I’m going to call this article a “shoot” today.

This simply means I am speaking right from the heart and giving you firsthand information. Truth be told, I am a recovering orthorexic and I cannot state how serious this eating disorder is.

After reading this, you may determine that you have orthorexia as well or you know someone who does. Please take my advice and do not be a hero and do not let your ego get in the way.

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It’s never too late to change and it’s certainly never too late to pull yourself out of the ditch. Don’t think you’ll be looked down upon if you step up and admit it.  Now that I got that awkwardness out of the way, let’s move forward.

What is Orthorexia?

The word “orthorexia” means correct diet, or correct appetite when translated from Greek terminology. Those who suffer from it have a propensity to take things to the extreme.

Believe me when I tell you, there’s nothing wrong with eating organic, watching your carbs and fats and paying attention to your calories. But when that becomes an addiction, you may want to look a little deeper.

People with ortho don’t know when to stop. They become obsessed with every morsel and crumb of food they eat, as well as beverages that contain calories.

Being healthy and aware isn’t good enough. It’s more like an all-encompassing desire takes over that they are completely in control of. And that right there is the key word: control.

Eating disorders really have nothing to do with food at all

It’s all about control. In life, although we have jobs, families, cars, houses and so on, we are really powerless in what happens during the course of the day.  However, one thing you and me and everybody else has complete control over is what we eat and drink. Enter orthorexia.

In my case, and the case of many others, a bad day, an act of disrespect from someone, a feeling of inadequacy or struggling with finances can trigger an “episode.”  What does an episode look like? Simply put, everything during the course of the day revolves around food.

You want to know the exact amount of calories you are consuming and, in the worst of cases, you want to know the exact amount of calories all parties in the room around you are consuming. Yeah, that wins you friends really fast, especially when you tell them how calorie dense their mocha latte is and how much exercise they need to do to burn it off!

Here’s where it gets even more interesting. You inspect every single food label you see with a microscope. If it has even the closest of questionable ingredients, you pass. This narrows the playing field quite a bit when it comes to food selection.

orthorexia: the truth_2

Signs of orthorexia

Overall, the signs of orthorexia include, but are not limited to, micromanaging every calorie you consume, eating so healthy that it’s obsessive and often times exercising excessively to punish yourself for eating or drinking the wrong thing.

That leans a little more toward body dysmorphia, which involves not being happy with what you see in the mirror. That has always been the story in my case.

If left undetected, orthorexia can take its toll on your relationships, career, family life and everything in between. The best way to treat it is by developing a support group around you that you can confide in and feel comfortable talking to.

That worked for me. In the more serious of conditions, attending an eating disorder clinic might be the best option.

As I always say, if you need further assistance or don’t know what to do next, feel free to give me a shout. I can go a little more in depth and help you bring your life back to normal.

 

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