From time to time people ask me, ‘Well how did you fix it then?’.
I claim to be ‘better now’ since first obtaining this puzzling new-age eating disorder they have never heard of.
People who are more curious, or going through something similar themselves go deeper; How did I actually know I was turning things around? Was it a short awakening, or a gradual learning? Do I sometimes feel the urges pulling me back? Am I sure I’m better forever?
And still; What did I do that perhaps millions of people are missing?
Of course people always want the easy answer. I’m not saying the solution can’t be simply understood – in my opinion it can. But the elusive silver bullet or quick diet trick people are often searching for is usually the wrong way to think about any life changing ambition, or psychological disorder recovery .
First of all let’s clarify. Ironically I was never truly out to cure myself. I was never actually asking the question as directly as those above now do. It’s hard to know if many Orthorexic people really are I guess, and how many of them will even find this blog? Most people who are even just a bit Orthorexic are not aware they have a condition to label in the first place. They fall into the category of perfectionist health junkies out there, who are a far larger group, and don’t necessarily have that much of a life-inhibiting issue.
What was I out to change then? I was still on a pursuit for health. My all consuming life ambition, deeply tied to my values.
So the first answer to the silver bullet question is; I had to burrow pretty deep down the rabbit hole to come full circle and eventually realize that being Orthorexic is not actually in the best interests of optimal health. But that’s not really the way I want to help other people, it’s not really the advice I give out.
The only reason I got out is because I was open to challenging some pretty deep beliefs of mine in the first place.
Ok great. But my turning point?
How does recovery happen? Does the process of curing actually take a long time?
The short answer is; No. It doesn’t. The pieces of the puzzle are all in your head. But putting them the right way round is not necessarily a straightforward task.
More detailed answer is;
Yes, the manifestation of better health and habits did span perhaps a few months, or years. Who knows if it has truly finished? The impact and improvements from continuously changing my diets, routine and habits as a result of those underlying changes to my beliefs, manifested as I experimented with these in my day to day life. Recovery is on the same spectrum of personal growth. I found myself increasingly doing things socially I wouldn’t have before, and most of all finding time without feeling guilty to increasingly pursue other things in my life. These things are ever evolving, as my life endlessly becomes richer. But my paradigm of health, despite always being a keen Health Freak, reading about health, experimenting or having a strong opinion among friends, has actually remained fairly stable since the turning point where things did start to click back into place.
Once I got here, I stayed. Does that mean once you think about the world the same way I do and you’re fixed? No. That isn’t the solution either. The changing of my fundamental understanding about health countless times until I arrived at something which just about remained stable was in itself an integral part of my journey. This journey is obvious from the years of going through various ideologies and lifestyles, everything from raw food to low carb and trying at-least half the supplements range in my local health store.
My goal here isn’t to try and give you a diet or program that works for me, even though I do discuss some of my broad dietary recommendations my book, because this program doesn’t exist. Neither is it to make my readers go on an endless journey of experimentation with some weak hope they eventually get it right.
No. I do want to shortcut people a bit, but it’s in the fundamental beliefs they have of health first and foremost, – before seeing how this manifests itself in a beautiful journey of recovery of their own and leading to a richer freer life. As they go through this they may or may not experience some of the learning and manifestations of a happier more sustainable lifestyle like I did, whether it be understanding and accepting animal products, detaching food intake from time schedules without feeling bad about it, or simply eating what their friends do without believing in their heart that this makes them any less perfect, or needs to be compensated for.
Oh, and do I think I’m forever? Yes I do.
There is no longer a risk I’m heading back. No struggles or dilemmas. It’s done.