. proving you’re healthy by being unhealthy .

by Amanda @ .running with spoons. on October 16, 2012

Call me crazy (I promise not to hold it against you), but lately I’ve been noticing more and more suspicion and criticism being directed at those who try to live a healthy lifestyle. It’s understandable, given the staggering number of disordered habits that cleverly disguise themselves as healthy ones, but at the same time it’s kind of freaking annoying… especially when it makes you feel like you have to go well out of your way to be unhealthy just to prove that you are, in fact, healthy.

Plain Greek yogurt – banana – nectarine – applesauce – Kashi Cinnamon Harvest – roasted almond butter.

Given my past issues with food, I really can’t blame people for sometimes questioning my healthy(ish) eating habits… which is pretty much the only reason why I hold my tongue and smile instead of ripping my hair out and screaming for them to get of my case. It’s frustrating, though, and that frustration builds up to a point where I’d honestly consider stuffing myself with candy, chips, and fast food until I’m sick just to prove that I’m…err… not sick.

Since when did mental health and a desire for physical health become two mutually exclusive concepts? Because it seems like these days you can’t have both – if you try to be physically healthy, then it must mean that you’re mentally ill. No one questions you if you order a cheeseburger and fries, but get a grilled chicken salad and it’s all: “WHOA!! RED FLAG!! DISORDER/DIET ALERT!!” And don’t even think about passing on dessert – that kind of thing will get you labelled faster than you can eat a bowl of banana soft serve…

But what if you really, honestly, legitimately just do want a bowl banana soft serve? Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely adore ice cream – but sometimes I just crave bananas, and in that one moment banana soft serve sounds more appealing than anything else. And yes, I know that calling it soft serve is misleading, but come on… having to type out or say “frozen bananas blended up into a creamy consistency” is just plain goofy and awkward.

I enjoy eating healthy; I really do – I crave the foods I eat, and I eat the foods I crave. But sometimes I honestly feel like I’m not supposed to eat healthy because doing so automatically seems to lump me into the category of the “recovered” anorexic who still can’t let go of an obsession with clean eating. I’ll admit that the nutritional knowledge I picked up during my years of struggle makes me a lot less eager to try and survive on KD and candy like I did before I got sick, but not wanting to eat chemically-laden foods because of the potential negative effects they’ll have on my body isn’t really the same as being afraid to eat them. A true desire to be healthy by choosing to feed my body with wholesome foods is a lot different from a disordered desire to be “healthy.”

They may be “healthier” alternatives, but Popchips still taste pretty darned good to me…

Maybe it’s all in my head, but I do feel the judgment sometimes; and I think the people who are the quickest to judge are those who struggle with those kinds of issues themselves. I remember when I was sick, I’d look at people eating healthy foods or exercising on a daily basis and automatically assume that there were disordered thoughts at the core of their actions. I couldn’t understand how someone could genuinely enjoy eating healthy and working out when all I seemed to crave was junk food and my time in the gym was more or less a torture session.

But lo and behold, the further I came in recovery, the more I began to understand. When I made treats a regular part of my diet, I realized that people choose to eat healthy foods the majority of the time because it makes them feel good and the occasional treat is enough to satisfy. When I took a break from exercise and allowed my body to grow stronger and heal, I realized that people enjoy exercise because they have the energy and strength to do so. Yes, many take both of these facets of healthy living to the extreme, and thus verge into unhealthy territory, but I think that making mistakes like that is kind of unavoidable when you’re trying to figure out what healthy means to you; and that learning from them is what allows you to go on and develop a truly healthy mindset… because believe it or not, it really does exist.

. – . – . – .

Have you ever felt judged because of your healthy habits?
When do you think healthy crosses into the realm of disordered?

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Miss Polkadot October 16, 2012 at 5:43 pm

Funny how you’re blogging about it just now that I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately.

I definitely feel judged for my way of eating at times. “Ew, that oat bran is looking gross! You can’t seriously enjoy it!” – Um, thanks, I do in fact. After some time I noticed that seeing me eat “healthier” – probably not the healthiest ever – makes people around me feel unhealthy. Therefore they’re commenting to make themselves feel better. It’s sad because I’m not judging others for their decisions. Hey, I enjoyed meat, fattier foods and huge amounts of cake earlier, too. I’ve just decided for myself – and myself only! – that I could get the same amount of enjoyment from healthier foods. But yes, you’re right: These comments make us try to “prove” to people that we can eat “unhealthy”, too. That’s not right but I haven’t found another way yet – I simply don’t want others to feel bad for their food choices around me. How ironic, really.

Regarding the question of when healthy becomes disordered I’d say it’s when you stick to the healthy choices or and deny your cravings or choose a too rigid lifestyle in general. For me, for example, it’s important to let myself strain from my mostly vegan lifestyle and have dairy if I crave it. Right now it’s a bit difficult again but I had a moment of success by munching on some of my favourite milk chocolate – even though I’d had “too much” chocolate already that day. And heck, now you made me crave pizza with real cheese (major fear food) – might have to have it soon :)!
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2 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 7:53 am

I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as too much chocolate ;) And when it comes to a major fear food, remember that the scariest part comes with actually getting yourself to do it… once you do, and you realize how amazing it tastes and how freeing it feels, you might kind of fall in love with it :D

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3 Matt @ The Athlete's Plate October 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm

I am judged ALL THE TIME for eating healthy. Sorry, it doesn’t mean I have a problem people…
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4 laura October 16, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Did I write this? I think you are living in my head!!

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5 Aimee October 16, 2012 at 5:54 pm

I too have noticed some criticism especially at those who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle- I believe if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything!! I also personally think its rude of someone to question another’s lifestyle – especially yours considering you are one of the most honest – if not the MOST honest blogger out there!!
I used to worry about what others thought of my eating habits but now I realize that I am happy and healthy – that I can do things that I was once not able to do. I think that healthy can cross into the disordered realm when food consumes your whole life – when you can’t stray from the normal even just for a moment. Thankfully that is behind me – hopefully forever!

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6 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 7:57 am

Definitely forever. Who wants to go back to that nonsense? Pft.

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7 lisa fine October 16, 2012 at 6:19 pm

I was vegan for four years in college, and definitely had a lot of backlash. I’d get asked about my protein and iron intakes, someone once through cheese all over my plate, and people made me feel bad for eating a lot of healthy food.

I’m back to being a vegetarian, and not only does it feel like a better fit for me (how did I not eat ice cream for four years?!), but I also feel like I balance out the healthy with the unhealthy much better. It’s definitely hard to deal with opposition in any form.
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8 Ellie@Fit for the Soul October 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Yikes, I’m sure it wasn’t easy to keep your emotions intact when someone threw food on your plate~but I’m glad to know that you made the RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOUR BODY. :D
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9 K October 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm

So thankful for this post. You are amazingly articulate and continue to write exactly what I need to hear. Thank you for all of this! You have support from us.

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10 Brittany @ Delights and Delectables October 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

wow… This is an awesome post! I can sort of relate to this. I have a lot of food allergies, and I have to eat a certain way. I hate how people look at me like I have a problem because of what I choose to or not to eat. I think healthy can cross into a disordered problem easily!
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11 Alex @ therunwithin October 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

i love this because it is so true. i live for that balance and for me it works. that is a healthy lifestyle through and through
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12 Ellie@Fit for the Soul October 16, 2012 at 6:38 pm

ahhh Amanda!! *HUG*. seriously! I wanna give you a big hug right now (well always :D) because I know you just came into my brain to take out my thoughts and pick at them.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit lately! And I wholeheartedly agree that we humans especially in the blogosphere tend to go from one extreme to the other! ESPECIALLY when it comes to healthy/not so healthy living. I agree that more and more, there’s been high criticism of healthy eaters and exercisers simply because of the fact that some people have genuinely struggled with ED, and it can be taken to one extreme. But what if we do genuinely love veggies and ‘clean’ foods? Just like you said, some of us feel better eating the sweet treat once a day or a few times a week and eat 80% healthy. I think that we just all have to understand one another and be more “forgiving” in those ways. Sure, some people may have very noticeable habits that could indicate some ED, but no one should go out of their way to prove something they’re not. In the end, we’re all accountable to our own selves and shouldn’t be preoccupied with what others label us. :D And my last point, we should do a heart check and make sure to not hide healthy or unhealthy food from others because if that happens, in my opinion, it could be an indicative that we’re too fearful that others may criticize us. *phew* I’m tired from blabbing so much.
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13 lindsay October 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

one word… AMEN!
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14 HollieisFueledByLOLZ October 16, 2012 at 6:40 pm

This post is amazing and so true. I am so freaking tired of getting criticized for what I eat. I feel like god help us in whatever we post because there is going to be some sort of backlash. Great post and I could not agree more.
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15 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 8:34 am

Haha I swear now I’m not going to be able to think anything but “God help me” before I publish any post :P

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16 lindsay October 16, 2012 at 6:57 pm

i have one thing to say, okay maybe more. But.. no matter what you say and what you post, you will be judged. I think you are confident to know you are healed, you are nourishing your needs, your cravings, etc. I don’t post half of what i eat for that reason. But you are being an inspiration, so keep it up friend. Rock on those healthy and unhealthy cravings. TRUE DAT!
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17 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm

That’s so true. Take any comments, like the Whoa! Red Flag! ones, with a grain of salt because it’s probably just people trying to calm their own feelings. Rather than feel guilty for ordering the burger and fries or swear to eat healthier next time, they’d rather draw attention to the chick with the salad. It’s the easy way out, and many times, people don’t even realize they’re doing it. Sorry love, hang in there and enjoy your frozen bananas blended up into a creamy consistency. That’s just my two cents.
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18 Sam @ Better With Sprinkles October 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Woman, I kind of think you live in my head sometimes. :-p

It’s definitely an awkward part of recovery/being recovered, you almost have to prove that you’re not relapsing. I feel awkward if I order a salad in a restaurant, even though if I’m doing so it’s because I’m illegitimately craving a faceful of veggies or that particular salad sounds awesome. But, I feel like I sometimes get a sideways glance, just because I’m not choosing to order a cheeseburger (which to be fair, I didn’t even really eat before the ED).
Even with people that don’t know about the ED, I can feel kinda judged sometimes. If you’re eating healthy, it must be because you’re on a diet or you’re trying to lose weight, right? Umm, NO. Maybe I just realize that I feel better eating veggies and lean proteins than I would eating junk all day. I still love me some junk food, but I’d rather not be eating it all the time.
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19 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 8:24 am

Hehe I’ve never been a fan of burgers either. In fact, I think I’ve only ever eaten one in my whole life, and couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about…

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20 Albizia October 16, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I think I actually have the exact opposite problem. People always say “Oh, you have such healthy habits. I wish I could eat and exercise like you and be healthy and thin….” Which, as we know, isn’t always the truth. First, I eat a lot of crap they never see and second, in the past my habits were very far from healthy. They will keep judging without knowing the details but you can just ignore them and keep doing what makes you feel good :)
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21 Chelsea@Ahintofhealthy October 16, 2012 at 8:12 pm

This post seriously made my day. I feel constantly judged by eating healthy. I feel like people think there is something wrong with me because I genuinely enjoy healthy foods over non-healthy food most times. And whenever I refuse dessert, it is like everyone has to make me feel like a “dieting weirdo.” You were able to articulate your feelings so incredibly well. I couldn’t agree more with what you wrote and am so glad you did! Thanks :)
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22 Brittany October 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I constantly get questions and comments about my diet. Starting as a vegetarian and transitioning to a vegan diet has been amazing for me. A lot of people “don’t get it” they think it’s impossible to survive without certain foods and frankly that just disgusts me. I eat what makes me feel good, and I cringe at people that stuff their faces without finding a balance. There’s nothing wrong with burgers and fries, but when eaten daily that’s where it becomes an issue.

Eat what YOU love. Don’t worry about making other people happy. The way I see it is that people have a hard time comprehending a healthy diet because that’s how twisted this world has become. To be honest I judge people inside my head just as much as they judge me verbally, but I just keep it to myself. I think overweight people that don’t take care of themselves are just too much. I totally fell off topic with this comment and started to rant..haha.
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23 Ashley @ AlmostVegGirlie October 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm

I do feel judged for eating healthy, especially as I transitioned to veganism. I know a lot of former disordered eaters go vegan as a new way to restrict and for me that’s how it started out but now I honestly love my new way of eating and I don’t feel it’s restrictive at all. I have no desire to eat meat or dairy or eggs so it’s not hard for me not to eat them, but I know others feel great with those things in their lives. My family generally accepts that I have ‘weird’ food preferences but they know that I’d rather eat salad than a sandwich but they also know when I’m starting to be too restrictive so it’s definitely a balance.
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24 sarah October 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Firstly, great thought provoking post as usual:). I actually just hate people making judgements of others diets. Period.

Secondly,I have a kinda personal question, not really related to this post , which you obviously don’t have answer if you don’t want to. But I was curious as to whether you received a clinical diagnosis for having an eating disorder/anorexia, at the period of your life when you were suffering? And did you ever get professional treatment? ( I know, I’m nosy as heck)
Xxx

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25 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 8:41 am

See here’s where it would have been useful if I’d actually finish writing up my story (getting there!), but I don’t mind you asking at all. No to both – at least I think no to both. I never received any professional treatment, and my family doctor “diagnosed” me with anorexia, but I never followed up with a psychologist/psychiatrist.

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26 Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 10:51 pm

You took the words right outta my head, Amanda! A recent situation actually comes to mind- I was having dinner at a creperie and although their crepes are fabulous, their salads are out of this world in that they are GENEROUS with toppings…to the point that I find them more filling (and prefer them) than the crepes! Naturally I ordered one and my dining companion goes to me “You eat so little/indulge a bit”…er no, I’ll eat what I crave and when I crave it! When I was losing weight, I’d get comments like “live a little” etc and by the end of it, I would eat a few bites just to prove a point rather than hear more BS!

Although I might get shot asking this, why is it okay to tell a person “You’re too thin/You eat so little” but it’s rude to tell someone on the bigger side “You’re too fat/You eat so much?”
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27 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 8:42 am

If I knew the answer to that question, I’d definitely share it with you… but I have no idea. I’ve wondered that myself too, though…

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28 Liz October 17, 2012 at 8:10 pm

Thinness isn’t usually considered a negative thing in our society, whereas fatness nearly always is. So for the person saying it, the phrase “you’re too thin” doesn’t seem to have quite as much judgement attached to it as “you’re too fat.” It’s unfortunate because both statements are equally insensitive, but when you put them in context the connotations are so vastly different that (to most people) one appears to be offensive and the other does not.
Either way, those comments on body size/food choices are really uncalled for when you’re trying to enjoy a meal… or in pretty much any other instance…

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29 Court Star @ StarSystemz October 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

Great post! I live an EXTREMELY healthy lifestyle and a lot of my friends and family criticize me for it calling me fit obsessed or thinking I have some sort of disorder when in reality I enjoy putting healthy foods in my body. When I decide on enjoying a piece of my friends cookie or eating some dairy free ice cream I do it. Just a few bites and I am satisfied. Knowing all that I know and finding healthy “real” foods that I love, dream about and eat on a daily basis makes “giving up” the crap. Be proud of who you have become and show confidence in what you eat and others will be envious, jealous and most likely feel guilty. Just offer them some and share with them how tasty it is to live a healthy lifestyle :) Love and Shine CourtStar
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30 Danielle October 17, 2012 at 1:24 am

For what it’s worth; I think you’re a great example of someone who has recovered from an eating disorder. You seem to REALLY enjoy indulgences guilt-free and you’re maintaining an healthy lifestyle at the same time. Who says those can’t go hand in hand? It’s called living people!
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31 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 8:52 am

Thank you <3 I really do appreciate it :)

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32 kris October 17, 2012 at 2:28 am

YES! – i feel like i’m judged ALL the time, and the fact is…I don’t actually even eat THAT healthy all the time.
I can totally relate.. I eat the food i crave and crave the foods i eat. I can’t help that i like foods labeled as ‘healthy’ by others. People are always like…oh, so you like Whole Foods Market and all that healthy stuff, huh? And the funny thing is..just because it’s from Whole Foods Market does not mean it is healthy.
But anyways, keep doing what you’re doing – giving in to both healthy and healthy cravings – because lifes only so long and we should be living it to the fullest! :)
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33 Laura Agar Wilson (@keephealthstyle) October 17, 2012 at 3:36 am

OMG YES! This post is bang on – I have so many times felt like eating unhealthy to prove I’m healthy rubbish! Its crazy stuff and just demonstrates to me how daft this whole blogging thing can be at times. I LOVE healthy food so I don’t eat unhealthy food all that often but it doesn’t mean I’m disordered (well not now!) Great post and a topic that has needed to be highlighted!

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34 Laura October 17, 2012 at 4:25 am

So…awkward story. I was in the shower (don’t all your deepest thoughts happen in the shower? No?) and began to think about the concept you briefly touched upon in a previous post (“having to prove you’re healthy by being unhealthy”) and really wanted to try to expand upon it and articulate it better. Although it’s currently a different situation for me since I’m still trying to get over my fear of a lot of foods, or mainly the CALORIES in a lot of foods, sometimes when I’m out to eat I truly and honestly do not FEEL like a burger, or a slice of pizza. I crave a chicken sandwich, or a salad loaded with cheese and nuts and fruit and chicken. But I get questioned every. single. time. Order the slice a pizza and “GOOD FOR YOU LAURA!!!” but choose a chicken sandwich which has all the nutrients I need and “uh-oh, watch out…Laura is choosing a “safe” option”. It’s just frustrating, and I think as long as your balancing your cravings with the right choices for YOU there shouldn’t be a problem. It’s when the choices are dictated more by your head than your body that you need to worry.

So thank you for writing this post. It’s exactly what I needed to read. =)
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35 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 9:03 am

Haha a lot of my thoughts happen in the shower, and it’s crazy annoying because there’s no way to write them down and when I finish up, they’re gone. I think I need waterproof markers so I can write on my shower walls or something…

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36 laura October 17, 2012 at 9:13 am

Hahaha right? I could write novels with the stuff I come up with in the shower.

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37 Floey October 17, 2012 at 4:38 am

Nice post. Some people I work with just think I don’t eat a lot because I eat healthy….I don’t see how the two are related, but I guess it’s easy to make that assumption. Indulgence usually = excess?
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38 Tessa @ Amazing Asset October 17, 2012 at 5:40 am

Oh HECK YES to this… I am so sick of feeling judged by the way I eat! I am constantly getting comments- gosh Tessa, what is wrong with you, why do you always have fruit/yogurt/nuts/granola bars as snacks? What about a bag of chips for goodness sake? Or “that oatmeal looks nasty, how can you stand it?” Lovely comments like that. I know people are not being intentionally mean but it bugs the heck out of me anyway! Plus I am already a bit insecure with eating anyway, well less so these days, but still, I do not need to hear other people’s inputs on something I am not totally comfortable with.
Gahh rant over, for now lol. Thanks for bringing this issue to light!
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39 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 17, 2012 at 5:46 am

You know I agree 100% with this post! Just because I order a salad at a restaurant doesn’t mean I’m disordered. And how do they know I didn’t go home and eat a bowl of ice cream? It’s so silly to judge people because we can never truly know ALL of the circumstances. Also I think it’s important to remember is that it doesn’t matter what other people think. We know we’re recovered and we like how we eat, and that’s all that matters!

About your second question, I think healthy becomes disordered if you “eat clean” ALL the time. That is just too rigid!
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40 Shannon October 17, 2012 at 5:57 am

You hit it right on again Amanda! Especially the part about those with these illnesses being the quickest to judge. I was/am like that. I am conscious of it now, so that is why I say was. I am realizing for the first time in year that just because someone doesn’t order what I think they will order and it looks disordered to ME does not mean that at the core of their thoughts they are being disordered. And I realize when I am leaning towards restriction and that plate of lettuce is not what I really want and then when it really is what sounds best on the menu (AKA any salad with apples and walnuts calls my name every time). But when I order said salad or lighter option I am constantly worried people will assume I am going back to my old ways. That I won’t be given the chance to be “normal” and not judged based on my past that includes an eating disorder and a time when I would have ordered the light option because it was my only option. Now I order what really sounds good (or push myself to) and if that isn’t the dessert or the salad or the sandwich… (you get the picture) then it isn’t. An ED no longer controls that choice.
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41 Synne October 17, 2012 at 6:52 am

It’s not all in your head!! I’ve never had an eating disorder but you could say I was on the verge to, but i never ever ate less than two meals a day or only ate veggies. When im hanging out with friends I feel them judging me when i dont want all the unhealthy, or less healthy, food they eat, like buns, cinnamon rolls, burger king, candy, waffles etc. I feel like they’re thinking ‘jeeesus why deny yourself something you want…” but thats the thing… I don’t always want it, and why should i then eat it when it doesn’t make any use for my body or mind? They are perhaps not used to eating as healthy as I do so they may want it more than me, and then transfer their way of thinking as something I do… A common problem… People have to stop comparing each other e.g. trying to look like your idol/a celebrity/ friend/co-worker who has a different body than you do. It’s so annoying when people eating a ‘normal’ diet pick on you for choosing healthier food, but I hate it when they don’t say anything but you can feel their ‘stare’… Looong comment here haha, so im ending it saying once again that I love your blog and the thoughts you share, I simply adore you! :D

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42 Danielle @ Clean Food Creative Fitness October 17, 2012 at 6:56 am

Love this post!!! Sometimes I just want to eat something healthy and wish it wasn’t judged as “strange” or disordered. Sure sometimes I like a sweet or chocolate but I also crave fresh fruit and know that my body feels best when I eat certain foods! We are all different and there is no one way to eat for everyone!
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43 Sarah October 17, 2012 at 7:16 am

Hi Amanda,
This is the first time I’ve commented on your blog, but this post really spoke to me. I’ve never had an ED, instead I’m in the position where I’ve been maintaining a 50lb(ish) weight loss for 3 years. I’ve learned to love eating healthily, yet enjoy the odd slice of cake every now and then (I <3 cake!)
However, blogging made me quite self-conscious about eating healthily and although no-one commented about my diet I started to think that I should eat more unhealthy stuff to prove that I have "balance". However, eating too much sugar made me gain a few extra pounds that I didn't need and didn't make me feel good.
I've stopped posting food now, not necessarily because I felt judged, but I needed to take the pressure of and just eat what I want (which is mostly healthy). Now I try not to over-analyse what other bloggers eat, just take inspiration where something looks good (btw – I'm never made banana soft serve – I think I'm missing out!)
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44 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 11:08 am

Thanks for your comment, Sarah! There’s definitely a big pressure from blogging to eat a certain way, and I sometimes find myself questioning my eats and wondering if they’re too clean, repetitive, boring, etc. But at the end of the day, you really just have to do what works for you, because you know your body the best and you’re the only one who’s going to be affected by your choices.

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45 Kat October 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

So much truth to this post. I am def looked at as the “freak” in my family because of my eating habits. My little bro lovingly makes fun of me at least once a day when I visit him. I try not to let it bother me, because he doesnt know about my past, but it still hurts. Its like, why is eating healthy weird or foreign to people? If I had ordered what you did then you wouldve looked at me and said “woah eating bad today huh?” So how can I possibly win? The answer? WE CANT. And I dont really want to. Because if that is what keeps me fighting to show people that being healthy and eating right is ONE AND THE SAME, then Im good with that.
DId I even just make any sense? lol
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46 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Definitely makes sense :) We need to do what works for us because we know our bodies better than anyone else does, and we’re the ones who have to live with our choices.

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47 Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl October 17, 2012 at 9:39 am

It is frustrating and sad that in today’s society putting good and healthy foods into your body is seen as “weird” or “abnormal.” That is one reason why I am so glad to be able to connect with other healthy foodies in the blog world. It keeps me motivated and keeps me going on the right track toward doing good things for me.

P.s. …thanks to you, I am now craving Pop Chips! ;)

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48 Liz (formerly VeggieGirl) October 17, 2012 at 11:48 am

You are NOT crazy at all.

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49 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Phew, good to know ;)

<3

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50 Missy October 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Amen and Hallelujah. This was some church right here girl!!

And this is only somewhat related but I will share that I am in a school of recovery that treats the eating disorder like the addiction it is. I am an addict of food….of the crazy things I “do” with it or treat it. Part of that recovery model I was given is to follow a sugar free and flour free diet (for the most part. I have been able to reach a high degree of flexibility).

YET – people think that not eating cake or the bagel is my disorder. My family still offers it to me and always says “it’s won’t KILL you” and I’m like I KNOW but …would you offer a recovering alcoholic a shot of whiskey? It won’t kill them…..
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51 alek October 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This post may be the best post I have EVER read! WOW! You are sucha good writer and i completely know exactly what you mean! I used to eat like crap and felt bad! I am not going to say my eating style now wasn’t influenced by my past ED but now I truly just love eating healthy! I feel bad for other people eating bad but just ignore there comments!

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52 Lisa October 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Yes, yes, yes! Another lovely post Amanda!! I think we live in such a world filled with black and white thinking that if you reach for the ice cream your “‘unhealthy”, but yet when you go for the banana soft-serve you have an ED and aren’t “recovered”. It really is quite ridiculous the judgement people place on eating habits and it makes me sad. No wonder people are developing more ED’s and obesity is at a high rate. It’s almost like you can’t win with what you eat, and it shouldn’t be like that. However, I think if someone never goes outside their “eat clean” rules and doesn’t indulge in that ice-cream or any other treat (whether it be wine or cake) then that is probably disordered eating. We all need to indulge every now and again! I just prefer my wine over cake;)
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53 Alexis October 17, 2012 at 4:31 pm

uhg. I agree with this so much. I felt the need to prove to others that I was ‘healthy’ again by eating junk.. Then I was reminded with how much I dislike junk food because it makes me feel awful. I do indulge in my daily treat though ;)
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54 Kaila @healthyhelperblog! October 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

You just summed up my life!!! LOVE THIS POST.
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55 K October 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hi Amanda–
I mostly agree with your post, but I think its important to be willing and able to eat anything (with the exception of foods you legitimately dislike or are allergic/intolerant to) I know that you personally can’t have certain things bc of your intolerances And allergies so its a little different for you. In general I think eating healthy is greaT, in some ways I envy people who have such nourishing looking meals And snacks and compare to what I eat (which also I’d say is pretty healthy by most standards but not as many whole grains or homemade things). But I think when recovering from an eating disorder, having a lot of variety is essential. Once people get to a better place (like you have :) ) it doesn’t matter but when trying to attain recovery, its really important to be able to eat things like poptarts (I know cliche) even once just to know that they aren’t going to kill you. People who only stick to “safe” foods really can’t make a full recovery.

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56 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 18, 2012 at 9:24 am

Definitely! I think that it’s so important to eat a variety of foods in recovery so that you can genuinely figure out if what you like/don’t like comes from you or the eating disorder. My tastes have definitely changed over the years, but it was only through trying all of my fear foods that I was able to figure out what they are. Like I used to be convinced that I don’t have a sweet tooth, when clearly that’s not even close to being true…

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57 Julianna @ Julianna Bananna October 17, 2012 at 11:39 pm

i loved reading this post – it’s like people judge you if you eat healthy all of the time, but then when you DO go and eat unhealthy food, they’re like wait i thought she was healthy? if that made any sense.. haha. you can’t win in this situation. :(
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58 Maggie October 18, 2012 at 7:38 am

I decided to give up meat for good after not eating it for the duration of Lent earlier this year. For me, it was something I’ve been wanting to try for years. And I don’t miss it. I’ve become much more creatively healthy with my meals and conscious of what I put in to my body (esp since I was training for a half-marathon). However, my family still refers to it as “Not eating meat,” whereas I “Don’t eat meat.” Big difference there, I think. When I first had to start telling friends and family I no longer ate meat (bc we’d be out or at a gathering, etc.), there was a distinct pressure I felt to explain this lifestyle choice. Their first reaction, slightly mixed with horror, was “WHY?” It’s yet another form of judgement with no basis whatsoever. I still feel like people think I’m a bit crazy. But you know what? I don’t care anymore. Let them judge. I’ve been able to transform my body into this strong, lean machine with a kick-ass physique. And I know I look and feel good.

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59 Irina @ Chocolatea Time October 18, 2012 at 9:55 am

I’m so glad that someone finally brought this up because it’s been looming on my mind for a while already and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one! The amount of judgement bloggers receive for what they eat is excessive and absurd. I don’t post everything that I eat, but when I do post photos of my meals I always find myself wondering what it will appear like to an outside viewer. For example, I LOVE the Arctic Zero Cookies n’ Cream flavor (not the other flavors though) and always eat it. However, when I post a photo of it I worry that someone will think I’m purposely avoiding “real” ice cream or something (which most definitely is not the case because ice cream = love). It’s a ridiculous feeling but something that many of us experience.

Ultimately, it’s a lose-lose situation and it’s unavoidable. Just keep moving forward!
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60 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I can definitely relate! Sometimes I crave a good rice cake but I’m afraid to eat one because it’s “diet” food. Ha! Ridiculous. Going from being afraid of real food to being afraid of diet food.

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61 Lauren October 19, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I always struggle trying to decide if its better to eat clean and perhaps feel physically healthier or to just eat the pizza or burgers that everyone else is eating just because I want to be normal and often that second option results in me feeling a lot happier. Plus it’s more fun. I totally understand the pressure to show others that you’ve recovered but still wanting to eat in a way that makes you feel physically good, but I don’t think it’s realistic to do so all the time. Part of living life involves spontaneous dinner invites to chain restaurants or Dairy Queen. I hope this doesn’t come across as harsh or insulting because that’s not my intention.
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62 Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm

It wasn’t harsh at all, and you’re definitely right. Being spontaneous and eating funner foods with family and friends always leaves me feeling a lot happier. Life’s too short to eat 100% clean, right? ;)

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63 Sunnie@moderngirlnutrition October 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

I know I would pick banana softserve over ice cream even if they had the same nutrition info!:) Great post
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64 Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli October 23, 2012 at 6:56 am

“Have you ever felt judged because of your healthy habits?” <- ALL THE TIME! Actually, that is one of the best things about being on the night shift now…I don't have to deal with the looks/remarks from my co-workers on what I chose (or chose NOT) to eat for lunch. And I swear if I had a nickel for every time someone found out that I eat "healthy" and then asked if I'm a vegetarian! What? You can't eat clean AND eat meat? I call BS!

But seriously, lunchtime used to stress me out all the time. I'm sorry that I don't chose to stuff my face with a cheeseburger and french fries and wash it all down with a big cup of soda! Can you believe there was this one guy who used to ALWAYS comment on the size of my salads?! He'd be like, "You're going to eat ALL that?" I got so fed up once that I just lost it and told him and EVEN with all the veggies/toppings that I had on my salad, it didn't even BEGIN to compare calorically to his salads which he DROWNED in bleu cheese dressing! Yep, that shut him up! Lol

But I honestly think that there is a really fine line between eating healthy and disordered eating/thinking. I think even people without an ED diagnosis can hover over that line…sometimes crossing it back and forth…and I think blogging can sometimes have a huge impact on the way people see food…and themselves.
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65 jacelyn April 1, 2013 at 10:42 pm

What a great blog post! I forget the saying but something about hitting in right on the ______? LOL either way I can completely relate to this post. Why can’t I just order something healthy without judgment? Why does it always have to come down to being on a diet? or eating like a rabbit..? I do feel the pressure to eat certain foods I wouldn’t just to prove a point. Ah. nice to know I am not the only one who has noticed this trend eating with others or while others are observing me eating. Sticky little situations. I have decided to just stay true to how I want to eat and let people believe or make fun of me however they want.

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66 Alex @ Kenzie Life October 9, 2013 at 10:57 pm

Great post, Amanda! For me, healthy crosses into disordered when I become obsessive and when I’m dealing with emotional issues via my food. If I want the kale, I eat the kale. If I want a brownie, I’ll eat the damn brownie. But if I want the brownie and I eat the kale because I’m upset about something going on in my life, that’s when I know there’s something I need to take a look at. At least now I’m aware of this process, whereas 3 years ago I didn’t have the self-awareness and ability to regulate my emotions the way I do now.
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