Eating Disorder Treatment, Binge EatingOrange County, California, Eating Disorder Treatment ProgramEating DisorderEating Disorder

From Healthy to Heath Risk

With summer approaching many families, recent graduates and young people prepare for vacations, beach outings and outdoor activities of all types. It is not uncommon to see hoards of people lining up at gym’s and yoga studios around the country attempting to achieve their “ summer body”. While a healthy exercise regimen and well balanced diet can be a good thing, there is a thin line between being healthy and falling into the trap of over exercise and extreme dieting.       

As new trendy diets and exercise programs sprout like trees, attempts to get into shape can easily spiral into an obsession.  Although many diets like “ Paleo”, “ low carb” and “ raw” start out with good intentions, they also have the power to take control of one’s life. We see this all to often, an attempt too limit the amount of processed carbohydrates turns into eating only chicken and vegetables, watching portions sizes takes the slippery slope into measuring every grain of oatmeal down to the nearest ounce. A once beneficial hobby such as yoga, or spin class soon turns into a priority, one that holds court over all other life events. Although these behaviors are often masked by society as healthy or trendy, they are in fact precursors, if not signs of an eating disorder.

One of the lesser known but, extremely prevalent and dangerous eating disorders is called Orthorexia, a term that literally means a fixation on righteous eating.  Orthorexia may start out as an innocent attempt at eating healthy, but can quickly escalate into an obsession.  One may begin to fixate on the caloric load, purity or nutrition of the food they consume. This rigidity in eating grows to consume the person, as everyday becomes a quest to “ eat right”. Any deviation from this healthy eating can plague the orthorexic with thoughts of guilt, shame and self-loathing.  These thoughts then push the person to eat in an even more rigid manner in order to make up for what they see as past indiscretions. This vicious cycle of food obsession and guilt can make sufferers of Othorexia trapped within their obsession. Although orthorexia may not be as infamous as other eating disorders, such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia, it nonetheless can take an extreme toll both physically and psychologically on its victims, and has the ability to effect and dominate all aspects of that person’s life, culminating in hardship, struggle and even death.

Presented below are some key features of orthorexia.

  1. Obsessing on the nutrition of food
  2. Spending an inordinate amount of time thinking, preparing or ruminating on nutrition, purity or ingredients of food.
  3. Fear of eating meals made by others.
  4. Deriving control and joy from “ sticking” to your diet or healthy eating plan.
  5. Avoidance of foods due to allergies and dietary restrictions that have not been prescribed by a doctor.
  6. Noticeable increase in vitamin’s, supplements, “Super foods” and the like.
  7. Extreme reduction in foods consumed, many orthorexics will only eat between 10- 15 food items.
  8. Guilt, shame or fear is felt if one eats food not deemed as “ healthy”.

If you feel as though you or someone you know may be struggling with this form of eating disorder, Rebecca’s House can help 800.711.2062



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