Wednesday, 29 June 2016

My Almost-Orthorexia Story

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!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Road to Recovery + What I Did This Summer // Just a Random Update #10

Wow, I haven't blogged in close to a month. Then again, I've been busy recovering from my mental illness and doing some great things in my spare time this summer.

I'm sure you all remember my post last year when I'd said I'd do all these fantastic things over the summer... and then came the follow-up post where I revealed that I'd got absolutely nothing done. Tsk, tsk.

But that all changes this summer, Geeks. Because 2016 is the year of Swati.

1) Exercise? More Like Geeksercise!
So I've started doing one, one and a half hours of exercise a day. Therapist's orders, no excuses. And it's been fun. I do a combination of yoga, POP Pilates and dance cardio every day. Yes, I've actually lost weight instead of gaining it like I usually do when I work out, but maybe that's all for the best. I've gone down from 45 kgs to a mere 41, but hey, I'm much stronger and more flexible than I was in April. That's what matters, right?

2) Moneh, Moneh, Moneh
As you may know, I started my own editing and beta reading business in February, and what can I say? Business is booming. It's barely been four or five months and I've made - well - a lot of money (not sure if I should disclose that amount online). I might have to start paying taxes this year, Geeks. Yu-huh. That's a LOT of moneh.
Plus, it's not just for the big bucks. I love doing what I do. Editing and making those little corrections in red is crazy fun. And beta reading is awesome, too. Getting paid to read and critique books? I used to do that for free on a daily basis!
So yeah. My career is on a rollercoaster that only goes up, my friend.

3) Say Goodbye to Depression (Okay, Maybe Just TTYL)
So while my rapid cycling bipolar depression has reduced in both intensity and time period, it's... still there, every month, like clockwork. This may be something I have to live with. I'll almost certainly have to take medication for a long time. But hey, that's okay. I've learned to manage it quite well. And I have a lot of support from friends and family, and that's something not a lot of patients have. So yeah, I'm grateful for everything that's happened to me... including my diagnosis.

4) Always Writing 'Always You'
Don't you love days when you're just super productive and super energized and happy about anything and everything? Well, that's how I was for almost half this summer when I was on a crazy writing spree. I finished writing my third YA romance, Always You (which you can read right here!) in just a matter of a few weeks. Crazy, am I right? I'm so, so proud of this one, especially since it's based on one of my favourite books: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, and I hope you'll love it too.

5) F.R.I.E.N.D.S.
Okay, this is mostly just about me binge-watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S. all through breakfast, lunch and dinner, but is also about how I have found three out of five of my own perfect Central Perk pals. My friends and I are closer than ever (if you're reading this: 'sup, Angel, K-Dog and Kandy?), and although I've barely been in touch with my roommate or my college friends over the summer, my best friend from school and I talk every day. So things are going well in the friendship department - and you know that's a department I've struggled with my entire life.
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Well, Geeks. My road to recovery began in December. It's been a long and difficult road... thank God I finally got here! This summer has been incredible. Not counting the summer we went to London (London, baby!), this has been the best summer of my life.

I leave for Mumbai - and college - in about a week. I'm anxious, nervous and very, very reluctant to leave home. But I don't have a choice, so I might as well be positive about this, right? So. Here we go. Rest of 2016, the year of Swati.

How was your summer, Geeks? Or if you're not from India, and your summer's only just starting, then what plans do you have for the sunny months? Let me know in the comments below.

I hope to see you again very soon! Bye! :)