This may be a pretty controversial topic... and let me admit straight-up that I know almost nothing about orthorexia. I may be completely wrong here when I say all these things. But that's okay, because at least I'm saying something about it.
Oh, and before you judgemental non-Geeks start spouting bullshit about how of course I'm "anorexic" because I'm skinny and underweight, look again. I'm talking about orthorexia, not anorexia.
Orthorexia nervosa is defined as an unhealthy obsession with 'healthy' foods and an almost exaggerated fear of eating or being around junk food, often causing physical symptoms. Now I'm all for eating a healthy diet and giving your body the nutrition it deserves, but I must say that orthorexia has pretty much butchered my lifestyle, and I'm still dealing with the consequences.
I started on my 'eat clean' journey sometime last year, perhaps in July 2015. I was obsessed with the idea of gaining weight on a high-protein, high-calorie diet, and while that may or may not have been the right approach - I'm no fitness expert, I have no idea - the way I was going about it was extremely wrong. I started restricting myself to certain food items only, not because I wanted to be healthier, but because I genuinely believed that those foods would cause me physical and mental harm. I tried to give up eating cheese, butter and milk, and the more I avoided those foods, the more my body would start to reject them. I'd get gassy or get nauseated or even throw up. I'd feel queasy every time I had a French fry. I would shame myself and pat my bloated stomach in regret after having a burger or a slice of pizza. I would sometimes even cry as I ate a chocolate waffle and then immediately throw the remaining half of it in the dustbin because I was so, so upset about how much I was 'damaging' my body.
You guys might know of the concept of 'cheat meals' or 'YOLO meals'. Well, I tried hard to give myself that break. But even eating a YOLO meal on Sunday would make me feel like a fitness failure, and that would only lead to me binge-eating junk food and shaming myself even further, then going weeks and weeks without eating anything remotely unhealthy. I didn't care about the taste or the culinary delight anymore. All I cared about was eating food that would give me a flat tummy and chiselled muscles.
Obviously, with that attitude, that didn't happen. I don't have a flat stomach. I've been working out for years and I don't have perfect muscles. Heck, except for a tiny bicep on my right arm and some stellar calves, I don't have anything to show for myself.
Well, unless you count how much stronger and more flexible and happier I've become because of working out. And hey, doesn't that matter more than what exercise and my diet has done or not done for my appearance?
So I've started to let myself eat what I want to, whenever I want to, as long as I'm eating healthy and nutritious food at the same time. Cheese and butter are okay. So are vegetables and fruits and bread and pizza and rice noodles and regular noodles and chocolate and peanut butter and jam and eggs and even French fries dipped in hot sauce.
Everything is okay in moderation. Everything. And that applies to not just food, but other things, too. It's going to take me some time before I completely accept my body for what it is without having to give up food that makes my soul happy. But that's okay. Because I'm going to be patient.
What kinds of food have you always feared, Geeks? And are your fears rational or just a figment of your imagination, fuelled by those fitness and diet articles and videos that are rampant everywhere on social media? What do you wish you could change about your mental perception? Let me know in the comments below.
I'll see you soon, Geeks. Bye!