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Is eating out alone an eating disorder antidote?
Originally published in the March/April 1999 issue of SoloDining.com.
Eating disorders checked, perhaps even cured by dining out solo? Casting director Joey Paul
reports on her experiences:
“I have never felt uncomfortable about dining alone. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed it,
even during six or seven years of my young adult life when I had periodic food problems. That’s sort of oddball,
I guess. When you’re bulimic/anorexic, you’re tremendously vulnerable.
I think most people in that situation would never go into a restaurant by themselves; they’re
people who don’t eat in front of others. But, in a way, dining out by myself was actually part of my personal therapy
— being assertive about my healing process.
My problems were most acute when I was in business with a woman who was as driven as I was.
She was also raised in theater and television where keeping very, very slender was part of the culture. We were
working ridiculous hours. So my tendency, like most busy people, was to grab something during the day — I did not
eat well. And then at midnight, the end of my day, I’d be starving; I’d completely overindulge.
When I decided to try to control my eating, I began to get better. I ate out alone at least
once a day and I made it fun. I did it in this spirit: ‘I’m going to take 45 minutes tonight/this afternoon, etc.
and be in a wonderful environment, surrounded by interesting people and treat myself to a meal.’
By feeding myself on a regular basis, my body became conditioned to that regimen and less
controlled by compulsions to eat. And dining out was also important for me. By going to a restaurant, I was having
someone plan my meal for me; I didn’t have to worry about grocery stores or food preparation. All I had to do was
to enjoy and avoid ordering the most fattening thing on the menu!”
Sooner or later, EVERYONE — business and pleasure travelers, singles, those divorced
or widowed, very-marrieds whose spouses are on the road, harried moms and dads, etc. — faces the challenge of eating
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