By Rebecca Drew
A TWENTY-ONE stone student who starved himself through an extreme regime of eating only healthy food has regained control of his life thanks to YOU TUBE.
Through eating only lean meat and green vegetables for three years, the six-foot three-inch-tall twenty-five-year-old halved in size from an obese twenty-one stone to looking scarily undernourished at under ten stone.
He was eventually diagnosed with a poorly understood and a currently unrecognised eating disorder that leads sufferers to eat so healthily they can starve themselves to death as a result of the heart shutting down.
After feeling uncomfortable with his appearance and double chin at the age of 19, Taylor Morrison from New South Wales, Australia decided to take drastic action to feel better about himself.
He first started to restrict his food intake by cutting out foods that we are often told are bad for us, such as bread, pasta, rice and simple carbs. This soon spiralled out of control and he cut out carbs and alcohol altogether, surviving only on a diet of lean chicken, fish and green vegetables.
Taylor found himself consuming just 1,700 calories a day which is eight hundred less than the recommended daily allowance of 2,500 calories for men in the UK.
In addition to his severe diet restrictions, he turned exercise into his obsession, ensuring that he would exercise for at least three hours a day. Typically spending two to three hours weightlifting accompanied by one to two hours walking, hiking and running each day.
“I would not let myself be sedentary for longer than two hours a day,” said Taylor.
“At my lowest, I weighed sixty-four kilograms. I had virtually no body fat left and my body was eating my muscle.
“I kept training harder and harder thinking that I still wasn’t good enough but my body was already gone.
“I was so thin I couldn’t stand on my bare feet for the pain. I couldn’t even run or jog more than a few feet, let alone go upstairs. I was constantly freezing to the point that even sitting in direct thirty degree heat with a jumper on didn’t fix it.”
It was not until Taylor visited his sister who lives in Scotland in September 2015 and he broke down after drinking a hot chocolate that he realised something was wrong.
Taylor found out that he was suffering from Orthorexia Nervosa, a term that has not yet been officially recognised as an eating disorder. The term was first coined by Dr Steven Bratman in 1997 in an article he wrote for the Yoga Journal.
It sees sufferers being fixated on being healthy and maintaining a pure and clean diet which can frequently lead to severe restrictions and malnutrition. Orthorexia does share some of the same characteristics as the eating disorders Anorexia and Bulimia and becomes equally as self-consuming but sufferers focus on being healthy instead of getting thinner.
“My family were constantly looking at me with such sadness and kept trying to help me, but I never agreed and I stubbornly kept saying that I was fine because in my head what I was doing was ‘clean’ and ‘better’ than their diet,” added Taylor.
“I judged others and I bragged about my ability to avoid junk and alcohol alongside my rigorous daily routine.”
In the space of twelve months, Taylor who is currently studying for a diploma in nutrition is now a fit and healthy fourteen-stone for his height of six-foot-three-inches and says his family are overwhelmed by the progress he has made.
“I feel much stronger now, more masculine and generally healthier but I do worry about my appearance.”
Like many, Taylor did not realise how far his addiction of restricting his diet had gone and wants to help others who might be in the same situation as he was. Taylor says he now likes to try lots of different foods, naming burgers and sweet potato fries his weakness and no longer panics when he goes out for a meal with friends.
“I was very naïve and used to think that men don’t get eating disorders but it’s important to not be naïve because they can happen to anyone,” said Taylor.
“If you have a problem with body image, try to see a counsellor, dietician or nutritionist before engaging in any drastic programme.
“It’s important to ensure that you know the different aspects of food and how they are meant to work for your body.
“Food is not the enemy and your happiness and wellbeing is not defined by your physical appearance.
“If you want to lose weight or strive for a more muscular physique do it as safely and properly as possible and always remember that its ok to fall off the wagon.
“You can slip up and you will make mistakes but one or two days here and there will not make even the slightest difference.”
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