The thing I worked most for in life was health.
The thing I ended up with was…not that.
I started dieting when I was 14 as I become obsessed with this idea of being the ‘healthiest’ I could be.
Let’s be real though, it was not solely this concept of ‘health’ that drove me to focus like crazy on my food. In reality, I aspired to eat the best of the best cause I thought that eating super ‘clean’ and having control over my food would give me the ‘perfect’ body. The body that would lead to everlasting love, admiration, success, and happiness.
Sounds like good things to each for, no? I mean who doesn’t want love or happiness. The issue was not my drive to be happy rather the way in which I went after achieving that happiness. *Jumping the gun here but what I have learned is that happiness is an inside job and not something you achieve rather create.
My dieting quickly went too far. Slashing my calories around 90%, leaving me hardly consuming anything. It wasn’t long thereafter that I started incorporating more and more exercise becoming obsessed with walking, biking and the gym. Again, all in the guise of “I’m doing it for health”.
After slashing calories for such a long time I finally couldn’t survive on that little of food, no duh. So I increased my calories but focused even more on eating only those foods that I deemed super ‘pure’. Here started my long journey of Orthorexia where food purity became the # 1 value in my life.
This period or orthorexia took me though 12 different types of diets;
*High carb/ low fat
*High fat/ Low carb
I was on a constant search for the new shiny diet trend that would heal me of all my health issues… and my loneliness, anxiety, + low self-esteem.
Diet wasn’t enough. I didn’t get what I was searching for via eating my perfectly sprouted quinoa bowl every morning so I joined a gym.
and then another…
I had 4 gym memberships at one time because I became obsessed with working out to ‘perfect’ this body aesthetic I wanted. Again, this was all under the guise of health and in reality I did think I was doing it for health. After all, I read all the books, listened to all the podcasts, subscribed to all the youtubers, and followed every diet guru known to mankind on Instagram. I was doing everything I thought I ‘should do’ and yet my health started tanking.
Amenorrhea, infertility, osteopenia, night sweats, hair loss, anxiety, dizziness, brain fog, low heart rate, freezing cold extremities, constipation, bloating, insomnia, yellowing skin, brittle nails, fatigue, tired but wired, hypoglycemia…
And yet I still thought that I was healthy, despite all the negative symptoms I was experiencing.
In reality I was numb. Numb to my body, my emotions, and my self.
I bought into this idea that the key to health was to restrict, restrict, restrict, and move, move, move. I had to go fast, stronger, and harder with my workouts all while eating cleaner, purer, and healthier.
I spent so much time planning out my food and scheduling my life around exercise that I had little to no time to develop friendships, get into an intimate relationship with someone, focus on school, or go after a career.
After years of living this way I completely fell apart and couldn’t do it anymore. I not only was depleted of nutrition but nourishment. I lived a life of austerity where pleasure was seen as a sinful thing.
I rejected sweets or any tasty food.
I rejected rest.
I rejected intimacy.
I rejected fun.
And I was left with nothing but a body that was fatigued, frail, worn down, and low in vitality.
Being “skinny” wasn’t worth it. Something had to change.
Read part 2 to follow along with the rest of my story.