Orthorexia nervosa, healthy eating disorder, is the new eating disorder many men and women are developing. It’s an obsession with eating only foods perceived to be of a certain status in terms of health, calories, or origin. The disorder is characterized by anxiety, ritualistic thoughts and behaviors, and excessive pickiness with food. Orthorexia nervosa is a serious mental condition that can significantly impair one’s life and daily functioning.
Healthy eating can become a disorder! That’s why I call it healthy eating disorder and not just Orthorexia Nervosa. Becoming orthorexic doesn’t happen over night. Most people start slowly by going on a diet, cleaning up their diet, removing junk food and so on. Somewhere in that process they become scared of eating certain foods. For some people this might be carbs, fats, sugar, salt, meat, potatoes, rice. It can be whatever you make yourself believe is bad for you and that’s different for everybody. For example one person will be scared of eating meat, but eat a banana because in their head animal food is bad for you, and another person will be scared of eating a banana, but will eat meat because they’re scared of the sugar in fruit.
But healthy eating is healthy, right? Not when you obsess over it. Not when you start to become stricter and stricter with your diet. And definitely not when you let food control your life. You’ll only start to develop an unhealthy relationship to food and even your body. If you suffer from orthorexia you might typically spend an unreasonable amount of time focused on the quality and purity of food. You might also fixate on nutrition as a means to avoid other life situations, and may feel guilt, self-loathing, and/or experience social isolation as a result. Becoming too religious about food is in my opinion one of the worst diet mistakes one can make. Food is not religion. You won’t go to heaven by eating clean 100% of the time. I’m not saying that healthy eating shouldn’t be a huge part of your life, but there comes a time where I’m pretty sure when you’re 60 years old and look back, you’ll regret not having allowed yourself to eat that pizza, those cookies, that cake or whatever it is that you restricted yourself from.
Orthorexia is really hard to diagnose because it’s hard for most people to even admit that they have a problem with this health obsessed culture that we live in today. But here are 7 questions to ask yourself to find out if you’re orthorexic. Orthorexia Nervosa Test
- Has food turned into a real “Fear Factor” for you or has become your #1 concern in a negative/anxiety-ridden way?
- Do you spend most of the day worrying about the quality or purity of the food you eat – or do you have feelings of dread, anxiety or fear surrounding meal time and food in general?
- Do your concerns about healthy eating limit where you go, where you socialize and put a damper on your social life in general?
- Do you “punish” yourself when you’ve eaten some “unhealthy food” by not eating the next day or restricting your diet the following day?
- Does your fear about the purity of your food limit trying new foods that you’re curious about or think you may really enjoy?
- Do you spend endless amount of time on social media, checking updates from all the health, fitness and diet people you follow?
- Do you judge others who don’t eat the way you do or do you refuse to socialize with other who don’t have a “clean” diet?
If you find yourself answering yes to most or all of these questions, it’s time to take action and break from this habit. If you’ve already tried to recover from orthorexia and have a hard time doing it, then I’m here to help! I’m a health coach and see new clients who need help with eating disorders and exercise addictions. I offer a free 50 minute consultation. All you have to do is send me an email, and we’ll chat from there!
If you found this email helpful and/or know someone who’s suffering from orthorexia nervosa, make sure to share this post with them, so they can benefit too!