Happy Monday Everybody!
After all those good eats the last few days, I've got plenty of treats to hold me over for the next few days! If you didn't get to check them out, and you find yourself in the mood for a healthy piece of cake, or a healthy peanut butter sandwich cookie, please do check them out!:)
Otherwise, today's post is about a few things I wanted to address that affect a large amount of you all.
First of all, let me just say I think you are all AMAZING. The emails I get every single day bring me to tears most of the time, and I hardly cry at all. Recovery advocacy is something that is more important to me than anything, and I want all of you to know that. It's why I have chosen to dedicate an entire PAGE to resources for it on this blog.
The next thing I want you to know is that I'M IN THE SAME BOAT AS YOU.
I know a lot of you look to me for advice, and I've got PLENTY to give about recovery from an eating disorder, primarily orthorexia. I spent five years in HELL with this disease and if that sounds a little dramatic, trust me, it's an understatement.
If you're not familiar with orthorexia, let me fill you in.
Orthorexia isn't about starving yourself, and it's not even about binging, though it can lead to both later.
No, orthorexic individuals, we're the odd crowd. We don't go one way or the other. We're not afraid to eat- heck, we even love it and don't mind telling you so.
What we don't love is how we fear foods that aren't perfect. We could care less about the amount of calories in our foods, though we don't go overboard most of the time. We also could care less about avoiding meals, and usually, we don't binge. What do we do then that makes us disordered eaters?
We analyze to the core. Most of us have experimented with anorexia at some point, but found ourselves more drawn to health. We could soak up nutrition books all day long and pour our minds endlessly over topics about health, if one way of eating is better than the other, and most of the time, we've tried them all. We don't do canned foods, we avoid most forms of salt, we've definitely tried the raw food diet, and most of us have either been vegan, dairy free, and oh yeh, we won't touch gluten with a 10 foot pole. Not saying people have to eat those things TO be healthy, or be a normal eater.
The opposite is true.
You truly can care about health and be in love with nutrition and NOT have orthorexia or another form of an eating disorder.
But when it comes to us with orthorexia ( which yes, I admit to still have and suffer from temptations daily), we take things overboard. Eating out becomes a fearful event. I mean, what oils do they really add to foods? Do they put soy in the dressing? Do they use seasonings with MSG? Do they use fish that contains mercury, and we KNOW they use nonorganic dairy, and probably gluten.
Does that sound familiar?
Oh, and the grocery store? Yes, we take forever, even though we love it. We read labels like a scientist, and we might like the idea of buying something, but rarely do. We get excited over new health foods, and organizing them all when we get home. Eating out on a whim is NEVER part of the plan, and our meals usually look the same most days of the week.
PLUS- Though we never tell ourselves we're trying to lose weight, subconsciously we fear it, and do make decisions WITH our meals to make sure we don't gain weight. It's like a secret almost, that we cover up with eating and with health.
Orthorexia starts out as this intense passion for health, but before you know it, you're in a rigid prison of rules, regulations and beliefs about food. It's no longer nourishment, but instead a form of control.
I'll be honest with you, I'm SO much further down the road than I used to be on recovery from orthorexia. My diet used to be pitiful, and the only reason I choose not to share it with you is because I don't want anyone dare replicating it to lose weight. I was MISERABLE. It also led to me binging years later down the road.
My diet now is now much more broad. But, I'm sure most of you can look at my recipes on this blog, and see that I'm not 100% free from avoiding certain foods. And you know what? I'm okay with that.
If that sounds like a cop out, fine, but to start out at 0 and finally progress to 80%, I feel pretty good about myself.
I just told myself I had a dairy intolerance, because I hated the idea of factory farming and what I had heard about dairy. Now, I make ethical choices, and I feel good about what I choose to feed my body.
My former self wouldn't have dared eaten grains. Even gluten-free ones. I've been up and down the grain train for awhile, and I can tell you, I feel better with small doses than by eating alot. Too many does upset my stomach, but probably because I put it through so much in the past. I also think there's too many other great foods to be eating out there instead of the 7-9 servings of grains the Food Pyramid recommends. Seriously? Nobody needs that much grains!
However, now, I do eat some each day. I would have never started out my day with oats before,and now, enjoy them daily and am more proud of myself for doing this than I have been in a long time.
My former self would have never been able to eat out at a restaurant with her family. Now, she can, though she does make the healthiest choices possible. Fish with no sauce, asparagus and a salad with no croutons, cheese or dressing. Lemons on the side, please, and maybe a side of mustard or salsa for dressing instead. See what I mean? I've made small steps, but not huge leaps.
The truth is, I'm 80% there.
I eat seafood now and love it, and I even ate turkey for Thanksgiving. I made huge strides from my former days, but I'm not sure if I'll ever be past 80%. I still stick to a very clean diet, and though I might buy canned pumpkin or tomatoes, most of the time, it's always BPA free and organic, oh and no salt added.
What I don't believe in is sugar in one's diet. I've had more health problems with sugar in my past and don't think it's healthy one little bit, and probably never will.
What I do believe in, is learning to try new, healthy foods that you might think you have an intolerance to, but truly, you probably don't. If you do, then don't eat them! But don't deny yourself the opportunity to try.
I love my superfoods, clean vegan protein powders, and my sustainable seafood, organic greens and veggies, and organic yogurt. I also love using herbs and spices instead of processed seasonings, but I'm not afraid of all condiments like mustard, vinegar, etc. that I used to be.
And, many superfoods actually have made a huge difference in my anxiety, mood, and my digestion, along with certain supplements I take. I won't deny that, but I also don't ONLY use these to stay healthy anymore like I used to.
The truth is, I do LOVE health and nutrition, because my former teenage and childhood self was a walking posterboard for unhealthy eating. I also suffered more from anorexia in my teens than I ever have in my life, without even recognizing it. That changed when I found health at age 20, and finally started learning about nutrition.
In a way, nutrition saved me from starving myself, but I also took it too far.
I'm at 80%, so please don't make me your hero.
I'm right in the same boat as you, plugging away daily, one day at a time.
Like most of you, I'm just glad I'm able to eat and not overthink my calories.
If you do think about your calories, then I advise you to take one meal at a time, and not count everytime you do. Luckily, this was never a huge issue for me, but seeing as how all eating disorders involve one form of control or more than one, I understand the hold it probably has on you.
I'm not your hero, but I have been there.
I'm not your hero, but I can be a friend.
I'm not your hero, just a girl who wants her life, and has done the steps she needs to do to gain weight, gain peace in her mind, and know that while she's not perfect, she's also okay with just being 80%, at least for now.
Because 80% might not be perfect, but perfection isn't always as wonderful as we make it out to be anyway, is it? If it even exists at all.
While I'm never going to settle for just being 80%, I'm also not pushing myself more than I feel I can handle. Taking small steps here and there has been huge for me, and I know when I'm ready to take another, I will.
If you need help learning how to do this, please email me anytime.
I might not be your hero, but I have been there, and I'm still here, right with you, just a few strides ahead, but still in the same race.
Have a wonderful Monday and THANK YOU to all of you who read this<3