Not too long ago, I read a request from a journalist. She was looking for women; aged 20-40 who wanted to share their story about orthorexia for a famous magazine in the Netherlands. Before I knew it I replied to her, and we had a phone call a few days later about this personal topic, impulsive as I am. Confronted with the article she wrote (which I have to admit, it is written in a super respectful and informative way) I started panicking. This is a part of me few people know about, and the facts I stated in the article are quit, let’s say, in the face. As I was living in Italy during these days, I could hide for my friends and family back home. Therefore I would like to explain to you why I decided to share my story with a national magazine.
First things first: because I can hear you thinking, Orthorexia, what is that exactly? According to the Urban dictionary, “Orthorexia is an eating disorder similar to anorexia, though instead of an obsessive desire to lose weight, those who suffer from orthorexia have an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. In their search for dietary purity, orthorexics may become so restrictive about what they eat (for example, avoiding fatty foods, those containing preservatives, those with salt or sugar) that eventually they become as dangerously thin as an anorexic.
The journalist talked with psychologists and a dietician specialized in helping women with eating disorders for some extra background information. Officially it’s not an eating disorder (as there is not enough scientific research on orthorexia), but it lies more in the range of obsessive-compulsive behavior. The dietician mentioned that she mostly saw women who are perfectionists, who want to have more control in their lives and even might have emotion control issues. Well I could tick the boxes immediately when I read these words.
After reading the finished article I asked myself why I actually wanted to share this personal story with the country. Some details about my, let’s say, “darker days” are hard to read. At one point I avoided most of my social contacts, as gatherings would always involve food & drinks. Going to the gym twice a day became normal, resulting in me trying my best not to faint when taking the metro home. Reading these details make me actually feel ashamed, so why did I decide to share this story?
Well this period of my life is a part of me, if I want it or not. Actually, this will always be a part of me, as my personality traits didn’t change, and the related thoughts appear almost on a daily basis. Still. As I’m slowly building up my own personal brand, one of the things I stand for is openness. It’s funny to hear comments like “oh Nienke, it’s so nice to see that you show your vulnerability trough your writing!”. Well thanks for the compliment, but this is completely normal to me. Apparently not to everyone though :) Therefore I look for customers (read brands/companies) who share the same values and are willing to show their true faces and stories!
Studies show that, well in short, if you want loyal customers, you need to build a transparent brand. The public puts brands that share fake news/articles/information in the stocks. We all know the example of the Facebook & Cambridge Analytics scandal that has caused a huge depreciation for the Facebook stock shares. You don’t want this to happen with your company and its corresponding reputation.
To end this blog with a positive end: the personality traits described above not only caused me to suffer from orthorexia. These personality traits also cause me to be a hard worker with eye for details, determined to deliver the best output possible. I know I can achieve anything when I set my mind to something. So my question for you is: are you brave enough to start your true story with the world? (For the Dutchies: you can read the article in the latest version of &C)