Author Mike Stone
When Healthy Eating Becomes Unhealthy
Strange as it might sound, healthy eating becoming unhealthy is a growing concern for those who deal with eating disorders. It might seem unusual that someone who is on a mission to become a healthy eater can spiral into the realms of unhealthy eating, and we are not talking about those who simply fall of the bandwagon and go back to food that they had once binned as being bad for them. So just how does healthy eating become unhealthy?
Not Just a Bad Day
We all understand that the perils of commencing a healthy eating plan or diet can lead us to days where we only want to reach for the junk food and gorge on our body weight in food in just a few hours. That isn’t the problem here though. This is something that spirals from obsession to an eating disorder that is known in the medical world as orthorexia. Still a relatively new term you will be forgiven for not having heard of it, but rest assured simply reaching for the chocolate or eating a family bag of crisps when you meant to stick to a low-fat diet is far from this eating condition.
Obsession Takes Over
A person that takes healthy eating into the land of unhealthy eating develops a fixation on what they are putting into their bodies. It starts with the best intentions and a typical mindset. For whatever reason, and it is different for all of us, they decide to clean up their eating and head for a new way of consuming their food. Some people start by going sugar-free, or cutting meat and becoming vegetarian. Other try not eating wheat or gluten, and some opt for organic everything. All of which can be perfectly healthy and are not wrong ways to eat by any means but orthorexia is different.
When a person starts to obsess about every element of the food, they eat issues can arise, and rituals can develop that see them become so totally preoccupied with their diet and body image that things can start to go wrong. It comes down to a form of control that might offer them something they feel has been missing in their lives. Habits surrounding food can be made very safe and healthy whereas others can spiral into downright dangerous. By using food and exercise as a control people who suffer from this eating disorder can be completely unaware that things are not going well. The focus is the result and the fact that they have only eaten three organic carrots boiled in purified water while having run 10 miles on the treadmill might strike them as a resounding success, but you can see how that would damage the body over a longer period.
A healthy diet should always be about balance. If you go out for a meal and eat something, you wouldn’t normally, a healthy approach is to see that as a one-off. If you or someone you know is obsessing over every mouthful and often denying themselves as a particular food is not available, it might be time to seek help.