I’ve always been a bit of a health food nut. Whole grains, herbs, fresh everything, no additives. I developed a galloping case of orthorexia in university – probably stress transference, as are a lot of eating disorders. Orthorexia is a disorder marked by avoidance of anything the sufferer deems “unhealthy” or “non-nutritious” and can lead to an anorexia, a refusal to eat. I came close. Beer and cheap wine probably kept me from losing too much weight, although I got very thin. Why I didn`t find them unhealthy- well, beats me. It`s the nature of an eating disorder.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with watching what you eat, choosing fresh, locally grown, organic food, but it can’t lead to a refusal to eat anything that falls outside the category.
Our household tried the Atkins plan – a first for me, but not the others. Yes, you will lose weight. No, you will not eat what you like unless scrambled eggs and butter top your list. I missed – really deeply longed for – whole wheat bread and potatoes. I didn’t want to head for another orthorexia bout, either.
In March, we all quietly dropped the idea when we had a marvelous gourmet chocolate-raspberry birthday cake. Fifteen years ago, I would have refused it because it had dairy, eggs and white sugar and flour in it. Four months ago, it would not have been allowed in the house.
So this is my public declaration: No more orthorexia. I can eat reasonably and still enjoy the occasional burger and fries. I am going to bake with white sugar and flour from time to time. I will act like a mature adult and eat just enough to enjoy it without stuffing myself on cheesecake and chocolate chip cookies. (The rest of you are on your own here.)
I will not feel guilty or lose sleep if I have a third glass of wine sometimes.
I will get a good walk with my dog several times a week, and look to add exercise to my life instead of being an obsessive health nut.
If I drop ten pounds, fine. If I don`t, fine.
God is not asking me to waste my time in impossible attempts at skinny and healthier. I`m pretty darned healthy now, and it`s likely to stay that way. I`m good at making nutritious balanced meals and I don`t have to fret and obsess over every little detail.
Eat what is put before you – and enjoy the meal!