What is Orthorexia?
The term ‘Orthorexia’ was coined by Steven Bratman, MD, an individual who has first hand experience with the disorder. Orthorexia is defined as an obsession with ‘healthy or righteous eating.’
“The term is derived from the Greek “ortho,” which means “right,” or “correct,” and is intended as a parallel with anorexia nervosa….it has come to find a more significant place as a description for a type of obsession with healthy food that is psychologically or even physically unhealthy.”
“I pursued wellness through healthy eating for years, but gradually I began to sense that something was going wrong. The poetry of my life was disappearing. My ability to carry on normal conversations was hindered by intrusive thoughts of food. The need to obtain meals free of meat, fat, and artificial chemicals had put nearly all social forms of eating beyond my reach. I was lonely and obsessed. … I found it terribly difficult to free myself. I had been seduced by righteous eating. The problem of my life’s meaning had been transferred inexorably to food, and I could not reclaim it.” –Steven Bratman, MD, author and creator of www.orthorexia.com.
“Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that health suffers – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous.” – Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N
Note: This post is on MY battle. I do not believe that everyone on a restrictive diet has orthorexia nor do I think there is anything wrong with ‘diets.’ Though, this post may raise awareness that ‘diets’ can become an obsession. And can be a ‘gateway.’ Most of all… listen to your BODY. Always.
The consequences to this type of restrictive eating are massive.
The side-effects listed below are side-effects that I experienced. These are not researched and therefore I do not know if they apply to others with orthorexia/restrictive dieting.
- Insufficient nutrients/ malnourished
- Insufficient calories
- Dangerous weight-loss / unhealthy BMI
- Decrease in energy
- Dangerously low blood pressure
- Hormone imbalance
- Loss of appetite
- Obsessive-Compulsive behavior (measuring food, listing out meals, only eating at certain times)
- Fear (of food/ingredients)
Below are posts that I have written on my battle and journey with Orthorexia:
- My Battle with Orthorexia
- My Battle with Orthorexia: Epiphanies & Recovery
- My Battle with Orthorexia: Recovery, Balance & Moderation
- Living in Maine, Restoration & Metamorphous
- My Battle with Orthorexia: Relapse, Tricking Myself and Bananas
- 10 Things You Need to Thrive in Recovery from Addiction
- The Joy of Eating: How Overcoming Anorexia Taught Me to Love Food Again
- How I live With Addiction Every Day: Amber Valletta
- 13 Rules I Live By To Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Food
- “Looking Great” Didn’t Make Me Happy, But Gaining Weight Did
- 10 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Love Your Body