When healthy eating goes horribly wrong….

I read a lot of different blogs mostly related to running and exercise, as that is where my main interests lie, but I read other types of blogs as well. Over the years, I’ve noticed some of the authors of these blogs have written posts regarding their struggles with eating disorders such as Anorexia or Bulimia. I think these disorders are more common than you might think and I admire their ability to share such personal stories.

Now, I know I’m probably going to piss a few people off here but I really need to get this off my chest. Some of the blogs I read or have read in the past include recipes and advice on healthy eating and since I am interested in eating healthy, I usually read these posts as well. However, over the years I’ve started to notice a trend among some of these authors that I feel may border on obsession.

Mind you, I have food allergies myself and I know how important it is to stay away from certain foods. That being said, I read a race review once where the runner completed a marathon in just under 4 hours and complained about the food that was served afterward. She just ‘couldn’t’ eat the bagels or sandwiches because, ‘gluten’, and she didn’t want the fruit cups because ‘they weren’t fresh fruit’. Someone offered her a protein bar and she refused because ‘it was processed’. Instead she left the race and drove 2 hours to her home to prepare her own ‘healthy meal’ and in the process, she almost passed out. That’s what she said!

Does that sound disordered to you? Or is it just me? I realize this isn’t the typical eating disorder. She isn’t starving herself and she isn’t binge eating or throwing up. But she is hungry, she just ran a marathon, and yet she won’t eat anything that was served after because it isn’t part of her ‘healthy diet’. She’d rather drive home and endanger her life and maybe the lives of others. That’s disordered in my book and I’m sorry but this just…it made me ragey! Wake up!

Orthorexia Nervosa, have you heard of it? The literal translation is ‘fixation on righteous eating’ and it’s a term used to describe someone who has an unhealthy obsession with healthy or ‘clean’ eating. What starts out as a desire to eat healthy leads to an obsession that actually becomes detrimental to the person’s own health.

While Orthorexia is not technically an eating disorder, it is becoming more recognized as such. People who suffer with it tend to restrict themselves to limited types of food, and avoid anything they perceive as unhealthy, such as anything with sugar, anything processed, or anything with fat. Eventually their diets become so restrictive they may deprive themselves of much-needed vitamins and nutrients.

The term Orthorexia was first used by Dr. Steven Bratman to describe his own experience with restrictive eating, and while it is not officially an eating disorder, recovery may require professional help. Eating healthy or wanting to follow a healthy diet does not make you orthorexic. However, if you find that your eating habits are becoming more important than other activities or interests or interfering with your relationships or family, you could have a problem.

Orthorexia can be a serious issue, particularly if it is accompanied by co-occurring addictive disorders such as excessive exercising and it can result in irreversible health complications. You can learn more about Orthorexia by visiting the National Eating Disorders website located here.

Let’s all be careful and try to recognize disordered eating, it’s just not healthy. That’s it, I’m done with my rant for the day.

Have you ever heard of Orthorexia?

18 thoughts on “When healthy eating goes horribly wrong….

  1. Great post! I am seeing this more and more, especially on instagram with some of the people who follow me! I am not gonna lie, I try to limit processed foods, and eat as healthy as possible, but when I am out I allow myself to enjoy whatever I want….be it a cheeseburger and fries, or a lasagna…and after a race, the MOST IMPORTANT thing is to refuel!!!! Just like you said, you are risking your health, seriously, and I don’t care what it is made of, within that 40 minute window I AM going to consume protein and carbs in whatever way I can, whether I want to eat or not. You are not the only one 🙂

    • Thanks Tina. I hate seeing so many people taking it so far that it starts to interfere with their lives, it’s just really sad and I think it needs some attention. Glad you could see it too 🙂

  2. WOW never heard of that disorder but I’m sure it exists! Running, eating, not eating…it’s all mental! 🙂 Except today…..ran 8.3 this am and now pretty nauseous…I’m thinking dehydration….I ran 10 yesterday about the same time….this heat and humidity are really getting to me. I had negative splits for mile 1-4 , then I really slowed down….guess I should have stopped to drink…or just STOPPED!

    • I know, I totally hate the heat. It’s getting to me too. I got in 5 Monday and Today but I seriously wanted to quite 1 mile in LOL We should go run the courtney campbell causeway bridge one day!

  3. Interesting- I haven’t heard that term but it makes total sense. And sadly I’ve read and talked to people just like this.

    I’m trying to lose weight and while I don’t freak a lot about it, when I blog I worry about who might be influenced by certain things. If that makes sense. I’ve been hosting Diet Bets which focus on the scale— and I don’t want that to be the ONLY tool people look at— so I try to tread cautiously there as well.

    Body images: man, they can mess you up if you aren’t careful. 🙁

  4. I haven’t heard of that, but I absolutely believe it can exist. It’s one of the reasons I’m so wary of the Whole 30/Paleo craze. I hated obsessing over food when I tried that because I sensed it could be a slippery slope towards a larger problem. The fact that I did it through a group in a CrossFit gym full of people all doing the same thing made it more worrisome. When does support become enabling?
    The girl you mention could have a problem. Or she could just be high maintenance. Some people aren’t happy no matter what you do. I was once behind a girl at a finishing chute who refused bananas and oranges because, even though the volunteers had gloves on, they were cutting them up outside in a tent. She didn’t feel that was sanitary. Of course, the germphobes are another whole discussion! I feel like any type of obsession is dangerous. People have been walking this planet for a very long time. Sometimes we get dirty and eat things that aren’t ideal. We’re still here. You can’t chase some ideal of perfection and expect the world to comply.

  5. Wow I’ve never heard of this!
    It does sound pretty crazy.. that’s not taking care of your body if you’re willing to put yourself in danger in order to eat exactly what you want. That really is an obsession..
    I’ve struggled with my share of eating disorders and not so healthy thinking when it comes to food but never heard of something like this. Thanks for sharing!
    Just about anything can be dangerous if taken to the extreme.

  6. I totaly agree and thank you for saying something I was already thinking! Case in point…I try to eat “healthy” most of the time but I am not afraid to cheat every once in a while. Like the Reeses Pieces Bars on my blog today. LOL

  7. great post homie. i’m curious who that blogger was =). I totally abuse the post carb! I’ll eat anything! and I mean anything! I think we all have struggles with weight and eating…and it doesn’t help that we getting older. We just need to be wiser and have common sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *