Zee Media Bureau/Ritu Singh
New Delhi: With so many health advices and volley of information circulating around us, we all tend to eat healthy and adopt better life choices. Now, what could be wrong with a desire to eat healthy? Nothing, right? But, as they say, excess of everything is bad.
When people become obsessed with eating healthy all the time, they impose strict regulations upon them and become fixated on ''righteous eating''.
Gradually this obsession with eating right all the time becomes a mental disorder so much so that it disrupts your daily life.
Orthorexia nervosa, a term coined in 1997 by Dr Steven Bratman, is a fixation with healthy eating, to the point where it becomes a crippling compulsion, described as “a disease disguised as a virtue”. Dr. Bratman also describes orthorexia as a disease in which people view their diet as a way to feel virtuous, clean and even spiritual.
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This disorder which starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully gradually escalates into dangerous arenas wherein the affected people become constantly and overwhelmingly obsessed with food quality and purity.
Look for these signs of Orthorexia:
- Food choices become extremely restrictive, in both variety and calories
- Loss of intuitive eating and a lack of pleasure in eating
- Constant refusal to eat food that they don't consider pure or that someone else has cooked/prepared
- The obsession with healthy eating crowds out other activities and interests
- Increasing anxiety around food
- In some cases, can even lead to severe malnutrition or death, as the person increasingly eliminates food types from his or her diet.
- Such a behaviour impairs relationships and leads to social isolation because they plan their life around their diets. They may refuse to go to certain restaurants, refuse to meet people for lunch/dinners or if they do so, make healthy eating the dominating topic of conversation annoying others.
- Such people also constantly fight food temptations and punish themselves severely ( stricter eating, fasts and exercise ) when they feel guilty.