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I Used to Have Anorexia and Obsession with Diets. I've Recovered but the Paleo Diet Sounds Healthy. Should I Try it?

answered 07:41 AM EST, Thu January 19, 2012
I had bad anorexia in my early twenties that I got under control with the help of a really great therapist who sadly passed away a couple of years ago. I am now 37 and I am doing really well. My weight is healthy and I don’t obsess about calories (much) and I am feeling really good about who I am and about what I can and can’t do in the world.

I have started seeing this guy and he is really into eating paleo. He is really smart and he is really healthy so it is working for him. I have not told him yet about my past struggles with eating disorders and about how diets of any kind are really dangerous things for me to get into. Anyway, he has been explaining more about Paleo and about how it is not actually a diet but more of a lifestyle change for better health, better disease resistance and for more energy. He is encouraging me to give it a try and I am thinking about it.

Do you think that eating paleo is dangerous for someone with a history of anorexia? I am tempted to try it, and in some ways I already am since I am eating so many meals at Rob’s house and there isn’t much in his fridge that isn’t paleo friendly.

William Anderson Says...

There is an old expression that I think applies here: "If it's not broke, don't fix it."

The expression comes from the experience of tinkerers who fool around with things that are working perfectly well, and end up making things worse. They tinker with things like cars, computers, hairstyles, recipes, etc., and end up fouling it up and creating big problems, breaking things. Then, they really do need to get repaired.

You say you're doing really well, you're healthy, and feeling good about who you are and what you can do. This sounds much healthier than someone who is "really into eating paleo". I believe you are more knowledgeable and healthier than your boyfriend, in several ways. If you are going to listen to someone tell you they know what you should do, eating wise, make sure they are a professional, like your beloved therapist. Certainly, don't listen to a diet fanatic. You know the problem with that. Today it's paleo; tomorrow it will be something else, and on and on. If anything, your boyfriend should be listening to you.

If this guy is worth your time, he should respect your wishes. If he is worth your attention he will respect your experience and knowledge. When you decide to take him into your confidence, tell him about your need to have a healthy and peaceful relationship with food, without the obsessive focus of diets, to drop the paleo talk. If he doesn't pay attention and act in a way to support you, get rid of him. Selfish guys who don't respect your wishes are not worthy of you. If you are ready to see if he is worth spending time with, take him into your confidence now, and either get closer or send him on his way before you get attached to an unhealthy guy.

Also, I'd suggest that you establish a relationship with a therapist, like the one you had before, even if there is no big problem right now. It would be good to have someone you can call on if you want to talk things out like this. No one will be exactly like your old therapist, but there are many great therapists, each with their own gifts. It's good to have an ally to call on when you need one.

You are doing great. Write again if you want.

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Page last updated Jan 20, 2012

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