What I Ate From the Big Bad Buffet


Such an innocent-sounding word. Yet for years this is how I saw it…

Buffet Definition Paint

Restaurants, family get-togethers, holiday parties…I could never manage restraint. I would literally stuff myself until I was sick. On days where I knew we were having a potluck at work, I would actually bring in a bottle of antacids because I KNEW I would need them.

It wasn’t a matter of “getting my monies worth”…oh no, more like sensory overload meets the most indecisive person in the world!!!

Must Eat All The Food Meme

But not anymore.Β After nearly two months into my intuitive eating journey, this past weekend, I decided it was time to test myself…at a buffet!*

*Sounds like a bold and confident statement, but let me assure you, my knees were knockin’ walking into this place.

The man-friend and I were out, shopping till we were dropping it like it’s hot when out of nowhere when…

BAM!! hunger strikes!

And I’m not talking any kind of hunger, I’m talking the we’re-going-to-start-gnawing-on-each-other’s-arms-and-no-that’s-not-a-sexual-innuendo kind of way. πŸ˜‰

But where to go? I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting and waiting 30 minutes for food to be brought to a table and I really wasn’t feeling any of the fast food joints, but there just HAPPENED to be a Chinese buffet in the TJ Maxx shopping center (no comment) and it just HAPPENED to be one of my favorite buffet restaurants BEFORE I started banning myself from such establishments.

First I said yes.

It was the smart thing to do. It was in the same shopping center. It was quick. It was decently priced.

Then I said no.

I might be TOO hungry. What if, in my ravenous state, I lost control? What if I didn’t notice the small child in my big ass bowl of wonton soup and ate them TOO?!

Then I said fuck it.

As I approached the wolfΒ WALL of food, all of a sudden, my foodie fears seemed so ridiculous. Instead of the overwhelming sight of a hundred different food combinations that I just HAD to try, I zeroed in on certain things…some new-to-me items and some of my favorites….and within minutes, I started making my choices.

Chinese Buffet Plate 1

The grapes were a little waxy-tasting, but I enjoyed my shrimp and the cucumber salad and then decided to save the melon, if I wanted it, for later.

Chinese Buffet Plate 2Besides the chicken and broccoli that tasted so bad I spit it out in my napkin, this plate was pure HEAVEN! The pork stuffed mushrooms have always been a favorite of mine and let me just say, if you top them with a roasted potato, it’s like…Β ohmyyyyfrickinlaaaaaaawd!

I may have even parted with one mushroom just to prove that fact to the man-friend! πŸ˜‰

And even though there was a bar FULL of dessert bars, cookies, and ice cream, my leftover melon was JUST what I wanted to end my meal on a “sweet” note.

Fortune Cookie

Because I may be one of the only weirdos out there who doesn’t care for fortune cookies.


Do fortunes come true if you don’t actually eat the cookie?

Guess it doesn’t really matter since I got gypped with the one on top…wtf kind of fortune is that anyway?!

Even though there were a few items I would have liked to try, I left the restaurant that night feeling happy with the choices that I made. In the past, I think most of the overeating was due to my “self-fulfilling prophesy” way of thinking. I knew I would overate, I knew I would leave feeling miserable (both physically and mentally), and I knew I would not allow myself to go back after that. Funny how deprivation, even if it only in my mind, could have so much influence.

But that is NOT my way of thinking anymore. I left that buffet feeling proud, feeling empowered, feeling…

Breakfast Buffet

Like I could do it AGAIN the very next morning!

Let it be known that there are few things in this world better than fresh buttery biscuits!

What are your thoughts on buffets? Do you feel like you “can’t be trusted”? If so, why do you think that is?

Be sure to hop on over to Peas & Crayons to check out all the delicious-looking linkups for our favorite weekly food party! πŸ™‚

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61 Responses to What I Ate From the Big Bad Buffet

  1. Jessie says:

    I don’t even like Chinese ( I know what in the world is wrong with me??)…. But boy does your big ole plate of food look delicious!!

    Love buffets.. However I think if I ever went to a Mexican one (do those exist? Hmmmm….) I don’t think I would be able to control myself!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Hmmm, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Mexican buffet! That would be awesome! I call dibs on the cheese dip FOUNTAIN!!! πŸ˜‰

  2. Lucie says:

    Amazing Sweetheart!! What a huge progress!! I know how scary buffets can be. I must say, I got pretty well at buffets meanwhile. I had so many horrible overeat-frustration-sickness-moments with buffets, that I am a bit traumatized. Meanwhile I am a very mindful picker to avoid these bad feelings and it’s so worth it!!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Thank you, Lucie! And I hear ya, I’ve definitely had a few traumatizing experiences for sure…just glad that I was able to prove to myself that it doesn’t have to be like that!

  3. I always know I go overboard at buffets and events unless I set myself some limits in advanced. I am so proud of you being able to stick to IE eating at a buffet. I’m still working on my food issues but you are helping inspire me as always! πŸ™‚

  4. Fran@BCDC says:

    Buffets are always incredibly tricky for me. Chinese ones especially. My problem is that the vegetarian choices are always down to the last string of lo mein or something like that and you have to whine to the servers to have re-fills done. Sometimes they work though. I prefer a buffet with a nice salad section. THERE I feel safe! πŸ˜‰

  5. I don’t care for Chinese food typically because it always makes my stomach hurt an hour later… Except this one joint that I went to whenever I visited my aunt and uncle in college – the food was so fresh and delicious! And I don’t care for fortune cookies either but I always crack one open for the fortune inside πŸ˜› My thought is that they only come true if your lucky number is on the back!

  6. I like all the options that come with buffets, and that everyone can usually find *something* that they like, but don’t love that sometimes buffets tend to think the quantity of their offerings excuses poor quality. I’m also not crazy about Chinese food (or mushrooms, but yours look good!) so the breakfast buffet look like more my kind of thing πŸ™‚

  7. I don’t necessariy go to a lot of buffets but I DEFINITELY feel that way at family functions and parties. Like I couldn’t trust myself around a bowl of toritlla chips. And because I’d never “allow” myself to eat them at home, I’d go CRAZY around them at a party! UGH I’ve definitely gotten a lot better on this!

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh, that was totally how I used to be too! So crazy that all it took was for me to “allow” myself to have those foods at my disposal at anytime…and all of a sudden, they no longer held any sort of “magic” seducing spell over me!

  8. Great job my friend! When I saw you post about the buffet on instagram, I was so proud of you! I’m the salad and fruit eater at buffets…give me all the vegetables and fruits now!!! We took the boys to Golden Coral on Easter which was very interesting for soooo many reasons.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, thank you Sarena! And that’s kinda funny, we actually almost went to Golden Coral that day…but I kinda had a craving for some sushi!

  9. Buffets have always been a bit difficult for me too. Haven’t been to one in awhile actually! I always just made sure to start with a big salad and make sure most of my plate was full of veggies and/or fruit!

    There really isn’t anything much better than buttery biscuits. Especially topped with strawberry and grape jam. Yum.

    • Oh, and to make fortune cookies more exciting one time, my friend made us all read our fortunes and add “while in bed” at the end πŸ˜‰ Freaking hilarious. Especially because there was a dad at the table and she made him read his aloud too. Haha.

  10. This is awesome Heather! Way to go. πŸ™‚ I don’t go to many buffets, but I have the hardest time at potlucks and all you can eat sushi because I seriously just want to eat everything – and I usually do haha. I just love the taste of the food so much that I don’t want to stop eating! πŸ˜›

  11. I adore buffets. I definitely struggled with them for a while and feeling overwhelmed by all the ‘tempting’ food, but now I’m comfortable around them and trust myself to pick out and eat what I want, and to stop when I get full. I mean, I’ll probably eat more at a buffet than I will at home, but I think that can be said for any restaurant. The Chinese buffet I’ve been around here a couple of times has awesome dim sum and sushi, so I usually go straight for that πŸ˜‰

    And I WISH we had a brunch/breakfast buffet around here! My absolute favourite way to tackle a buffet.

  12. Happy Dance for YOUUUU!! Oh girl, just wow. You’re doing so freakin’ awesome on your journey! I actually hardly ever eat at buffets because of my allergies and the possibility of cross-contamination, but considering that I’m such a “bite of this, taste of that” kind of person, I could definitely see myself wanting to try a little bit of everything. You handled it like a champ though. Eee. I’m so happy for you πŸ˜€

  13. This is where my strangeness really shines. I hate buffets. Not because I can’t be trusted but because other people can’t be trusted. They are dirty. They sneeze on food. They let their kids stick their hands in things. My germaphobe won’t allow for buffet food. Plus I never think its as good after its been sitting out.

    I will add I make an exception for Whole Foods… but I’m even kind of over them. Shhhh…

    • I’m totally with Laura on this one. Buffets skeeve me out for all of the reasons she mentions and then some. That being said, I’m happy you were able to conquer and tackle your buffet concerns. Maybe if I was allowed to spray everyone within five yards of the buffet with Purell, I could get over my fear too.
      P.S. I do like your biscuits. πŸ˜‰

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Haha! I swear, all you need to do is get a job at a hospital…your germaphobia will disappear in NO time! Lol

      And for the record, I’m toooooootally over WF’s too! The salad I got a couple of weeks ago was alright, but the last few hot bar trips? Blech!

  14. Wow,Heather,you are SO amazing! Honestly,I am super happy for you,and you – you should be so. damn. proud! πŸ™‚
    I find buffets really difficult to handle; due to my anorexia,my stomach has shrunk to the size of a baby’s ones or something,so I feel uncomfortably full after only very little food. Eating out generally is a struggle for me because I have no idea abput how the food was prepared,what’s exactly in it etc. ,so anxiety is 100% sure to be present anyways,and buffets always offer SOOOO many different kinds of food and there’s always so much I would like to try,but I just can’t because my stomach is so small and the “usual” eating-out-anxiety combined with a stomach that is almost bursting… Usually make me end up in the bathroom doing stupid crap. At the same time,I am scared of depriving myself though; I’ve done that for so many years already and I desperately want that to stop,you know? Anyhoo,I guess I just need to learn to really listen to my cravings and identify what I want to have the most at that respective time,and then make the decision based on my body’s needs instead of my eyes!
    AND YOU DID IT! πŸ˜€

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Oh my gosh girl, you just NAILED it!! Honing in on your cravings…taking your time…not pressuring yourself…that is exactly what you have to do! I know it’s hard after years of disordered thoughts and anxiety and it can definitely be an easier said than done thing in the beginning, but with time (and patience), you can SO get to that point!

  15. I think the second definition is more fitting when I go to a buffet. Strike repeatedly. Back in high school my boyfriend at the time and I would go to a sushi buffet EVERY Friday for like a month straight. I know that screams food poisioning all over it. It’s safe to say my pants did not enjoy the buffet as much as my mouth did. I’d like to think I have more self control now. Unless there is fresh pineapple. Then all bets are off.

  16. You’re awesome! Great job. Although now I’m a little bummed. You’ve totally got me wanting biscuits n’ gravy. (best breakfast ever!)

  17. Kat says:

    I can definitely pound back the food, but buffets just aren’t the place for me. I’ve been to a few, and the food was never worth it to me. Maybe because I didn’t go at breakfast time though. I would’ve had several plates of biscuits and gravy with eggs. MY FAVORITE!! I usually just stock up at the dessert table with a buffet, but when we leave my hubby always complains on how big a waste of money it is to take me since I never eat a ton. Im just like well if the food was better!! lol
    BUT way to freakin go lady!! I’m so glad you just found the freedom to GO and EAT!

  18. i def struggle at buffets… not for getting my money’s worth, but just eating everything in site and eating like there is no tomorrow.. which there is.

  19. YAY I CAN COMMENT! I’ve been lurking (reading daily) for months now and I’m finally blogging again.
    I”d be worried I would restrain myself at Marshalls/TJMAXX….the food/dishes section is so great. I almost say ‘nah don’t worry about the clothes’ almost. I also hate fortune cookies. So I swap everyone for the fortunes haha.
    In terms of buffets, I’m actually the opposite. I have a more difficult time choosing food from a menu and knowing when to stop (since I was trained to clean my plate during recovery) and will always choose a buffet because it allows me to try a little bit of everything and not feel like I have to finish it all. Interesting perspectives. By buffet I mean WHOLE FOODS (although I always stuff my box there) and a local natural foods one. I used to load it on like I’d never get more, but now I know how uncomfortable it makes me feel and I am able to savour what I take.
    As for you AWESOME job. You’re doing great and are obviously thinking a lot about everything. brava.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Hannahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Omg girl, I’m so happy to “see” you!!! Yay!! *dancing with jazz hands* πŸ˜‰

      I love your perspective on buffets! I can actually FINALLY see that now and completely agree!

      Now I have to go see what you’ve been up to! I’m SO glad you came back!

  20. Wow great job Heather! When I was younger and we’d go to a buffet I would definitely over do it on everything! I can’t honestly remember the last time we went to one but don’t usually like much that they have to offer. I am so damn picky that it probably actually works in my favor as far as over eating goes!

  21. My thoughts on buffets? I’ve banned myself too. My friends and I used to go to Chinese food buffets together. And I would always try to keep up with her (so smart), and I would always leave SO sick…for days! Totally wasn’t worth it anymore. SO I stopped going to them. I think now, I could show the restraint it takes. What’s funny about the “getting your money’s worth” is that we ALL think that (plate after plate after plate) BUT if you went to a restaurant and ordered a plate of food, it’d most likely be way more than what you paid at the damn buffet, and you’d be forced to stop because your plate is empty. So you see, even one plate of food is your moneys worth at a buffet. Crazy.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “BUT if you went to a restaurant and ordered a plate of food, it’d most likely be way more than what you paid at the damn buffet” <- EXACTLY!! That's what I've always thought as well! I'm SO proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and giving the buffet a shot tonight...even if it was disappointing. And that is a testament right there to your intuitive eating...the fact that you were able to see that the food was less than stellar. Instead of just going in and woofing it all down without actually giving yourself a chance to really taste it. Gah, SO proud of you my girl!!! xoxo

  22. Way to go, Heather! I haven’t been to a buffet in a while, but to me a similar scenario is the Whole Foods hot bar. While I don’t beat myself up about taking advantage of all the great dishes they have available, and I basically try a bit of everything, I’m sure I could do a better job of not going overboard. You are doing an amazing job with Intuitive Eating, and are so inspiring! πŸ™‚

    I just made a “buffet date” with the fiance. Here we go. Friday. I’ll be texting you.

  24. I’m actually still really terrified of buffets… I haven’t encountered one in a really long time (I feel like there are none by where I live now) So I haven’t really been able to conquer them. Glad you overcame it though! I’ve been doing a combination of calorie counting and intuitive eating (those sound completely contradictory, but it helps me to calorie count when I’m at home because then I can judge what portion sizes are normal/keep me full other times when I’m not counting) and I’ve been able to conquer restaurants that I used to binge at, but I’ve yet to tackle the buffet. Some day!

  25. Eric says:

    I’m that guy that “MUST EAT ALL TEH FOODS!”

    Next time you visit I can take you to my favorite buffet and I won’t have to gain 26 lbs by myself!

  26. Madi says:

    guurrrlll do WERK. this looks delicious and may i ask, in what sort of sexual innuendo is gnawing one’s arm off ok??? Check yo’ self. hahah but seriously you ROCK! woot woot party over here party over there Heather is awesome! also share-sies?

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Hahaha! Seriously girl, your comments always make me laugh! And well, as far as the arm-gnawing goes…it sounded good in my head! πŸ˜‰ Lol

  27. Fortune cookies suck. They always break apart and cut your mouth.

    And … yes. Buffet does not mean serve. It means GORGE. I just can’t help myself, especially not if biscuits and gravy are involved. Well, any breakfast foods. Or just any buffet.

  28. I haven’t been to a buffet in while. Last I went to was an Asian fusion one with food from all over. I remember being picky with what I wanted and then went to town on the dessert table. haha.

    I usually liked going to Sweet Tomatos or Fresh Choice but even then it’s easy to overindulge on the “good” foods.

    Way to go on tackling the buffet! It’s interesting to think that the overindulgence is self fulfilling prophecy if we “know” what may be the outcome.

  29. Way to go on practicing restraint! I actually do much better eating out than eating at home, for some reason. At home I tend to want to snack all afternoon, especially after a very healthy lunch. Working on that!

  30. Purelytwins says:

    we don’t necessariy go to a lot of buffets- it has been years since we have been to one. we usually eat a lot of veggies when we do, and eggs if it is a breakfast one πŸ™‚

  31. Lisa says:

    GREAT job Heather! That’s truly an amazing accomplishment in the IE world!
    You’re seriously doing so so awesome, I’m continuously impressed by the successes you’ve been experiencing lately.
    Just so happy for you πŸ™‚

  32. Allie says:

    Rock on with your happy eating and IE successes! I totally overeat at buffets, but I know I will, don’t care, and take all steps to enjoy it and not regret it. Nothing wrong with a healthy over-indulgence, as long as you can be happy and satisfied with it. Also nothing wrong with a good biscuit. Or two. Still craving Loveless Cafe…

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      “Nothing wrong with a healthy over-indulgence, as long as you can be happy and satisfied with it.” <- SO true!!! And seriously, you have GOT to introduce me to a Loveless biscuit! Are they really as life-changing as everyone says?

      • Allie says:

        It’s definitely a damn good biscuit, that’s for sure! Plus comes with fabulous jams. We’ll have to go for brunch one of these weekends! Ooo, you could even bring the man friend and I could get to meet him ;D

  33. Yay! I’m so happy for you, Heather! Sounds like you had the buffet business down like a boss ;). Yet more proof of how far you’ve come and going twice in one weekend? That’s just freaking fantastic!
    Oh, also, you’re definitely not weird for not caring about fortune cookies. They’re plain tasteless and most often the fortunes are lacking in creativity, too. Just like that one fortune you got shows? What the heck???
    Buffets are a tricky area for me, too. Back in time I’d always overdo it on the heavy foods and feel bloated afterwards. Then came the time of restriction ending up with me overdoing it on the dressing-less veggies being bloated again but not in the least satisfied. Actually, it’s still similar when my grandma hosts family gatherings. There are lots of choices for the meat-eaters but little for vegetarians and even less for vegans. I love my grandma but these buffets … not.
    Still, I do want to get over that fear and let myself enjoy buffets where I actually have a choice. Fingers crossed for the buffet at my sister’s wedding later this year as she’ll make sure there are fantastic vegan choices.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, thanks MP! I seriously cannot believe how far I’ve come in my way of thinking in the last few weeks…I mean just at the beginning of the month I was beating myself up over fro-yo (I know you KNOW how that is)! I guess I just finally got to the point where I started being honest with and trusting myself…whereas before I kept telling myself that I was, but I was really harboring skeptical thoughts in the back of my mind. Yeah, you can’t really lie to yourself like that for long!

      I can’t wait to hear how the wedding buffet goes for you! Sounds like it will be the perfect opportunity to test yourself! Hey, maybe grandma can take a few notes! πŸ˜‰

  34. Don’t worry, I am another weirdo who doesn’t like the fortune cookies, but there will be trouble if anyone gets in between me and my little fortune paper. πŸ˜‰

    I think the mindset that you have been stressing lately (that there is always time for a certain food another time and you can always save it for later) seriously applies to buffet type places. I like them because I am able to sample a bit of everything that intrigues me, and leave what I end up not caring for.

  35. Sarah says:

    Congrats on conquering the buffet! That’s awesome! And you’re not the only one who hates fortunes cookies….I don’t care for them either. I am not a fan of buffets, but for the fact that they gross me out. I always think about the germs, etc and I just can’t stand it. Most are probably totally sanitary, but it still creeps me out! I wish it didn’t though! πŸ˜‰

  36. “Buffet” in one of my favorite words, mainly because I have my own way of pronouncing it. I’ve always said “boo-fay,” and didn’t know I was saying it wrong until I went to college and my friends began making fun of me every time I suggested we hit the dining hall. “Sara, you mean you want to go to the boooooo faaaay?” Gah, they still tease me about it today! πŸ˜‰

    Awesome job, girl—you should feel SO proud about taking a leap of faith and facing your fears! I can completely relate to the insecure feeling that comes with having unlimited access to food; in my past, it was an all-or-nothing deal. I’d either go to places like that and restrict big time (read: bare lettuce leaves and maybe chicken—if it wasn’t covered in oil), or I’d say to hell with it, and go ALL out. Those all out experiences always ended with both physical and emotional discomfort–NOT fun! Now I’m able to go and enjoy the foods that I really love without over or under doing it. It’s such a freeing feeling!

    Omygawd those buttery biscuits look good. You’re so right–there are few things better in the world. In fact, there may not be *anything* better in the world. Okay, maybe peanut butter cheesecake. But that’s it. πŸ˜‰

    Happy Wednesday, love! <3 xoxoxo
    p.s. I LOVED all of your comments this morning—they truly made my day! πŸ˜€ <3

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Aww, I’m glad!! I hate that I got so behind in your posts so it was good to finally catch up! I’m SO happy for you that you too were able to change that all or nothing restricting mentality for the good! And you’re right…it couldn’t be more freeing!!

      Mmm, peanut butter cheesecake! Or…my personal slash guaranteed-to-put-you-in-a-foodie-coma favorite: chocolate chip COOKIE DOUGH cheesecake! Oh yeah, such things DO exist and are made my a cheesecake making expert who just happens to be one of my coworkers! πŸ˜‰

  37. I am the absolute worst with buffets – so this makes me SO happy to see! I that one day I will reach this point, and get myself to a buffet for a little test. Mind over matter, for real. You are awesome.

    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Omg, YES! It’s so crazy how long I went letting my mind rule over the MATTER! Looking back now, it’s hard to see what I was even afraid of before! πŸ˜€

  38. Yay for you!! Buffets are always bad for me because I never know what is gluten free! However, I would love a good gluten and dairy free buffet! YUM!

  39. My bf and I go to the buffet frequently and I LOVE IT. You know that though. I was so pumped to find out you went to a buffet that day! Because I can totally relate to how scary it is at first! I remember the first time I went this year – i was really scared too, but then I was the same as you and wanted to go the very next day! hahahaha way to go sis! I am so happy you left the buffet feeling the way you did πŸ™‚ so proud of you πŸ™‚

  40. As soon as I see the word “buffet” I think of the Chinese buffet that a few of my friends and I were slightly obsessed with in high school. We even made our Spanish class go there on a field trip. [Don’t ask.] Cream cheese stuffed wontons were my Kryptonite, and you had to always sit for a moment at a certain angle to digest or you might fall over in pain.

    I have since–I like to think–become much better about looking at a massive amount of food and making smart decisions. I can get a little carried away with desserts. And sometimes I overcompensate by eating TOO much fruit or TOO many veggies (seriously, it’s worse than it sounds).


    • kissmybroccoli says:

      Omg, I totally know what you mean when it comes to the veggies…nothing like waiting HOURS for your stomach to go back to a normal size after you polish off a pound of carrots! Ugh!

      And yeah, I’m almost certain that kryptonite is actually spelled c-r-e-a-m-c-h-e-e-s-e-w-o-n-t-o-n πŸ˜‰

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