What Is Orthorexia? – Video with Emily Rosen
These days, it’s just about impossible to turn on your computer, TV, or cell phone without hearing about another new discovery in healthy eating. Either there’s a new superfood that you need to incorporate into your diet, or a certain ingredient or chemical is being added to the “bad list.” Keeping up with the latest trends in nutrition can start to seem like a full time job! And for those who deal with orthorexia, clean eating becomes just that: a 24/7 obsession. At the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, we believe that everyone has access to an inherent body wisdom that can lead you to the diet that’s healthiest for you. But when fear of deviating from a “perfect” diet starts to strip the joy from your meals, it might be time to change your approach. Tune in to this fascinating new video from #IPEtv where Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute, explains what orthorexia is and how you can break free!
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Here is a transcript of this week’s video:
Hi, I’m Emily Rosen, Director of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Today we’re going to talk about What is Orthorexia?
Orthorexia actually means “fixation on righteous eating.” People who have orthorexia don’t necessarily count calories, nor are they driven by thinness, although they can have those elements. But they do channel perfectionism into eating according to a health standard that is rigid and pure, such as a perfect paleo diet, or only organic and unprocessed foods, etc. It’s about food quality and adherence to “clean” eating.
There’s nothing wrong with healthy eating or wanting to give oneself good quality food, and many people who like to eat healthy may identify with the above habits. However, for those who suffer from orthorexia, the disorder begins to affect their social and psychological functioning.
Orthorexia can feel like a strict religion.
There’s a lot of guilt if piety is not achieved at every meal and snack. Following the rules feels very soothing, but there could be an obstacle at the next meal that causes anxiety. For some, orthorexia can feel very aligned with someone’s sense of ideal self, but their loved ones are ready to give ultimatums because it’s affecting their social lives. The person with orthorexia may, more and more, choose to stay home to avoid prohibited foods and conflicts with loved ones. It becomes very isolating.
When we restrict ourselves to the detriment of pleasure or free will, we can often rebel with binge sessions on foods outside the rules. When this happens, people with orthorexia may feel extremely guilty or shameful and want to make up for this moment of “weakness” by exercising more, restricting, or beating themselves up endlessly. There
can often be a phase of repentance after breaking the rules.
People may feel discomfort or pain in their guts from eating foods they consider bad for them. But it’s difficult to parse out whether the stomach clenching is because the food is no good for them, or their anxiety about the food tightens their stomach.
And, when we feed our bodies according to rules without listening to our body’s cravings, we can rob our bodies of essential nutrients and health.
So here’s the simple cure for orthorexia:
Relax, be human, let go of perfectionism, do your best, agree that you’ll never ever have the exact ideal diet or body, and join the rest of the human family by being beautifully imperfect.
I hope this was helpful.
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Again that is psychologyofeating.com.
This is Emily Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute for the Psychology of Eating.
Thanks so much for your time and interest!
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