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Monday, February 26, 2018

Spotting the Signs of Orthorexia

Today kicks off National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and so we thought it could be the perfect time to touch on a type of eating disorder on the rise amid today’s ever growing focus on “clean living.” It’s call orthorexia nervosa, defined as a “pathological obsession with proper nutrition,” and characterized by a restrictive diet and ritualized eating patterns. 

Unlike many other eating disorders, patients with orthorexia often flaunt their eating habits instead of hiding them, especially on Instagram, say experts. What’s more, the condition often overlaps with obsessive compulsive disorder and obsessive compulsive personality disorder.

While healthful eating is a crucial part of recovery, obsessing about what you eat can be a slippery slope. This is especially true if the underlying motivations for eating healthy include compulsion for complete control, escape from fears, improving self-esteem or searching for spirituality through food, notes the National Eating Disorders Association.  

Knowing the signs can help you or someone you love get help. Start by honestly answering these questions – and if you finding yourself feverishly nodding “yes,” be sure to reach out to a medical professional for help: 
  • Do you ever wish that you could eat without obsessing about food quality?
  • Do you ever wish you spent less time on food and more time living?
  • Do you have difficulty eating a meal prepared by someone else? 
  • Are you constantly looking to discover how certain foods are unhealthy for you? 
  • Does following a perfect diet take precedence over love, joy, play and creativity?
  • If you stray from your diet, do you experience feelings of guilt or self-loathing?
  • Does sticking to the “correct” diet make you feel more in control of your life? 
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