Finally a chance to relax. You happily sit down and open the menu to choose your meal. As you look over the options available your smile slowly sinks down into a frown. There’s nothing that you want here. But your friends are all excited about what they’re ordering. What are you going to eat?
Your biggest obstacle when in a situation like this is your emotions. It’s hard not to feel singled out and uncomfortable when you don’t see something you can eat on the menu. But don’t panic! More times than not there is a solution if you dig a little deeper and gain control over your thoughts.
First thing’s first. If there were no menu in front of you, what would you order? Knowing what you’re in the mood for is the foundation for getting what you want. If you aren’t in touch with your cravings then it will be hard to satisfy you no matter what choices are available.
Next, you have to stop imagining what is going to happen when you order. You can’t predict how the wait staff, chef or your friends will react to your requests. Don’t assume that everyone will look at you like you’re crazy and hate you for being difficult. Remember, for the majority of businesses the customer is always right. That’s because in order to get your money that have to please you. If you’re not having a pleasant experience then they’re doing something wrong.
Get over notions that you are being selfish or that the restaurant should have already provided something on the menu for you. Both of these thoughts come from your ego trying to protect itself. But what are you protecting yourself from? If your thoughts are keeping you from getting what you want then you’re only hurting yourself.
You can’t blame your insecurity on other people for criticizing your lifestyle. That’s their problem. If you find yourself surrounded by judgmental people you may have to look for more supportive friends and acquaintances. If you’ve had negative experiences in the past, just remind yourself that today is a different day. Focus on changing those negative experiences into positive ones by exercising your control over the situation.
Okay, now take a deep breath. Before your server comes take a good look over the menu. Look for ingredients that you like to eat. Maybe you love broccoli. You could be in the mood for rice. Whatever you want, begin making a mental picture of it so that you’re prepared.
Here’s the part you probably think is hard. It’s not. Tell your server that you would like something custom made. If you want to be cautious you can mention your diet. Then calmly tell them about the picture you in your head. If they can’t do something that you want, ask them what they can do. Ask for substitutes or suggestions but don’t get demanding. Remember, they are here to please you. There’s no need for the communication to be a struggle. If they don’t understand then break it down for them calmly.
And here’s the part that you probably never imagined. The server will walk away with everyone’s orders and bring back what you asked for. Your friends may make a comment or two. But those comments may not be what you’d think. They might say, “Oh, that sounds delicious. Maybe I’ll order that next time.” Or they may say nothing at all. That’s because most people aren’t really that concerned about what everyone else is having. They’re just waiting to get what they want.
And now, you can too.
For more ways to think differently about yourself and your diet check out How to Eat Out, Lose Weight and Stay Healthy. Keep reading the Vegan Eating Out blog for more tips on eating out on a healthy diet.