0

votes

Do we all just have an eating disorder?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 28, 2011 at 11:23 PM

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthorexia_nervosa

My coworkers read about this disorder on yahoo and instantly emailed me concerned that this is what I really suffer from. So do we really suffer from this or is it perfectly normal to be so into paleo? I don't think I'm malnurished.

E7adfe31507efb7c935f618a829f56d6

(1507)

on February 28, 2012
at 04:04 PM

"Does their self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy?" Yes. "Do they skip foods they once enjoyed in order to eat the "right" foods?" Yes (but I enjoyed it the same way I might enjoy drugs...so...). If Orthorexia is wrong, I don't want to be right.

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:55 PM

I understand people saying "take it easy dude" but instead every single freakin' time they're saying "this sounds like orthorexia" which is a bit ridiculous.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:38 AM

...are outweighed by the other downsides that would attend the change (cost, inconvenience, stress etc), but it seems silly to have a general attitude thinking that one can be or try to be too healthy or try too much to be healthy.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:35 AM

Seconded! (again) The challenge is in working out what the fear of "orthorexia" is actually a fear of (since orthorexia doesn't actually exist). My preferred diagnosis of "orthorexaphobia" as it actually manifests in the paleo community is 'parfitiphobia'- the fear of the perfect. I'm thinking of the attitude occasionally expressed here, that pursuing a 'good' diet, is a good idea, but that pursuing an optimal one, or pursuing a certain level of detail is too much Certainly there are levels of detail that aren't worth considering and certainly for some people some positive health changes...

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 29, 2011
at 05:21 AM

I can think of one specific example with about 1000 questions...

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:35 AM

not *all* of us, but maybe *some* of us... ;)

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on April 29, 2011
at 12:16 AM

This is my favorite orthorexia thread! It comes with a quiz http://paleohacks.com/questions/33750/have-you-been-confronted-about-being-orthorexic#axzz1KrVSIfHD That I failed, btw. ;)

47a42b6be94caf700fce9509e38bb6a4

(9647)

on April 29, 2011
at 12:08 AM

Similar thread. http://paleohacks.com/questions/6812/are-all-paleos-afflicted-with-orthorexia-nervosa

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15 Answers

8
7bea72ef073e8f76b5828727f1460900

(2718)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:44 PM

Seems like my eating disorder is causing me to become lean and fit.

I can live with that.

5
9f485ea74bc21f9a1d0faa86a7af2bf7

on April 28, 2011
at 11:36 PM

i heard aboout this craziness from the bagel eating crowd at work too..people are insane ..eating healthy food is now a disorder?? really? who invented this disorder, General Mills?

2
4145b36f1488224964edac6258b75aff

(7821)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:37 PM

Orthorexia as defined by that article you mention and the Wiki is a functionally useless definition. I railed on this in another forum somewhere, so I'll copy past the pertinent bit:

Quoting the wiki on orthorexia:

Do they spend more than 3 hours a day thinking about healthy foods? When they eat the way they're supposed to, do they feel in total control? Are they planning tomorrow's menu today? Has the quality of their life decreased as the quality of their diet increased? Have they become stricter with themselves? Does their self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy? Do they look down on others who don't eat this way? Do they skip foods they once enjoyed in order to eat the "right" foods? Does their diet make it difficult for them to eat anywhere but at home, distancing them from family and friends? Do they feel guilt or self-loathing when they stray from their diet? If yes was answered to two or more questions, the person may have a mild case of orthorexia.

So if I plan my meals in advance and become stricter about the food I eat in order to seek better health, I am a candidate for orthorexia. In fact, the entire set of questions probably fits virtually every fat person attempting to go on a diet. Note also how the article originally linked made an incredibly broad connection between restriction of various foods and anorexia/emaciation. If I avoid wheat, I'm an orthorexic even if I don't become anorexic or emaciated ever, even if I gain weight afterwards because I had a mild gluten sensitivity that was screwing with my intestines.

If the term was restricted merely to the mental disorder of eating yourself to death (veganism, etc), then it would have some value. But as it is, virtually anyone who cares about what they eat for any reason is a suspect orthorexic.

If orthorexia were tied to a negative health outcome - measureable health decline or something like that - then it would be a perfectly valid and useful term to describe someone who lets their zealotry about the "right way to eat" lead them to harm. But right now it describes literally anyone who attempts to eat in a way outside the mainstream view, which is totally useless and seems designed to find a way to further medicalize things which don't need to be.

2
A8d95f3744a7a0885894ee0731c9744c

(3761)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:36 PM

If there really is any chance that we do suffer from the disorder, asking us would probably be redundant :-)

1
0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19235)

on April 29, 2011
at 11:10 AM

Orthorexia nervosa (also known as orthorexia) is a term used by Steven Bratman to describe people who have developed a fixation with healthy or righteous eating[1] and has been referred to as a mental disorder.[2] It is not a medically recognized term.[a] Bratman claims that in rare cases, this focus may turn into a fixation so extreme that it can lead to severe malnutrition or even death.[3] Even in less severe cases, the attempt to follow a diet that cannot provide adequate nourishment is said to lower self-esteem as the orthorexics blame themselves rather than their diets for their constant hunger and the resulting cravings for forbidden foods.

Bratman describes orthorexia as an unhealthy fixation with what the individual considers to be healthy eating. The subject may avoid certain unhealthy foods, such as those containing fats, preservatives, man-made food-additives, animal products, or other ingredients considered by the subject to be unhealthy; if the sufferer does not eat appropriately, malnutrition can ensue. Bratman claims Orthorexic sufferers have specific preferences about the foods they are eating and avoiding. Products that are preserved with additives can be considered dangerous. Industrial products can be seen as artificial, whereas biological fruits and vegetables can be seen as healthy.[6] Bratman asserts that "emaciation is common among followers of certain health food diets, such as rawfoodism, and this can at times reach the extremes seen in anorexia nervosa."

The wikipedia page is quite a good summary if anyone actually bothered to read it properly. Does your diet lead to:

  • Lower self-esteem?

  • Attempt to follow a diet that cannot provide adequate nourishment?

  • Constant hunger and the resulting cravings for forbidden foods?

  • An extreme fixation on food?

  • Malnutrition?

  • Obsessions with feeing pure and natural?

  • Social isolation?

  • Symptoms consistent with obsessive-compulsive disorder?

If you are suffering from these due to your diet you have a problem no matter what you eat.

Seriously, eating healthly does not make you an orthorexic any more than someone who is overweight going on a diet to lose weight makes them anorexic.

Its not a defined mental illness, it is a description of people who srew up their lives with obsessions over their particular definition of healthy food.

Of course there are people who appear to take paleo eating to the level of unhealthy obbsession, as with anything in life.

1
5a8b4b0567fe7c510d220cb83843b4a9

on April 29, 2011
at 06:37 AM

I dont think its the commitment to a diet or a strong interest in it that makes it an eating disorder. I believe it becomes an eating disorder when someone becomes obsessive compulsive and they develop an unmanageable fear around certain foods. If that is coupled with a need for control and a feeling of powerlessness to gain control, followed by strict limits you put on your life due to this, then I believe you should further explore if you have an eating disorder.

I have an eating disorder and these are things I deal with. I think if you have an eating disorder and you read up on other eating disorders, you will know very quickly if you should feel concerned for yourself. I think if there is a need for concern, you will likely already feel it within yourself as well. Typically people with eating disorders are extreme in their obsession about diet, food, image and may take great lengths to make it appear as a healthy dedication to other people.

You may also want to read the questionnaire on the Overeater's Anonymous site as Compulsive eating is a recognized disorder. There are a lot of similarities to this disorder you mentioned. There are also a lot of similarities to Anorexia. There is a lot of cross over between various seemingly opposing eating disorders, but the common threads for all of them is an unhealthy, unmanageable obsessive behaviors with regards to food and body image. Even if you look fit, with an eating disorder, you are in turmoil in some level to get a grip and do what in your mind is the perfect and right thing for your body.

Good luck!

1
6f97d1b544380ac1f2dbf95d11f25971

on April 29, 2011
at 12:26 AM

I agree that some people can become fanatical about what they eat and go completely OCD over it. This can be true with any diet, it really depends on the person. But you must remember our diet seems extreme to people, as we are going against the conventional notions of nourishment that have prevailed for the past 10,000 years. Because we are going against conventional norms we seem obsessive when compared to those who eat whatever is in the SAD. Paradigm shifts can and do occur in society but it takes time and paleo is somewhat new concept to most people. I was a vegetarian for 4 years and found that most people accepted it as it is seen as more mainstream today as opposed to vegetarianism in say, the 1950s. I always tried to be non-judgmental of those who weren't vegetarian, as I figured what a person eats is there own choice and i'm not into converting people for any reason. I got plenty of grief from both vegans and SAD meat eaters alike as a vegetarian.

Now as a paleo eater people are mostly shocked at my diet. However when I inform them that I have cured my fibromyalgia, severe allergies and IBS while losing 20 lbs. in the past 6 weeks, they become awe struck and usually very interested. So I guess if this is disordered eating its working wonders for me.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:55 PM

As is probably apparent from many of my posts, I do believe that people can easily become fanatical with this or any other diet. That said, it is important to remember that the leaders of Modern Inquistions are nowadays not usually priest but psychotherapists and psychiatrists who can miraculously turn any behavior into a disease by giving it a name (usually a polysylabic name with Greek-Latin roots) and placing it into the modern-day "Malleus Maleficarum": the DSM IV.

The above is not a slight against all psychotherapists or psychiatrists, only against those who confuse the word "different" with "pathological".

1
D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:54 PM

I said it earlier today, I'll say it again. We need a word for fear of orthorexia.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:38 AM

...are outweighed by the other downsides that would attend the change (cost, inconvenience, stress etc), but it seems silly to have a general attitude thinking that one can be or try to be too healthy or try too much to be healthy.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on April 29, 2011
at 09:35 AM

Seconded! (again) The challenge is in working out what the fear of "orthorexia" is actually a fear of (since orthorexia doesn't actually exist). My preferred diagnosis of "orthorexaphobia" as it actually manifests in the paleo community is 'parfitiphobia'- the fear of the perfect. I'm thinking of the attitude occasionally expressed here, that pursuing a 'good' diet, is a good idea, but that pursuing an optimal one, or pursuing a certain level of detail is too much Certainly there are levels of detail that aren't worth considering and certainly for some people some positive health changes...

D10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930

(5242)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:55 PM

I understand people saying "take it easy dude" but instead every single freakin' time they're saying "this sounds like orthorexia" which is a bit ridiculous.

1
Medium avatar

(12379)

on April 28, 2011
at 11:33 PM

I was just reading Dr. Bratman's site and I think that the best part of the site is the hatemail secion

I think that there could very well be people that follow any type of diet that fall into this category - but there's always going the be OCD types that do anything. I definitely don't think that we all are orthorexic.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on April 29, 2011
at 05:21 AM

I can think of one specific example with about 1000 questions...

Aead76beb5fc7b762a6b4ddc234f6051

(15239)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:35 AM

not *all* of us, but maybe *some* of us... ;)

0
21a2813241857e7532967e32e490061b

(50)

on April 29, 2011
at 03:45 PM

If taken out of context I might be considered with an eating disorder.

Like the doctor who mentioned eating disorder after I had told him about my weightloss due to digestive issues and that I avoided junk food because of it (I didn't even mention the grains, just junk food). Apparently, if you feel nauseous and you've lack of appetite because food just looks repulsive and you lose weight when you don´t really need to the problem is you. It was me that didn't have enough willpower to eat, the loss of appetite didn't seem relevant. This is the worldview of so many people, if you undereat and you are slim (like in my case) you must be obsessive, if you overeat and you´re fat you lack willpower.

Thankfully people that know me don´t think I have any disorder. I´ve always been a picky eater, so the change for them is very minor. I´ve started to eat things I didn´t eat before, and I´ve stopped eating other things I ate before. Makes little difference for them.

I ENJOY eating again, that´s such a relieve for me, I hated when I was just eating because I had to. So I won't make excuses for why I don't really cheat, it took me a long time to get to this point and I'm still recovering. I do use dairy ( stopped for few months, made no difference) but it's mostly cream, butter and kefir and I make sure I'm moderate carb not low carb. I don't feel restricted, there's too much of good food out there to enjoy!!

My conclusion, feeling miserable wrecks my social life more than my eating habits.

0
B3c62d89cd47b7d7209b6a99243d0ded

on April 29, 2011
at 01:36 PM

I've always been a picky eater.

I just kept picking different exclusions and combinations until I found one that made me very healthy.

Then I stopped.

Why would we consider this a disease that needs a latinish greekish word???

0
77f83ec328459dce702216709762e202

(571)

on April 29, 2011
at 02:24 AM

I'd like to believe that Othorexia Nervosa would apply only to folks who have significant health consequences or current negative impact on day-to-day functioning as a result of their food obsession. One does not diagnose Anorexia, Bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder (a disorder worth investigating per the DSM) in a vacuum... it has to be severe enough that a)folks would insist that you see a mental health provider and b)you are suffering, whether you realize it or not - so, it has to have an impact on multiple areas of your life including your health, job, social life, etc.
The above questions to determine whether you have Othorexia are really (IMO) designed so that Dr. Bratman can get some publicity... no professional in their right mind who has any experience with eating disorders would diagnose a mental disorder based on answering 2 of the above questions.
Reading the yahoo article they're pretty clear - they're talking about folks with such a limited diet due to fear of "unhealthy" eating who (based on their example) eat only broccoli or some other similarly restrictive diet. They are NOT describing folks that have eschewed grains and dairy and replaced them with meat, seafood, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits.

Othorexia is just the new anorexia. In the general population it's quite common to hear folks call a skinny woman or man "anorexic", regardless of whether they have an eating disorder. Othorexia, in the general population, is just another way of judging somebody's life choices.

0
2193cb1eca1a0eda4b2cad910074634e

on April 28, 2011
at 11:32 PM

LOL!!

After reading that entry all I can say is -- Now that is funny!

So now there is a psychological disorder for people who are concerned about their diet and do not eat SAD?!

Nice. Now there are mental health professionals sniffing around ready to pull out a RX pad so we can all be medicated!

This is just silly!

-1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on April 29, 2011
at 12:31 AM

This is all brainwashing to lay the groundwork to implement Codex Alimentarius. If THEY wanna define me as having a eating disorder (by their standards), I'm ok with it. I wear it well.

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