Ortoreksia: healthy lifestyle is dangerous?!

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Did you know that fanatical quest to eat right can be a threat to both physical and mental health?

Orthorexia (from the Greek orthos — “straight, right”, and orexis — “urge for food”) are called excessive “healthy” food. But neither ICD-10 nor in DSM-V such disease, you will not find. While there is not sufficient evidence that this habit has a negative impact on human health and may harm it. Also there are no clear criteria for what constitutes orthorexia, and understanding, as it is this excessive passion affects the psyche. However, the term is itself a phenomenon, of course, exist.

Ortoreksia quite often found among eating disorders, for example consisting of anorexia, to lose weight a person goes to the “right” diet and begin to exercise. But between orthorexia and anorexia there is a fundamental difference. Anorexia person is important, how it looks and how much it weighs, so the diet is just a result of the desire to embody the desired image in life, while ortoreksia in principle, all attention is focused only on food. That is more important than the idea itself, the fact of following the principles of “correct” food.

Signs ortoreksii

1. Diet

When ortoreksia the quality of the food plays a major role. The food should be natural, environmentally friendly and not contain additives. Often people with orthorexia there is a belief that some group of products can harm them, so potentially dangerous components immediately excluded from the diet. That is, a person has a clear setting that can be eaten and what not (for example, “black-and-white thinking”, which is characterized by the labels “good” and “bad”, “harmful”, “useful”), and its main task is to follow the rules of this system and in any case not to disturb them.

Ortoreksia: healthy lifestyle  is dangerous?!

2. Rituals

For a person focused on proper nutrition, eating is a ritual. Food needs to be cooked a certain way and under certain conditions (for example in the pot with the “right” cover), fruits and vegetables should be chopped on a Board made from environmentally friendly materials, and the act of eating needs to happen at a certain time, not when man wants, and when you need to. In other words, a proper diet becomes a religion, and everything connected with it — any little thing and every detail, begins to be almost crucial. And if, for example, a man gets into a situation where he is forced is not what I had planned, and not where planned, he begins to experience severe stress. He has a fear that often leads to the fact that he just refuses to go places where there is at least less likely to eat the wrong foods.

3. Avoidant behavior

As the man very strictly watching what he eats, and the fact that he is categorically impossible, then sometimes he begins to avoid the places where the “forbidden” products in principle can appear. He also distancing from those who do not share his opinion. It is important that his idea had been supported, so he by all means will try to impose on others their beliefs. Often this behavior can lead to isolation and the rupture of social ties. But nevertheless, these people quickly find like-minded people. Like-minded people with whom they share only one common interest. And this interest is food.

A person suffering from orthorexia, eats not in order to be healthy. The meaning of his life is to eat healthy food. And that’s all. So if you find that “right” food becomes an obsession, and former interests fade into the background, it’s time to think.

4. Risk group

Mostly from orthorexia are young women up to 35 years. Young men also face this problem, but less frequently. The reasons for the development of orthorexia a lot — for example, if a person in childhood had a medical condition that requires specific dietary behavior, or his parents fixated on healthy eating. But most often tend to ortoreksia people with unstable self-esteem and unformed personal identity, they do not fully define who they are, what they want, what they like and what is important to them. Their “I”, they know neither their interests nor their needs, nor their possibilities. Adherence to certain food plants becomes their way of self-realization.

At risk also fall perfectionists, people with high demands on themselves — they need hard rules for you to follow. Ortoreksia can also be a reaction to stress as a way to cope with it. The person does not solve the problem, but just briefly from her distracted. It seems that he neutralized their anxieties and fears, shifting the focus on adherence to the principles of proper nutrition, but in fact he has just formed a new fear. Fear to break the diet, relax and eat something. Therefore, the stress only increases, and still disturbing States added more guilt.

Ortoreksia: healthy lifestyle  is dangerous?!

In any case, everything is relative and ambiguous. To draw a clear line where enthusiasm for proper nutrition turns into pathology is still quite difficult. Still, be aware that a healthy lifestyle is a social trend. Society seems to say: if you follow him, and you slim and fit, then you’re good, and if you are overweight and you don’t want to play sports, then you’re lazy. That is, those fellows who eats right and plays sports and everyone else is not. But in fact it is not. Food, of course, an important component of life, but not the main. And it is — in itself — does not make a person happy.

Despite the fact that people with orthorexia spend a lot of time thinking about food — their whole life is filled with thoughts about food, they don’t get absolutely no pleasure from eating. More precisely, so: they get the pleasure, but from the fact that abide by certain rules which themselves have set. Such a man feels himself elected. He’s great because he has willpower, and all the other weaklings. He begins to critically assess others and to realize their superiority over them. Important note: it is at the expense of their Affairs, but at the expense of food. There are other tools to Express their “I” had not.

Have ortoreksia there is another danger. Many of those who begin to limit yourself in some products, for example, decides to eat only raw vegetables and fruits often do not take into account their physiological characteristics. If a person has gastritis, such a diet can result in very serious problems. So striving for a healthy lifestyle can lead to a total denial of the needs and capabilities of their own body, and this, in turn, indicates the presence of emotional immaturity — the person somewhere saw the idea and blindly copied it without thinking about the appropriateness of his decision.

Ortoreksia: healthy lifestyle  is dangerous?!


First you need to acknowledge the fact that the problem still exists that the food takes up too much space in your life — you spend on her all the time. The second step will be the recognition that the meaning of life is still not eating and not blindly following rituals. You can be happy if satisfy their own needs, find people with whom to build a harmonious relationship, have the experience of love, an interesting job, know how to enjoy life. And the food is secondary. And here is the most effective method of struggle is the return to awareness, to understanding what your body needs. But if the person realizes that plunged into the subject himself can not cope, you need to seek help — in most cases to cognitive behavioral therapy.

It is impossible to lead a healthy lifestyle without considering the needs of her body.