguided mindsets!
First, let’s start with what we know. Restrictive diets can trigger you into uncontrolled eating, restaurants or not. So if you’ve been dieting for a long time, restaurants can feel even more like a minefield of forbidden foods than they usually do.
But believe it or not, even if you’ve been down the dieting rabbit hole for a while, you can still enjoy a fear-free dining experience!
It all starts with something I talk about all the time–presence.
We talk a lot about present moment mealtime choices here on the blog. But by now, you might be wondering exactly what I mean by that.
So let me share what presence at mealtime means, and how it can help take the fear out of dining out, once and for all!
Being present at mealtime is all about connecting with your body and honoring its needs.
When I say “honoring your needs,” I mean more than just consuming the nutrients your body needs to stay alive.
Needs come in many forms–physiological, mental, and emotional, to name a few. Then, there are your grander visions and bigger dreams. The things that you need to feel alive, have the experiences that you desire and live your best life. I call these “higher self” needs.
Sounds like a lot of needs to fulfill, doesn’t it? How do you make mealtime choices honoring all the parts of yourself without worrying that you’re missing something?
Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, making conscious food choices is a truly rewarding experience–and it can be as easy as 1-2-3! Three steps to help you de-stress, reconnect with yourself, and make restaurants fun again, that is!
I’ll share my top three tips right here…
Number One: What dining experience do you want? Truth: you get more from your mealtime than the calories you need to survive. Your food makes a huge difference in how you feel. That’s no small thing.
The good news is that you get to choose not only how you want to feel at mealtimes, but also the foods that will help you create those feelings. That’s a lot of empowerment right there, if you think about it!
It’s the kind of power can help you let go of fear any time you go out to eat.
Let me share a couple of scenarios that’ll bring this point to life, using myself as an example.
Suppose it’s a new day, and I’m gearing for a day of video shoots for the YouTube channel. Then I get an invite from some friends to join them at a new hotspot for brunch. Considering the kind of day I have ahead of me, what choice would I make?
Even though eggs benedict or waffles might sound delicious, I decide to take the big picture into account.
I know that on a shoot day, I want to feel wide awake and clear minded so that I create the best content for my YouTube family. That’s my priority.
Knowing how I want to feel, I’d likely opt for something like a veggie omelet with a side of breakfast potatoes rather than a rich, heavy breakfast dish (however delicious that might be…)
Now, let’s say it was a weekend or an off day, and I was ready for a fun outing with friends at a lively breakfast place.
This time I might go for the rich, tasty options instead of the veggies and eggs. In this case, I want to enjoy delicious food and good company. So pancakes would fill the bill over the more “healthy” option of protein and veggies.
See the distinction? It’s about being present, knowing what you need in the moment, and creating the experience you want the most.
It’s not about guilting yourself out of the pancakes. It’s not about congratulating yourself for choosing veggies and protein over waffles, either. And it’s not about eating a doughnut, deciding you’ve blown it, and binging the rest of the day, thinking you’ll “start over” tomorrow.
It’s about knowing how you want to feel and making a decision that will fulfill you not only physically, but also support your mental, emotional, and spiritual desires. (Food can do all of that!)
Number Two: Keep your balance. A while back I joined some friends for dinner at a steakhouse. Truth be told I’m not much of a steak person, but I was all into a night out with besties, so I happily joined the party.
The meal included lots of meat, lobster mac and cheese, and plenty of other rich and heavy delicacies. But I as my personal side, I ordered brussels sprouts.
Now, that fact unto itself isn’t very interesting. But what is noteworthy is the reason I added a little bit of green to my plate that night.
It wasn’t because I felt the need to be the “healthy” one at the table. It also had nothing to do with a diet I was following.
It was that I knew I wanted to feel energized and satisfied at the end of this meal. And for me, at that moment, I knew that adding in a bit of brussels sprouts would do it.
Give yourself the freedom to choose any food you like. But always remember how you want the meal to make you feel. If it feels right to add in something that will energize you alongside of a special dinner out, go for it!
Number Three: Shift the focus from food to friends. We all know how restaurants can mess with your head and trigger crazy food fear. But what if there was more to going out to eat than the food? Suppose you shifted your focus to include the entire experience?
The thing is, you’ll have other meals. But it’s tough to relive an experience that you missed because you were too stuck in your head about what was on your plate.
When you’re out with friends and loved ones, be with them. Connect with your companions at the table, and take the focus off of food for a while.
Remember, mealtimes about more than food. If all you’re thinking about is how what you ordered might make you fat, you just might miss some irreplaceable moments with special people.
Don’t miss out on your life because of food-focused fears. Take in the experience of every meal, and you’ll set yourself up to satisfy all of your needs.
Restaurants can be fun again if you allow them to be! The next time you get a dinner invite, don’t freak out and say NO by default. Don’t plot and plan your way to “surviving” the trip only to rebound with a binge.
Give yourself some grace, leave a little room to live your life, and give yourself a chance to have an awesome restaurant experience using these three steps. They’re my personal recipe for success when you go out to eat, and I know they’ll make a big difference for you, too!
Now, if these steps sound like a good idea, but you still panic when someone says “restaurant” I hear you.
That’s why I created a free gift for you! It’s a training that’ll help you make supportive mealtime choices every day, whether you’re at home or out and about.
How freeing would it be to know that you could handle any food situation, from steakhouses to holiday dinners, with all ease and no fear? This masterclass will show you how!
Grab that training at this link, and start living your journey to Food Freedom Forever!
Now, in the comments below, I want to hear from you!
Do restaurants strike terror into your heart, and are you ready to let that fear go for good? Leave me a comment and tell me how I can help you say YES to restaurants again!