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?