I’m going to touch on a pretty sensitive subject that is quite personal to me, but I’m ok sharing it with you guys. For many years now, I have suffered from Orthorexia nervosa.
Orthorexia nervosa is an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy. Orthorexia nervosa is not currently recognised as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5 but many people struggle with symptoms associated with the term. Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat, and how to deal with “slip-ups”.
I began trying to lose weight back in 2014 but I did not do this the healthy way. I wasn’t very knowledgable around the subject of losing weight and exercising and I became an exercise fanatic. I exercised everyday, sometimes 2-3 times a day. Plus I had a very active job where I would work in a factory for many hours on a daily basis and I walked to my aunts in a morning before going to work. Basically, I wasn’t eating or drinking enough food and liquids to fuel my body. I went from a size 12 to a size 0-2 in about 5-6 months, which is not healthy whatsoever. I was obsessed with exercising. I started measuring my foods. It was an unhealthy cycle. But thanks to my amazing family, they shook me and made me realise what damage I was doing to my body. I remember my parents telling me to look at myself in my underwear in the mirror and I was gobsmacked, I didn’t recognise my body, I was all bones, it wasn’t a pretty sight. In what set out as a way to lose some weight ended up being a very hard journey into Orthorexia, which I am still trying hard to recover from. My mother made me go to the doctors and the nurse did a blood pressure and heart rate test on me and we found out my heart rate (which should be about 75 bpm) was 33 bpm.. I was on the brink of a causing serious damage to my heart. I was so angry with myself, I couldn’t believe I was 19 and this was the state of my health and I am so ashamed and angry with myself with how much I hurt my loved ones and friends by doing this to myself. I was in such a mood when I was really skinny as my body knew that this was not a natural size for me to be. I was lethargic, I didn’t sleep well, I was tired, I was cranky, I just wasn’t myself. Being skinny (for me), wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
However, I took a step to make myself better and just began eating foods I’d not eaten for agers like icecream, custard, homemade cookies, anything to help me put weight on. I’d have lunch with my Dad every day and it upset me that he felt he had to come home during his lunch break, to make sure I ate, as it was torture for him that if he didn’t come home for lunch, I might not eat anything. When I wasn’t at home (like when I moved to Uni), I made sure I sent my family photos of my meals so they knew I was eating. I went through the very typical eating habits of an orthorexic, I used to eat the same thing everyday, portion my foods, control what I ate and yes this can be healthy but for me it caused a lot of strain on me mentally and also it caused me to isolate myself from social events that I think nowadays, as if that was me, as I am such a lover of food and socialising.
My partner has helped me so much and I want to do a special shout out for him and my family as they are the ones who prevented me from needing specialist treatment to overcome my disorder, as they have been so supportive and shook me when I needed to basically get a grip and stop being unhealthily obsessed about food.
Nowadays, I eat more for nutrition but don’t get me wrong, I eat treats all the time. No food is bad food. Everything in moderation and also a balanced diet is key and you should eat whatever food you want!!! I’d like to add a saying:
- One bad meal won’t make you fat and one good meal won’t make you slim.
I tried dark chocolate today (Lindt 80% cocoa – for all you dark chocolate lovers, make sure you try this ASAP!) for the first time in agers and its the best decision I’ve made in so long!
Please don’t compare what you eat to what others eat. We all have different taste buds and we all have different metabolisms. Also, don’t follow accounts on social media that make you feel bad about yourself (which you shouldn’t because everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own way!) Follow accounts that make your timeline full of positivity and good vibes. You’ve got to love yourself and if you need tips on how to do that, read my self love post which I’ve previously posted 🙂
I’d like to add that losing weight can be done healthily and this post is in no way saying if you try to lose weight you’ll go through what I’ve gone through. But if you want to lose weight, I would recommend you make sure you carry on eating the foods you love and eat to fuel your workouts and body, as food is fuel. Also, learn to enjoy exercising. Exercise should be fun. I got to the point where I exercised that much I hated it. Now, I exercise when I fancy and rest when I fancy and I have learnt to love exercising. Also, don’t believe everything you read on the internet, there are so many views and opinions about what to eat and when to eat and what you should eat when you exercise. Just listen to your body, it will let you know when you need food and eat intuitively. Furthermore, I honestly belive food is the best and purest medicine!). Also, food is needed for so many things like your organs, bones, health, hair and so many foods have so much nutritional value. Food can change your entire mood. If you read up on foods nutritional value you can see how much food can benefit your overall health and well-being. You have to realise how amazing your body is and you have to think how much of a blessing it is to just simply be here and how lucky you are to be able to pick and choose what and when you eat, as some people don’t have that luxury.
Some ways I began to get over Orthorexia was to cook more, just try out new fear foods but when I felt comfortable. I wouldn’t try a fear food when someone said, I’d do it on my own terms when I was ready. I like to try fear foods in a comfortable environment and I’ve tried some fear foods with my partner and family, as this comforts me if someones eating the same food as me. But like I said previously, do not compare your eating habits to those of others, as we all eat differently, some get full before others and some don’t, some people like certain foods and some people don’t, simple.
Anway, the main thing I’m getting at with this post is that I’ve realised, regardless of what you look like, its how you make people feel and you’ve got to love the skin your in and love your body as you only get one so look after it and you only get one life, so live it well.
If you want to talk to me or if you want some advice on getting over Orthorexia, please please PLEASE email me and I will help you in any way that I can.
Live a life you’d be happy to live over, time and time again.