How to, Mental Recovery

How To: Go out to eat with an eating disorder

IMG_1029Hello, my wonderful warriors. I am currently in the mountains and loving the beautiful views of everything God has created. And, I figured that I need to go ahead and talk about another popular topic when it comes to eating disorder recovery.

The topic of going out to eat when recovering from an eating disorder is very strange for me. Not strange as in different to me, but strange as in I had a spectrum of feelings and experiences with it.

When I thought I was “recovering” the first time, I looked forward to going out to eat. I always wanted to go out to eat. It was like a sort of game to me. I would get to a restaurant, or go on Yelp, and see if I could hunt an item I “could” eat. I was still stuck inside a rule structured mind when it came to eating. And, going out to eat there was no pressure for me, I could choose exactly what ED wanted me to. Which usually ended up being a salad or “healthy” foods.struggle

It was not until the second go around in recovery for me that going out to eat really became a struggle. I was nervous to go out to eat with friends or family. I was always afraid that they were watching me eat and never approving. I felt that everyone knew that I was recovering from ED and they were thinking that I was eating too little. I never felt like I was enough.

I would go out to eat, never knowing what I would have (before ED) enjoyed eating. I was stuck inside my new rules of picking what had the lowest calories, and what seemed the “healthiest”. I had forgotten what I truly liked to eat, and had forgotten how exciting going out to eat was for me. And soon these set of rules which I though I loved and I thought made me special, became what I hated so much and what made me different.

I love finding new restaurants and finding cool new dishes to eat now. I think it is so much fun going out to eat, I would rather go to a coffee shop than to go to a mall. But when I was recovering a helpful thing for me when going out to eat was talking to my mom about it. So I suggest you find someone you can text, or talk to whenever you are having a difficult internal battle.

Whenever I would go out with friends I felt so anxious. Food gave me so much anxiety. I felt that they were watching me in disapproval. That I could never choose the right thing. And, I would let their choices affect mine. Comparison is and was a huge struggle for me. And to this point in my recovery I still have a battle of trying not to compare myself with others.

Too often I would let what others picked affect what I “wanted” to eat. If someone picked a “healthy” option I had to beat them out and pick something “healthier”. It was all a game for me, and I was the only one playing while ED was winning each time. I thought that I was so above everyone because I had this amazing control and if someone offered me cake I would be able to say no. When deep down inside I would love to eat the cake, and I needed to eat the cake.


I had forgotten what it was like to go out to eat and have fun with everyone else. I thought I would never get to a point in my life where I could go out to eat and not think about food the entire time. Whenever I was recovering and in ED, I would go out to eat and only be able to think about food. Food consumed my every thought. Which the reason for this is because my body needed food. Whenever you’re hungry you think abut food, and I was in a constant state of hunger, even if I couldn’t feel any hunger cues.

It is so unfair in recovery and in an eating disorder to compare what you’re eating to everyone else. There are so many different factors that come into play. First of all, your body is in a deficit it NEEDS more food than others. Secondly, someone else around you could be struggling with ED and if you want to recover you cant follow what they are choosing. Thirdly, you CAN NOT keep choosing the lowest calorie option, in fact, you have to choose calorie dense foods if you want to heal your body. Your body is begging you to eat more food, and more satiety foods. Fourthly, if other people don’t finish their meal because they’re full, that doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating. I still struggle to feel fullness levels, and you may too, so you are allowed to eat your entire meal, because guess what, you’re probably not full yet. Your body needs food and lots of it.

The one rule you need to follow in recovery is you have to eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and however much you want.

You have to make the mindful effort to do the exact opposite of what ED is telling you to do. If ED says you cant get out of bed and have a snack because you’re hungry, than I dare you to hope right out of bed, grab some ice cream and watch your favorite tv show. Its time you take back you life. Go out to eat and have fun. Enjoy it.

Your body is meant to be treaty with care. Its time you start loving the thing you have spent your life living in.

1 Corinthians 6: 19-2-
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

My goal for you:

  • Next time you go out to eat, choose the first thing that came to mind that you wanted when you read through the menu.IMG_1032.JPG
  • Bonus: ORDER A DIFFERENT DRINK THAN WATER!!! (That just became such an easy thing for me in recovery. I always choose water, because than I never had to worry about trying to add a drinks calorie count into my daily intake. But I never realized that I was afraid of other drinks. I was still trapped inside these “healthy” guidelines. So please, for me, order your favorite drink (mine is usually a Shirley temple:)))


I hope wherever and whenever you’re reading this that your day is amazing, and that you find the courage to stand up to ED talking to you. And you find the courage to scream back and to shove the power of your God in ED’s face!

Love, Mack.

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