What is Orthorexia? 

The term 'Orthorexia' was coined by Steven Bratman, MD, an individual who has first hand experience with the disorder. Orthorexia is defined as an obsession with 'healthy or righteous eating.'

At this time, the Eating Disorder, Orthorexia is not a recognized as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

 Left: my Dad and I, winter 2012 (95 lbs) ; right: my nephew and I, summer 2017  (? lbs I don't weigh myself)

Left: my Dad and I, winter 2012 (95 lbs) ; right: my nephew and I, summer 2017  (? lbs I don't weigh myself)

The term is derived from the Greek “ortho,” which means “right,” or “correct,” and is a type of obsession with healthy food that is psychologically or even physically unhealthy...
— Steven Bratman, MD, author and creator of www.orthorexia.com.
Eventually food choices become so restrictive, in both variety and calories, that health suffers – an ironic twist for a person so completely dedicated to healthy eating. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships, and become physically dangerous.
— Karin Kratina, PhD, RD, LD/N
Addictions are not just to drugs or alcohol but to food, people, shopping, gambling and other compulsions and behaviors that distract ourselves from being with ourselves.
The spirit cannot endure the body when overfed, but, if underfed, the body cannot endure the spirit.
— St Frances de Sales

The consequences to this type of restrictive eating - Orthorexia - are massive.

Note: This page and posts within document MY journey. I do not believe that everyone on a restrictive diet has orthorexia. Though, this information may raise awareness that diets can become an obsession. And can be a 'gateway' for eating disorders. Most of all... listen to your BODY. Always.

The side-effects listed below are side-effects that I experienced. These are not researched and therefore I do not know if they apply to others with orthorexia/restrictive dieting. 

Emotional Side-Effects of Orthorexia:

  • Anxiety 
  • Obsessive-Compulsive behavior (measuring food, listing out meals, only eating at certain times)
  • Fear (of food/ingredients, losing control)
  • Depression
  • Despair and helplessness 
  • Low self-esteem
  • Isolation/Social Anxiety

Physical Side-Effects of Orthorexia: 

  • Insufficient nutrients/ malnourished
  • Insufficient calories
  • Dangerous weight-loss / unhealthy BMI
  • Decrease in energy 
  • Dangerously low blood pressure
  • Digestive upsets/complications
  • Insomnia
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Loss of appetite

Below are posts documenting My Journey with Orthorexia: 

My Battle with Orthorexia, March 24, 2013
My Battle With Orthorexia: Epiphanies and Recovery, April 17, 2013
My Battle with Orthorexia: Recovery, Balance & Moderation, May 16, 2013
My Battle with Orthorexia: Living in Maine, Restoration, July 27, 2013
My Battle with Orthorexia:Tricking Myself with Bananas, January 25, 2015
On The Other Side of My Selfie, November 13, 2015
Fifty Shades of Orthorexia: Including Grey, December 19, 2015
I Am Alive - My Eating Disorders are Too, February 25, 2018

Below are some great resources on Eating Disorders, Addictions, and Recovery: 

10 Things You Need to Thrive in Recovery from Addiction
The Joy of Eating: How Overcoming Anorexia Taught Me to Love Food Again
How I live With Addiction Every Day: Amber Valletta
13 Rules I Live By To Maintain a Healthy Relationship with Food
"Looking Great" Didn't Make Me Happy, But Gaining Weight Did
10 Things To Stop Doing If You Want To Love Your Body
Eating in the Light of Moon by Dr. Anita Johnson
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
You can Heal Your Heart by Louise Hay & David Kessler
Loving Yourself to Great Health by Louise Hay
Women, Food & Desire by Alexandra Jamieson
The Body Book by Cameron Diaz

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
www.nedic.ca
www.anad.org

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. If you or someone you know is suffering from an eating disorder, please seek help now.

My love, you are never alone. 

Please feel free to contact me anytime if you need someone to talk to. <3

-AEB