7 Signs of Orthorexia That Are Different than Just Eating Healthy ...

By Heather

7 Signs of Orthorexia That Are Different than Just Eating Healthy ...

One of the hardest things I’ve ever been through in my life was orthorexia, an eating disorder I never knew existed until I had developed signs of orthorexia. Orthorexia is an eating disorder not designed around restricting calories or losing weight. Instead, it’s about eliminating all foods that aren’t “clean foods,” which is how most of us think we should probably eat anyway. With the huge health obsession in our country today, it is a fine line between what makes a person orthorexic and what makes them a healthy eater. I am a healthy eater, but I was once a victim of orthorexia. To show you the signs, and the differences, I’d like to share with you the signs of orthorexia, so you can know if you have this disorder, or if you know someone who might. I’ve also included sources at the end for help and for more information.

1 Fear of Food

One of the main signs of orthorexia is fearing foods that aren’t perfectly clean. It isn’t about choosing to eat clean foods, such as non-processed, allergen-free, etc., but it’s about literally fearing food that isn’t perfect, completely clean or easily digested.

2 It Starts Small

Orthorexia starts very small. It might start by just eating foods that aren’t processed, which is a great way to live, or might start with just going gluten-free. This doesn’t mean that all people who eat this way are orthorexic. It just means that the disorder starts small with cutting out one certain thing, whether medical based or not.

3 It Progresses Fast

For me, my orthorexia progressed fast once it got started. Once I went vegetarian, it was raw, then all organic, then local foods. I got really obsessive, and started juicing all my food. In the meantime, I was a wreck, and so far from the picture of health, even I didn’t realize it at first.

4 It Comes in Stages

A person with orthorexia may not eat all raw, all organic, etc. It can be something as simple as being afraid to eat anything canned, non-organic or that’s not allergen free. It’s not choosing those options, but being afraid to eat anything that isn’t approved. All people who have orthorexia are different, and all choose a different “path” of safeness.

5 It is Hard to Beat

Orthorexia is hard to beat because for one, it isn’t about calories, so it’s not a matter of gaining weight. It’s about fighting the mindset behind food and perfection. Trust me, that’s a hard thing to overcome, and one that takes daily practice.

6 Obsession with Perfection

One of the main signs of orthorexia is that the affected person is a perfectionist. They tend to strive to be the best at everything, including their diet as a result of orthorexia.

7 Menu Specific

Most people who are orthorexic will be so incredibly specific when ordering from a menu that it can be a little over the top. Don’t get me wrong, I’m the girl who asks for no dressing, no oil or butter and no bread, but I used to go as far as asking if the vegetables were organic, where the meat came from and if any of the food was allergenic. If a person you know orders this way, or is incredibly specific, they may have orthorexia. I’m all about ordering foods this way if you have a health reason to, and like I said, I eat very healthy when ordering out. Yet, it’s fearing that everything you eat might not be perfect that is the sign of orthorexia.

For more on my story, and how I live now, you can visit my blog, The Soulful Spoon. Also, I’ve included the website for the National Association of Eating Disorders for more resources or help if you think you have orthorexia. Have you ever dealt with orthorexia, or do you know someone who has?

Sources: nationaleatingdisorders.com

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My family for as long as I can remember has been all organic foods no msg or nitrates ect. My aunt and grandma both don't even eat gluten and we even go as far as to get organic and natural lotions, shampoos without harsh chemicals. Same with cleaning products. Don't get me wrong we all love food were just health freaks.

I found it helpful. Now I know that this type of disorder exists.

If he was thin- it was likely anorexia.

I knew someone who had this. He was SO thin because he couldn't find anything safe to eat. @Laura - This falls into the anxiety disorders. It's not really about what you eat or don't eat, it's about anxiety, fear, and compulsions that interfere with daily life.

Lara- if you haven't had an eating disorder you have no place to say this doesn't qualify as one. An eating disorder is an unhealthy obsession and habits involving food. It's incredibly difficult. Please be respectful about the difficulties of others. If you were in there place you'd feel the same way.

Crazy!

the worst thing you can eat is worry

@Lara that's quite rude, just because it's not relevant to you doesn't mean it's stupid. Talk about short minded!!

Thanks! I'll keep this article in mind as I'm starting to cut out unhealthy foods from my diet :)

I think I might be in the beginning stages of this. In vegetarian, gluten free, mostly organic and I've started reading more into labels than normal. Wanting to know every ingredient and such and if it's "good" or not.

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