What starts as a well intended 'healthy diet' can end in Orthorexia, an abnormal obsession with healthy eating that will wreak havoc on your life.
Orthorexia Nervosa (ON) is a very serious eating disorder characterized by obsessive behaviors in pursuit of a righteous and healthy diet. An obsession develops over time around eating pure and non-processed food, using supplements, and drinking smoothies. Initially the symptoms of Orthorexia can resemble those of other eating disorders, and if left untreated can evolve into anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality rate out of all mental health disorders. The best way to distinguish between them is that those struggling with anorexia maintain a fear of obesity and are far more preoccupied with restricting certain foods in order to achieve a certain weight vs the purity of the foods they do eat.
Symptoms of Orthorexia often develop over such a long period of time that they become normalized and make it even more difficult to recognize as signs of a serious eating disorder. While it certainly can begin as a well intended ‘healthy diet’, it will eventually move beyond a ‘lifestyle choice’ and into a full blown obsession with food and body all the while masquerading as a form of ‘virtuous health’. Additional symptoms can include obsessively checking nutritional ingredients, mulling over future meals, and spending hours using apps to track calories and constantly trolling social media in search of the proverbial ‘cleanest food’. Emotional symptoms also include pride from eating healthy food and guilt from eating unhealthy or “impure” food.
Because your disordered eating consistently gets put first and those who love you are often made to feel “less than” and even judged because of your strong opinions of food, Orthorexia can greatly interfere with your ability to maintain healthy relationships. Recovery from Orthorexia is possible. We recognize the high degree of control over food consumption, ingredients, and preparation, that come with orthorexic clients. Our nutrition counseling sessions will include a great deal of scientific based nutrition information as we teach you what is really required, identify food misconceptions, and develop a recovery plan that meets your individual nutritional needs.