What is Orthorexia?
Orthorexia is a condition that sees sufferers obsess over what they believe to be healthy eating. The term was coined by Dr Steven Bratman in 1997.
If you’re suffering from Orthorexia you will spend most of your time thinking about what you eat and whether it is ‘pure’ and unprocessed at the expense of other areas of your life.
You may have started to follow a particular diet because you heard or read that it is a healthier way of eating but then find that if you don’t follow it rigidly you become anxious and distressed.
As Emmy Gilmour, our Clinical Director says:
“Orthorexia is when a way of eating shifts from being a choice and temporary measure to becoming part of who you are and how you live.”
Why do people suffer from Orthorexia?
Just like recognised eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia, Orthorexia usually affects high-achieving individuals in pursuit of perfection. Restricting their diet to particular foods gives them a sense of control they aren’t getting in other areas of their lives.
How can we help you beat Orthorexia?
At The Recover Clinic we understand eating disorders inside and out. We realise that the issue isn’t the food but how you feel about yourself and how you respond to those feelings.
Putting you on another (even if less restrictive) meal plan is not the answer. We need to find out what is causing you to eat in this way.
As Orthorexia has not yet officially been recognised as an eating disorder, this may be the first time you have heard of it. There can be a fine line between healthy eating and obsessive behaviour so take a look at the symptoms below and see if they ring any alarm bells for you.
If you have any doubts at all about how you eat and how you feel about food and about your body, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
To admit there is a problem and start to work on your recovery can be scary, but we have a team of skilled and experienced counsellors who will help you understand what you are going through and put together a therapy treatment program to meet your needs, from one-to-one counselling, to creative therapy, to CBT.
Get in touch
If you’re worried that healthy eating is becoming an obsession for you, give us a call today for help and advice on 0843 783 3352 or fill in our short contact form.
Symptoms of Orthorexia
The symptoms of Orthorexia may be hard to spot as so many of us have concerns about eating healthily. However, there are some signs you can look out for:
Behavioural symptoms of Orthorexia
- Obsession with sticking to a ‘perfect’ diet
- Anxiety about links between food and health issues
- Not eating certain foods because of allergies that often haven’t been confirmed by a doctor
- Overuse of vitamins and other supplements
- Obsessive compulsive behaviour around food preparation and cleanliness
- Overachieving behaviours
- Obsession with appearance/body shape
Physical symptoms of Orthorexia
- Often low weight
- Often very high muscle mass (through excessive exercising)
- Injuries and strains linked to over-exercising
Do I have Orthorexia?
Look at the symptoms above and then think about the following questions. If you answer yes to any of them, Orthorexia may well be a problem for you. Get in touch to find out how we can help you.
- find it hard to enjoy eating because you worry about what is going into your body?
- read food labels obsessively looking for ‘impure’ or ‘contaminated’ ingredients?
- believe you have to stick to a particular diet such as paleo/caveman, macrobiotic, low-fat, low-carb or gluten-free (without a medical diagnosis)?
- feel that you have failed if you eat something that isn’t on your meal plan?
- obsess over the cleanliness of your food preparation area and ingredients?
- think about food most of the time?
- cut out whole food groups to be more healthy?
- exercise intensively most days of the week?
- hear your friends and family voice concerns about your eating habits?
Call us today
Give us a call on 0843 783 3352 to get help and advice or fill in our short contact form.