Hey Bridget :)
I’m 17y old and in my final year of school, however I’m feeling more connected with myself and positive than ever before.
I’m vegan for like one 1/2 years, fall in love with running and recently started meditating daily (thanks for the inspiration btw). I’m naturally passioned about learning and studying so school work and the stress that comes along with it weirdly is enjoyable for me.
Over the last 10month I have started to cut out more and more things from my diet. Started with refined sugar, by now its an entire list and for the last two month I literally only eat an 100g oatmeal in the morning with a bit of coconut milk and at night as much greens, vegetables (exception: potatoes/sweet potatoes) and beans as I desire.
My parents are cool with it, only worried that I’m not consuming any salt (?), however I’m the most happy and comftable in my own skin that I’ve ever been and I swear I’m not starving. I sometimes think that the way I eat is a bit crazy, besides I can’t even tell why I decided to do it or why I cut out those specific foods.
Usually once in a week I visit my dad who lives on the other side of the city, but I haven’t seen him for the past few month until today. He prepared a vegan meal, containing oil, sugar, wheat and just tons of stuff I passionately avoid. The thing is now, after eating it I feel disgusting. Not physically but mentally. And I’m wondering if the whole health obsession got out of control. I’ve kind of waited for the moment that my friends would tell me that I’ve gone to far, that I look unhealthy or whatever. But that didn’t happen. And how I said I’m happy.
Do you have any advice how to deal with this situation? I hate feeling so disgusted by myself after eating those meals, but I do. And my dad now wants to start cooking every week...
Hey! Thank you for writing in, this is definitely a topic I can relate to. First off – I am glad you’re meditating and are generally happy. And that you enjoy the stress of school, I was always that way and found I thrived in that environment. Second of all – I am not a doctor… So grain of salt!!
You are most definitely not eating enough food. If you continue in this way you will broaden many nutritional gaps, which will lead to a whole host of health issues. Salt is the least of your worries here; you are not eating nearly enough carbohydrate, fat, calories or protein. This will lead to some very real hormone imbalances, vitamin deficiencies, and energy metabolism problems.
I think your insight into this situation is important here. You are recognizing that this isn’t exactly normal, and are getting a little concerned about it. I am also concerned by how you were waiting for your friends to say that you were looking unhealthy – that isn’t the point of eating a vegan diet, or any diet at all. You also recognize how out of control you felt eating your fathers food. So you see that there is something wrong here. I would advise you to get a hold of it before it progresses to something worse. It seems to me like you have orthorexia- or an obsession with healthy eating.
I would advise seeing a therapist for a while, to help get to the bottom of why you feel the need to control your food so much. I have found that it is never about the actual food; it is usually about a whole host of other issues, usually very old and seemingly forgotten. I would also advise you to share your concerns with a parent. Eating disorders thrive in secrecy, and if you have someone who loves you reminding you to eat, it helps to keep you accountable. I would also recommend you to work with a nutritionist or health coach – someone who is qualified to help you learn how to eat a healthy balanced diet. We usually have to learn what this looks and feels like, and it may not be easy at first. But everything always balances out; consistency and strength is needed here to follow through.
If veganism is something that is truly important to you, then focus on developing a healthy vegan diet. This means eating three meals a day, snacks, and hitting all your macronutrient points. However if veganism is something that you have adopted as a mask to control your food, then this is something you need to address. I can’t really help you more than that – this is something to work through in therapy.
Well done for reaching out, and having the insight to realize that your habits aren’t normal or healthy. This insight will serve you well in your road to recovery; keep asking yourself as many questions as you can on this topic, really try to understand why you feel the need to eat the way you do. Good food is one of the great joys in life, and being able to share it freely with loved ones is a beautiful thing. Your father obviously feels that way in cooking for you – and that is so wonderful. You owe it to yourself, your future health and your loved ones to recognize and learn why you are controlling your food so much.
Life is too short to be obsessed with food and healthy eating J Be healthy by all means, but don’t let it rule your every social setting. 80/20.
Peace and love,