So the other day, I posted about my journey to health and I mentioned orthorexia and talking about it in another post. Well now is the time for that post!
Okay first off, what is orthorexia? Orthorexia is when you have an unhealthy obsession with being healthy. What’s wrong with being healthy though? There’s a difference between being healthy and being obsessed with it.
Being healthy means eating fruits, veggies, and whole grains but being able to go out with friends and eat whatever comes up. Then you don’t obsess over it the next day. “Okay so I ate that pizza last night. I need to exercise longer today and eat nothing but salad.” That’s not healthy. Healthy is waking up the next day like any other day. Waking up, not worrying about the previous night.
So if that’s healthy, what is an obsession with healthy? Like I said, it’s waking up the next day obsessing about what you ate. When it comes to going out with friends, you freak out about what there is going to be to eat. More times than not, you won’t even eat that food. It’s a type of restriction. Whether you have anxiety about how the food is prepared or whether or not the food is organic, there is an obsession about what is going into your body. Looking at the back of a cereal box is normal. But analyzing it for a long time, scrutinizing the ingredients used is not. Like I said, it’s an obsession. You slowly begin to restrict and cut out foods until there is almost nothing “safe” to eat.
As of now, orthorexia is not recognized as an ED. But it is one. Trust me. It is. After dealing with it, I know how much it sucks to freak out about where the food is coming food. (And yes. I would freak out. Bad.) What exactly did I obsess over? Well…
-I hated white potatoes. If I were to eat a potato, it HAD to be a sweet potato because there are more health benefits to it.
-White rice was also a no-no. Brown rice was way better in my eyes because of the higher nutrition content.
-Salad dressing at restaurants. The high fat content in the dressings scared me. Plus, some of them could have had high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.
Not gonna lie, it was hard for me to make that list. I know, it’s very short. But that’s because I realized that I still struggle with a few things…
-White flour. Unless it is organic, unbleached white flour, I won’t eat it. But so many restaurants these days have whole wheat breads.
-Unorganic/unnatural yogurt. The high fructose corn syrup scares me.
-Unorganic ketchup. Once again, the high fructose corn syrup.
-Certain frozen yogurts. Because of the high fructose corn syrup. See a trend?
-Unorganic chicken. Right now, I don’t eat chicken unless it is organic. It’s better then it used to be! Before, I wouldn’t even eat chicken.
-Unorganic spinach. I’m scared of salmonella.
-Unorganic/unnatural peanut butter. No hydrogenated oils for me.
So the list of struggles is longer than past obsessions so I’m sure you’re thinking, “This girl is still messed up.” Yeah. I still am. There’s no denying that. But going out to a restaurant is 100x easier than it used to be. Ask my family and friends and they would all agree.
Also, if you were to look at my struggle list, I’m sure it would look like a normal, healthy lifestyle. Sure, it’s healthy. But it’s not healthy when it’s obsessive. That, my friends, is orthorexia. Those foods don’t necessarily hold me back because so many restaurants have different options. So I am not held back by my past obsessions. Now, I consider myself to be healthy with orthorexia creeping in every once in awhile.
All righty. So should orthorexia be considered an ED? HECK YES! Even though it may not seem like there is a problem with being healthy, there is when it becomes over the top. It’s an obsession. It’s something that eats you up inside. It’s real, and it sucks.
For more information on orthorexia, check out these links:
Huffington Post – Orthorexia: Too Much of a Healthy Thing?
ABC – Orthorexia: Obsessing Over Health Food
Rachel Ray Show – One Woman’s Triumph Over Orthorexia
What are your thoughts? Does orthorexia exist?
Have you ever dealt with orthorexia?