The Food Fixation (and don't forget the reality check!)
Weight loss is a booming industry. We're all on a constant quest for a better body and gladly soak up the latest miracle method for lasting weight loss. New studies come out every day about what is and is not good for our bodies. This can be extremely confusing and discouraging. But don't give up! Just remember, keep it simple, keep it real. But in our fight to be healthy, have we created a new eating disorder?
You've probably heard of anorexia, but what about orthorexia? Orthorexia is the obsession with eating healthfully and correctly, taken to an extreme. You heard it...extreme. Our reasoning mind is helpful here in determining obsessive and unrealistic. Orthorexics may pride themselves on eating only organic or only vegetarian, or on their ability to stick to other obscure diets. They often have trouble going out to eat or even having a meal at a friend's house because their food habits are more than just health-conscious; they're an obsession.
Orthorexia is different from anorexia and bulimia, since the focus is not on the quantity of food, but rather the quality of the food. In fact, a person with orthorexia may eat regular meals and take in a perfectly normal amount of calories. However, it joins these other, more well-known disorders in the fact that food becomes the absolute center of a person's life. As we have discussed so many times before...life is about balance! Striving for that balance and be aware of the ebb and flow of life.
Though studies have shown in the past that 86 percent of eating disorders are developed by the age of 20, orthorexia is an important exception. As women get older, especially around the time they hit menopause, they may be especially likely to become obsessed with eating "right" to improve their health and stave off aging.
It's important to give yourself a reality check every so often when it comes to eating healthfully. A well-balanced diet is essential for everyone, and striving to eat well is an excellent way to keep your body at its peak at any age. But remember that even healthy eating can go to an unhealthy extreme — keep it healthy, but remember that there's more to life than what goes on your plate.
In balance! ~j