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'Healthy' The New 'Unhealthy?' | Breaking Free, One Day At A Time (PART 2)

Evening Chickpeas! So in my last post as you saw, I talked about my struggles and battles with Orthorexia, health and some of the signs and symptoms. In hope to try help and educate some of you.

 I was actually so overwhelmed by the response I had to Part 1. I've had so many of you coming to me and saying that I've helped you realise what it is you're actually struggling with and that you want to try and get help! That's honestly so so amazing!

 Meaning, I have been itching to share Part 2 with you, where I'm going to talk about coming to a realisation of my 'unhealthy' traits and how I've gone about overcoming them. I'm going to open up about how I try to push Orthorexia out of my life. 

The realisation

To this day, I still find myself slipping back into many traits of my Orthorexia. But through all of this, all I've ever wanted was to feel freedom in the fact that I could enjoy food without living in constant fear. I wanted to care about my body without being completely obsessive or like I had to burn off every thing that entered my mouth. I was tried of it all. I was tired of being tired. 

There had to come a breaking point. I was beginning to realise that this 'perfect' structure in my life, wasn't so 'perfect' after all. I started to realise the social isolation I was forcing myself into, the way people no longer wanted to speak or spend time with me. What was the point in this torture if I continued to feel miserable? If no one was there to appreciate this new 'perfect' me? How could I expect to ever live a life if I continued to live in this trap?

 I then began to think, as time went on, how could ever expect anyone to be in a relationship with me? How could I keep up this routine if I was ever going to find happiness with someone. How would they ever put up with my crazy checks of menus before dinner dates? Or my obsessive compulsion to measure food? Or the fact I would never allow them to touch my food or mess up my routine?

 I knew if I ever wanted to start living a more normal life, I had to start letting this go, facing up to it - no matter the consequences.

I began to look back... Realising some of the wrong aspects that Orthorexia had given me. I became more apparent to the idea that I actually was really struggling. It was something I couldn't keep living in denial with.

The Challenge 

The hardest part after acceptance was beginning to make changes and knowing where to start. How do I even begin to get myself out of this? How do I get myself to a place where I'm healthy and happy at the same time! 

Where caring and nourishing my body is an enjoyment rather than a compulsion?

 Where I can make my own decisions without my head hating me or flooding with guilt?

I'll admit when I first began trying to make changes, they were so small that people probably didn't notice. I carried on with a lot of unhealthy habits trying my very best not to rush into things. The thing is, when you look at reality, it was going to take a hell of a long time. These unhealthy habits I've developed over the years, probably aren't ever going to go away. I still get so many of them now creeping their way back in. But with that comes acceptance. 

I started with the tiniest changes such as:

 Eating a different times than usual, waking up at a different time, trying to vary my diet more, tried to relax in the morning rather than feeling like I had to smash out a super intense workout every damn day, started trying to say yes more to social invitations without constantly worrying about food. 

 Now, I'm not going to tell you this was easy, it wasn't! (And sometimes still isn't)

Some days it can be so draining being the only person faffing over extra pumpkin seeds with your salad, stressing over having 1/2 an avocado rather than 1/4, breaking down over fact you've eaten carbs on a rest day when you believe you shouldn't or ordered a dessert with higher fat than protein. Like whaaat? Yep, it's true.

In the beginning these changes were actually horrific the thought of going out without knowing a food situation or adding new things to my diet wasn't pleasant at all!! They caused me so much stress. Sometimes the next day I'd fall back into old habits to compensate. But I knew If I ever wanted to overcome this and stop the hold it had on me.

I had to challenge it. 

So...With little changes came bigger ones, along with ways I found to cope and began to discover new methods of coping. Once I dipped my toes out of my usual water and routine... I started to see a few other things.

I realised that once I tasted a little bit of freedom. The trap I had myself under just wasn't sustainable. Living in constant fear, rejection and isolation. It was god damn miserable.

I began skipping the gym for lunch with my Mumma. Buying the packaged hummus because I had no time to make my own. Sleeping in a little later because I was actually tired and accepting I'm not bloody 'lazy'. Enjoying the food I had made on my plate because I'd chosen lots of foods rather than ones I knew I had to have. I didn't feel pressured to exercise or eat a certain way. Didn't stress about missing breakfast. Didn't mind some extra sugar in my smoothie or the fact I'd eaten avocado twice that day.

 Sounds stupid but these things were massive to me. 

I still panic. I mean most of these things are out of my control and out of my safety zone. But it's getting easier. So the first step. Acceptance, challenge and then...


You have to start being honest with yourself.

Although your Eating Disorder had brought a sense of control, looking at it honestly, it's brought a lot more of damage and unhappiness.

 I mean come on, what was the worst that's really going to happen? The world isn't going to end if I have a bit of extra oil with my chicken or sleep past 6AM or choose the pizza instead of the salad or even enjoy the salad over the pizza. The reality is, these things balanced and brought naturally have no effect on the rest of the world or you for that matter.

Trust me. No one cares. No one is bothered by the fact I'll eat a few more carbs or start to eat more cheese, start eating nuts and nut butter, that I don't check the menu before going out for dinner, or bought bloody shop bought hummus!


Looking at all of the tiny changes I began to make above, all of them come down to one thing. Mindset. Sadly, the Orthorexic mindset is a god damn powerful one, making it one of the hardest things to tackle and something that takes a long time to alter. If ever. But with that comes patience. A hell lot of it. 

I had to begin viewing food and health differently overall. I didn't have to burn off everything I ate and just because I had a slice of cake wasn't going to make me a bad person or decay my insides. No matter what my EATING DISORDER believed, I had to PROVE IT WRONG. 

I know myself, I can very easily fall into a mindset where I think I'll tackle something when I am 'less afraid'...

 The truth is? THAT TIME NEVER COMES. You'll always be afraid because your usual, damaging traits are what you class as 'safe'. So, for the fear to start to ease, you have to just do it.

Imagine where you could be 10 years from now if you allowed a little recovery rather than allowing your ED to win... Do you want a family? Husband? Children? A dog? A great job? A beautiful house? Travelling the world? Happiness? At ease with yourself?

With recovery you can get there.

And not every day are you going to be on top form and battling these thoughts like you think you should be. Some days you'll feel like you're taking 10 steps backwards, trust me. But take each little step you make as a positive, no matter how big or small. this positive outlook will help you so much more overall.

And sadly there is no 'right' or 'wrong' answer, you just have to open up to the fact that things can be better than the place you're in now. I certainly am. Don't be afraid to talk about it and seek help. And be sure to be kind to yourself. Your life is worth so much more than obsessing about food and your body. No one chooses to have an eating disorder, but you can make the choice to work towards a full recovery.

One Day At A Time

Like I said, there is always a better day but it takes one day at a time.

So where am I now? I am in a much better place than I even was 9 months ago. I mean I've gone from weighing out cucumber and banning dessert from my life, to being able to enjoy amazing salads with gorgeous dressings and spontaneously eat some Peanut Butter Dairy Milk (because, its GOD DAMN AMAZING). And although these things happen on my better days, and my mind may hate me later, I'm so proud of how far I've actually come.

I feel like I care about my health & well being in a natural way, that I enjoy each day rather than forced and something I dread.

Trust me you can too.

So, I hope Part 2 of this series has allowed you to see the ways in which recovery is tough... But it's actually okay to realise and admit you have a problem. In the next and final post, I'm going to talk more about my Orthorexia today, the things and strategies I use in order to face it and manage the negative thoughts. How I now use my Eating disorders as a positive and begin to accept myself for who I am. 

Remember to keep letting me know your thoughts and keep chatting to me, I love it! Lots of love,

Holli xxx


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