I decided to write today about something I have mentioned before a few times but not really gone into much detail about: my eating disorder.
On a side note.. I am always so amazed how healthy food bloggers all seem to have had an eating disorder or have dogs or both.
Ok back to the post…
Today I wore for the first time a pair of jeans I have had for YEARS but have never worn. I have never worn them because when I bought them I weighed 45kg ( I am short- so 45kg isn;t outrageous but definitely not where i should be) and never got them hemmed and then I started putting on weight and seeing as though they were reallllyyy tight to begin with, weight gain (and still not hemmed) made wearing them IMPOSSIBLE. Literally I couldn’t get them past my thighs. I never threw them out because I always held a torch that one day I would be able to get back into them.
Let me explain first that I was never sickly thin nor was I ever overweight. I gained about 8kg over 2 years and still managed to fit into most of my clothes (except this pair of jeans). At the height of my eating disorder I weighed 45kg- today I weigh 50kg (round about… thats atleast what I was the last time I went to the doctor- I never weigh myself). I never really cared about my weight and I still don;t. I always cared about muscle and strength which is kinda ironic because at the time I did SO MUCH cardio- teaching 3 spinning classes plus running half marathons all the time. Its no wonder I was so skinny. Silly me!!
So… my eating disorder. Obviously when I was in the midst of it I never thought I had an eating disorder at all. I thought I was the queen of fitness and eating perfectly healthy and everyone around me was doing it wrong. I thought I was holier then thou and that I was doing the best thing for my body and nobody could tell me otherwise.
This is what I ate on a typical day:
breakfast: 6 egg whites, 1/2 cup of oatmeal, 1 apple
mid morning: small can of tuna and some rice crackers
lunch: veggies/ fish/ rice
mid afternoon: cottage cheese and rice cakes
dinner: fish/ veggies/ sweet potato
Seems pretty healthy right? To me, even now, there doesnt seem to be anything wrong with this menu. In fact its kinda how I eat today. So where was the problem?? The problem was that menu is ALL I EVER ATE. Not ANY TINY TEENY BIT of leniance, flexiblity, ‘cheat meal’, no go with the flow, no eating out EVER, no eating at restaurants, no deviations. Not enough fats, many freakouts if anything disrupted this routine, many tantrums if my family made arrangements to eat out, many missed arrangements with friends to go out- i would always go after dinner or not at all because heaven forbid if i went to bed after 9.30pm.
In short: I was a nightmare to be around, I was a slave to my diet and the gym and my obsession with being HEALTHY. In my quest for perfect health I became so unhealthy and miserable… that one day, four years ago, I just snapped. I just couldn’t take the constant stress and pressure I put myself under. So I started to eat… and just didn;t stop. I ate everything and anything (except meat) and put on 8kg- which if I wasn’t exercising 6 days a week I think would have been DOUBLE!!!
In the summer of 2007 I just ate and ate, trained hard, and let my self relax and have fun, go out and not get stressed about food. I didn;t realise I had had an eating disorder..I just kinda felt that I had lost my self control. I still believed that I had just been living a life of amazing self control. I met a great girl running a race and we became really good friends. i got her a job at my gym and we became roommates. We had so much fun together and she really helped me loosen up and learn to love life. One weekend we went travelling up in the north island of New Zealand and we were lying on the beach after an AMAZING swim. She was reading an article in a magazine and was like.. Amy you have to read this!!! This is you!! It was an article on something called “ortherexia”. I was gobbed smacked… up until that point I have NO CLUE that I had an eating disorder. After all I ate healthy, had muscles, trained hard, was fit, a personal trainer, went to sleep early and got in all my veggies and protein and good carbs. ME?? have an eating disorder?? HOW?? but thats what it was. this magazine article outlined exactly how i lived my life, the stressing about food types, freakouts if you miss a meal ( and workouts), taking food EVERYWHERE ( ok i still do this 🙂 but am 100% chilled about it ), feeling holier then thou, all kinds of crazy things. I had never even heard of orthorexia before. I was astouned. But also kind of relieved. Marianne wrote a great article outlining ortherxia that you can read about here.
So… four years after I discovered this “ortherexia ” thing, I am a whole new different person.
If 23 year old me could only know that 27 year old me:
* looks a million times better
* eats peanut butter
* eats food OTHER PEOPLE COOK
* eats at restaurants
* eats meat ( i think ten year old me just fainted)
* eats fruit whenever she wants
* doesn;t freak out if she misses a meal
* doesn;t freak out if she doesn;t eat EXACTLY every three hours on the dot
* doesn;t freak out if she misses a workout
* ate a 1/3 of a chocolate slab while writing this post ( irony)
* never goes a week without a ‘cheat meal”- not even a planned one!! Spontaneous cheat meals!!
* never goes to sleep before 11pm
* DOESN”T DO CARDIO FOR MORE THAN 15 MINUTES!!!!
AND can do pull ups
AND has much more strength then ever before ( ye distance running SUCKS- sorry runners but it drains you of calories and strength and leaves you with messed up knees and ankles-SPRINTING is where its at!!! )
AND is TOTALLY 100% chilled about food.. unless someone leaves crumbs in my peanut butter… then the rage comes.
AND… is HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!
…….. AND….. fits into jeans SO tight that at 45kg it was a tight squeeze and at 50kg is still a tight squeeze but somehow works.. 🙂
poor 23 year old me. all that stress for nothing.
So I am for ever going on about eating clean here on my blog.. but nothing should ever come at the expense of your metal health and happiness. Clean eating and exercise should CONTRIBUTE to that- not be a hinderance.
Happy day 🙂