I’m not starting the new year with promises and dreams of a “new me”. I don’t want a new body shape: I don’t need toned arms or a flat stomach. I don’t want to quit sugar, I don’t need a detox program. I don’t need to categorize food into good and bad, healthy and unhealthy. I’m not going to feel guilty for eating chocolate in January or all through the year. I won’t start a diet, nor will I ever encourage anyone to start one either.
My body has changed a lot in the last decade. I used to be athletic and thin, now I’m soft all around.
I used to be worried about my stomach, which is soft for the best reasons: I’ve given birth to three children. I’ve had (still have some) diastasis recti, which makes my belly very round.
For the past two years I’ve heard these questions many times: Are you pregnant? When are you due?
I should’ve replied:
Please don’t ever ask anyone personal questions like this. It is not okay.
Instead I’ve just been mortified and felt bad about myself for not being fit.
It’s taken me several years to get to this point, to finally accept myself.
Not just my body, but the whole me.
Hello and good bye Wellness industry
For a long time I thought wellness trend is one of the best trends of the decade. Finally it was widely acknowledged that holistic well-being is important: eating nutritious food, sleeping well, working out in a way that suits you best, living a balanced life with meaningful social relationships and pursuing activities which bring you joy.
Runs in the forest, green smoothies and eating the rainbow every single day to be sure I get all the right nutrients. Eating less sugar, feeling light and pretty, with a glowing skin.
Sounds pretty harmless, right?
Orthorexia is a sneaky bitch
But what if this was just the beginning and things start accelerating. I’m bombarded with more and more wellness wisdom from all kinds of gurus or “gurus”. I’m really into this subject so I read and I learn. I want to feel even better, I want to feel even lighter, I want to be beautiful on the inside and outside and I want to become the healthiest I can be.
So I go on and on, restricting my diet even more, making it an obsession to eat rainbow colored food every day, feeling like a failure if I some day don’t. I’m sure I will get a vitamin deficiency if I don’t eat purple, blue, red, orange, yellow, green, white veggies and fruits. I need to boost my immune system daily with rainbow food, or else I will get sick.
Is running in the forest really enough for me? I should probably start following Kayla Itsines, she is just so perfect with her trimmed and toned body. She is the embodiment of wellness, and I need a bikini body like hers to be super healthy and feel good about myself.
I try meditation and it just isn’t working for me the way I imagined it would. How will I ever become less stressed if I can’t meditate? I try again with similar bad results and feel even more stressed.
Panic attacks at the grocery store
Sugar is poison, isn’t it? Tell me how it makes me look wrinkly. Please let me know more about how sugar is slowly killing me. And isn’t a whole foods plant-based no oil diet the best in the world? It makes me feel good – my absolute best – both inside and out? I really need to quit consuming oil, too.
With all these restrictions and rules, living my life ain’t getting easier.
How about severe panic attacks at the super market because all the granolas have sugar and bad oils and my kids are begging me to buy granola. What about getting an anxiety attack when my kid has eaten lots of candy. I’m sure she will get sick and I’m a bad mama for letting her eat all that sugar.
Isn’t it totally normal to prepare for a trip by cooking and packing all my own food with me, so that I don’t accidentally eat anything containing processed sugar or bad oils. Isn’t it totally normal to be nervous about traveling anywhere where I can’t control what I eat. It’s becoming normal for me to have anxiety attacks when going to a restaurant, because the ingredients are so “bad”. So I stop going.
My life revolves around food, and it’s not fun anymore. I lose the joy of cooking, eating. I rant about sugar, oils and other “unhealthy” ingredients and my family is getting tired of my orthorexia. I’m slowly getting tired of it too. I am getting tired. I am tired. All the time.
And I am afraid. So afraid I will die if I stop eating this way or if I stop working out or if I don’t stop stressing. My fear of death is strong and persistent and stressing about it is making everything worse.
I am a wreck.
Please help me.
Everything I wrote here happened in the course of five years. There have been many good months too, but even during those good times I’ve never completely accepted myself.
I’ve kept on jumping on the next wellness trend to finally achieve my goal of “being healthy and fit”.
When you get on the wellness roller coaster when is enough enough? When comes the point you can finally say: I am enough. I have done enough, I am good, I am healthy, I am beautiful.
What I didn’t realize: pursuing these wellness goals is what’s making me feel unhealthy and unfit. Because pursuing all these goals meant restricting and controlling:
- not letting me eat what I really want.
- not letting me do what I really want.
- not letting me enjoy what I really want.
- and ultimately not letting me be who I am.
And if for some days and months I let go of the “healthy” rules I was following, I felt guilty and bad. And this caused a lot of stress too.
So if all the stress that has come with not accepting who I am has made me feel unhealthy and unfit, miserable and sad, why don’t I just accept myself? Accept and love myself exactly the way I am.
Not just my body, but also my INFJ HSP personality, my inside and outside,
All of me.
This is the question I asked myself in 2019 and this is what I have learned: I don’t need the wellness industry to tell me how to improve myself.
I don’t want to quit sugar, I don’t need a detox program.
I am healthy and beautiful when I eat chocolate and donuts
and I will also have a green smoothie too if I really want to.
In fact I can eat anything I want to and feel good about it. *
I can make my own meditation, I don’t need special apps for it.
I am healthy and beautiful with my soft round belly.
I can workout the way I want to when I want to.
I don’t need you Kayla Itsines telling me to get stronger 2020.
I am already strong, I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.
I am enough.
Thank you for reading.
Wishing you self-acceptance and self-love for 2020 and all the decades to come.
*I don’t eat animal products because I don’t want to eat them.
If you are struggling with orthorexia please seek professional help. Or if that feels too much right now, just send me a DM and I will help you in any way I can. You are not alone.