It's a topic that's been flying round the healthy living community for quite some time now. On blogs, in magazines on the news... it's growing.
And that's great, right?
The beginning of this attraction to simply eat well and rid one's pantry and fridge of 'bad stuff', would have resulted in a happier, healthier and more energetic feeling and in turn a new sense of power and strength. Reaching for an apple instead of a doughnut, going out with friends to a fast food place and managing to order a salad instead of a burger, surviving a whole week without a single. Scrap. Of. Chocolate. Pretty much super hero strength right there.
It feels good, right? If it feels good, if we feel empowered and if we tell ourselves that we are doing what's right for our bodies, then who in their right mind would stop?
Enter Orthorexia Nervosa.
Health is so much more than just physical. It's so much more than the food that fills (or not) the plate in front of you. It's more than the amount of calories you consume at each meal and the number of spinach leaves present in your salad.
If health is actually split into three categories- physical, mental and social, then if you think about it, the health you are trying to obtain is only 33.33% of true health- not even half!
This is where I come in. It's all well and good for me to say things like the above statements. It's easy for me to preach a message I believe so strongly about. It's effortless, really, to write a post that tells you why orthorexia shouldn't control you. What's not so easy?
Admitting that I think it controls me.
When I first came across this unhealthy obsession I was probably at my worst of it. I dreaded going out to restaurants with friends and if we did I would probably end up bringing my own per-packed food from home. Whenever we went anywhere I had my own little lunch box. I never accepted any food made by someone else and got worried whenever I bought a processed item of food (like a pasta sauce or muesli bar) because I wasn't sure what was truly in it. I read about orthorexia and it was pretty much the definition of my life. For some reason I am only now able to see that. Back then I would shrug it off and tell myself I was being healthy, not obsessive, but I know now how wrong I was.
Now this post is getting a bit on the lengthy (and emotional) side so I think I'll start to wrap things up.
In finishing I want to look at my life today. I know I probably still show a number of signs associated with orthorexia. I know this and accept this. I still bring food to places I know won't have vegetarian options and generally to friends houses so they don't have to worry about buying something different for me. I still sometimes freak out a little bit when I read the sugar/ sodium/ ingredients list of some products that I may have used in my dinner moments before.
What's changed? Those moments are less and less frequent. I freak out for a second and then I move on. Life's too short to worry about a few grams of sugar. I can see the bigger picture now and while I'll always be on a quest to live my healthiest life possible, I know now that that also includes fun with friends and family and making sure my mental health is in check. Only then will I ever be able to experience true health.
I guess it's unfortunate I had that whole period of my life where I thought I was being healthy and I thought I was really happy, but like most aspects in life, you live and learn- usually the hard way! Now I've been at that extreme, I will be able to recognise if I ever go back there and that comforts me.
Have you ever experienced Orthorexia? Do you experience it now?
What are your thoughts on true health?
Any other thoughts?
Bye for now folks- make sure you have a fabulous day! :D