Food choices.

An inevitable part of a few days away from home in hotels is eating meal after meal out in restaurants.

For nearly five years, this kind of situation would be a nightmare for me. At times the list of foods I'd eat was so small there was unlikely to be anything on any menu I could eat.

Even if it was a food I could eat at home, having it prepared by someone else in an unknown kitchen wasn't an option.

For the past few years, all of my friends have known there's a narrow selection of restaurants that are an option when we meet up for dinner, and at those places there's potentially one thing on the menu I can eat.

This made food so boring.

Gone was the enjoyment in eating out.

There was none of the excitement of choosing what to have.

It became a running joke that I'd always eat the very same meal as that was an easy way to avoid discussing the fact that it was a real issue.

My issues with food have lasted a long time and are incredibly complicated. It's the area most professionals I've seen about my anxiety and depression haven't been able to help with at all.

The problem with struggling with food is that you reinforce your unhealthy and irrational beliefs multiple times every single day, as eating food is a necessity.

Food is all around us. It's in adverts, we eat together to celebrate and we eat to stay healthy and to function.

The limited amount of ingredients I could eat has had such a huge impact on my life mentally and physically for far too long, and working on it has been a particular focus of the last year.

Every time I try a new food is a challenge, because I had ruthlessly cut out food groups due to believing they were contaminated and would make me ill. Therefore, building up to trying something new was huge, and was followed by a tense period of up to 24 hours where I waited to feel some kind of adverse effect or reaction. 

Don't get me wrong, that's still the case. But the build up and tense waiting periods are decreasing in length.

I've got a running list of new foods tried and we are now past the 30 mark. (As a side note, even if I'd eaten the food all my life, I still had to go through this tense trying all over again period if I'd decided over the past few years it was no longer a safe option).

The reason I'm sharing this now is that this trip was different.

We went to a different restaurant for each meal for three days.

No repeats.

I ordered a different meal at every restaurant.

No repeats.

I enjoyed my food.

I tried three new foods whilst away, without the comfort of preparing them myself at home.

Anyone who has been close to me over the last few years knows how enormous this is.

It's huge. It's such progress.

It's the next step in a journey towards fully enjoying food again, to letting it nourish my body and to being able to relax and have fun when eating out with others.

It's a step in my journey towards better mental and physical health.

It's taken and is taking a huge amount of work, but I'm doing it.

And it's working.

Sophie x


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