Orthorexia Nervosa
Daily life poems

Eating only lettuce can kill you | Orthorexia Nervosa.

Is lettuce on your mind? Let me distract you. Start with the poem below. Then, go for the more hefty discussion on Orthorexia Nervosa.

Don’t worry, I didn’t know what it meant either.

What recovering anorexia looks like to me on mean-spirited days.

She looks in the mirror,
A reflection she does not see.
Thorns grow in her mind.
Trying to pop the field of flab she only sees.
See me too.

Ok, I am eating again. But only healthy clean food

Eating only lettuce can kill you.

Usually, when you think of anorexia you think of someone starving him or herself. Not a healthy eater who goes to the gym.

Healthy eating is well, healthy. Carrots, lettuce, grilled chicken (depending on who you ask), all have nutritional benefits.

No sugar is probably beneficial. I am not arguing that.

However, people who just recently recovered from anorexia shouldn’t be fixated on healthy foods.

Unfortunately, some people convert their anorexia to orthorexia. The definition is a:

Pathological preoccupation with clean eating and food purity. Too much control over the quality of the food we ingest can result in orthorexia. Revolves around food quality, not quality.

Orthorexia nervosa

It differs from Anorexia Nervosa by the fact that not everyone who has orthorexia wants to lose weight.

A warning for people going through anorexia recovery eating:

Don’t open Instagram. Stay away from healthy eating hashtags.

This can be helpful for someone trying to find the motivation to lose weight or eat healthily. For you, this is a trigger.

It is a way to still feel some control. However, the food demons stay calling.

You are letting them in easier this way. Keep the door closed with double voltage locks and barbed wire.

Even following healthy eating posts is linked to developing orthorexia. So, if you are serious about recovery: STAY AWAY.

Orthorexia is clean eating
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

You messed up *slaps your wrist*

So, you ruined your lifestyle plan.

You stayed up late, had a few drinks, and ate a full bag of Doritos.

Or you stayed out late with friends and ate a pizza. No, do not step on that scale.

You did not magically gain 5 kgs. Shh, you are still the same as yesterday. You did NOT mess up.

All you did was have fun. You deserve to have fun.

Slap: You were bad

Orthorexia Nervosa: Why is it a problem?

The pursuit of health is what we are tricked into thinking means well-being. In a way, it is true.

Duh, health is wealth. But is only eating healthy food, healthy living?

I’m not sure. Is it diet culture? It could be.

bowl of vegetable salad
Photo by Cats Coming on Pexels.com

A problem is born: when the obsession with correct eating becomes the most important part of one’s life.

Is orthorexia a disorder- The controversy

It is not really a disorder. Well kind of. Some people think orthorexia is a part of OCD or perfectionism.

Whereas, others view it as an extension of anorexia.

However, it is not part of the DSM5 (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders) though.

In both cases, it is a problem. Especially, for people who are recovering from anorexia.

Organizing food
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

To be or not to be, a disorder that is.

To my dismay, one study revealed that orthorexia tends to increase after treatment for anorexia.

#Cleaneating: Instagram influence

Eat yourself skinny. You are what you eat. Make smart choices.

These are slogans that show up on my Instagram feed.

I’d be lying if I said these images didn’t make me want to run a mile or start planking.

Anything to rid me of the calories. They’re the enemy, right? So, they have us believe.

Looking at Instagram can lead to orthorexia.

They being our messed up minds.

How could I forget the before and after pictures? Suddenly, people look skinnier and happier.

Sometimes it is not even the same person. I’m not against before and after pictures.

I believe we can celebrate people’s successes if they are happy and healthy.

Just don’t lie and trick people. That’s not cool.

Instagram food and orthorexia

More triggering posts: Orthorexia on Instagram

The most triggering posts for me are the ones that say: Eat this not that. Truly, it can get overwhelming.

Have you ever looked at food as healthy or pure? Purely organic. Yes, it is motivating.

But when it becomes an obsession it is scary.

Weirdly, Instagram was the only social media medium that influenced orthorexia according to this study.

More Instagram use increases our chances of developing orthorexia. Plus its symptoms.

I get it. Frankly, I can get lost in one hashtag for hours.

Even when you open up a picture on your feed about a yummy recipe.

If you scroll down a bit a post about choosing a healthier alternative always shows up. Maybe it is just my page.

Instagram hashtags target healthy eaters regarding clean eating.

Obsessive healthy eating is sometimes the gateway to anorexia. Based on personal bloggers’ experiences, social media-fueled the problem.

Give me the dirty, naughty, chocolate and fries

No, this is not a food orgasm. Or an erotic novel.

Leave the word naughty for your sexual fantasies and Fifty Shades of Grey. Let food be food.

Why do we need to label it? It is our fuel. We can eat it when bored or annoyed.

Maybe, we just need a pick-me-up.

Girl eating fries
Eat your fries with a smile

Eat the nutrients you need. But don’t twist it into a box.

Even lettuce, if it becomes the only thing you eat is unhealthy.

Our body needs a little bit of everything. Although, I will keep the nutritional advice to professionals.

If you are truly stuck and need guidance. Turn off your phone.

Close the blog posts, mine included. Leave the internet experts on the internet.

Go to a nutritionist, seek real advice. No, you do not need the 3-day crash diet.

You don’t need to eat only yellow food or green food. Or whatever challenges are hanging out on TikTok pages.

That is for entertainment not nutritional and medical advice.

Not all anorexia looks the same: it can look like junk food

Be honest. The last thing you would think of a person with anorexia eating is a meaty chicken burger.

Junk food. Cheetos. Ice cream. Soda. Crispy golden fries.

Ironically, calories in a small McDonald’s fries can be less than a whole avocado.

I only know this because I struggled with anorexia. My food turned into numbers.

MyFitnessPal, the gatekeeper of my disorder.

Helping me diligently track each piece of junk food entering my body. Precious food was minimized to mere numbers.

Ruined forever. Both eating healthy and junk food are part of anorexia.

Don’t be fooled by the facade of a person. Instead, just be there. Try your best not to mention other people’s bodies.

To a disordered mind, sometimes the words, “You look so much healthier”, is a trigger to start starving again.

It is best to just ignore people when they eat.

Don’t make a fuss. It makes them uncomfortable. Unless they have a serious problem and need hospitalization.

You can show them the way by complimenting yourself.

Love your food and body in front of them. They just might mirror your emotions.

Or at least feel safe enough to eat a slice of vanilla cake in front of you without hyperventilating.

We all have our food quirks

Humans are weird. Especially, with our food.

There are so many names and variations for food disorders and traits that I lost count.

Except for the ones that relate to me.

Some people (ha me) are afraid of tomatoes.

There are even acronyms for food quirks. Like ARFID, which is an avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.

At your kitchen table, that is called a picky eater. Raise your hand if it’s you.

Again, I am guilty.

I hate tomatoes, don’t like the taste of steak, the smell of fish. Soup.

The list goes on and on. It gets especially awkward when I’m invited to lunch.

Before you get the urge to roll your eyes at me, I am working on it. Hopefully, I will stop eating like a 5-year-old.

Eat because you want to. Eat because you need to.

In conclusion, food is something we will always need to survive.

Unless they make pills that replace food like in the SYFY movies.

Will there be pills instead of food in the future?
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

ZZZZ, that would be terribly boring though.

Until then, let’s have fun with our food. All kinds. The one’s on the ‘naughty’ and the ‘good’ list.

Healthy eating is fine.

It is only worrying when someone with anorexia nervosa replaces their compulsion with another control behavior.

Food is meant to be enjoyed not controlled.

You deserve to love your food.

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