Food – My Former Frenemy

We’ve all heard of frenemies, right? Enemies who are your friends. Friends who are your enemies.

That’s how I used to feel about food. I still do sometimes.

About two and a half years ago my face started breaking out. These were new breakouts, worse than I’d ever had. Suddenly coming on. And more than ever. I won’t go into the specifics, but after some googling, I decided they might be some type of allergy. I realized they were coming from eggs. So I cut out eggs.

Problem solved for almost a year, then peppers started doing the same thing. I cut out peppers. Problem solved for a few months. Then something else started causing problems.

At this point, my brain shifted. Every food out there was a possible enemy. Not unlike spiders because you know one can be poisonous, you think they all have the potential because you’re not sure which one is the problem. That’s how I felt about food. Every food I ate, I was skeptical of. Was one food a problem? A group of foods? What was my body telling me? USE YOUR WORDS, BODY!

Instead, I feel off the cliff into orthorexia, an eating disorder a lot of people mock. But trust me, when you fall into that group, it’s a real thing. You’re controlled by it. You start to shape this diet of “safe foods” and if you fall off the wagon, you shame yourself. You can’t eat out anywhere. Or even a home-cooked meal because what if someone used x food? It will throw off your attempt to create harmony in your body.

I didn’t live in a crazy cycle for too long, but it was long enough. I kept eliminating more and more foods and food groups, my face didn’t improve. I was lost and frustrated and felt like a failure. I CAN CONTROL THIS! I CAN FIX ME! STOP ASKING ME TO GO TO DINNER! STOP INVITING ME TO EAT AT YOUR HOUSE!

Then I got an allergy treatment (AAT) for magnesium. Magnesium. Yes, the mineral. I was allergic to it. And I was supplementing with it because I knew I needed it. I never would have suspected magnesium. Even when the chiropractor suggested it, I thought she was crazy. SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND, EITHER!

No, really, it’s like your inner voice is screaming at you all the time. Like an emotionally compromised, misunderstood teenager. It’s longing to slam doors. And run away from home.

But it can’t. And you can’t get away from your problem, either.

Every single day I’m thankful for AAT for intervening. It was finally an answer that offered solutions to my problems. It wasn’t a one-shot fix. I’ve been at it for over six months. And spent more money than you want to know about. But the ability to resume a “normal” (meaning not-disordered eating-revolving) life is priceless. Honestly.

I’m sure everyone falls into an eating disorder for different reasons. Some far more complicated than my own. But once you’re in, it’s hard to get out. Even when your mom looks at you like you’re crazy and suggests you’re being extreme. SHE JUST DOESN’T UNDERSTAND! (And, honestly, she didn’t. She’d say how bad my face looked, but failed to see that SOMETHING was causing it. She over-simplified it. And came across really insensitive. Saying I wasn’t washing my face enough. Or too much. She failed to see how I felt like my body was revolting against me. And how out of control that felt.)

I am frustrated with people saying to, “Just stop” when you’re in an obsessive pattern with something. Obviously you’re getting something out of it. Or in my case, feel like eventually your efforts will pay off. In my case, they had in the past, and I just needed to figure out which food was causing it. And which food was the root of the problem, that was suddenly making me allergic to foods that never bothered me. And the Internet is a breeding ground for this. Telling you gluten is the root of all evil, causing food allergies. Or tomatoes. Or dairy. Or GMOs. Or animals raised on GMO feed. Or animals raised on corporate farms. Or pesticides. Or whatever else.

In the end, food is your friend. And your enemy. But most of the time, your body can counter-attack the enemies without much help from you. It can filter out the bad stuff. And when it stops doing that, and a doctor can’t help, it really does feel helpless.

So, I get it. I definitely recommend AAT to anyone who feels similarly out of control and desperate. And there are a whole host of other things that can probably help similarly. Those treatments were what finally gave me relief where I needed it – in my skin and in the way I felt.

If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, especially if it’s orthorexia and you are trying to get somewhere specific, try to find any other way you can to deal with it. Diet can be the answer, but sometimes you need more help. And it might come from something you never would have thought would work. Hang in there. I think there’s an answer for everyone.

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