Practical Intuitive Eating Advice: Restaurant Edition


When I was dieting (and binge-eating and dieting and binge-eating), restaurants were super-triggering for me. Eating out felt like such high stakes. There was so much good food available, and yet I considered most of it off-limits and would end up with the same type of diet food I ate at home, just better-plated and only slightly better-tasting. Since I didn’t let myself eat what I really wanted, I’d be unsatisfied the whole time and would often binge-eat once I got home. Might as well have eaten what I wanted in the first place!)

Or I’d give myself permission to eat whatever I wanted (cheat day!) only to end up feeling out of control at the restaurant, overstuffed by the end of the meal, guilty by the time I got home, and a million pounds heavier the next morning.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. I learned to bring a wise, body-centric, and self-aware perspective with me when I eat out. I maintain a caring relationship with my hunger and fullness beyond the walls of my own house. I eat intuitively, even at restaurants, and you can, too.

Here are a few ways to do it:

1. Order Nothing

Just because you’ve gone out doesn’t mean you have to eat out. You have no obligation to order anything at the restaurant. It might feel weird, but you can choose to honor your (lack of) hunger by not ordering anything.

Note: Watch out for diet mentality here by checking your motivation — is your true motivation for not ordering food honoring your hunger and fullness? Or is it a desire to lose weight?

2. Order Something

Or — order something. Just a little hungry? Order something small. A little more hungry? Order something big. Just a little hungry but two entrees look good? Order both. Who cares? You can eat whatever you want. Again, for the people in the back: you can eat whatever you want.

3. Change Your Mind

If you weren’t feeling too hungry when you sat down, but feel more hungry 20 minutes in, waive over the waiter and order something. Ordered more than you feel like eating? Save the rest for later — no big deal.

And no matter what, order what you really want. Else you’ll end up unsatisfied and will likely binge-eat when you get home.

Take it slow, especially if eating out feels triggering to you. Go by yourself or with people you feel comfortable around. Take your time, take care, and if you need help, get on my coaching waitlist.


Learn more about honoring your hunger and fullness in Video 2 of my Training Series, How to Stop Binge-Eating. It’s free, I just need your email address to get it to you. Sign up here.

For more practical intuitive eating advice click here.


About Holland Hettinger

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Hi, I’m Holland Hettinger, and I help women stop binge-eating. I believe your life doesn’t have to revolve around food. Your mind can think about something other than what you eat. You don’t have to shrink yourself and hide your body. There is an alternative to food guilt and body shame. And none of it includes dieting, meal prepping, weighing yourself, or forcing yourself not to binge-eat for just one—more—day. (Insert sigh of relief here.) Through training videos, coaching emails, and one-on-one work, I teach women to stop binge-eating for good.

Holland Hettinger