This is a question I received from a friend a couple of months ago. I responded to her and told her I planned to post that response on my blog so you could see it too. Hope it helps. :)
***"So my boyfriend LOVES food. Of course he knows about my eating disorder, but we are planning a bunch of trips... and he wants to eat out like all the time.. and I'm just not comfortable. You know what it's like... eating out is just a different ball game... I can eat out like once a day max, have whatever I want, without getting uncomfortable. And I mean I can eat out for lunch and dinner if I need to but I usually get crabby and uncomfortable about it... I was just wondering.. have you ever had that issue in recovery and what has helped you with it?"***
Yes, I definitely know what you mean about eating out. I used to really get antsy about it and it takes the joy out of being on trip.
1 - I found that knowing exactly what the plan was beforehand really helped any anxiety I had about it. So if there's any way you can sort of a) figure out where you two will head for the meals (or what kind of food you will be getting) the night before or first thing in the morning, that's ideal and b) if that's not gonna happen, YOU can at least plan what you will have for each meal. I know you won't have any menus in front of you, but you can set yourself a little generic plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner. That way when you get to the restaurant you already feel more secure and contained and know what to "look for" on the menu.
2 - Remember that if he knows about your ED you can be up front with him and make point 1 able to happen. Tell him it may help you to plan things out more before just doing, doing, doing so that you can enjoy yourself more. That at this point it's hard for you to just go with the flow, etc.
3 - Eating out doesn't necessarily mean you're eating unhealthily. If you can break your mind of that thinking, you'll feel better. Sure, one of the meals might feel heavier and more like "junk" than the others, but eating in a restaurant can honestly be every bit as FINE as eating a home cooked meal. So try to think of it in a different light.
4 - Make a deal with him that if you are going to eat 2-3 meals out per day, YOU and only you get to pick at least one of them. Then YOU pick the place. You'll feel more in control AND you'll be able to find a place that feels safe and healthy to you if you've had a day of eating a lot. And if you keep that "deal" up for the duration of your trips, you will feel lots better.