No, I Do NOT Have an Eating Disorder (and Other Misconceptions about LCHF)

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Disclaimer: You should treat nutritional advice from an idiot mummy blogger like me with as much respect as you would my tips on accessorising with black PVC bum bags. Which is to say, not at all… How about we just make a blanket rule that you never do anything I say? Ever. Much safer that way.

*****

After several months in the wilderness I finally made my return to blogging earlier this year, only to strike my first angry dissenter after a mere seven days of being back in the game. My previous post about giving up chocolate struck the wrong chord with someone, leading to a very public spat on the Facebook page of a fellow blogger.

Universal Law of Blogging: the most controversial posts are always the ones you least suspect.

The brouhaha took place not long after I published a sarcastic break-up letter to chocolate on Valentines Day. At the end of that piece I made an offhand quip about quitting sugar that raised the ire of some random internet citizen; a person who clearly had no idea who I was and seemed blissfully unaware of the fact that nothing I say should ever be taken the slightest bit seriously.

A blogging colleague had rather graciously posted a link to my stupid “Dear Chocolate, Fuck You” letter on her Facebook page, when shortly afterwards one of her followers dropped an explosive snark bomb in the comments thread:

“Sounds more like a love letter to orthorexia”

OUCH.

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I’m totally used to getting snarky comments on social media, and I actually keep a desktop folder of them for my own amusement (true story is sad). I tend to ignore them, because the majority of those people have their triumphant little jerk-off moment as soon as you make any acknowledgement of their existence and the misery they are hoping to inflict. But this was different.

This wasn’t someone calling me the biggest wanker in the world, or a judgemental bitch or a moron who deserves a good punch in the face. I mean, those things are all at least partially true and I’d have a hard time putting forward a cogent argument to suggest otherwise.

But accusing me of HAVING and PROMOTING an eating disorder?

Fuck that.

That shit is NOT ON.

Like I said, I normally don’t respond to criticism but this accusation was so far from the truth that I couldn’t let it go unchecked, so I replied with a droll yet measured comment to suggest that a light-hearted post about giving up chocolate does not equal orthorexia.

I thought my comment would be the end of it, because a) I’m a dickhead and b) I somehow forgot that people who start fights on the internet also like to continue them. So I kept arguing that my eating wasn’t disordered and she kept insisting that I was promoting orthorexia. Several other people piled in and it all became a bit yucky before the whole thing got deleted.

Look, I don’t want to throw this person under the bus because my post clearly triggered an issue that was close to her heart, but I couldn’t stand idly by while someone publicly accused me of promoting an eating disorder. An eating disorder that was diagnosed from afar via a sum-total of data that included one dopey piss-take about quitting chocolate.

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I’m not going to lie. In LCHF circles there ARE people who lean towards disordered eating, and I’ve seen posts in closed Facebook groups authored by people agonising over the fact that they added four strawberries to their Greek yoghurt instead of three. Orthorexia is real and it is damaging, but it is counterproductive to use that label where it is not warranted.

I’ve had a lot of conversations about LCHF over the past couple of months and I’ve noticed that most people’s reactions tend to combine curiosity, skepticism, concern, suspicion, disbelief and/or judgement. So, in light of some of the objections I’ve encountered (and the odd accusation of orthorexia), I thought I’d clarify a few things:

1) I am not trying to lose weight

Not going to lie, my first attraction to LCHF was to lose a few stubborn kilos that had crept on over the years, despite regular daily exercise. I came for the weightloss but stayed for the fact that I feel better, look better and don’t miss all the shitty food I was eating before anyway. My relationship with food is healthier, I’ve kicked my sugar addiction and I like not feeling perpetually hungry any more. The cravings and binges are totally gone, replaced by a feeling of satiety and general wellbeing. If anything, my eating was way more disordered BEFORE I started LCHF, because I’m certainly not polishing off a bag of Allen’s snakes and a whole chocolate bavarian in one sitting anymore. The result? In five months I’ve gone from size 12 jeans to size 8 skinny jeans.

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2) LCHF is not a “fad diet”

This is a long-term lifestyle change for me, not some fad diet to drop a shitload of weight. Look, I’m sure that for some people this is a very effective form of dieting, but who am I to tell them what to do? What another person puts in their body has no impact on me whatsoever and is none of my fucking business. I’ve read about the potential long-term impacts of high sugar consumption and it has raised some genuine concerns for me, which is why I am doing this. I could be totally wrong and the sources I’ve read could all be total bullshit, but I see no harm in reducing my intake of processed carbs and refined sugar when I’m getting all of my vital nutrients elsewhere. No hunger, no counting calories, and no restriction on the volume or timing of food = not a diet.

3) No, I have not “cut out an entire food group”

Sigh. I hate this accusation, because a) it’s not actually true and b) it inevitably gets delivered with loads of metaphorical finger-wagging. Just to clear up any misconceptions: “Low carb” does not mean “No carb” and it does not involve the elimination of an entire food group. For me LCHF is primarily about cutting out highly-refined sugars and processed carbohydrates like pasta, bread and rice. (FYI BREAD IS NOT A FOOD GROUP). For all of their deliciousness, these things aren’t exactly superfoods, and no human being ever died because they weren’t getting enough fettucini in their diet. Concerned carb-lovers can rest assured that I’m still getting the carbohydrates I need from other nutritious sources.

4) Why can’t you just eat things “in moderation”?

Aaah yes, the voice of reason! Why can’t we all just eat things in moderation and forget about these nonsense eating philosophies that ask us to restrict this or that? Why can’t we all have the occasional bit of sugar wrapped in starchy carbs and sprinkled with the incinerated remains of a perfect world that doesn’t exist? Here’s the thing about moderation…. Some people are really good at it – kudos to them! But human beings are complicated creatures, and we’re not all great at it. In fact, I suck. I can’t do sugar in moderation. Or smoking. Or cups of tea. I have chosen to eat this way because sugar is addictive to me, in the same way that cigarettes were addictive. The more I have, the more I want.

And just one final thought… My way of eating does not judge your way of eating. The fact that I have chosen one thing does not mean that I think your thing is bad and that you are a lesser person. I do this because it works for me. I talk about it to the people in my life who express their interest in talking about it with me. I’m not here to preach, or to convert or to harangue. I am not here to judge. I am here to share something that might be of benefit to other people too, on the presumption that they will do their own research and speak to their own respective medical professionals. I personally don’t give a fuck what you eat. Enjoy your food and do what works for you.

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31 thoughts on “No, I Do NOT Have an Eating Disorder (and Other Misconceptions about LCHF)

  1. Great post! People are so quick to cry out the most extreme reaction to things which then cheapens those experiencing / suffering from the true condition. Do what works for you, tell people about it (at the least they may look into things and become educated on a given subject) and share the good, the bad and the ugly.

    I love reading your thoughts 🙂

  2. “sprinkled with the incinerated remains of a perfect world that doesn’t exist?” – ba ha ha! Good on you. Your body, your business. Anyone who reads your blog regularly should know that you are smart enough to have done your research (even if you do pride yourself on talking bollocks some of the time). I love your food ‘hero shots’ too 🙂

  3. I think Mr 7 would disagree with your point about no one dying from lack of fettuccine lol!
    Seriously though, this post is spot on. I hate, hate, hate people making assumptions about someone’s mental state over a computer, based on one post. It’s just not cool.

  4. I think people say those comments because you are hitting a nerve with what they are not happy with about themselves. I’ve lost 8kg doing a high protein diet since Oct and JUST WALKING and I got the “ohhhh that’s extreme” and “that sounds strict”…And even “don’t lose too much more weight”. So strange. Good on you finding what works for you I say!

  5. I had to look up orthorexia. I thought you’d spelt anorexia wrong. But no, you are the voice of reason and commonsense as always. I’m interested to know what this spells for Meatcake Month which I assume you’re already planning for?

  6. This sums it all up really: My way of eating does not judge your way of eating. Why do so many people leap there automatically? (Although I must admit the thought of fitting back into my size 8 jeans is appealing).

  7. “My way of eating does not judge your way of eatinG.” Glad you’ve found something that works for you. I’m so close to going there, but still working out what the kids would actually eat… plus, quiche.

  8. Not sure why we have become a world where everyone comments on what each other does when we have not been asked. Your post did not say “hey what do you think. Should I do this?” Gets under my skin

  9. I just had to google some of those words and initials. Apparently I’m right out of the loop on the food blogs…The internet is full of angry people. And yet often not angry at the things they should be outspoken about.

  10. I can’t believe how that post got turned around on you! Tisk tisk. I thought it was funny, as most of your posts are! I think the LCHF lifestyle works for so many people because not everyone can process carbs as easy as the next guy (including me) – and in addition to that I feel a lot more clear-headed on a low carb lifestyle! SO yeah. Nevermind the haters. you do you!

  11. We came to this way of eating when behavior was becoming challenging for my son. Best thing we ever did. I have always been hesitant to mention it publicly, after a fellow blogger made a disparaging remark about it sometime ago. Not sure why any blogger thinks they have the authority to speak negatively of anothers choices.

  12. I think you nailed it with “my way of eating does not judge your way of eating.” I think there should be more eating what makes us feel good and less noseying in other people’s business and less knicker knotting. I for one am particularly excited about what this means for this year’s Mr Hugzy’s Meat Cake. I think 2017 will be a great vintage!

  13. I don’t understand why people care how you eat. If you know what I mean haha. But I know, people are usually just projecting their issues and blaming you. Also, bacon.

  14. I totally get where you’re coming from. I have slowly stopped my chocolate addiction and started to eat better and get more exercise. I know I can do a whole lot better on the food side but it’s small steps for me. I want to feel better and that’s my motivation for the changes. I don’t understand the judgement on someone’s diet? I remember when I took gluten free cupcakes to Kindy and put a pic up on instagram and I had someone hate my photo on Instagram. I ended up ringing her because her Instagram account was linked to her business website. I asked her why the hate? And she said it’s social media. I can say what I want. LOL. I’m sorry you got into that fiasco on the internet. It’s so easy for a fire to start isn’t it?

  15. I had no idea what the term meant or the acronym you used until I read what you were saying in response last week on FB. What IS it about the internet and people?? In real life no-one would get as judgy judgy with someone they’ve never met..anyway that doesn’t even make sense. I get annoyed with ANY opinion givers who were never ASKED. Manners matter people. Good luck with what you are doing by the way..it really seems to have provided a great answer to your eating that wasnt (in your words, I think I am surmising correctly…) not ‘balanced’ as you needed it to be. Denyse #teamIBOT

  16. I’m four years into no sugar but I still have to endure “Oh God are you still on that diet. Here have a piece of chocolate. Don’t be ridiculous!” FFS it’s a lifestyle choice not a frigging diet. Good on you lovely, you do what’s right for you and everyone else can bugger off.

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