What are your healthy obsessions
When healthy eating becomes an eating disorder
Instead of getting help with her battle with orthorexia, she received compliments: “I kept getting thinner, got compliments and had my first boyfriend. People in my family who had never accepted me before told me I looked great. "
I did not Not eaten. I just ate so healthy and so restricted that I got very sick.
I know that Prins' experience is not an isolated one. In early 2013, after following a strict paleo diet, something similar happened to me. What began as a resolution to unnecessarily lose ten pounds while taking away the supposed health benefits of a paleo diet soon turned into an obsession with the health benefits of my foods. Since I only ate vegetables, coconut oil, and lean meat, I lost the ten pounds very quickly. Before long, people who hadn't spoken to me in years were complimenting me on my good looks. And I got addicted to these compliments — they became my excuse for fear of half the food groups. I soon made up excuses for why I couldn't go to a Chinese or a bar with my roommates for a beer.
"You're crazy," my roommates told me at the time. "Just order a wonton soup. That's not a problem." What my roommates didn't understand, however, was that wonton was wrapped in the real devil — wheat! I was also looking forward to reading scary stories all night again about the risks and benefits of different types of nut butters. I ended up breaking down under the weight of my own 'madness' and having a panic attack in the freezer section of the supermarket. Shortly afterwards I looked for a therapy place. This should have been the beginning of my recovery, but instead my therapist diagnosed me with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. With my obsessive-compulsive disorder diagnosis, I continued to diligently monitor compliance with my Paleo diet, bathed in compliments, and had more panic attacks in the supermarket.
This is one aspect of orthorexia that deserves special attention: when we acclaim unknowingly eating disorders, it is clear that the way we talk about food needs to change. While institutions like the DSM are incredibly sluggish - let's not forget that the term "anorexia" was first used 80 years before it was admitted to the DSM - we cannot continue to ignore an eating disorder simply because we refuse to understand what it's actually about.
Orthorexic people are not "crazy," and orthorexia is not about blaming healthy eating. It is about the desire to eat healthily absorbing the other aspects of a person. As Jordan Younger in writes on her blog, orthorexia occurs when someone believes that a certain diet is the answer: “It breaks my heart when I see and hear how beautiful, motivated and talented young women are overwhelmed by an extreme diet and lifestyle because it's being sold to them as 'THE HEALTHEST WAY TO LIVE'. If anything claims to be the very healthiest, or ONLY RIGHT way to live, then you know you've found a problem. "
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