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Now Showing – Attack of the Giant Menu

Now I know we were in New York, but there was no way a turkey sandwich cost 1.450 dollars. It took me a minute to realize that every single menu item had the number of calories in it posted smack next to it. Now, I have been in recovery for awhile, but at that very moment my eating disorder was tanding in front of me and had...

There’s a strange new phenomenon going on. At first I thought I had stepped into one of those weird “twilight zone” episodes. It was a few months ago , and I was with my best friend in New York City. We had been walking around all day long in Times Square and we were both suffering from “over shopping”and “low-blood sugar”. We decided on the first restaurant we saw and were happy to sit down, drop our bags and get something to refuel ourselves. As we sat chatting away I opened up my menu, and began to glance down at what was inside.

At first I thought I was suffering from a bit of delirium, due to not eating for awhile because next to each menu item was these very large numbers. Now I know we were in New York, but there was not way a turkey sandwich cost 1.450 dollars. It took me a minute to realize that every single menu item had the number of calories in it posted smack next to it. Now, I have been in recovery for awhile, but at that very moment my eating disorder was standing in front of me and had completely slapped me right across the face!

I began to sweat, and get all paranoid looking, and believe me with the temperature outside being in 20 something degrees, my best friend began to ask if I was ok? I looked up and simply said WTF WTF WTF???? Now having had an eating disorder for seventeen odd some years I pretty much know the calories and fat in any and every food. I don’t have to turn a label over on a box of cereal to know the calories and fat that go into that 3/4-1 cup serving. That being said, I have also learned to zone that stuff out, as it contributed to many years of my obsession with what and what I didn’t put in my mouth. It’s pretty easy to do, but when all of a sudden those numbers are chasing you down, wrestling you to the ground, and then sitting on your face it can be hard to avoid. The hard part about seeing things like this on a menu, is that nine times out of ten the portion sizes at restaurants are three to four times an average serving size. A normal portion of rigatoni for you at home, can be gargantuan at your local Italian Eatery making those numbers jump pretty high.

Even my best friend who doesn’t have an eating disorder was intimidated by the numbers next to each food item. We both found ourselves aiming for the low ball numbers. I mean who wants to order a plate of food with a high ass number next to it. Apparently a lot of people, because I looked around the restaurant and nobody else seemed to be hiding under the table in the fetal position.

Stock it up to new health guidelines, but Restaurants are being required nowadays to post the nutritional information next to each food item. It used to be required for only “heart healthy” items, or ones that were on the low-calorie section of the menu. Now with it all looking at you in the face, it can make going to a restaurant very intimidating.

So how is somebody, especially somebody recovering from an eating disorder supposed to survive going out to eat then. I consider myself well into recovery and yet this little snafu in the culinary world even through me for quite the loop?

After my friend revived me, and the waiter and her were able to splash cold water on my face, I had a moment to sit back and rethink the whole situation. I had come this far to let some numbers on a menu scare me away from being able to enjoy a meal out.

As I sat down and looked at the numbers, I realized that the reason they were probably so high was due to what I had mentioned before, restaurant portion sizes are known to be quite a lot larger then that of an average serving. It all boils down to portion sizes and if you know your portion sizes then you can just about be in control of any situation, whether it be going out to eat at a restaurant or somewhere else where you are not in control of your plate.

Portion sizes are pretty easy, and I have a system called “eyeballing” that works pretty well for me.

Here are some tips that I go by and perhaps they can help you next time you go out noshing away from home.

? 1 oz meatball—size of a golf ball
? 3 oz cooked fish, poultry, or meat—size of a deck of cards, the palm of your hand, or a checkbook
? 1 oz cheese—size of a lipstick tube or thumb
? 1 Tbsp peanut butter—size of the tip of your thumb
? 2 Tbsp peanut butter—size of a golf ball
? 1 medium piece of fruit—size of a baseball
? 1 medium bagel—size of a hockey puck
? 1 C dry cereal—a mounded handful
? 1 oz cheese—size of four dice
? 2 oz cheese—size of a pair of domino’s
? 1 small baked potato—size of a computer mouse
? 1 C raw vegetables, yogurt, or sliced fruit—as much as would fit into an average woman’s hand

If you are still feel intimidated by looking at a restaurant menu, especially if you are right out of recovery, then take a trusted friend with you, and have them be your eyes.

Or if you know the restaurant you are going to before hand have in mind what you are going to get, and order without even having to look at a menu.

Also I sometimes like to split an entree with a friend, or order a few appetizers instead of a meal.

Remember, you don’ t have to finish everything on your plate either, I love “doggie bags” because it means I don’t have to cook for myself the next day!

Don’t let anything scare you, not even these new found numbers.

You realize that Recovery is all about having to adapt to the outside world Being in treatment shelters us a lot, so when we venture back in to society we realize we are hit with all kinds of curve balls. Whether it be the mannequins in a store window,models on the covers of the latest Victoria Secret catalog, or the numbers of calories next to our Steak Florentine, we won’t let it knock us down.

That’s right! Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride..aint nothin gonna hold me down..no no…I got to keep on movin!!