What Happens When I Try And Pick A Place To Eat: One Woman’s Struggle

struggle eat : image of person driving, with hand over face, appearing stressed

You know, I am pretty good at rolling with the punches… if those punches are planned. Unfortunately sometimes just picking a place to eat can be a struggle.

Plans Changed…

Wait… That’s not how it is suppose to work?

Oh, okay. I’ll admit it. When I let ED seep into the cracks of my brain that are unprotected, I can easily go back to letting my eating disorder call the shots.

Last night was no exception.

I was suppose to take my son out to dinner. He was going to choose the place we would eat. And I would happily go along with anything (within reason if I’m honest) he wanted to eat.

All was fine and dandy until… he changed plans. He (as any teenager should be able to) decided to go out with his friends instead of a dinner date with me. No problem, right?

Until My ED stepped in.

The Show Must Go On…

My husband and other two children were having a group meeting at the house, so I was forced to leave and continue my dinner plans sans my oldest, and it was fine… at first.

Then the events that followed left me spinning out of control. And I HATE being out of control.

So, maybe this will resonate with you, or help you understand what it’s like inside someone’s brain who is struggling with an eating disorder…

And Then My ED Showed Up…

I had planned on going to get Chinese food because my son and I both love it. And on a bitter cold night in Georgia, egg drop soup and Mongolian beef sounded delicious. So I pulled up to the Chinese restaurant we normally dine in.

Well, I began to think about things a little further. I was by myself and I didn’t want to sit alone in a restaurant tonight (normally it would not bother me). And then I thought about eating soup in my car. It seemed a little too daunting, but I still called. They did not answer. ED began to whisper in my ear, “maybe that is a sign… you should not eat there.” So I listened.

I walked into a Thai restaurant next door to glance at the menu. It was unfamiliar, and there was SO much to choose from. A man behind me impatiently waited on me to make a decision. My heart raced. I glanced at the faces of the people sitting down to eat. They stared. I seemed like EVERYONE’S eyes were on me.

I dropped the menu on the counter and hustled out to my car.

I sat in my safe car and hit my fists against the wheel.

Dammit. I let ED in. Now this is going to be fun…

Too Many Choices..

As I sat in the parking lot regaining my composure, I thought about calling it quits and going home. I could just eat cereal or make a salad. But then I thought about walking in the house empty handed and having to fess up to my family that I had failed at getting food. I decided I was going to try and press on.

Can’t be that hard to pick up food in a town that literally has everything within 3 miles, right?


Well, as I drive out of the parking lot, my mind began to race. I scanned the numerous food establishments within view and began calculating if anything sounded good to me.

Everything my wise mind suggested that I would normally love was instantly shot down by my ED brain that was now in full swing.

That is too fattening. There is no way you need to eat there. That is NOT even an option. Are you stupid? Just make a damn choice, but it better be the right one!


I drove on, but my heart was racing. I continued to look for an option, but none were good enough for my ED.

Failed Attempts…

I pulled over and opened my favorite Mediterranean joint’s app, my password would not work. I could not order. My ED screamed- not meant to be. I tried calling a restaurant next door, and no answer. Again- not in the cards.

As I got back on the road, I passed Chipotle. Too long of a line. Good old Chick-Fil-a- had an event going on. Zaxby’s- passed it. Arby’s- drove right on. Del-Taco- sped on by.

I literally was having a panic attack just choosing a place to eat… and I hadn’t even eaten yet!!!

After and HOUR of driving around, I finally pulled over in the Publix parking lot and got a California roll. I got in my car, sped home, and ate it in my room by myself. All because of my plans changing and ED seizing the opportunity to slip in and ruin the night.

Has This Happened To You?

Does this scenario sound familiar? Does your ED sneak in and take over when you have a lapse of judgment or moment of weakness?

I am in year three of recovery, and I still face moments like this from time to time. Do I wish that I could have just gone out, got something to eat, and then be done with it? Yes.

But am I grateful that I didn’t give up? I still stopped and got food. AND I ate the food without using any behavior afterwards. Also yes.

Keep Fighting

Don’t let a setback keep you stuck in a cycle of bad behaviors and sad, ED filled days.

Each day is a new start, and no matter what held you back yesterday, you can choose to try again today.

More from Brooke Heberling
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1 Comment

  1. says: Sage

    Thank you for your insight. Hopefully helping build the armor of others helps strengthen yours. We often hear “hungry but nothing sounds good”. I wonder the thoughts behind. It’s big that you press on and give your body what it needs. That’s a huge hurdle.

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