I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate relationship with eating out. On the one hand, I LOVE eating out. I like trying new food, I like not having to plan a meal, cook it and wash it up, and I like the fact that eating out usually involves my husband or friends or family. It’s sociable right. Then on the other hand, I HATE eating out. I’ve been loads better with it the past couple of years but 2007-2010 it really was a bother and I did not enjoy it at all. I guess now I have a toddler so any worries are quickly suppressed a bit because i’m trying to stop my toddler causing havoc haha!

I used to be in a constant state of “what if im sick” and subsequently this would often give me a stomach ache and set of IBS type symptoms. IBS and emet are NOT a good combo – a post for another day though. From an emet stand point, I also find it very difficult to pick something I feel is “safe”. Will it have been cooked properly, is it ordered often? High turnover of produce etc etc? All these stupid thoughts go through my mind when picking something to eat. They still do now to be honest.

Sometimes you can’t avoid eating out. When this is the case, here are some things I typically do that help me…a bit. I work pretty much full time and my job sometimes takes me abroad. There have been many a time when I definitely did not want to eat out and about. Here are some of the things I do to try and make the experience a bit easier.

1 – Order something small. I feel so much less pressure to eat everything if I order a starter as a main or a couple of side dishes.

2 – Have an excuse ready – it’s amazing how nosey people can be – have answers prepared – oh why are you just ordering a starter – oh I had a huge lunch/am not that hungry/am feeling jet lagged – body clock all over. Just be prepared and then you won’t feel so put on the spot.

3 – Mints and gum. Just having these in my handbag give me a sense of calm. And it’s ridiculous too because I’ve been sick in the past and mints and gum have not stopped me. But still, just knowing I have something minty, something fresh, helps calm me a lot.

4 – Be strategic as to where you sit. If you feel like you might need to get up a few times, don’t pick the end of a closed in booth! I always try to pick an end of somewhere where I can nip out if I need to without causing a disruption.

5 – Breathe! I know I’ve said it before but when you feel the anxiety start to rise up inside, take a slow, deep breathe. I find once my breathe gets out of sorts, the “what if” thoughts start cranking up and before I know it, i’m sat there in a full blown panic.

So there, a few of the things that help me when I’m eating out and I really don’t want to.