We all make some general effort to be healthy. From forgoing the the lift for a flight of stairs, to skipping that final slice of pizza.
We make decisions every day about what we do and don’t put on our plate, and most of us maintain some sort of reasonable balance between healthy and decadent.
However, there’s a lesser known type of eating disorder that can actually stem from having the best interests to be healthy.
Orthorexia nervosa is the name given to those who have an unhealthy obsession towards eating healthily. It isn’t currently recognised as a clinical condition in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), but the US charity National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) says many people struggle with symptoms associated with the term.
Orthorexia starts as an earnest attempt to eat healthy, but sufferers become fixated on what they eat, often cutting out essential food groups, and will often “punish” themselves for slip-ups, such as stricter eating, fasts or exercise.
NEDA says these questions will help determine if you have the disorder. The more you answer "yes," the more likely it is you have a problem, and should visit your GP.
- Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality?
- Do you ever wish you could spend less time on food and more time living and loving?
- Does it seem beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by someone else – one single meal – and not try to control what is served?
- Are you constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy for you?
- Do love, joy, play and creativity take a back seat to following the perfect diet?
- Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
- Do you feel in control when you stick to the “correct” diet?
- Have you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the foods they eat?
Visit B-Eat for advice and support on eating disorders.