Orthorexia – an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy
We’re about to go down the rabbit hole into my obsession with having perfect skin and beating acne. Last chance to turn back…
To give context for this post, in another post I talked about my struggle with acne and the connection it had to my body image. I talked about how I had taken Accutane and the worst of my acne had cleared up. And while it had some pretty substantial results, it was not a complete miracle. I found that I still got breakouts more often than I wanted.
By this point and time, I was hyper-sensitive to any breakout, whether it was one or 100. Even one blemish was too many for me. After having gone through a few years of my face being completely covered with acne, I think when even a few spots started coming back, it triggered significant fear in me. I was determined that I would never go back to looking like that.
A pivotal point in my life was when I found the book, “The Clear Skin Prescription” by Nicholas Perricone. I remember being in a used bookstore and coming across it, and thinking it was worth a shot. The book is based on the premise that diet is the main contributor to inflammation in our bodies, which causes acne. So, the book outlined a very specific low-glycemic diet, which recommended cutting out sugar, even sources like bread and certain fruits and vegetables. This was over 10 years ago, before Keto and Paleo were big – so it was a concept I hadn’t heard of at that point.
I had always heard that what you ate didn’t affect your acne. I read it in teen magazines under the “Acne Myths” section, and it was plastered all over posters at the dermatologist’s office: FOOD DOES NOT CAUSE ACNE. Young and naive Erica never thought to question that “fact” and so I never worried about my diet. And since I didn’t have any weight issues, it meant that I ate whatever my heart desired, such as ice cream for breakfast and lots of fast food.
I decided to give the diet a try, and lo and behold, it really did make my skin look better! (You’ll notice I said BETTER and not perfect.) With this newfound information that diet was the key to clear skin, all I had to do was find the perfect combination of foods to eat (or not eat) to solve all my skin problems. And thus, I spent the next several years in search of the ultimate clear skin diet.
(Here’s where the rabbit hole really begins…)