The desire to be healthy and active completely took over 23 year old Anniken Cappelen Søvik’s life. She ended up developing orthorexia. With a body fat percentage down at only 11 percent and a complete lack of energy, Anniken realized that this was not the life she would like to lead, and the journey to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle began.
By: Henriette Danielsen Photo: Private
Orthorexia is not a diagnosed disease, but considered to be the fourth eating disorder and is characterized by extreme or excessive preoccupation with exercising and eating healthy and it became Annikens reality.
– It all began when I left home to study in 2012. My days went from being very diverse to be one-sided and characterized by routines. I went to the gym more often, sometimes several times a day and what I ate became an obsession, she says.
Anniken dropped weight drastically and she laughed off comments from family and friends. Even when her fat percentage was as low as 11 percent (women should be on a scale between 21- 30 percent) and her weight had dropped to below 50 kilos, she didn’t realize the seriousness of her situation.
What made you realize that you actually were sick?
– when I came back home from the Christmas holiday and had no energy what so ever. I could really feel that I had pushed myself too hard. So I asked myself if this was what I wanted to look back on 20 years from now; an everyday day life ruled by a strict regime, and concluded that it was not. I wanted to fill my life with something that was of real value.
Anniken began consulting with her doctor who helped her to set goals, in addition she got guidance from a personal trainer who helped her gain weight.
– I started with something as small as adding a glass of milk to my breakfast. When I realized it didn’t do any “harm” I continued to challenge myself towards a more balanced diet.
Friends and family were also a major support, but she emphasizes that it was her own will and inner strenght that got her back on the right track.
– You will never be able to overcome an eating disorder without a lot of effort and you have to be honest with yourself. Ultimately it is up to you. Although it was tough when it was at its worst, I am glad that I managed to overcome this dark chapter of my life. I’ve become stronger and I’ve got a perspective on life and what I value most.
How do you see yourself today?
– I see myself as good enough. It’s all about taking small steps in the right direction. At the same time I am of the opinion that people should take me for who I am. If they don’t like me it’s their problem. The important thing is to be happy with who you are and be kind to yourself, she explains.
What thoughts do you have about body image?
– Never before has there been so much focus on body image as it is in today’s society, which can lead to depression and several different kinds of eating disorders. Luckily, for me, body image doesn’t mean anything to me anymore. It’s who I am on the inside that counts. Do not waste time and energy to live up to others’ expectations. Live up to your own.
Today Anniken is taking a Master at the Oslo School of Management and works part time as an instructor at a gym and her view on training has completely changed.
– Exercise is something that will contribute to increased energy, as well as being a driving force for a longer life.
Through her Instagram account Anniken inspires thousands of people.
– I get a lot of positive feedback and many turn to me for help. It is truly a pleasure to be able to contribute. The greatest joy in life is to make others happy. I understand the importance of how precious time is and the value of the life we have been given. Many wait all week for Friday, all year for summer and their whole life for happiness. I’ve learned that you have to stop waiting and start living.
Name: Anniken Cappelen Søvik
Lives: Oslo, Norway