Everyone who has an eating disorder, like orthorexia, is on some type of a “healthy” diet that they think they should be on. They’re on a vegan diet, paleo diet, gluten free diet or whatever they’ve heard is the best diet to be on at the moment. They’ve educated themselves on different dietary theories, listened to what others think they should be eating, and they force themselves to eat a diet that works for others and not necessarily for them.
How many times have you been asked: What are you? Gluten free? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? Vegan? We as human beings have a need to categorize ourselves and others, and it’s this labeling that creates and unnecessary sense of pressure and close-mindedness. This close-mindedness is also what limits people with orthorexia from opening up to new foods. In fact when you label yourself, you tend to limit more and more foods out of your diet, because there are certain food you’re not “supposed” to eat. The question I wish people with orthorexia would ask themselves is;
What diet or eating style is best for ME?
Instead of trying to copy someone else’s diet and force ourselves to eat like them, we need to turn the question around and figure out what works best for us. When I had orthorexia and labeled myself as vegan, I became so strict and “clean” with my diet, that it became very limiting what I’d allow myself to eat. I was very judgmental of other peoples diets that weren’t like mine, and I was even judgmental of my own past diets.
Before being vegan, I was on somewhat of a Paleo diet. I’d eat lots of meat and very little carbs. Carbs were my enemy at the time, until I became vegan, then they became my best friend. It wasn’t until I un-labeled myself as anything that I finally became free. It felt so liberating to no longer call myself a vegan or whatever diet I was forcing myself to stay on. I could finally keep my mind open, experiment with different foods and listen to my body.
The funny thing is that we don’t let others tell us what hobbies to have, what movies to like, or interfere in other areas of our lives, so why would we let others tell us what to eat? Why let a diet book and society control our eating style?
I didn’t break free from orthorexia just like that
There were a lot of things that I needed to work on and understand before I could recover from my orthorexia. First of all it’s really important to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all diet. Different people thrive on different diets. We’re all unique and different individuals shaped by our;
Heritage, gender, height, weight, activity level, lifestyle and location.
We’re always changing just like our dietary needs and preferences change over time. I’ve mentioned this in a different post that helped me recover from my orthorexia. Bio-individuality is very important to understand. Athletes eat different than people who don’t exercise, as a child you ate different from you do today and today you’re eating different than you’ll be eating five years from now.
So how do you find the best diet for yourself?
Let’s face it. In science everyone agrees. All scientists can agree that 1 minute is 60 seconds, water is H2O, and water freezes at 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). But in Nutrition people couldn’t disagree more. One scientist can give you the best theory and convince you why dairy is good for you and that everyone should consume it, while another scientist could tell you the exact opposite with just as great theory.
Of course we’re left confused on what to eat! My best tip is to experiment. Keep an open mind and let yourself experiment with different ways of eating. I like to take different concepts from different diets, incorporate them together and make them work for me. For example I love not consuming too many animal proteins, so having it once a week is what works for me right now.
You have to find your own balance through trial and error. Maybe you do very well on a diet that’s high in carbs and lower in fats or vice versa. No one can tell you what the best diet is for you except YOU. Stop labeling yourself under a certain diet and don’t limit yourself. Don’t be paleo, vegan, gluten free, sugar free, vegetarian or whatever. Just be a food eater!
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I’d love to know what diets you’ve tried, what has worked and what hasn’t worked for you? I’d love to help and support you on your journey from disordered eating. If you’d like to schedule a free discovery call with me, to see how I can be of service to you then contact me and I’ll get back with you shortly.
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