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“Just food gave me a feeling of happiness.” How I overcame orthorexia after five years of suffering

Date: December 3, 2023 Time: 03:30:54

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“In childhood there were various complexes, there were also diets, but of short duration. So I didn’t think about how to eat, what was right and what was wrong. She ate when she wanted and didn’t worry about the number of calories. But at some point I started paying more attention to my reflection in the mirror, always comparing myself to others. As a result, I began to limit myself, I had a standard diet, beyond which I tried not to go further.”

I praised myself only in those moments when I ate as planned. Sugars and carbohydrates were almost absent from my menu, fats were reduced to the maximum. I ate my favorite cottage cheese and cheese only with reduced fat content. I logged all the calories I ate on a special app. It became my daily activity, even mandatory.

When I realized that food is very high in calories and that I could gain weight, I developed an attitude: to eat you have to exercise well. After knowing how many calories and carbohydrates are in a marshmallow, I began to study the composition of the products even more diligently. And from that moment everything began to change… Everything became a kind of race.

Photo: from the personal archive of Lyubov Kazatskaya.

This was my relationship with food at that time:

follow a strict “clean” diet; excessively intense physical activity, without adequate recovery; inability to objectively evaluate your figure; limit or completely avoid “unclean” foods; inadequate desire to maximize health; a sense of superiority over others and disdain if people eat that it is “harmful and useless”; a feeling of guilt when breaking one’s own rules. It wasn’t easy to admit that this isn’t normal and that the big, scary letters RPP relate to you.

Photo: from the personal archive of Lyubov Kazatskaya.

Little by little I began to understand what I could afford and what I “should” control. I tried to only eat what I had planned and what I could count on. Sometimes it wasn’t easy, and when I couldn’t find a specific product in the app, I would choose something similar and increase the volume, just in case, so I could eat less later. This is how I behaved at home, at a party and in a cafe with friends.

Also read:

How do you know if you have an eating disorder? 8 Symptoms I was good at deceiving myself.

And now, after a couple of weeks, after carefully examining myself in the mirror, I decide that I have even gained something. I reviewed my diet and my workouts: I toughened the first and increased the second.

Then I was 19 and started having problems with my cycle, but I didn’t think much of it. I visited the doctor, but the pills he prescribed did not help me, as my lifestyle remained the same. In the summer, when I first went to work in China, my condition worsened even more.

Photo: from the personal archive of Lyubov Kazatskaya.

She swam like a mermaid underwater, entertaining the Chinese people. There was good food (buffet), so I ate a lot. But it was impossible to control all the products and dishes in the overseas application. And I focused my choice on healthy foods (not fatty, fried, or sweet).

Then I started cheating on meal days. On fasting days I allowed myself breaded bananas (incredibly delicious) and a large amount of ice cream. And all at the same time.

So I taught myself to patiently reject “harmful” things for several days, knowing that the day would come when anything would be possible. By “all” I mean an inadequate amount of food at one time (often to the point of causing stomach pain).

Also read:

“You lose your temper and start eating everything.” A personal story about fighting food addiction.

On cheat meal days, I ate in such a way that I no longer wanted this meal until the next day. And this time it was prolonged with anticipation. Then I stopped living in the present and didn’t enjoy much of anything. Only food gave me a feeling of happiness.

At the same time, I exercised a lot, jumped rope, ran 10km in the heat, pumped up my abs, and praised myself for my willpower. Two months have passed. And with them went five kg and five cm in all parameters. In Minsk, where I’m from, a living skeleton with even bigger cockroaches on its head returned to its relatives.

Photo: from the personal archive of Lyubov Kazatskaya.

Only after five years of such experiments did I accept myself, adjust my hormonal levels, stop taking pills and going to the doctor, start eating normally, don’t count calories and exercise for fun and for health.

The most important thing is that I realized that nothing terrible will actually happen if you eat a piece of your favorite cake. What matters is how often you do this and what diet you follow most of the time. Love yourself, your health is the most valuable thing.

doctor’s opinion

nutritionist, gastroenterologist, candidate of medical sciences, clinical pharmacologist

“It is very important to maintain a fund of information about this problem to reduce its prevalence. I remember the rise of the RPP that flourished between 2000 and 2015, I think it has not diminished even now. At first it was a race for fashion, now it is a race for the right lifestyle. “They are both unhealthy.”

Orthorexia is a pathological desire for adequate and “healthy” nutrition, which can have serious consequences for a person’s physical and mental health. It is directly related to an eating disorder because it is not the norm.

Photo: istockphoto.com

Orthorexia is not only destructive to the psyche. These dietary restrictions (and later relaxations) lead to diseases: nutrient deficiencies, not only vitamins and minerals, but also proteins and fats. Deficiency of the first substances = risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, and of the second = risk of developing neurological diseases and dementia.

Meanwhile, it is very difficult to gain muscle mass as we age. And insulin spikes during cheat meals and fasting can cause insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance is a decrease in the sensitivity of insulin-dependent cells to the action of insulin, followed by an alteration of glucose metabolism and its entry into cells.

To avoid orthorexia and its consequences, it is important to maintain a balanced diet and a variety of foods, and seek professional help if you experience obsessive thoughts and anxiety around food.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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