How Orthorexia Has Effected Me

February 10, 2017 in Balance / Recovery

Hi guys! Happy Friday. 🙂  MA got hit with a tonnn of snow. Which I love/hate at the same time. But hey, least lots of snow means snow days!!

Jumping into today’s post because intros suck lol. This topic has been on my mind a lot recently. Orthorexia. For those of you who don’t know, orthorexia is the obsession with eating only healthy foods. It’s basically being fixated on how clean your eating. My good friend Sage shared her journey with orthorexia on her blog, and inspired me to share my own journey with it. (This gal rocks. So thankful to go to school with someone as cool/down to earth/sweet as her!!)

Orthorexia friggin sucks. For me, this is how my eating disorder started. I was obsessed with “clean eating.” At first, it was not about restriction. It was about “Is this organic? I can’t eat this and that because the ingredients are chalk full of artificial sweeteners. I can only grocery shop at Whole Foods and I need to spend at least an hour and a half there so I can analyze the back of every product I am buying.”

Let me tell ya from first hand experience: living with orthorexia takes a toll on all aspects of your life. My mind was clouded by thoughts of food: anxiety about food, worry about food, planning the next day of meals. My social life was impacted, and my relationship with my family members. If I wasn’t going to eat white pasta from home, there was no way I would go out to a restaurant and eat food with unknown ingredients. Jeez what if they put too much oil on the chicken or if I ask for whole wheat pasta and bread but they accidentally gave me white!! These were my daily worries and struggles, and man was it sad to live that way.

The thing is, with eating “cleaner” I lost weight in the process. And I loved the compliments I was getting, I loved the attention. I loved feeling in control of ONE thing in my life. So I kept on eating “healthy” but I started to eat a bit less and less. And that of course led to anorexia, which is a whole other story from today’s blog post.

It was a hard battle getting out of this whole health obsessed mindset. I don’t really have one way I did it. I don’t have a few tips to make it all go away, because jeez it was hard for me to just relinquish control and tell my brain to shut the heck up, it was hard to just eat a cookie and not have it be a mental battle of feeling bad for eating a regular cookie and not a “clean” one. i just really had to train my brain to get out of labeling foods as good and bad. I had to train my brain into the mentality that all foods fit. That means that it is JUST as important to have cookies as it is to have carrots. All foods fit for a happy lifestyle. When I would feel bad for eating something less nutrient dense, I really had to get mad at my brain and my thoughts. I would have to in a way give myself a little pep talk. Something along the lines of “Okay Lyss, you wanted that ice cream so you had the freakin’ ice cream. It tasted great. You love ice cream. Life is meant for fun foods too. Now move the heck on.”

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I am courageous. I am whole. I stand in my own power.

Another tip of advice: if you are part of the Instagram world, please be cautious of who you follow. (I am going to go on an unfollow spree soon as well). There are so many accounts that are just filled with all “clean and healthy” foods. And I just don’t think that’s normal. If we’re being 100% real here, those accounts have subconsciously affected me, which is why I know it’s time for a little unfollow cleanse on Instagram. When someone’s eating roasted veggies and hummus for a snack, eating a salad for dinner, and eating a green puke colored smoothie for dessert, that’s when I know I gotta let them do their own thang and I gotta do mine. When someone is posting all quest bars, artic zero pictures, 0 calorie syrup, diet foods, etc. I gotta let go of them too. Because they aren’t serving me and my growth.

In all honesty, it’s so freakin’ easy to get caught up in this whole health nut craze. Sometimes I label myself as that, and I never want to only be known as the healthy girl who likes the gym and going to yoga. Because there’s a whole lot more to me than that. In all honesty, sometimes I need to take the stick out of my a$$ and just get a cookie or a brownie. My best friend gave me a little pep talk about this last week. Not that I am struggling with this, but it was just a nice reminder that going out and letting lose with food is just as important as getting in all your fruits and veg. (Gosh I love that girl lol).

There are some gals who really inspire me with their relationship with food. Kylie from Imma Eat That, Kate from The Domestikated Life, and Robyn from The Real Life RD are some awesome ladies who live a BALANCED life with food. BALANCE. That is what we should all strive for. Balance with food means that all foods do fit, it means that you listen to your body and honor your cravings, that you don’t turn into an obsessive freak with ingredients/ how healthy something is. It means food doesn’t take up all your brain space. Balance means you get the cookie one day and the salad another day. But if you want two cookies you get two cookies. And if you want a smoothie and a salad in the same day you do that too. You don’t complicate things, because food is just food. 

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“I’ve learned that when you try to control everything, you enjoy nothing.”

No questions today, just would love to hear your thoughts and input on this! And if you have any fun weekend plans, drop ’em in the comments! Hope you all enjoy the weekend. Get some rest and do something FUN! Sending all the love and hugs. <3 

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23 Comments

  • Reply Jessica February 10, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Reading this beautifully written post was like reading through my own descent from ‘eating healthier’ to orthorexia to anorexia. Your paragraph describing the thoughts and stresses and just total obsession with cleanliness and knowing what’s in food to the tiniest detail made me sad because of how much time and brain space was taken up worrying over something which should be so simple, like you say.

    I have to say though, even after years of recovery, I can find it hard some days. Society is increasingly conditioning us into thinking in terms of ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘clean, ‘cheat’ that it’s hard to clear out all that noise in daily life and just listen to yourself and what you want vs. the messages you see all the time on TV or social media. I am becoming so increasingly thankful of people like yourself and the blogs you mention for being havens of normality with food! So THANK YOU! 🙂

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:45 am

      Thank you for your sweet words Jessica! I agree that society is conditioning us into thinking in terms of good and bad eating. It is so frustrating! Thank YOU for reading. That means the world to me!
      Alyssa recently posted…How Orthorexia Has Effected MeMy Profile

  • Reply Stephanie February 10, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Another great post! You have taught me so much my dear. Balance, balance in all we do!! Love you!

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:45 am

      thanks mom I love ya!!

  • Reply Heather @ Polyglot Jot February 10, 2017 at 2:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing your story!! I agree that it’s so easy to get swept up in those accounts and take them as a good thing. Really though, how realistic is that?! IT’s NOT! I wrote a post on this idea when I reminded myself that food is just food and nothing more…not something to obsess over and not something that will control my whole life! Hope you have a wonderful weekend!
    Heather @ Polyglot Jot recently posted…Foodie Friday: Valentine’s Day Round-UpMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:46 am

      thanks for reading it Heather!! Hope you are doing well <3

  • Reply Emily February 10, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    BALANCE> Yes. This is so my temptation, too, and I have to watch that I’m not placing so much emphasis on ‘healthy food’ that it damages my relationships, makes me anxious, and takes my mind off of being joyful!
    Emily recently posted…Why You Can Pick The Social Media You LoveMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:47 am

      Balance is the best way to approach eating!!

  • Reply Laura February 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    I love all three of those blogs (Kylie, Kate, and Robyn) because they inspire me and remind me that the amount I eat is normal and HEALTHY!

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:47 am

      They are so awesome!

  • Reply Erin February 10, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    *affected

  • Reply Elizabeth February 10, 2017 at 7:21 pm

    This is soooo accurate. So many people label themselves as healthy, think they are doing all the right things, when they’ve really just trapped themselves into a cycle of over-analyzing every food and restricting happiness! Sometimes I feel down about myself because I eat a lot of desserts and ‘unhealthy’ foods. Sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough to call myself healthy. But eating this balanced diet is the most well-rounded and HAPPILY healthy I have ever been. And that’s what I’ve learned is the most important. I’m so glad you freed yourself from that trap! Love you and never feel like you’re not good enough- I know I speak for many people when I say that you have inspired me to just be myself, don’t compare my diet to others, and eat muffins if I want to! Memories>EVERYTHING. (ps- I’m @balanced_health :)))

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:48 am

      Amen girl! Eating super healthy will never make us happy- because we are depriving ourselves of fun foods and that is just sad! Thank you so much for stopping by my blog beautiful gal!

  • Reply Megan Hallier February 10, 2017 at 9:43 pm

    I love that photo of you. You are such an inspiration. Also I loved your interview with Em. You are a podcast natural <3
    Megan Hallier recently posted…Your essential roadtrip checklistMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:48 am

      aw wow that means so much to me!! thanks megan <3

  • Reply Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves February 10, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I feel that orthorexia affects so many young women who don’t even know they have it. Thank you for sharing your story, Lyss. It’s so important to let people know that obsession with healthy eating is real.
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves recently posted…I’m Happier Without InstagramMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:50 am

      I totally agree with you on that. Thank you for reading it Alison! Hope all is well <3

  • Reply Sarah February 11, 2017 at 2:25 am

    Looking back, my ED started with the innocent thought that I should eat “cleaner.” That turned into me eating nothing. I have come so so far but I know I still have a ways to go because I think if I am honest, I still struggle with orthorexic tendencies. I had a big challenge last week to challenge a fear food. My boyfriend and I made homemade pizza! With dough (!!!) we rolled out, marinara and cheese (!!) veggies and a little chicken sausage (!!!). I was very anxious leading up to it- but the process was so fun and I happily ate my half of the pizza and actually enjoyed it! The thoughts were there after, but I was able to tell myself that it was just FOOD and delicious nourishing food. Thanks for this post Lyss <3 it was a good reminder for me.
    Sarah recently posted…#1 Reason Why You Didn’t Get Her NumberMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:51 am

      I’m SO proud of you for that challenge girl. Those little challenges go a long way. Thank you girl for reading it!! xoxo

  • Reply Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar February 12, 2017 at 4:44 pm

    I love that quote about controlling everything and enjoying nothing. It’s amazing how control over food–calorie counting, having to eat “clean” for every meal, etc., can take over your entire life and the whole of your thoughts. Sure your body is healthy with the salad and roasted veggies, but it can be perfectly healthy and enjoy the cookies and ice cream, too, and your mind is really unhealthy if you have to have complete control over everything you put in your mouth. 🙁 Thanks for your thoughts in this post, Lyss.
    Joyce @ The Hungry Caterpillar recently posted…Low-FODMAP Veggie Quiche (Gluten-Free)My Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:51 am

      It is really crazy how much control over food can take over your life. Thank you for reading this Joyce <3 xoxo

  • Reply Kristy from Southern In Law February 12, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    This is exactly why trends like “clean eating” scare me so much! Healthy can so easily become a problem when you take things too far.

    Life is ALL about balance – to me, that’s true health!
    Kristy from Southern In Law recently posted…Recipe: 3 Ingredient Flourless Nutella BrowniesMy Profile

    • Reply Alyssa February 13, 2017 at 2:52 am

      I really dislike the term clean eating. I think there is no such thing as clean eating to begin with !

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