For me, this summer was the summer of ice cream.

I eat a lot of ice cream year-round. Almost every single day, I have ice cream with my breakfast or for dessert after dinner. But, it's always the "healthy" ice cream (usually Halo Top, Enlightened, or Yasso).

Having a past history of an eating disorder, "real" ice cream is still one of those seemingly "scary" foods to eat. It is mentally challenging for me to eat ice cream from an ice cream shop when I don't know what the exact ingredients are or what the caloric content is.

So, this summer, I made it my goal to eat as much "real" ice cream as I could. If someone suggested that we get ice cream, I wasn't allowed to say "no." I had to take it, no matter how hard it may be. I wanted to experience true food freedom and be able to eat "real" ice cream without overthinking it or feeling guilty about it afterwards.

And,so, this summer, I ate a lot of ice cream. I took multiple trips to a little ice cream and coffee shop in McCall, Idaho while I was on vacation. I went to Rita's and got a gelati. I visited my friend's mom at her gelato store after a mini golf game to celebrate my *almost* victory (I lost in a tie-breaker challenge). I went to the Still in Boise for my birthday. I finished the ice cream that my aunt couldn't finish after I had finished my own and was asked if I wanted it. I took (multiple) spoonfuls from my boyfriend's ice cream when he offered me a taste. Of course, I also ate a ton of Halo Top and Enlightened at home, too.

Lauren Burkholder

But, to my surprise, it wasn't at all as difficult as I thought it would be to eat "real" ice cream, and it got easier each time. Going on ice cream dates with family and friends is fun and delicious!

It honestly makes me sad that I have spent so many years avoiding situations where I might be asked to eat "real" ice cream, but I am super proud of myself for overcoming my fears this summer and super happy that I can finally enjoy life ED-free and the delicious foods it has to offer!

So, if anyone wants to get ice cream sometime, let me know because I plan on sticking to my "never say no to ice cream" food rule for the rest of my life.

Lauren Burkholder

Lauren Burkholder