Everyone wants to live a healthy lifestyle; from avoiding some meals so to cut weight to eating additional amounts of food alongside working out to build a healthy body. Did you know that the eating habit that may seem “healthy” to you can be a dangerous disorder?
Shocking, isn’t it? Too much of something is dangerous but also starving yourself to maintain a certain body weight or eat clean food will do you no good. Today, access to several clean eating diets, recipes and workouts plans have never been this easy for a healthy lifestyle.
The healthy lifestyle bottom-line
How will you tell if your eating habits are too much or too little? Dr. Steven Bratman says that there is a line between healthy eating enthusiasts and people who are obsessed with clean food. They will eat nothing other than clean food, even if faced with starvation.
The obsession of restricting yourself to eating certain types or quality of food so that you can live healthily is called orthorexia nervosa. You may have probably never heard of it before because it is rare to get people talk about it. On the other hand, Anorexia is also an eating disorder associated with low eating, a strong desire to be thin, fear to gain weight and other food restrictions.
The difference between obsession and desire
What you should not confuse is the difference between your desire for a healthy lifestyle and your obsession for healthy eating. Your desire to eat healthily allows you to have some few cheat days without feeling guilty. Orthorexia is an obsession that can damage you physically, emotionally and socially, consuming you to the point where all you think about is eating pure, healthy food.
Visit a doctor for a check up on your health and also the two eating disorders. However, the doctor might tell you something entirely different from what you expected. For instance, a friend of mine was recently wrongly diagnosed with anorexia while she believed she always ate well and had never starved herself.
“I eat healthily’’ she went on to complain about the condition. Her knowledge of the anorexia helped her come to a conclusion that she had been wrongly diagnosed. That is why you should also have some information about both the good and the bad of healthy eating.
The risks associated with healthy eating
Eating healthy seems to be a good thing to almost everyone who has no prior information about either orthorexia or anorexia. Eating healthy does not mean you are healthy! You might think you are living a healthy life while you are suffering from orthorexia. Orthorexia disorder is associated with these psychological problems; isolation from family or friends due to food obsession and also malnutrition that might cause death.
Whatever the underlying reason might be, the important thing is having the knowledge about the condition, recognizing it and then taking necessary measure help it.
How to detect that you are suffering from Orthorexia*
The National Eating Disorder Association provides a few questions that you can ask yourself if you are in doubt of suffering from orthorexia. If your answer to the questions is a “yes,” then you need professional guidance because you could be suffering from orthorexia. Below are some of the questions:
i) Have you ever wished that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about the quality of food?
ii) Have you ever wished you could spend less time on a meal and more time living and loving?
iii) Has it ever seemed beyond your ability to eat food prepared by someone else?
iv) Do you constantly look for ways foods are unhealthy for you?
v) Do joy, love, play, and creativity take a back seat to following the perfect diet?
vi) Do you regularly feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
vii) Do you regularly feel in control of your health when you stick to the “correct” diet?
viii) Have you ever put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wondered how others could eat the food they eat?
Although the disorder is not “official” you are at liberty talked about it. Share the information with others who might need a helping hand. Everyone in our society deserves to live a good, happy and guilt-free life.
*nothing in this article should be taken as professional medical advice. If you suspect that you have unhealthy eating habits, discuss those concerns with your doctor.