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Dietary "Dogma", Orthorexia Signs & Finding Peace With Food
Go Kaleo’s frequently used term “Dietary Dogma” has to be one of my favorite’s this year. Love, love, love it.
Personally, I don’t care which lifestyle diet you choose, so long as it actually benefits your health (lifestyle = set of principles that you choose to live by. Not being on A diet). If it includes lots of fresh veggies, enough protein, is mostly clean, allows for occasional treats and makes your BODY feel AWESOME, you get high fives from me. And if it doesn’t, hopefully you’ll make healthier changes over time that suit you.
But… feeling awesome is about how your BODY responds to your diet. Not how superior YOU FEEL because you follow it. That’s where dietary dogma can get tricky and MAY cross over into orthorexia: a growing problem in the fitness & health community.
Orthorexia is an unhealthy fixation on healthy foods. Unlike anorexia, the goal is not to be thin, but rather to be as healthy as possible. While that may not SEEM all that bad, there is a VERY big difference between someone making healthy lifestyle choices to ENHANCE their life, versus someone who’s healthy choices ARE their life.
Most simply, the difference can be seen in how two individuals handle a situation like hunger….
When faced with the option to either A. starve or B. eat McDonald’s, a person with a healthy relationship with food will choose McDonald’s. They know their body needs food, even if it’s not the kind of food they’d regularly have. They know that the only thing WORSE than eating McDonald’s is starving their bodies.
A person with orthorexic tendencies, on the other hand, would rather starve than eat unhealthy OR will experience SEVERE feelings of guilt, self-loathing and anxiety should they eat the undesirable food. Even when the alternative was starving.
See the difference?
**UPDATE: Just a little add on, since some people seem to be going NUTS over the idea of eating McDonald’s in the example above. I don’t want McHate to cloud the points being made.
I’m not talking about having to wait an hour before you can find yourself something healthy to eat. In the extreme example below (which, by the way would probably never happen in real life. Figured that most people would ‘get’ that, but hey), I’m talking about a hypothetical life or death situation that highlights the thought process of someone who might suffer from orthorexia.
Someone who would rather starve to death than eat McDonald’s HAS ISSUES (considering that most of these people avoid McDonald’s in order to be healthier, it seems funny that they would choose ‘death’ over it. If anything could be considered unhealthier than McDonald’s, it’s starving or dying. Hands down). That’s all I’m sayin’. I am not, nor have I ever, encouraged people to eat McDonald’s, lol. But if the thought of eating McDonald’s versus starving (not just for an hour or two) actually makes you anxious, stressed, or ________, you MAY want to look into that. That kind of thinking crosses over into MANY behaviors (and most don’t have anything to do with McDonald’s).
Like all eating disorders, it’s about your relationship with food AND there’s a scale. You may have some orthorexic tendencies, without it having a SERIOUS impact on your health (though it may cause you more stress than you’re aware of). The biggest concerns with orthorexics involve the anxiety & stress they experience surrounding food (and meal planning), a decrease in quality of life with increased focus on diet ‘perfection’, ignoring warning signs from the body and potential malnourishment/health problems pertaining to dietary restrictions (very severe at that point. Ortho-anorexia)
Some Signs You May Have Orthorexic Tendencies
Can You Be TOO Healthy? Staying In Control Of What You Eat (And Not Letting It Control You)
Eat clean & move more: sounds simple right?
Well, yes & no. Being healthy involves a variety of behaviors and choices, including some that may seem counter-intuitive. It’s important to try to give our bodies the best we can, but equally important that we stay mentally healthy while we do it. With healthy eating & exercise, normally healthy endeavors can turn into unhealthy obsessions given the right circumstances.
Eating disorders have a broad range: it’s not just anorexia, bulimia or binge eating. You do not need to lose or gain weight to have an eating disorder. You do not need to be obsessed with your body image to have an eating disorder. E.D.’s are qualified as having an “unhealthy, disordered relationship with food (too much, too little, or very specific kinds) & are characterized by stress, anxiety & gaining (or losing) control over the body”. It’s about behavior: not outward symptoms. Many people go undiagnosed because we tend to focus heavily on visual signs and not enough on behavioral cues.
It’s tough to imagine, but you CAN be too “healthy”. Orthorexia (Healthy Diet Obsession) is more and more common, and it’s hard to diagnose people who suffer.
If you’re a health nut, how can you tell the difference between orthorexia & just doing what’s best for your body?
Orthorexia becomes a problem when food becomes a source not just of nutrition, but of virtue or self-worth, when eating “bad” food implies that one is a bad person, and when the diet becomes a source of either self-esteem or, conversely, guilt and self-loathing.
Possible Signs of Orthorexia (particularly if 4 or more apply. If they all apply, you may be suffering)
- Spend more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food.
- Plan your day’s menu more than 24 hour ahead of time.
- Take more pleasure from the “virtuous” aspect of your food than from actually eating it.
- Find your quality of life decreasing as the “quality” of your food increases.
- Are increasingly rigid and self-critical about your eating.
- Base your self-esteem on eating “healthy” foods, and have a lower opinion of people who do not.
- Eat “correct” foods to the avoidance of all those that you’ve always enjoyed.
- So limit what you can eat that you can dine “correctly” only at home, spending less and less time with friends and family.
- Feel guilt or self-loathing when you eat “incorrect” foods.
- Derive a sense of self-control from eating “properly.”
Commitment and adherence to a diet can be warranted for the seriously overweight, even to the point of altering their lifestyle. But, “isn’t it also important in life to have some spontaneity, some enjoyment?”
“In 1997, a general physician named Steven Bratman coined the term orthorexia nervosa, which he defines as, “an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food.” It reminds me of the counterproductive dietary perfectionism I’ve seen among many athletes, trainers, and coaches. One of the fundamental pitfalls of dichotomizing foods as good or bad, or clean or dirty, is that it can form a destructive relationship with food. This isn’t just an empty claim; it’s been seen in research. Smith and colleagues found that flexible dieting was associated with the absence of overeating, lower bodyweight, and the absence of depression and anxiety. They also found that a strict all-or-nothing approach to dieting was associated with overeating and increased bodyweight. Similarly, Stewart and colleagues found that rigid dieting was associated with symptoms of an eating disorder, mood disturbances, and anxiety. Flexible dieting was not highly correlated with these qualities. Although these are observational study designs with self-reported data, anyone who spends enough time among fitness buffs knows that these findings are not off the mark.”—http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-nutrition/the-dirt-on-clean-eating/
Orthorexia and Me
A few weeks ago I saw True Life: I Have Orthorexia and it really, really hit me. I’ve noticed a lot of women on Tumblr have a very, very similar story to mine, so I think that’s why it’s important I share mine. See, when I first started Tumblr it was to post real girl thinspo and find more of it. I immersed myself into this community from an ED point of view initially. It took me wandering onto a recovery blog with a girl with a VERY similar story as mine before I made the steps to recovery. So…here it is. Orthorexia and Me.
I’ve always been self conscious about my body. My thighs have always been too big. Always. In high school I lamented over this and would go to the gym and crank out a few hours on the elliptical every so often. Nothing really serious. Just every so often.
Then came undergrad.
I graduated from high school a year early because I hated it. Like a lot of women with ED’s I was a type A straight A student that found myself constantly bored with being treated like I was five years old. I hated that teachers would hold my hand, talk down to me, etc. High school was horrible because I was never challenged. I was also the first graduating class so there were a lot of growing pains I went through with the school. It took one of my teachers telling me to graduate early because I was “too smart for this low level school.” I did that and went to undergrad 2 hours away from every person I ever knew at age 17.
My freshman year was boring. I had a job that started in October, knew absolutely no one and talked myself out of rushing a sorority. The girls down my hall were catty and judgmental and all I had was my roommate. She was slightly overweight, so we decided we’d go to the gym. It started as a boredom thing. I’d go to class, do some work, then go to the gym. We’d hop on the elliptical for about an hour and a half. No big deal.
Then came LiveJournal.
I don’t blame any one social media network site for my progression. Really, that’s stupid. I had the behavior there - I was eating less, working out more, weighing myself every day. I just had no idea what I was doing so it was more me floundering around and kinda losing weight. I decided to make an LJ to chronicle the annoying girls down my hall. I also was a HUGE fan of ANTM so I searched that as an interest, you know, to follow some LJs about ANTM.
Bam. Tons of pro-ana LJs popped up.
Curious, I clicked on them.
That’s how it started.
I suddenly knew to count calories. I learned to exercise all my food off. It was the affirmation I needed to go from “disordered eating” to “eating disorder.” I started two-a-days, the gym was all about calories burned and I’d take the machines numbers to heart.
At the end of my freshman year of undergrad I weighed in at 117 lbs but was NEEDING 110. I added some weight lifting on days I didn’t feel like going on the elliptical, but it was mostly fuckaround its. I thought I could get rid of my inner thigh fat by using that adductor machine for 10 minutes on low weights.
I was the hamster in the wheel - spinning away and going nowhere.
I came home for the summer and didn’t have a *real* job (I cooked all the meals for my parents out of those diet cook books and cleaned the house and made sure they went to the gym) and fluctuated from 117-122. When the summer ended I rushed a sorority and remember looking at the scale that read 122 and thinking I was too fat to wear any of my cute rush stuff. Instead I wore jeans the entire time - even though it was 110 degrees in the middle of summer in Arizona.
I was like this for a long, long time. I knew the calorie count in every food item I put in my mouth. I fasted, I wrote my goal weight on the side of my cereal boxes and on every food item in my house. I would coordinate my visits to the sorority house for dinner/lunch based on the menu. For mandatory Monday night dinners they had chicken, so I went vegetarian so it wouldn’t be weird when I didn’t eat.
I had an entire album of “real girl thinspo” on my computer
I favorited countless Xangas of just thinspo and would look at it multiple times a day
I was consumed. It got in the way of my relationship with my long time boyfriend, it made me a recluse despite my naturally outgoing nature, and it turned me into a shell of what I once was. Yeah, I was skinny, but I had few friends and battled constantly with depression.
I joined Tumblr the summer of 2010, after I graduated college, with a thinspo/journal under the name “perfect110.” I had thousands of posts and people I followed who were real life thinspo.
April of 2011 I saw my first recovery blog. It was a girl who once posted thinspo all the time and her daily intake (usually around 500, same as mine). She’d just finished the Master Cleanse (which I was starting) and lamented how it was ruining her life. Her friends were so happy and she wasn’t. She’d read this book, Intuitive Eating, and admitted that she had orthorexia and was sick and needed to change her life.
A few weeks later I felt the same way. I was sick of the restrictive lifestyle I lived, which only made me gradually gain weight until I was at 140 lbs - the highest I’d ever been. Orthorexia allowed me to “build” enough muscle to where I never looked “fat”, but I was still about the numbers. To me, everything on my body was fat.
I still had “safe foods.” I still had this need to exercise off that burger or last nights alcohol. I still felt guilty for eating food that I enjoyed. I’d swallow down low calorie versions of my favorite foods and convince myself I liked the taste.
I was a hollow version of myself.
It took a girl on Tumblr, and my own sick realization, to help myself. I deleted my LJ, Xanga, unfollowed all the unhealthy Tumblrs. I deleted my thinspo file, threw out all my old measurements and progress pics and calorie journals. Everything. Done.
Then came the long progress of shifting. I found other recovery blogs, reorganized my life to focus on other things than my weight, spent more time going out with friends and my boyfriend. I did everything I could to keep myself busy and focus less and less on my weight. I moved to Mississippi in June of 2011 and found weight lifting in December of 2011. It started small - I’d always liked weights, but never knew anything about it.
In January of 2012 I found Oly lifting and it changed. my. life.
I see similar stories with girls in the Fitblr community. They made a change - mental, spiritual, physical - and found what they love. They found yoga cleared their mind from the obsessive thoughts of their ED, or that long runs were the cure to all their ills. Others were like me - a great session with the iron was enough to soothe everything. The gym became a place of love, not a place to work off a meal.
I have bad days, just like everyone does. Sometimes I feel guilty for eating certain foods, but I’ve found that these days are fewer and far in between. I changed my priorities and my outlook on life and found the peace that I’d at long last hoped for.
Now? My goals are about strength. My goals are about helping others who are in the same situation I was. My goals are about education and outreach. My goals are to never marginalize another person, because I know what that’s like. And I often share my story and my life in hopes that another girl, just like me, sees this and knows that it’s 100% possible to turn your life around. It’s never too late.
Eating Healthy is Now An Eating Disorder?!
Can you believe this Cave-shit?! I read the following on Nell Stephenson’s blog today (The Paleoista). I’ve never heard of anything more absurd. Read her great article, and then I’ll comment again below.
Lo and behold, there is a new classification of eating disorders, “Orthorexia” which is defined as an obsession with healthy or righteous eating.
According to an eating disorder site, ”it often begins with someone’s simple and genuine desire to live a healthy lifestyle. The person may choose to stop eating red meat, but eventually cuts out all meat; then all processed foods, and will eventually eat only specific foods that are prepared in very specific ways.“
Before I go any further, I feel obliged to explain that I’ve had the opportunity to work with several clients who, through a combination of learning to follow the healthy, balance of Paleo diet along with therapy of one sort or another, were able to address their anorexia and its causes in each of their lives. The reason I bring this up is to illustrate that I’ve seen what these women have gone through, and the strength they demonstrated in dealing with it, and to add an ‘obsession with healthy eating’ to the same category (an eating disorder) seems offensive, ignorant and belittling to me.
As if one’s desire to live a healthy life and eschew foods that have been scientifically and anecdotally shown to be bad for one’s body is a problematic issue!
Granted, if someone becomes ultra restrictive with calories, or opts to eat none of the carbohydrates via veg and fruit, or the healthy fats both of which are an integral part of Paleo, then there may be an issue at hand, but they wouldn’t be following Paleo (a), and they wouldn’t be making food choices for the right reasons.
The same site goes along to explain that “there’s still some confusion as to whether or not it should be classed as an eating disorder” and ”some medical experts believe it’s actually another form of obsessive-compulsive disorder“. It later states that “less intense forms of orthorexic behavior aren’t dangerous and is based on an obsessive fixation on food, just as with anorexia or bulimia…a person with orthorexia will think about the overall health benefits as well as how the food was processed, prepared, etc. Because of this, opinions have begun shifting in the last few years and orthorexia is now believed to be its own condition, separate from obsessive-compulsive or other eating disorders.”
Ok, so being interested in what we put in our bodies, where it came from and how it was prepared is a mental health concern?
I choose not to eat dairy, grains and legumes because I know the harm they’d pose to my body, and they make me feel ill. Instead, I eat a bountiful diet of a balance of fresh veg, wild proteins and natural fats and no processed junk. According to this idea of orthorexia, that would mean I have an eating disorder because of the foods I want to eat and those pretend foods I don’t. Or that I have OCD and the ‘behavior’ of wanting to eat properly is akin to needing to wash one’s hands repeatedly throughout the day. Really?
This concept does nothing but further my disgust with the absolute state of disarray of our country’s approach to healthcare and what we view as acceptable or not. This is beyond ridiculous.
Cooking Caveman: Yes, I admit I’m a proud sufferer of Orthorexia, and I’m renaming the whole paleo diet Nimoyrexia! I’m addicted to having clear skin, ripped abs, people telling me I look great, having a deep tan in the summer (I told you that coconut oil works!), being healthy, having less depression, having perfect blood pressure, and eating like a king! Lock me up in the asylum folks! I only ask that when my friends and family hold the intervention, they put out some nice paleo snacks for the sane people to enjoy. They might as well get some healthy food into their bodies for once too!
My personal experiences with orthorexia
So basically. I’d always been prone to this. I don’t know what exactly to call the tendency. But the tendency was there, it only had to be activated by outside sources in order to start restricting more and more foods from my life. And these outside sources usually manipulated me in some way, and I was vulnerable, and the combination of internal tendency and outside source resulted in more and more food restrictions.
So there was the vegetarianism. And no I am not saying vegetarianism in itself is an eating disorder. But for me — and for the reasons that I adopted it — it was absolutely the first sign of one. And then veganism eventually followed, again not because I freely chose it but because of my particular responses to certain kinds of manipulation.
Then I began to cut out a bunch of things that various people were telling me would fix my autism or fix my headaches or fix my neuromuscular clusterfuck that at that point we didn’t even know it was neuromuscular in origin. I saw quacks who convinced me I was allergic to vast arrays of foods and that terrible things, maybe even death, would happen to me if I ate them. Certainly, if I ate them, it showed I didn’t care about my health.
But it wasn’t just that.
It was the way I grew to enjoy restricting more and more foods. I’d start looking up what foods were supposedly contributing to what conditions until even the quacks were alarmed at what I was and wasn’t eating.
After a couple months of that I was skinny as a rail. Straight up and down. And that was before I started starving because I couldn’t feed myself, for reasons totally unrelated to eating disorder. And the stuff I did eat was the few things I allowed myself to eat, and that didn’t help at all.
Every time I restricted a new food, I’d feel a sort of high. I’d feel more energetic, more alert, healthier in some way. Happier. That was not because I was actually healthier. It was because when you start lacking nutrients, your body makes you more alert, because it’s trying to make you able to find food better. Then, as that sensation wore off, I’d start to crash. My head would get fuzzy and my body would feel terrible. And then I’d have to find a new level of purity to attain in order to get that feeling back for a little while. And it went into a very vicious cycle.
Body hatred didn’t help either. Although it wasn’t a major component of the eating disorder for me the way it is for many people, I do remember reveling in the way I had no more stomach, the way my bones poked into things. On one level I hated the feeling and knew something was wrong. On the other level I felt so glad I was no longer fat. And that was one factor, even though it was a minor factor. Never mind that what I call fat here, actually is more like slightly overweight by current standards. The fact that I had a double chin (if keeping my neck in a normal position, which I rarely did) even when thin didn’t help matters at all in terms of the body image side of this. That’s just because of the way my head is structured.
And… When I found out about orthorexia, I weirdly didn’t have much denial about it. I could see that just about everything fitted me. Except for the thing about feeling superior to people who weren’t as pure. I did have a huge element of purity obsession in everything I did food-wise. But I never once looked down on other people or tried to convert them to my way of eating. My purity was very centered on myself and not so much on other people. I remember, in fact, not being able to stand what I called “evangelical vegetarians/vegans” even when I was vegetarian/vegan.
I do still also remember the element that happened when a good friend of mine was into the whole buy all the expensive organic crap thing. She’s the one who talked me into that element of things, and it just became one more way to restrict my food, although not as intense as the other restrictions. That’s why this book was so triggering to me, with all the talk of how everything’s better if its natural and organic and supposedly cruelty free and expensive and gourmet and shit. But being poor kept me from heading too far into that territory. It still made me feel inferior that I couldn’t buy that stuff, though, like I wasn’t passing that test of purity again, and thus very angry at people who insisted I should. I remember arguments with my upper middle class friend over it.
I also still remember how I used to run around reading every ingredient on the label. And quizzing restaurant people about every single ingredient. And feeling so virtuous doing so. Not because I had a legitimate food allergy — well I did, but that was in young childhood. But just because I’d been convinced that everything in my being depended on keeping away from tons of foods that were almost all perfectly fine for me.
Getting better has been really, really hard. Realizing I had to get better or I’d probably starve, wasn’t enough. Wasn’t nearly enough. But then with true eating disorders it rarely is.
No matter what, I still always have that temptation sitting there waiting, even after all these years, to restrict my food and become pure again. I had to set absolute rules for myself concerning diets. That I was not allowed to restrict foods except on things that were proven to be about health. And even then I forced myself to sometimes eat things I shouldn’t, just so I wouldn’t get too weird about it. I mean like skipping something from a reflux diet. I’m not talking about messing up with an anaphylactic food allergy here.
I’m really glad none of my doctors knew about this history when I literally stopped being able to eat, though. I’ve heard horror stories about people with gastroparesis being misdiagnosed as anorexic or bulimic for years before getting a proper diagnosis if ever. Because it makes you lose your appetite and throw up after eating. But it has no similarities to orthorexia for me at all.
It’s weird now that I am on a steady diet of the same exact tube feed formula day after day, because of the severe gastroparesis meaning eating through my stomach at all is no longer feasible. It’s almost like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I no longer have to struggle with the urge to restrict food, because I don’t eat by mouth at all.
I know there must be orthorexic people who carry it on even past the point that they need tube feeding for unrelated medical reasons. Some of them might love eating the formula. Others might see the formula as too impure and embark on a quest to find the perfect way to continue restricting through various sorts of blended food. Blended food is not as much of an option for me anyway, because it’s just too hard for me to pull off with a j-tube to be it worth my while to bother at the moment. But for people who have g-tubes, I suppose if they were actively orthorexic they could keep on doing that, just through a tube rather than a mouth. G tubes are bigger than j tubes, which is why you can get blended food into them easier without clogs. I have enough clogs to worry about without worrying about food related ones.
But anyway. Having the same formula every day feels freeing to me. It feels like I no longer have to struggle with what food to cut out, because I’ve effectively cut out all food. Not cut out all food for real, mind you. Formula is absolutely a real kind of food. But what I mean, is there’s no huge variety of foods to choose from where I’d have to worry about which to eat and which to restrict. So I feel like the entire urge to restrict is gone.
And I didn’t even know that I still struggled with that urge that much. Maybe I didn’t. But it was still there, despite my not having restricted in ages. And the way I eat right now, seems to eliminate the entire conflict of to restrict or not to restrict. Because I can’t exactly go inside of the formula and measure out which parts came from where and then cut some of them out. It’s all blended together long before it reaches my house. So it’s much easier to deal with than food was before this.
That’s not a super major consideration in all this. It just feels like a bit of a relief to no longer have that push and pull of “do I want to restrict or do I want to do the healthy thing?” Where the healthy thing is not to obsess on dietary purity in any way. Not to cut things out and feel virtuous and pseudo-spiritual and pure and crap doing it.
At least…. All this is how I think it all happened. It’s all very tangled in my head, and it’s sometimes hard to know what is what. But I definitely went through a period when my friends were worried about my health due to the amount of foods I kept out of my diet. And it has definitely been a struggle to stop doing that. And it definitely interacts with gastroparesis in ways that are sometimes bizarre and unexpected. And this book on tube feeding was wonderful in every other way, but it definitely stirred up a lot of shit related to all this. Because the entire section of blended food recipes was like a list of different restrictive diets people use on themselves and their children, often with an element of purity involved rather than based on the actual health properties of foods. Not that I’m calling them all orthorexics, I don’t know them nearly well enough, but it’s often coming from the same culture that the author of the article described — where orthorexia can really get started and begin to thrive, in susceptible people.
It’s also why I find pretty much all evangelical dietary stuff much more toxic to me than it is to the average person. One reason I almost didn’t post this, is I was afraid next time I reacted to someone, someone would say “oh that’s just because she was orthorexic”, rather than because I have legitimate objections to them in general, as in not just limited to the situations of people with eating disorders. And I can’t stand listening to people wax eloquent about the virtues of restricting zillions of foods in bizarre and potentially harmful ways, no matter how popular their particular fad diets have become.
Oh and I do have legitimate dietary restrictions. Even now, with the feeding tube, I have to be low fat and low fiber, because fat and fiber are terrible for gastroparesis, and fiber tends to give me blockages from constipation. (Yes, you read that right. Fiber acts in complicated ways. It’s not just that it you add more fiber you’ll shit better. Following that advice nearly got me killed. Fiber can also add bulk to your stools, which in susceptible people can cause blockages.) So my current food is low fat low fiber high protein. But that’s a far cry from eliminating a list of twenty or more foods and food ingredients because you feel like you’d be horribly impure and immoral and bad and unhealthy and bad if you didn’t.
Anyway so that’s my best effort at describing what orthorexia has been like in my life. It’s not complete. But it’s also past four in the morning. I wonder if someone gave me the caffeinated coke instead of the decaf because I haven’t slept tonight at all.
There. Now I feel a little better, having explained what orthorexia is and how it affected me. Because I wasn’t sure if people would get how health food crap can mess up my head.
Also this is why I have a serious problem with “don’t bother to tell your friends that there may be something wrong with the hugely restrictive diet they’re on supposedly for disability-related reasons, because everything a disabled person does is okay and shouldn’t be questioned” shit I used to see in segments of the online disability community. Because if people hadn’t kept questioning me, if nobody had told me about orthorexia, I might either not be here or have gotten a lot sicker at a crucial point in my life. Yes it is okay to tell your friends they might be really messing things up. Because its easy to restrict one thing after another after another and not realize how far you’ve gone. It’s also easy to believe quacks who tell you that if you cut out half the known foods in the known universe, you’ll get better. Neither of these things is a great thing to encourage or stay quiet about. Even if there are right and wrong ways to say something, it’s not ~oppressive~ to be genuinely concerned.
I think a sign that my disordered thoughts and eating are really less prominent these days is that I no longer obsess over taking flawless photos of every meal and snack I eat.
I used to get out my camera whenever I ate, taking my food outside for the good lighting and crouching down sorting out the perfect angle and focus. I’d take so long that my food went cold and I had to microwave it before I ate it. I felt as if I couldn’t eat until I had taken the ‘perfect’ photo and it was ridiculous.
These days I take a quick snap on my iPhone and then just enjoy my food and it just shows me I’m a lot more normal about food these days and it’s just good.
I’ve been spending the past week trying to “get real.”
Real dessert, real sandwiches with real full-fat cheese, real, real, real normal people food.
I’ve been tricking myself with “healthy” clean desserts where I substitute greek yogurt for butter, found on health blogs, etc.
I just had “real” normal frozen pizza for the first time in the longest time.
Please Please Please don’t trick yourself into a pseudo-recovery. Please try what you friends are eating at the diner. Please don’t cut out normality again.