Personal Training, Fitness and Nutrition Motivation

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I am Struggling with Orthorexia: a True Testimonial

After writing an article on the topic of Orthorexia Nervosa, an undiagnosed eating disorder where healthy eating is taken to an unhealthy extreme, and on the about.com network, I received an outpouring of emails from people struggling with the disorder or tendencies to the behavior.  I was deeply moved with the many thanks for addressing the issue and providing awareness of the Orthorexia condition.  Upon sharing the article on my Stay Healthy Fitness Facebook there was also quite a bit of backlash and reference to Orthorexia being "bullshit" and just another money making disorder for the doctors.  I did provide a follow-up blog as I do fall under the category of a "clean eater" but there is a difference in healthy eating and healthy obsessive eating.  I ended the blog write with this statement:

"Orthorexia is a mental health issue not a clean eating issue, although sparked by "pure" foods.  It is an issue that requires us to look past the food and into the mind of a struggling person."





With that I now want to introduce you to a struggling Orthorexic who has offered to share her story with privacy conditions and I have agreed to do so.  Her story is authentic and her struggle is real:

"I really appreciate your article on orthorexia. I have those tendencies, but I am not sure if I fall into the orthorexia category or anorexia category. I am 50 years old and mother of two children. I have a degree in advertising and passionate about the health and fitness field.  I do most of my work from home so I can spend time with my kids.  For the last 25 years, I have worked-out faithfully and followed a relatively healthy diet.  When I turned 38, however, things seemed to "fall apart". I began having joint problems and acne issues. My thyroid issues worsened. After some research, I eliminated gluten and found relief in my joints, but not my skin. After further research, I found the paleo diet. It helped somewhat with the thyroid issues. I now eat a diet free of all grains/soy/beans/sugar/potatoes and most dairy.  Basically, I eat eggs, meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, and fats. I tried AIP to clear my acne but it did not produce the desired results. My acne is worse and I lost about 15 pounds. (I am below 100 pounds.)  I am 5'1" tall. I am not quite sure how to pull myself out of this one but I am trying to. After "eating clean" for so long, it is a bit hard to add things back so that I can gain the much needed weight.  My weakness is anything chocolate, peanut butter and/or ice cream.  It is hard, but sometimes I have to give myself permission to indulge. I still have to work on the guilt afterwards. But baby steps...


I am currently seeing a naturopath for my under active thyroid.  He has been a God-send.  He is aware of my anorexia tendencies and intercepted what could have been a much more serious situation than I am in right now. He accepted me as a patient in the middle of a tailspin. The MD that I had been using for years decided to make a HUGE adjustment in my thyroid medication. The end results were not what he expected and told me to see a specialist. I chose to find a naturopath instead.  He is wonderful.  But sometimes, it is hard to stop the tailspin mid tailspin!  I have dealt with anorexia since I was 18 years old.  That is a whole other story that I hope to share someday in hopes of helping those in the same situation.  In the past, I just starved myself.  This time is different.  I am eating but I am eating so cleanly and never deviating--until recently.  Anorexia restricts food--plain and simple, no explanation needed when I refused food.  This time it feels like life is restricted. How do you try and explain that I eat good-for-me food not THAT?!  I am not saying that eating healthily is a bad thing.  But there needs to be balance.  Of course, if you have sensitivities, then stay clear of the trigger foods.  I have, through all this, found some sensitivities (gluten and soy) and I avoid them to the best of my ability.  But relaxing and enjoying a not-so-good-for-you treat is still a struggle.  I somehow feel that I have failed because I "gave in".  Shouldn't the important thing be that I am enjoying a rare treat with my children?  Believe me, they have noticed that I no longer share in the special times.  What kind of example am I setting for them?  I do not want them to think that it is all or nothing. They eat pretty healthily.  They now eat more fruits and vegetables and much less processed foods. Beyond that,  I am so uncomfortable in my own body because I finally was "able to see" how thin I was thanks to my husband hurting my feelings.  I thank God he was just plain honest even though it hurt.  My acne is embarrassing as well.  I never thought that I would be fighting acne at my age even with all the positives changes that I have made.  It is worse now than when I was in my teens.  

Thank you for addressing this issue and giving me awareness.  I hope to get myself back.  My dream is just to be healthy and be able to help others suffering like I do.  If you feel that my story can help someone, then please use it. I feel like we all go through things for a reason. If my story would bring awareness, I would feel blessed!" 

Sincerely,
An Orthorexic
READ THE ARTICLE


If you have not had the opportunity to read my article on "Orthorexia: Clean Eating Gone Wrong" , take a few moments to become aware of an issue that is more problematic than realized. I am thankful to this beautiful woman who reached out completely vulnerable sharing her life and struggle with orthorexic tendencies and I pray for her recovery.  I also hope that her story has touched you as it did me.  Orthorexia is definitely not "bullshit" and bringing this issue to the forefront is timely.  Awareness of the condition is important so that we may be able to help those who are struggling or at the very least understand the mentality of someone suffering with Orthorexia.  

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Stay Healthy!
Darla



8 comments:

  1. Shared here very informative and useful facts on orthorexia really got many new facts about this. Thanks for posting this blog with us.

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    1. thanks for stopping by the blog! Stay Healthy

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  2. First off, new to your blog! I love it! Great topics.
    Secondly, great post. I agree that becoming too obsessed with something is bad- even if it's "healthy". Exercising can become too much if done more than what's healthy for the body.
    Look forward to reading more of your articles!

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    1. Hi Emily,

      Thanks for stopping by for a read and for the awesome feedback. Be well and Stay Healthy!

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  3. What a great post! I heard someone talking about this very thing the other day. I thought at first it was a silly joke, but I can see how this is a real thing. I have been on a health kick, reading Michael Galitzer's Outstanding Health has been a great catalyst for me, I have found more energy and with the healthiest eating options winning out I have felt 100% better!

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    1. Thanks Becky and the article is indeed timely and covers an issue plaguing more people than realized. Happy to hear you are adopting a healthy lifestyle and feeling fabulous! Be well and Stay Healthy!

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  4. This post is really fantastic and thanks for sharing the valuable post.

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  5. Nice health Blog with good information

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