When I accepted my auditing internship, I knew that it would imply numerous work trips. I would have to attend restaurants for lunch and diners, and breakfast in hostels.
I didn’t know if I would be able to reconcile this situation with my eating disorders. Suffering from anorexia nervosa, I have to follow a meal plan, given to me by a nutritionist to help me increase my portions and reintroduce food items I progressively excluded from my diet.
At home, it’s easy, I can plan my meals in advance. During my work trips, it’s the unknown, the total loss of control. At the beginning, it was not easy but with hindsight, I can say that it has its benefits.
During my first business trips, I use to stay in my comfort zone at the restaurant. I picked light meals because the fact of not knowing the exact composition of the plate frightened me. And then I saw my colleagues‘ order. They looked tasty.
One time, two times, I make the leap. I order a dish that I really want.
I hesitate for a second, but I don’t think about it for to long: I order a dessert. Culpability? No, because everyone does the same thing and no one judges me.
I lost the sense of what “eating in normal quantity” meant, and finally, eating at the restaurant helped me to increase my food intake in a natural way.
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Eating out also helped me to eat dishes I would probably never have cooked for myself at home. The first morning I ate a cup of yogurt and some pieces of fruit, the day after I had a piece of bread, the last day I allow myself the croissant that is calling at me since the beginning of the week. I rediscovered feelings I had lost, tastes I had forgotten, and I learn how to de-demonize my fear foods.
Work trips also help me to let go and get better at handling unforeseen events. This was one of my biggest fears: not knowing what I was going to eat over the day. Also, I felt uncomfortable knowing I had to eat with people I hardly know. But the best way to erase your fears is to face them. Today, I feel that I handle unforeseen situations better, whether they are related to food or not.
Thus, I take each business trip as an opportunity to move towards recovery. They help me to get my life back.
Embrace those situations in which (maybe despite yourself) you have to get out of your comfort zone, to make a step forward. It’s by facing our little concerns that we learn to embrace them.
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