Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous? Part 3 of 3

If you feel you are annoying your family, go ahead and transfer their feelings to me if you want!

If it helps you, you can say,

“Green Smoothie Girl says my ‘obsession’ is normal and that it’s just a phase. She had that phase, too. The only way through it is THROUGH it! Now she’s way past it and doesn’t really even talk about food unless someone asks.”

Even when someone asked, back in my “OBSESSIVE” (read: hyper-learning) phase, I said too much. I overestimated people’s interest routinely. In fact, I remember one member of my former husband’s family asking me questions that I *knew* intuitively were really just bait. They were passive aggression, edged with sarcasm.

But I’d take the questions as legitimate, and I’d answer them at length, from my recently acquired knowledge. (Knowledge no one trusted yet, because just a month before, I ate just like they did!)

In my gut, I knew the “bait” questions were designed to be socially acceptable criticism, statements more than questions. But I purposefully ignored it to further my agenda. I think my agenda was pure: I wanted THEM to acquire the health benefits that were occurring for us. I wanted them to validate and enjoy the exciting things happening in my family. But my methods were suspect:

“Here, this is the path I’m on, so you better get on it, too! Let me ram some information down your throat! You can FEEL my disapproval as I change the rules we’ve always lived by!”

Well, hindsight is 20/20. I look back and feel pretty chagrined. I’ve learned (the hard way!) to answer questions briefly. Then wait for another question rather than deliver a long, unwanted lecture.

I’ve also learned that many folks who are “health nuts” are actually perennially obsessive people, and people who live in a place of fear. (They don’t do us any favors, trying to convert the world to whole foods.)

I know that if you’re living in the fear place, or you’re feeling like thoughts about food and food shopping/preparation have taken over your life, it might be time for a little introspection.

I *started* in the fear place. You may know my story: I thought my 18-month old son might die. I was having panic attacks and not sleeping, consequently.

I am in the OPPOSITE place now. I know that I’ve put building blocks in place that minimize my disease risk….so I do not worry and wring my hands about the health problems others my age are virtually all suffering from.

Am I immune from health problems? No. I’m just much less susceptible to them than everyone else around me, and there’s no need to fear, because I’m doing what I can reasonably do.

The meditations I’m working on will address these fears that, I’m afraid, attract a lot of people to this site and to my program. It’s natural that people suffering from anxiety will attach that anxiety to what goes in their mouth.

But it’s a MUCH nicer place to be to be ENJOYING the journey, doing it out of a positive love place rather than a dark fear place.

This is a good time to check yourself and ask, “Am I in a natural first part of a journey, where it’s natural to get a little out of balance because I’m gobbling up information and it’s blowing my mind? Or am I STUCK in food obsession and fear?”

Big, big difference.

Any thoughts about this, feel free to share!

11 thoughts on “Are “eating healthy” and “obsessed” synonymous? Part 3 of 3

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  1. Robyn – I think the distinction you are making is exactly the difference between those who are “healthy eaters” and those who may have an eating disorder because they are so “stuck” that their eating patterns are driven by something more than just good data on how to be healthy. If folks read the article closely (and the author didn’t do a great job of highlighting the obsessiveness required to call it a disorder), you can see that they do refer to “severe” limiting and give the example of someone whose diet was pared down to just broccoli and cauliflower. “Healthy” eating, as with anything else, can be take to such an extreme that it is no longer “healthy”, physically or psychologically. Psychological disorders always include the phrase, “and cause functional impairment”. Becoming physically ill, dropping unhealthy amounts of weight, shunning social engagements, spending so much time figuring out how to eat that other aspects of life get neglected, etc, all in the guise of “healthy eating”, are all signs that maybe the focus on doing this right may have crossed over to an unhealthy place psychologically. Now whether we want to give it a label like Orthexia which will give fuel to the back lash against those rejecting processed foods and eating green or raw is a whole other topic!

  2. I never write comments, but felt that I should comment on this. Before I found Robyn’s site and high raw eating I was consumed with food. Trying to eat ‘right’, planning what I would eat, counting calories, recording everything I ate, giving in to cravings (mostly sugar-I was addicted!), feeling guilty, beating myself up, promising to do better-then starting it all over the next day! Now I feel free! I know what to eat to fuel my body and I don’t think about it all day. I don’t feel controlled by cravings, I’m off caffenne and have lots of energy. I don’t count calories and have lost 8 pounds. I am now at my goal/happy weight. Thank you Robyn for introducing me to this lifestyle. I feel so much better, and look better too!! Not being obsessed with food is great!

  3. Robyn, I resonate with your thoughts in the last several posts. When I first began the nutritional overhaul in my family, I couldn’t believe that others weren’t interested. Now, several years later, I find that I greatly enjoy bringing food to all our functions and can succinctly respond to questions about unknown ingredients. Having a gluten-free daughter gives me a lot of leeway as to what I bring because I literally pack appetizers, entrees, and desserts for every outing specifically for her – but we share! It’s a lot of food but its worth it. Throughout the last several years, our extended families have gone from being skeptical to greatly enjoying the variety and healthfulness that comes from a wholefoods kitchen. A quiet, steady approach through time allows us to remain focused on nurturing relationships as well as our bodies.

    Tonight, I went to a gathering and brought a smattering of whole foods (all gluten-free) for others to enjoy. I brought a raw vegan cheesecake (from your collection), lemon bars, a strawberry lettuce salad, an almond dressing for veggies, vegan muffins and pecan craisin quinoa (again, from your recipe collection). There were rave reviews. Years ago, people were skeptical, now there are people that routinely ask what I brought so they can try it. How fun is that! 🙂

    1. Darlene, thanks for the comments, love your progress and ability to teach people without zealotry. You’ve arrived. 🙂

      Jill, I didn’t know you were Kim and Kris’s mom! So fun, and thanks for the review. I still haven’t posted my photo of them and my blog entry about their business….one of these days I will! Thanks for coming!

  4. Good healthy food was so freeing to me and actually helped me overcome my food obsessions! I had yo, yo dieted since I was about 11 years old! I go from severely restricting calories to overeating. And one point I cut out ALL fat cause that was what was making me fat, oh I had so much to learn and was so frustrated that I couldn’t just eat what I wanted. I had a very unhealthy relationship with food! So when I started learning and reading and UNDERSTANDING about whole foods, I was so excited! I had learned to focus on being good to my body and treating it in a healthy manner and I found that change in focus (instead of obsessing over my weight) brought me a new found freedom and a release from the chains of being overweight and yo, yo dieting!

    It was such an amazing feeling to be free of that, oh words cannot express, that I just “knew” others would be so grateful to me for sharing what I was learning with them. It was very confusing to me when they were offended and called me crazy, controlling, fanatic and felt that I was doing harm to my family. Looking back I think it was just so new to me but I was seeing such good fruits I just wanted some support and understanding. I didn’t know what the long term results would be but I was going on faith.

    Anyway long story short. Over 10 years later I have a more peaceful confidence in what I’m doing that I think only comes from experience. I don’t feel the need to justify or force my opinions on others. I am happy to share when asked specific questions and I have tried to be that support I needed to those who are in a similar place I was years ago. But now I feel even more free because not only have I never had to diet again but I also don’t feel the need to “convert the world.” The stress of which I believe was more unhealthy then the bad food they were all eating! 😉

  5. I like Robyn’s 12 steps because we can take baby steps without fear of becoming obsessive or overwhelmed with these new lifestyle habits. Trying to learn it all at once has caused me to give up too many times.

  6. I just have a problem with this being labeled an eating disorder, as I used to have anorexia… I would label this more anxiety or ocd.
    With everything in life, there needs to be balance…. people shouldn’t feel guilty for eating an occasional dessert and I think that is where Robyn is right on with her example, that people who truly have this disorder are more paranoid. In the definition that the author gives, the person eliminates food colorings, preservatives, etc. That is my goal and there is nothing wrong with that- a person who wants to get healthy is ata good place in life because they must care about themselves enough to eat foods that help them thrive and not just survive.
    But….i know eating that stuff once in awhile is not going to kill me. i will never pass on a birthday cake, just because it has food coloring in the icing (although now i am gluten free, so I guess I wont be eating it anyway)…. or if I am at someone’s house and they have burgers made from- gasp- grain fed cows, I will not refuse it (though I will normally eat grass fed beef). So i think that is where the distinction lies is how it effects your life. i know some people who take their kids to birthday parties and dont’ allow them to eat any of the food there- to me that is a bit extreme.
    Where the conflict lies with me is that i am studying to be a Certified Health Coach so naturally I think about food a lot- I am taking all sorts of classes- learning about everything from raw foods, to macrobiotics… i have my own health page on Facebook where I share health articles. And this is where I resonate with Robyn and others… i only have 23 “likes” so far and if I think too much about it, i feel pretty hurt. It makes me feel like mos tpeople don;t care about getting healthy. But i know I am not here to save the world– it’s just hard when i am soooo passionate about healthy eating that it is becoming my career. i do’nt know how to seperate it from my life, because right now i feel it IS my life. We are also learning in school about Primary Foods- other forms of nourishment like spirituality, career, physical activity and relationships- a truly healthy person has balance in all areas of life and not just focus on healthy eating– you can eat all the brown rice and broccoli in the world and still not be happy. sorry, I wrote a book-lol

  7. People can call me obsessive or tag me with some eating disorder but I think they do it out of fear……they are afraid to make significant changes and they lack education just I did. I went to see a doctor today with my husband who practices hormone replacement therapy. She was amazed by my knowledge of digestive enzymes, probiotics, adrenal fatigue, and nutrition in general. For the first time ever……….I actually felt like I fully understood what she was talking about with regards to digestion and hormones etc. When we paid the bill and left the office I felt like I got my money’s worth for a change……..and my husband was speechless……..he was so impressed that after months of studying and following your program and listening to you and reading and reading and reading………….that is was making changes in our families’ life that were necessary for us to heal and prevent disease and to hopefully add quality to our lives. I “got it” today and if that came from obsessive behavior……bring it on……….I celebrate it!

  8. you hit it on the head!! totally what I went through and am happy to say I am in a better place of more peace and less worry now! wow–I love how you explained it. of course I had a time I was eating up every amount of knowledge I could find and dreaming about it day and night. that time is past and now it’s second nature. and now people are finally coming to me and asking questions (it took a long time becasue of my weight IMO) but they are seeing other changes and are sincerely asking for my help all over the place now.

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