Orthorexia vs. Normal eating: orthorexia literally means “righteous eating” or an obsession with healthy eating. Healthy eating or following a healthy eating plan is not the harmful part. The harm comes when healthy becomes the all-consuming driving force. Healthy is fine, but obsession isn’t. There really is too much of a good thing, and that applies to healthy eating patterns. This pattern of obsessive healthy eating is a growing category of disordered eating that is fueled in part by social media. So beware of what you consume not just from your plate, but from your phone as well.
Eating behaviors fall on a continuum between apathy (don’t care about nutrition at all and make no effort to eat foods that make them feel healthful, vigorous and nourished) to orthorexic attitudes (everything must be the most nutritious food, and you only eat “good” or “healthy” foods). Normal eating lies somewhere in between and allows for a healthful diet with “fun” foods as well. Food rules shouldn’t be rigid or extreme, and people shouldn’t be judged for the way they eat.
Answering yes to any of these questions indicate a tendency toward orthorexic attitudes and behaviors.
1. Do you ever wish you could just eat a food without worrying about its nutritional quality?
2. Do you find it hard to eat food prepared with love by family or friends?
3. Do you find yourself avoiding eating situations where you are not in control of the menu?
4. Do you often label foods as good or bad (and yourself as good or bad depending on what you ate)?
5. Do you feel in control when you stick your idea of the perfect diet?
6. Do you find yourself having to follow more and more food rules instead of less?
7. Do you put yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how someone else can possible eat a certain way?-->
Maintaining optimal nutrition requires balance, moderation and enjoyment so keeping healthy routines is great, just make sure they aren’t too rigid or restrictive.