Four to five years ago, my diet consisted of lots and lots of processed foods. I ate cereal for breakfast every morning, I had fried foods several times a week, I was able to eat half a dozen cookies in one sitting, pizza was one of my favorite and had it once or twice a week, and I had to have a snickers bar or chocolate almost every night.
Today, I rarely eat any processed foods. My diet consists of plenty of vegetables, nuts, fruits, basically any real foods. On occasion, I will enjoy foods like burgers, pizza, and “junk” but it’s quite rare.
When I first started my journey to become healthier, I never thought in a million years that it would turn into an obsession. A horrible obsession that would lead to an eating disorder.
When my ex called me “fat” and then broke up with me, I decided to start eating healthy to lose the weight. My version of healthy was meal prepping; only having chicken that was baked and mainly just vegetables.
I started to become more interested in being healthier. I started an online course called Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where I learned about several different dietary theories. I experimented with different foods, I tried being vegan for a couple of weeks, I did a few cleanses, you name it.
This new interest for being healthy turned into an obsession. I started to count calories, I could only eat foods that were considered healthy, I had to work out everyday or else I felt like I would gain the weight I already lost. I literally weighed myself 2-3 times a day and if I gained a pound or two, I would mentally punish myself.
I lost about 6 pant sizes and even though I knew I lost the weight and I was able to fit into pants I couldn’t even fit into in high school I still considered myself fat. I would look in the mirror and hated what I saw. Everyone was telling me how skinny I looked but that not’s how I felt.
My family and friends thought that I was super healthy and they saw myself as an inspiration but they didn’t know that it was affecting my life. To tell you the truth, I had no idea how much it was ruining my life. My friends would invite me to hang out or to dinner but I would refuse to join them because I knew I would be tempted to eat “unhealthy”. If I did agree to hang out, I would bring my own food or make sure to eat before. Eventually my friends didn’t invite me out as much and this caused me to feel lonely.
I didn’t really have people to interact with so I basically created a relationship with food. I would think about food 24/7. I would think about my next meal, what to eat or not to eat, if I ate something unhealthy I would think about how much I needed to work out to balance out what I ate. Food was on my mind all day, every day and we had a love/hate relationship.
In October my course was going over eating disorders when they mentioned one called Orthorexia Nervosa. “The term “orthorexia nervosa,” first coined by Steven Bratman, MD, in his book Health Food Junkies, refers to an obsession with eating only foods perceived to be of a certain status in terms of health, calories, or origin. The disorder is characterized by anxiety, ritualistic thoughts and behaviors, and excessive pickiness with food. Though not officially recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), orthorexia nervosa is a serious mental condition that can significantly impair one’s life and daily functioning.”
When I learned about this eating disorder, I was surprised how closely it related to my situation. I was actually in shock and almost in tears. How did this happen? How did I let this control my life? I never thought I would be a person with an eating disorder.
This was definitely an eye opener for me. I didn’t want to have this eating disorder but it wasn’t just going to go away overnight. I had to start one step at a time and I had to work hard to recover.
Any time I had a slice of pizza, sweets, or anything I considered not to be healthy and I felt guilty about it, I had to literally tell myself that it was okay, that I could enjoy one piece and I wasn’t going to gain the weight. I had to force myself to hang out with my friends but I still thought about food. I put the scale away and only weighed myself a couple of times a week. I would intentionally look in the mirror and tell myself that I was enough, that I was not fat.
I am still living with this eating disorder today but it’s not as intense as it was before. I do not weigh myself anymore but if I noticed that my smallest pants start getting tight, then I start to evaluate what I am eating and if I need to work out more. If I eat anything that is processed, I usually tend to throw it away so I do not finish it. Whenever I start thinking I am fat, I make myself write down what I love about myself to stay away from this negativity.
People are usually surprised and proud of me when I eat a burger or have a few fries. Some tend to make fun of the way I eat, they will call me things like “bunny” or “rabbit” or say things like “What are you eating? KALE?”. I don’t really mind these things. It’s kind of funny because years ago, I was that girl who could down food. I once was able to finish the pound burger from Cheeburger Cheeburger and my picture was on their wall for a while!
It’s amazing how one situation or an event can change your life completely. Don’t let anyone talk you down or don’t let their word become your belief. I let my ex convince me that I was fat and that’s all I was for a while, fat. I now know that wasn’t true at all.
I love myself. Even though some days are harder than others, I care about my well-being. I will not let this eating disorder control me anymore. It will take time to get rid of it completely but I am willing to do whatever I can to do so. Below are some pictures to prove I still enjoy some yummy foods.
Sometimes it’s difficult being very open about my life. But I want you all to know that everyone has a story. People tend to hide what is really going on in their life like I once did. I want yo to know that you are not alone. I am here for you.
I appreciate all of your support and for joining me in my journey to happiness. I love you all.