Orthorexia nervosa is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. It is a “health food eating disorder”. Yes. You read it correctly. When anyone has an exaggerated focus on something – even something healthy, it can become problematic.
Today more than ever we have cult-like behaviour from people following multitudes of fad diets. As a result, they follow strict regimes of eating, not allowing this or that to the point of the ridiculous. Furthermore, there are extremists who are devoted to cleanses, detoxes, Atkins, paleo, veganism, gluten- free, juicing…….the list goes on and on.
However, don’t mistake my blog….I am NOT telling you that focusing on healthy eating is wrong or that you should throw caution to the wind and eat whatever you like. I am advising you to make educated decisions towards healthier eating behaviour where it doesn’t negatively impact your life. When your healthy eating completely consumes you to the point of obsession, (specifically, where you cannot function without total commitment and are filled with guilt at the very thought of other options), then it is a cause of concern. Clearly it is a problem if it causes a person distress,
Additionally, an unhealthy obsession with food can affect friendships, relationships, and even your own sanity. In particular, it can cause social isolation and mental health problems. It is important to understand that stress causes many physiological complications too. Consequently, stressing over food can manifest itself negatively by causing health problems in the very body you are trying to keep healthy! Ironic isn’t it?
Focusing on health doesn’t need to be a chore. We shouldn’t constantly try and eat like bodybuilders preparing for competition! I have been around these athletes for many years and trust me, they aren’t happy to be on such restricted eating regimes and don’t eat that way once their comp is over. Make healthier food options whenever possible but don’t let your desire for health stop you from living! Find a balance and don’t make food the primary focus of your life.