So this past week and a half has been CRAZY! My friend and I spent most of last week working tirelessly (and by that I mean in a constant state of pure exhaustion) on the lighting for the show Little Shop of Horrors. It is not a show I am involved in in any way. I just like helping out. Food-wise, there is only one way to pull four all-nighters in a row: eat all sugar, pretty much non-stop. So, needless to say, not the healthiest week. But it was definitely fun, and therefore worth it. For those of you who have been with me for a while, this is a HUGE shift from my high school, and even early college, stance on eating poorly. I used to be obsessed. I couldn’t eat poorly without freaking out. If I had multiple unhealthy days I would fall apart. I’m gonna let you in on a little secret though; you really can be too healthy (therefore, unhealthy. There’s really no winning.) It is an eating disorder called Orthorexia Nervosa and, much like Binge Eating Disorder, it isn’t one you hear about much.
Just to be clear, it is okay to be extra careful when you are dieting. It’s okay to have a strict regime. What isn’t okay is when you physically CANNOT give yourself a break. When eating something you consider “unhealthy” can bring you to tears, because you feel so sickeningly guilty. No one tells you that part. They tell you about Anorexia and Bulimia, but diets train you to think the healthier the better — period. People who say that are assuming that you are going to continue eating lean meats and peanut butter and a reasonable portion of mashed potatoes now and then. They don’t warn you how easy it is to become obsessed. A (god-awful) teacher of mine once spread a rumor through my high school that I was anorexic. I was furious. I ate all the time! I constantly had snacks on hand! The problem was that it was always carrots, red peppers, or a carefully measured two tablespoons of mixed nuts. I had never heard of Orthorexia, so I wrote her off as being crazy and petty (which, to be clear she was) and went on with my unhealthy-healthy life. (Kind of like the Undead — HOW ARE THEY DEAD AND NOT DEAD!? Exactly.) If my mom wanted to go out to dinner, I needed several days notice so I could plan my eating around it, and figure out in advance what I could eat.
Wow, that went off into a direction I wasn’t planning. I was just gonna talk about eating junk and making lasting college memories. But since I’m on a roll here, I’ll just say that this blog has seen a lot of changes and battles which, in hindsight, I am incredibly grateful for. I started it happy and newly-healthy, already on the path to becoming too healthy. I gave tips and encouraged portion-controlled treats. I never took that advice, however, because I was different. I was healthier than that. When I got depressed I disappeared for a while — after all, I was starting to gain weight and was no longer active, so what right did I have to give other people advice? When I started college, I finally recognized that I had severe Binge Eating Disorder. Since every blog I’ve ever read has been a success story, I thought it could be helpful to be real with people during the weight-loss battle. I wrote about the healthy weeks, the resisted temptations, and I wrote about the “bad” nights, which just kept happening, despite my best efforts. This blog has seen me slowly recover from depression and work toward a reasonable diet that is healthy, but not too healthy. This blog met me after I lost 64 lbs, followed me when I gained 90 lbs, and is still with me now after losing 75 lbs. I still am not a model of health. I’m nowhere near active enough and I still put a frustrating amount of thought in the way I eat as I try to find the balance. I’m still here though. I’m not going anywhere. OH, and I got Celiac’s, which I feel like is probably your fault somehow. Don’t lie to me!
So I guess what this is all adding up to is, remember to cut yourself some slack. It is easy advice to give and hard advice to take, but it really is important. I created memories this week that I know I will hold onto as one of the highlights of my college experience. Living off of junk food and coffee was part of that experience, and that’s fine by me. Didn’t change my lifestyle. Just a crazy week.
If this post seems at all stilted, it was originally the introduction to my previous post, Reviewing the Reviewer. After writing everything, I realized that they were to very different and complete posts that deserved their own posts. This blog has touched on a lot of eating disorders and other challenges facing those who are trying to be healthy. If you ever have any questions, or want me to talk about something I haven’t covered, please let me know. Also, I am fully aware of the fact that I often cover the same territory more than once. After six years, I’m bound to repeat myself a bit. Also, there are occasionally new readers (I imagine), so I like to think it eases people in a bit. As always, it has been a pleasure writing for you.
Also, look at this gluten-free pizza I had in Indiana. It was so good and had “butter cheese crust” — Just sayin’.