food preferences vs. food rules
let’s talk 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗽𝗿𝗲𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝘃𝘀. 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗿𝘂𝗹𝗲𝘀. i tend to avoid dairy products because it doesn’t make me feel great—BUT that doesn’t mean if my family goes out for ice cream on vacation, or my roommates and i order a normal pizza at school, that my day is wrecked. my dairy avoidance is a food preference, not a food rule, because i know the point of vacation or a meal with friends isn’t the food itself, but the experience of being together.
during recovery, one of the biggest pieces of advice my doctor gave me was to make every meal about who you’re with, not what’s on your plate. if you can keep that in mind, your food preferences won’t turn into food rules. so how can you tell the difference? if the thought of eating your mom’s homemade lasagna, for example—made with normal cheese and noodles and sauce that maybe even has added sugar!—gives you a panic attack (speaking from personal experience here), you maybe have some food rules. it is perfectly fine and healthy to have foods you prefer as long as you are able to keep perspective on them—you can’t let what you’re eating affect who you’re with.
while i have access to my vegan veggie pizza at home (pictured above), you best believe i’m gonna enjoy it—but at school, when we go out to blaze pizza (swipe right), i’m getting the standard crust, sauce, and cheese that tastes just as good going down 🍕
the best way to confront a food rule is to deal with it head on. focus on the people you’re with, knowing that the reason they are choosing to spend this time with you has nothing to do with what you eat, and power through. exposure therapy works, especially with the positive reinforcement that comes from spending time with friends and family. the value in a meal eaten together is so much more than caloric, just like your worth has nothing to do with what you eat!