I am going to preface this post by saying: I am not an expert on any of this, what I am about to talk about is based on my own personal experiences and fears. I am writing this because I think about this a lot, because I wonder what other people think of it. I am definitely NOT writing this to have an affect on anyone's eating plans or mental state. This is just where I am mentally.
Okay, with that aside (but it had to be said, because I know how sensitive a topic it is), I wanted to get it out there into the world that I have some concerns about my eating habits.
This is nothing new.
This is hard to put into the world. Especially since I am "out" on this blog... I don't hide my identity (nor do I make a point to tell friends/family about it). I may someday make this post private, but not now.
I have had disordered eating (never a diagnosed eating disorder, because I have never told a healthcare professional about my behaviors) since I was about 16. Whether that was periods of binging, periods of restricting, periods of purging (over-exercise or emesis)... I would say I did not have a healthy relationship with food as a teenager or a young adult.
Even during periods where I was not physically acting out with eating, the disordered thoughts would always roll through my head. It was a daily struggle. I would say it still is. I have struggled for a long time to stop thinking about purging. I have rarely given into these obsessive thoughts in the past 3 or 4 years (I am so aware of the harmful physical effects and as I've aged, the destructive behaviors have gotten a little more under control)... but I have had moments where I have, where the fear and the obsession and the worry got to be too much.
Oddly enough, when I went Paleo... these obsessive thoughts started to subside. I haven't wanted to purge once, I haven't thought about it once, in two months (since Paleo).
I am wondering why. I feel like there are two possibilities:
1. I am finally eating "right" for my body. The healthy body has helped create a healthy mind. I do not have urges to overeat (no physical cravings since getting rid of wheat and dairy)... I eat moderately very easily now, and so the triggers are gone.
2. I have replaced one obsessive behavior with another.
The reason I said reason #2 is because I do think about food... a lot. I pre-prepare a lot, I wonder about ingredients, I still calorie-count as well as monitor carbs/fats/proteins. I have eliminated entire HUGE food groups from my life.
I read some years ago about orthorexia, and discussion about it pops up here and there in relation to paleo.
On Wikipedia, orthorexia is described as: a non-medically recognized term first used by Steven Bratman to characterize people who develop an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy.
Now, to be clear... I do not believe most people eating paleo fall into this category. I do not think paleo is a fad or a crock or a passing fancy. It is a real and healthy way of eating. Most orthorexics have very arbitrary ideas about what foods are good/bad or safe/unsafe. That's not what paleo is about.
But what about people pre-disposed to disordered eating?
Am I obsessing?
These are things I think about. I don't have answers.
I am glad I haven't had any obsessive thoughts about purging in two months. It is a weight off my shoulders... a tenseness I no longer have to deal with.
It seems a little too good to be true, though?
I am taking steps to be a little more relaxed with my eating. Very simple rules, but allowing me to have a broad variety of foods to eat: whole ingredients, no wheat or dairy. That's it.
I want to be moderate and balanced.
I think I am getting there. But there is always that fear that this is temporary. That I will lapse. That I might turn this into something ugly.
It's why I have written this post. To put it out there. To be accountable. To be at peace with food and my body.
I plan to write a post tomorrow about calorie-counting (which most proponents of Paleo says it not necessary and shouldn't be done).