Professional triathlete Scott Bayvel opens up about his experiences of obsessive eating after finding his eating habits were negatively affecting his ability to fuel his lifestyle as an athlete...

Over the last couple of years I have been on the “Low Carb High Fat” diet bandwagon while I try to pursue my dreams of making it to the world stage as a pro triathlete.

For years I thought this diet had worked for me and I thought it was the best thing I had ever been introduced to. 

2020 made me take a step back though. It was a tough year for all of us but it did at least give me time to think, try new things and re-evaluate certain daily habits in my life, which leads me to the topic of orthorexia.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia is simply the unhealthy obsession with eating healthy.

For athletes with a Type A personality like me, there's a danger of trying to control everything in our lives to the “nth” degree and this can be powerful to a certain point, but when that obsession becomes a detriment to your living and lifestyle, I think it's time to change things up.

I had been on the LCHF diet for about 5 years and don’t get me wrong, I know it works for a lot of people, and I loved the diet and how it made me feel. I ate healthy, I felt healthy, so you might be asking "what’s wrong with that?"

Well I got into a bad routine.

I was obsessing over my food, making sure it was the same meal every day with no variety in my meals and it became monotonous, boring and easy. Quite simply, I had no spice in my life.

Changing my eating habits

At the beginning of 2020 and during the first phase of lockdown, I started talking to a few people and getting advice on different approaches to food and nutrition, and I came across Mr. Alan Murchison - a highly renowned Michelin star chef, performance chef and generally an awesome guy. 

We started to work together as he helped me spark the passion for food, cooking and variety in my life. He was the first person to show me how many of us athletes fall into this trap of orthorexia and far too many of us do.

I think the LCHF diet is still a great diet but with the experience I had during this period on this diet, it left me eating healthy but in an unhealthy manner. It wasn't for me unfortunately. 

That's when I decided to move away from LCHF and eat a more balanced diet.

Finding balance

Once I acknowledged I had an unhealthy approach to my fuelling and took a few steps back, it was clear to see that the approach I had with nutrition was not optimal for my performance and lifestyle.

My new approach for feeding and nutrition is BALANCED. Everything in moderation and a variety of everything.

I too often hear of people saying that one specific diet being the best or the newest discovery to performance or longevity. But after reading, experimenting and with the help of Alan, I've come to learn that nutrition for my lifestle is simple - eat healthy, balanced, and lots of variety of foods. Oh and as natural as possible. 

Ultimately, find what works best for you.

Further reading