Orthorexia nervosa is a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.”
Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. They become consumed with what and how much to eat.
A person with orthorexia will be obsessed with defining and maintaining the perfect diet, rather than an ideal weight. They will fixate on eating foods that give them a feeling of being pure and healthy. An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with:
- Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Pesticides or genetic modification
- Fat, sugar or salt
- Animal or dairy products
- Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy
Self-esteem becomes wrapped up in the purity of orthorexics’ diet and they sometimes feel superior to others, especially in regard to food and health. As the obsession takes hold they become stricter. If temptation wins they punish themselves, usually through stricter eating, fasts and exercise.
Healthy diet or Orthorexia
So is orthorexia nervosa bad. Can it be unhealthy to obsesses about a healthy diet?
Orthorexics lose the ability to eat intuitively – to know when they are full, when they are hungry, and how much they need. Instead of eating by listening to their body, they becoming increasingly restrictive in their diets. Health suffers and eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can lead to instructive thoughts and have a negative affect on social life.
Could I be orthorexic?
It is good to follow a healthy diet. If your diet is becoming increasing restrictive, taking up more of your thoughts and time. If you feel guilt or experience self-loathing when you deviate from eating health, then you may need some help.
Treatment for Orthorexia
What Is The Treatment for Orthorexia?
Images of healthy looking people are everywhere. The media is full of images and information telling us how to eat healthily. Information about what foods to eat, which foods to avoid. In this health obsessed world it is easy not to realize how problematic this behavior can become. An orthorexic may find it difficult to believe they are doing themselves any harm . They must admit there is a problem, then identify what caused the obsession. They need to learn to become more flexible about eating. Working through underlying emotional issues.
Recovery does not mean you can not eat healthily. Recovered orthorexics will have to learn and adopt a different understanding of what healthy eating is. Realising that food will not make them a better person. There is no need to base their self-esteem on the food they eat. They can change how they think of themselves. Become more than just a person who eats health food. Food is not the most important aspect of life.