I was just thinking to myself and about my past with orthorexia, and it just came to me..It’s the topic of getting to a point where you know too much about nutrition.
A lot of us get into “nutrition studies and research” because we’re inspired by wanting to be more healthy, so we start researching more about nutrition, the foods that we’re eating, the nutritional info, the macronutrients, the micronutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, blah, blah, blah.
So we start out with that, and it’s innocent. We just want to get healthier. Maybe we’re trying to heal from a health problem, chronic or acute. And as time goes on, we can either go two ways. One way is the extreme way, the way that I went, and that a lot of people are going, and the other way, which is just balance. You know the information. You don’t always abide by it or think about it constantly, but I want to talk about the extreme ways.
We cross this fine line, this boundary, of knowing about nutrition and implementing it, to knowing too much about nutrition, like I said. So you study nutrition and years ago by, and you see every angle, every aspect of the nutritional profile for each food. So for example, coffee. You read hundreds of statistics and studies and theories about how coffee is the worst thing for your body. But then on the other side, you have people that are touting coffee as a miracle superfood with the highest levels of antioxidants and all that jargon and that it is actually really healthy.
Another one is salt. A lot of people think that you shouldn’t have any salt at all or very minimal. And then you have other people that are like, “No, you need a lot of salt. You need like over a tablespoon or more, and plus salt sole,” and just tons of salt or just a lot more than the other people. (it’s all a bunch of BS anyways…)
So there’s all of these divides and controversies, and they’re all contradicting each other. So in orthorexia, you back yourself into this corner because you see the bad and you focus on the bad. It’s part of us humans to focus on the few bad things over the many positive things that we know about something. We focus on that, and perseverate on that, and just go with that. So we back ourselves into isolated restrictive corners and we are limited to only a certain few amounts of foods and liquids even, and that this is the best thing.
You know too much to where you don’t know what is true anymore and you don’t know what to do anymore for yourself. So you’re too much in your mind and not enough in your body.
So even if you know that these certain foods are okay or you think that these certain foods are bad for you but you actually thrive on them or just prior to being super crazy and restrictive, you did fine and you thrived on those specific foods. But then you saw someone over here on YouTube or social media doing something that you weren’t doing, even though what you were doing was working for you, and you’re like, “Oh, maybe I should switch things up.” And then you try exactly what they’re doing, follow what they’re doing. And four days into it or four months into it, you’re feeling like crap, but you’re believing that that’s a more superior way to follow and you don’t listen to your body that somethings off and things start to become out of balance. You’re not able to follow yourself anymore because you’re thinking too much and looking to external guides rather than internally your bodies guide. There really is a thing of us overthinking too much about food, eating, nutrition. It’s a real thing, and it’s a very huge part of orthorexia.
Then, we’re easily persuaded by others around us, even if we start to hone back in and listen to our intuition and do what feels good to us. We’re so easily swayed by people around us telling us or trying to remind us because they’ve heard from so-and-so on the internet, or in a book, or some study somewhere that, oh, coffee’s horrible for you, or, oh, you should be drinking like a crap-ton of water, even if you’re not thirsty and you’re going to flush out your fricking electrolytes and start getting dizzy and passing out. Or you should definitely try cutting sugar… or gluten is the devil… or ketogenic does wonders!!
Then you start to question yourself, even though you know now because you’ve been doing something and it’s been working for you, that those things never worked for you or that you shouldn’t listen because it’s just another gimmick! And then you start questioning yourself and going back to cutting that thing out or cutting down on that certain thing.
Then you start feeling issues again..
You need to learn how to be strong with yourself and what feels good to you and stop being so easily persuaded by everyone around you.
It’s so easy in recovery, I get it.. We’re bombarded with external messages and so many different kinds of messages that are so different from each other on social media, but in real person, too. Because I still have friends and family that are restrictive or dysmorphic… They have their ideologies that they try to push on me, and I’m like nope! I would have to consciously go in and remind myself like, “Don’t buy into it again. You’ve been there. What they’re saying, you’ve been there. You’ve tried that, and it didn’t work and never will, the only answer is your own balance and recovery.” So let them run their course.
You can share your two cents once, but don’t become a diet Nazi for them. Just be like, “You know, I tried that and it don’t work for me. But it might work for you. But if it doesn’t work for you, then you can come back to me and I’ll tell you what I did,” or, “It’s okay to change.” If something is not working for you, it’s time to look elsewhere and switch things up.
Orthorexia is a real thing. It will drive you nuts. It will drive you away from relationships. It will make you go nuts. You are going to be out of touch with your body, too much in your head. It’s not a bad thing to be in your head, but you need to learn how to not be just in your head and be in your body, too, and have a good balance. So remember that.
Because let’s face it, you’re not going to get away from people, so you have to learn how to deal with people, and people are going to be people. And a lot of humans are stuck in the diet and beauty culture because that’s just what’s everywhere around us. So if your mom, or your friend, or your spouse is anti carbs, don’t get swayed into the anti carb movement. But on the other hand, if your other friend is anti fat, overt fat, any kind of fat, any kind of oil, any kind of fat source, don’t fall into that trap either.
No low anything deit. Keep to your high everything diet, your balanced diet, insert-your-name-here diet. Because balance looks different for all of us. And it may change throughout our life, so don’t get attached to any way of eating again.. and during recovery, you won’t be able to “find balance” until you recover and things normalize on their own.. so be patient and allow it to happen naturally not consciously..
And don’t do what other’s balance is. Do you. Do your balance. Find your balance.
Orthorexia is not balanced. Food controlling your life is not balanced.
Sending you love!