Tips On Dining Out + Stepping Out of the Kitchen
While I have not been procuring produce with feverish passion or cooking with a burning desire to change the 10 minute meal world, I have been treating myself well and giving myself license to step out of the kitchen, head to the beach, dine out and enjoy the company of friends instead of continually cooking for one. Don’t get me wrong, I love cooking for myself, but I’ve been working hard to build a positive relationship with food outside of my home. To continually grow and understand my habits around food/mealtime means noticing my choices and how they make me feel.
For many years of my life post weight loss I was afraid to dine out. I feared not knowing what was in the food I was eating and I feared “losing control.” I imagined if I ate out too often and enjoyed myself the weight would come back, when in reality my mindset had to shift and I had to learn how to trust myself. Have you ever had those thoughts around food and “dieting”?
And, with a mission to cook and teach others to do the same, since the practice did help me understand my relationship to food …
There’s a recurring drumbeat in my mind that guiltily repeats “You should be cooking, Tina!” “You should be shopping, writing more recipes and sharing your message ALL OF THE TIME!”
Well, maybe not. I am only one woman. And, I mean, I deserve a life outside of planning to cook the next meal too … I think. I’m not perfect, neither is my eating. I’m just trying to make the best choices I can every single day and share that very mission with you …
Here are 3 Reasons To Dine Out + Step Out of the Kitchen
Balance: We need more balance in our lives; myself included. Extreme eating/restriction, eating alone and repeating the same patterns over and over again have lead me to over eat even when I’m preparing my own “healthy” food and, quite honestly, it makes me plain old sad. Going out stimulates my mind, it gives me choices and the ability to see a world outside of my table and plate. The act of eating becomes more about the experience and asking myself what I want and need in that moment.
Trust: We can’t live in fear of food. Living in fear of food is diet mentality and I’m not about that life. Variety in home cooked meals, dining out, taking ourselves out on dates and sharing eats with people we love (and/or those we’re crushing on) creates a food positive relationship. In order to heal any relationship we have to trust our decision making and I know you can make food choices that work for you and where you are right now.
Choice: Would I recommend eating out every meal, 3 times a day and never stepping foot in your kitchen? Would I say don’t eat fruits and veggies? Never eat ice cream? Certainly not. But, read #2 one more time … we want to nurture a positive relationship with ourselves, food and our emotions - one where we trust our ability to make life/food choices that support how we want to feel.
So, are you ready to strive for balance, trust yourself and make new choices? Not only has this mindset expanded my understanding of my relationship to food, but giving myself license to feel freer around food/mealtime (aka not pre-planning so much or over shopping) has continued to help me heal the relationship I have with my body and how I see her. Have you ever thought about the correlation between food/mind/and body perception? I’ve found it to be a really real thing. The less food focused I am, the better my mind/body synchs.
Have you ever noticed the more you focus on something, the more you say no or don’t eat that; the more you want it? The more you stress about it? The more you think about it? The magic of developing a healthy relationship to food and our bodies happens when we use our mind - when we can tell ourselves “I will not limit my choices. I will notice how I feel and what I need it right now .” By doing this, you’ve just given yourself license to trust and think for yourself; instead of eliminating choice and sticking your thoughts in a corner. You know what you need.
Making whole/real food a foundation in my life has helped fine tune my choices along the way. It’s helped me understand what having energy feels like and what I need (you may need something different) and this also helps when I’m dining out + stepping out of the kitchen.
Of late I’ve been saying yes to Mediterranean eats. Fish and plenty of olive oil support my plate, while veggies continue to play a key role. I know this style of eating always gives me energy, digests well and makes me feel - well - good. And with a plethora of choices in NYC, I make an effort to eat what makes me feel good. I make choices based on how I want to feel. Sometimes I wanna feel those fries, and I no longer make myself feel badly the next day when I eat them. What makes your body and mind feel good when it comes to food?
Here are 3 more tips for enjoying that restaurant life + mealtime in general:
Seasonal Eating: Try eating in season based on where you live/the climate and location; summer often times means lighter fare. Eat to feel good, to get energy, to nourish and nurture.
Be Mindful: Eat slowly, chew and stop when you’re full. Remember how you want to feel after mealtime. And if you eat something you’ve had on your “no” list - freaking enjoy it! Be like Elsa and LET IT GO!
Stay Present: Get lost in laughter and mealtime conversation! Make plans to do it all again sometime soon - taking the pressure off of the food and, instead, living in the social moment!
You can do it, put your back in to it. Really, put your brain in to it. But you know I’m a sucker for Ice Cube references.