How to Recognize and Overcome Orthorexia
Orthorexia, also known as “Righteous Eating,” is a condition when one becomes obsessed with healthy eating. Over time, this obsession can develop into an unhealthy relationship with food that can lead to a restricted diet and even malnourishment. Here’s a guide to recognizing and overcoming Orthorexia.
It can be challenging to identify Orthorexia because society views healthy eating as a positive habit. However, the obsessive and extreme behavior regarding food is a red flag. Here are some symptoms that can help to identify Orthorexia:
1. Obsessed with healthy eating to the extent of avoiding foods that provide pleasure
2. Feeling guilty or ashamed after consuming foods that are not considered “healthy”
3. The diet is limited to “pure” or “clean” foods, leading to excessive restriction and eliminating entire food groups from the diet
4. Skipping social events involving food to avoid temptation
5. Preoccupation with the nutritional content of all foods consumed
6. Anxiety and distress related to the quality of food consumed
7. Signs of malnourishment such as weight loss, nutritional deficiencies, and exhaustion
Orthorexia can be challenging to treat. However, with the right mindset, you can improve your relationship with food and regain control of your diet effectively. Here are some tips to overcome Orthorexia:
1. Recognize the problem: Acknowledge the negative impact of strict eating habits and understand that achieving good health is not only about the foods consumed but also the balance and enjoyment.
2. Change your mindset: Instead of feeling guilty about consuming certain foods, focus on moderation and making balanced food choices.
3. Seek professional help: Consider seeking the guidance of a licensed therapist or registered dietitian to help develop a healthier approach to food.
4. Variety: Adopt a broader approach to food by introducing different foods into your diet and experimenting with new recipes.
5. Give yourself permission: Allow yourself to have treats in moderation and enjoy them without feeling guilty. Focus on moderation, not indulgence.
6. Practice Self-care: Engage in activities that reduce stress and increase relaxation, such as yoga, meditation, or journaling.
In conclusion, recognizing and overcoming Orthorexia takes time and effort, and it’s best to seek professional help. While healthy eating is essential, it shouldn’t be an obsession. Strive for balance and variety in your food choices, and remember that treating yourself is okay in moderation.