My recovered orthorexic DH dreams of being a nutritionist

(20 Posts)
specialmagiclady Wed 04-Jun-14 05:06:25

My DH has been eating like a normal person for 5 or 6 years now, although he still keeps a very clear mental list of exactly what he has eaten and won't have a biscuit at teatime because "I had one this morning" and is the one who monitors the family's fruit and veg intake most carefully and is still skinny.

We were discussing the rat race and getting off it etc the other day. He said he would like to retrain as a nutritionist one day.

Every bit of my body screamed "No! No! I'm never going back there again!"

I am terrified that it will leave him afraid of food again. It seems like there always has to be some kind of massive restricition on our food shopping. First it was purity of ingredients, then ethical production and now we're skint so much of that has gone , but of course the money thing makes going round the supermarket stressful!

Anyway, I digress. Is there any way retraining as a nutritionist could be a positive thing? I want him to follow his dreams but not at the expense of his health....

eightyearsonhere Wed 04-Jun-14 06:07:45

you say he has been eating like a normal person for years on .

i am just pointing out that he in no way eats normally, ie intuitively.

please dont let him add pseudo science on top of eating disorder thinking,
it will be a disaster for him and for any poor clients he might get.

specialmagiclady Wed 04-Jun-14 07:56:52

Thanks, that is precisely what I think. Anyone else?

Also we have a son with ASD who has a tendency to try and control the world through what he eats (if I don't eat tea, Daddy will come home early...)

I don't want any fucked up-ness about food around those kids.

(Ignores own emotional eating issues and general lack of restraint around cake)

whattheseithakasmean Wed 04-Jun-14 08:00:33

I cannot think of a worse person to be a nutritionist. Your DH does not sound like he eats normally to me at all. He plainly still has major issues around food and must be in deep denial if he thinks he can help people eat properly when he isn't able to do it himself.

Bonsoir Wed 04-Jun-14 08:03:47

Loads of people come to caring professions via their own suffering. It's not unusual for people with eating disorders to become nutritionists.

Bonsoir is right. I have recently qualified as an Eating Psychology Coach and many people on the course came to it through either being coached and wanting to train to do the same , or to address their problems and some of them now intend to coach as they see that it's 'passing on a gift' in a way. Get him to have a look at the institute for the psychology of eating website to see what he thinks (will link in a min). There are lots of free downloads of talks etc that give a flavour of what it's about. On the full course there is a nutrition module but generally it's about intuitive eating and mind-body nourishment, it would probably help him a lot in relaxing around food too. If he wants to chat with me about it I'd be happy to, could pm a link to my website.

Here you go.. IPE

And me Natural Balance

whattheseithakasmean Wed 04-Jun-14 08:15:48

I am not sure that someone who is still very involved in a particular mindset is best to go into the caring professional in general.

HolgerDanske Wed 04-Jun-14 08:17:36

He shouldn't become a nutritionist because it's not a proper thing. If he wants to work in that field he should become a dietician.

HolgerDanske Wed 04-Jun-14 08:19:32

Mind you that's nitpicking really. I totally get what you are worried about.

It's true, many people end up working in areas where they have had great difficulty. And it makes them very good at what they do, in many cases. But I still understand your position.

He should not be restricting your shopping, though. You are better placed to make decisions on half of yourself and your children as his view on food will still be disordered.

HolgerDanske Wed 04-Jun-14 08:20:07

*on behalf

And I don't think it's such a bad idea being a nutritionist btw, just IPE may be an alternative he could be interested in. As far as telling others what to eat, he's likely to be very helpful and knowledgable as it's something he is passionate and interested in himself. The question is how it would impact on him...lots of psychotherapists for example, have their own issues but it doesn't mean they aren't excellent at their job-also personal trainers, eating disorders apparently (unsurprisingly) rife yet they advise clients on diet - that sort of situation is probably pretty common but you and he need to think about his health first and foremost.

Chocotrekkie Wed 04-Jun-14 08:27:02

Do you think it's a good idea for him to be thinking and talking about food and the control/lack of control over food all day ?

At the moment parts of his day are spent thinking about/doing his job - I guess thinking about what he eats is always kind of there in the background but the focus is on the work task he is doing.

Take that away and all he is thinking about is food.

Mitchy1nge Wed 04-Jun-14 08:35:02

nutritionists work in public health don't they? at population level, illness prevention that sort of thing, it could be good for him?

clearsommespace Wed 04-Jun-14 08:48:40

I don't know anything about eating disorders, I don't know anyone who has suffered one, but as the meal planner and shopper of the household I do all the things in the OP.

-I try to buy ethically produced products without ingredients my gran wouldn't have recognised.
-I monitor the DCs fruit and veg intake and mine too.
-Birthdays and festivals excepted, I wouldn't have cake or biscuits at tea time, if I'd had a morning break involving cake or biscuits.

I'm surprised these things are abnormal. Is it that they are abnormal if you are recovering from an eating disorder? Just like a few glasses of wine a week is wrong for an ex-alcoholic but ok for someone who has never had an issue with drink.

specialmagiclady Wed 04-Jun-14 08:57:51

Thanks for the eating psychology link and the dietician word (couldn't remember it!)- that looks really useful. And I completely agree that people who come to these things through their own suffering can be great therapists etc. I guess I worry because it was a nutritionist who originally put him onto "all these foods are BAD" (vinegar, lemon, flavour anyone?). Of course he took it and ran with it (like Forrest Gump, he ran - lost 20% of his body weight etc).

I maybe exaggerated the influence he has over our shopping. Between my "jam and cakes" and his "no really, carrots are nice too" we do have balance, eating well and not ridiculously healthy - he tucked into homemade drop scones the other day, with home made jam - but it is a push-me-pull-you kind of balance.

I think if he did something that was reputable and not quasi-science AND we had some way of checking that his brain was in a good place, I would be able to accept it. He works closely with food much of the time anyway.

Thanks for your help!

DearDinah Wed 04-Jun-14 09:01:51

Threads like this I think are problematic because you can't give the full picture, people take what you have written as being the only issues when I'm sure there's more to it.
My DH sees a nutritionist who had an eating disorder & the advice given although I'm sure it's sound is causing problems. We don't eat together anymore, he eats between 5-6 meals a day, everything has to be 'clean' our shopping bills are atrocious, if I shop for myself I spend £20, if we shop together it's £80-£90 for two people, plus the extras he spends in the week, he's in constant chat with other people about this diet so we rarely exchange conversation in the evenings, he's either cooking at the gym or on his phone. In short his diet & exercise is now obsessive. I'm not blaming this nutritionist but he was never this way before he saw her, the ideologies have stuck with him & it's literally driving a wedge between us. We have a child on the way, I'm fretting about money but think he's going to have a hard time adjusting his lifestyle now. It's worrying.
I know I'll get flamed for this, after all he is simply striving for a healthy lifestyle, which is grand it really is but family & friends are being left by the wayside.

specialmagiclady Wed 04-Jun-14 09:20:36

No, darling, he's orthorexic.

It's an arse. Can you have a frank conversation about it with him?

For my DH he only sorted himself out when our DS1 was diagnosed with real allergies and I got really ragey and said "I am not excluding food for our son and then excluding food for your sickness" and I booked a double appointment at the GP and he got brilliant CBT and he is so much better.

DearDinah Wed 04-Jun-14 09:24:21

See that's what I thought but he does have splurges every now & then, which are deemed 'cheats' by this nutritionist, he then goes overboard at the gym for the rest of the week.
Tried to talk about it, he gets shirty, denies he's at the gym as much as he is, says he's being healthy, it's like a cult with the rest of his 'classmates'
Sorry hijacking the thread now.

Dinah sorry but that sounds pretty disordered and it's not necessarily the fault of the nutritionist but unfortunately some people are naturally inclined towards obsessive behaviours, give them 'rules' and they will follow them to the extreme. Banning certain foods and deeming eating 'unhealthy' food as cheating is what (quite naturally) leads to bingeing, it's human nature - and biology. I think your DH would benefit from some help too, if he will accept it?

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