Orthorexia affects many people all around the world, and of many ages. Chaya Djo is from Belgium, and kindly let me interview her:
1) What is your age and occupation?
I’m 16 years old and I’m a student.
2) How long ago did you first realise you had a problem with disordered eating?
It’s been two years I realised I had a problem. I was trying to be more healthy and it started to be an obsession. I could and still can spend 3-6 hours of my day reading stuff about healthy food and workouts. My goal is to be the healthiest possible.
3) Did you seek medical help?
I had terrible back pain (still have) and I went to the doctor and he said I was underweight (bmi:16.5) and asked my questions about my eating habits. He said I should eat more meat and diary. He also gave me vitamins,calcium,magnesium and vitamins D supplements.
4) If so, was it diagnosed as Orthorexia?
I’m not officially diagnosed as an orthorexic.
5) Can you tell me some of the typical habits you would adhere to?
I don’t eat yoghurt, cheese, canned food, most patisseries, cakes that aren’t homemade, honey , things that contains custard, sea food (I only eat salmon and cod) charcuterie, apple sauce, I avoid red meat, I don’t drink soup.
I used to track calories but I stopped. On my plate different food can’t touch unless I decided they could. I barely eat diary and meat products. I eat very slowly. I mostly eat fruit and vegetables actually.
6) What was your typical diet?
Breakfast: Fruit and on the weekends 1 slice of whole grain bread or 1 croissant
Dinner: Rice and vegetables.
If I snack during the day: Tangerine,apple or tea
7) How did it affect you, emotionally and socially (e.g. Going out with friends, going out for dinner)?
Socially: Going out for dinner is the worst because you don’t know what is going to be on the menu and it’s stressful. I think about it hours before and I’d even check the restaurant’s menu before going.
Emotionally: it’s exhausting… Your mind can only focus on that you can’t enjoy a dessert or something you don’t know where it comes from.
And feeling bad for something you ate that isn’t healthy…
8) Have you recovered or are you still in the recovery process?
I’m recovering, it’s hard cause a part of me wants to recover and be normal and an other is still seeking for the healthiest diet possible.
9) If you have recovered fully, how long did it take you? If you are still in the process, how long has it been since you first decided that things had got too far?
I think it’s been 3 months, I was like I want my life back.
10) Anything else you would like to say?
Everyone should be able to like and enjoy eating. Don’t let Ana Mia or anyone else take over your life ! You’re strong enough to do this. The #edfamily will win!