Defeating Your Own Food Rules

A burger... with fries... and a shake? NEVER. That is insane, unhealthy and unnecessary.

Do you ever find yourself creating rules for food? By this I mean, have you ever had to quickly justify why you can't eat a specific meal, turned down a dessert you really wanted because the calories were too high, convinced yourself you did not like a food that you once liked or even said no to a restaurant because the nutritional menu scared you for every item? These are all food rules, and are very possible and realistic situations that someone struggling with an eating disorder experiences. These are stupid rules created by those individuals who struggle... that are also horrifying to overcome. 

Have you ever found yourself experiencing a HUGE intimidation of food? Keep in mind that just because I noted these as 'food rules', for some they may be a typical normal behaviour. Those who really struggle with eating will tend to experience far more of these examples than an individual who does not struggle. Pay attention to the fact that I am not in anyway saying these are rules that prove you have disordered eating. These are subconscious thoughts that tend to get experienced by those who struggle with body image, disordered eating and anorexia. Some people may prefer not to eat something, because they just don't, or for a lighter option. The main idea to take away here is that those who are struggling can't exactly say no to these foods that will help them in recovery, they will continue to live in fear if they don't face them. Those who are healthy and not struggling can make proper food choices for themselves. For example, they may not want fries with their burger now, but they WILL be perfectly fine eating an ice cream sundae afterward. Why? Because they don't live with the fear of food.

Here is the list of examples of food rules and behaviours, that COULD be signs of disordered eating habits:

  • fear of eating the bread served at a restaurant before your meal
  • always choosing a salad as the side to your meal 
  • no cheese on anything (burger, pasta, etc.)
  • having the same carbohydrate two times in a day is a no (bread, bagel, rice, etc.)
  • believing bagels are too high in carbohydrates
  • saying no to grocery store food samples ... (WHO DOESN'T LOVE COSTCO's THOUGH?)
  • choosing the healthiest option instead of pasta or pizza at an Italian restaurant
  • lightly smearing peanut butter on your toast, the way you would with butter
  • everything must be drunk black (no adding sugar or milk to tea or coffee... THIS CAN JUST BE A TASTE PREFERENCE)
  • sandwiches are bad
  • anxiety from watching food be prepared
  • ordering a kids scoop, when you really want a double scoop of ice cream
  • if it is fried, it is a no
  • too many foods to eat on your plate is scary (ex. take out Chinese food)
  • having set meal times
  • never eating after dinner, even if your hungry
  • if someone eats less than you it angers you and causes you to restrict for the rest of the day
  • saying no to a menu item after seeing the calories listed
  • you scan and walk through an entire food court, airport, venue (etc.) until you find something healthy

I want to set a goal for anyone struggling with eating. Choose three fear foods that you have convinced yourself you would be committing  a sin if you ever did. Once you have picked three, go and conquer them all in ONE day. Go eat a grand slam breakfast, then the meal you have always craved at  your past favourite restaurant for dinner, followed by a dessert from your local bakery. While you eat let the thoughts pass by your mind, but do not hold onto them. The longer you hold onto these thoughts, the more convinced you become by them. Remember they are ONLY thoughts - instead think about how good the food your eating now tastes compared to your small meals made at home, see how thrilled everyone is around you eating their own and remember and hold onto the feelings of the happiness you used to feel when you did not fear what was on your plate. 

Break your rules. Because who doesn't love breaking rules?


IF YOU CHOOSE TO COMPLETE THE CHALLENGE or want to help someone struggling complete the challenge:

  1. Take a photo of yourself, or each meal 
  2. On INSTAGRAM, use the hashtag #ichosetoglow