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'Healthy' The New 'Unhealthy' | Obsession or Lifestyle? (PART 1)

Evening Chickpeas! Are you loving this sudden burst of great weather? I certainly am. Pop me in some sun and I'm like a positive ball of joy. Earlier this week I ran a lil poll on Twitter asking what blog posts you wanted to see more of, one of them being more Mental Health chats! They seem to be doing really well. 

Tonight I wanted to talk about a topic I think will help and cover a whole variety of the bloody population. I hope this post gives you a little more of an insight onto some of the patterns, ways you view your body and eating habits you may have, or a way to alert you of someone close who may also be dealing with these battles. 

We all want to be and feel healthy right? I mean it's what the majority of us strive for. But what happens when this 'healthy' becomes a ritual in your life? Something that you feel trapped by? Something that becomes obsessive? It becomes restrictive? What happens when you want to end your life because of this 'healthy'? Let me tell you, I did. 

Now, I've dealt with many Eating Disorders however Orthorexia is part of my life I've never addressed. I mean at the time, I thought I was in the right. I was young. Trying to lose weight. I thought everything was okay.

It began way before I was even diagnosed with Anorexia. It played in the development I guess. 

So this may begin as a want to just eat healthier. No harm done. You may want to lose some weight or try a new 'health food'. Exactly nothing wrong. But then suddenly before you know it you're months down the line, finding this obsession with 'health foods' and 'clean eating' going completely out of control. 

 Orthorexia isn't as commonly known as Anorexia or Bulimia, and in fact most people probably aren't even aware they're suffering from it. An obsession with 'healthy eating' I mean really? Trust me it's real. 

It's a huge obsession in wanting to eat 'pure' foods, avoiding and fearing anything artificial, with too much sugar, too much fats, salts, processed etc. Which is all good in wanting to look after your body but not when you create such rules which detriment your health and make you completely socially isolated.  


My obsession with healthy food became apparent when I was attempting to lose some weight. It wasn't long before I became known as the girl who could 'always eat healthy'. I was receiving endless complements and people always asking for advice and 'how I do it', I felt like I was achieving something. Finally. It just became me. It was all great at first, I felt like a new human being! I felt fresh and alive. I felt positive. I felt in control. 

People kind of knew not to ask me if I wanted some chocolate or a slice of cake or the pizza over the salad, and if I did they'd be shocked! I no longer got asked for dessert or if I wanted popcorn at the cinema. It was just the way things were. I knew if I were to have these 'bad foods', I'd feel bad, guilty and shame. I felt out of control.

I then developed the thought that, 'Oh any food that goes in, has to be burnt off'. I'd punish myself through continuous exercise, not because I enjoyed it but because I knew I 'had to'. Exercise addiction. There were certain times I'd exercise, I would have specific things on different days. Sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to exercise, if I had not moved enough that day.

  I began to turn down any social invitation, I feared going out unless it was planned so far in advance. The thoughts of what food would be around and when I would eat were all that filled my mind. I wouldn't touch any food from anything or anyone else, "What if they had popped some butter in my omelette?" or "Extra oil on my salad?"

 I had to know every single aspect of the food and what I was putting in my body. I had to know I was doing my body good.

If my body felt good. I was good. If I was good. Life would be good. Things had to be perfect. 

 It was only then this went down hill and my healthy obsession led to Anorexia. I guess the two played a massive part with on another. As the Othorexia was still there lingering. 

When I first went into my Eating Disorder recovery, it only then got worse. I replaced one obsession with another.  I became less obsessed with weight, and more obsessed with the whole idea of the 'perfect diet'. If I couldn't starve, I was going to have to eat extremely healthy and constantly exercise, to allow myself to feel perfectionism and control.

 Rules started to form but things that all seemed 'healthy'. Everything became part of a 'healthy' routine. The gym, food, events, people, my life. But, It wasn't a lifestyle, it controlled me. Where as you may feel amazing, nourished and energised with a big chicken salad after your sweaty gym sesh. I felt awful. My mind wasn't healthy, so nor was I.

 Everything I ate had to have no more than 5 ingredients. Everything had to be fresh. I had to know everything I had made. I started to believe anything about nutrition (true or not), I believed bananas were bad because of too much sugar, I believed white rice was the devil, eating past a certain time was wrong, too much salt was a curse, coconut oil rather than olive oil, water rather than oil, certain amounts of this, certain amounts of that for optimal health, I had to eat at certain times etc. It wasn't just that but I couldn't sleep past certain times, walk at certain paces, use certain products, go somewhere without checking menus etc.

While this all sounds good and innocent on looking after your body, my head was falling apart.

 And if I fell off this track? Well, I was a god damn failure.

I constantly had to have pretty looking meals to match on my Insta feed, grab the latest superfood powder, or try the latest health craze. I was actually exhausted with it all.

I couldn't have relationships, I couldn't have friendships, I couldn't spend time with family.

My whole world became consumed by this routine I needed to follow.


One of my biggest issues I've had to overcome, and something actually 99% of us probably do, is class foods as 'GOOD' and 'BAD'. Usually phrases - "I can't have that, it's bad", "I had something really naughty last night" "I eat too much bad food to be healthy".

I'm sure you have foods that fit into each of the categories. The reality of it is, no food is 'GOOD' or 'BAD', it's just food, and some food has more nutritional value than others. Simple.

Once a food becomes in the 'BAD' category, you begin to fear it slightly and maybe even feel guilt. In your consciousness this becomes bigger and bigger and you'll more than likely start to think a little bit more about this 'banned' food. It's a vicious little cycle you become part of.

I battled with this a lot. When really, it's about knowing the foods that make you feel good and using them in a balance. And that isn't about cutting out pizza or ice cream and it's not about cursing salads or chicken. It's simply about including a huge variety of things, that are simply food. And food is fuel. It keeps our bodies running.

But this whole idea of 'GOOD' and 'BAD' just gave me another rule, structure and pattern to allow myself to follow. If I followed it I felt great, if not well I felt a failure. Again, just another vicious cycle.


Food wasn't a pleasure. I was more interested about what it was rather than why I was eating it. And, because of this it wouldn't have mattered if I was eating a Kale salad or a huge pizza because my mind set was completely wrong. It affected all parts of my health, my energy, sleep, mood, hair, skin, and it really didn't matter how much 'healthy' food I consumed. I was falling apart secretly.

I can remember one of my saddest times after eating a banana, going for a run (something most people would feel amazing for) and coming home, collapsing and crying in front of the mirror like I had committed a crime. I cried after eating a banana. I cried. 

SO here I was, plodding along, in misery. The world simply believing I was eating, recovering and simply being 'healthy'. When really I was so anxious and exhausted more than ever. More so than when I was deep in Anorexia because this time I was thinking about food way more. I developed more controlling behaviour and hid it from the world around me. Simply continuing to accept the praise.

I wanted to share this with you in hope that a few of you may be able to relate or notice a few behaviours. Or you can have a bit of an understanding of what this disordered way of dealing with food and life feels like.


Due to the length of this post, I'm going to split this into two parts. In my next post, I'm going to talk more about facing Orthorexia and how I started to make changes in battling it today. It's not all easy, but I have made certain little steps which are helping me have a much healthier relationship with food and my mind.

In the mean time, please just step back and have a little think about how you view your food, when you're eating them, the way you exercise and go about fitting these into your life. Where eating nutritious food and adopting a active lifestyle is so so important for us mentally and physically, don't let it become the dreaded 'extreme'.

Love your body, love what you put in it and make sure you feel great. And as always 'Love what you do, do what you love' 

Holli xxx

If you don't feel comfortable with your current routine or view around food or may be concerned about someone, try talking to someone you love/friend/family member or a GP or organisation such at Beat, who've helped me massively through my Eating Disorder's. 


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