Orthorexia: the fitness industry’s hidden eating disorder??

So yesterday I posted on Instagram that 10% of eating disorders (ED)sufferers have anorexia and 40% are bulimic. So what about the other 50%? The other eating disorder people can be diagnosed with is binge eating disorder. But you can also be diagnosed with OSFED (other specified feeding or eating disorder.) This essentially means your symptoms don’t specifically match anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder. However, OSFED is just as serious as the the three mentioned disorders.

One that is becoming increasing more well known is orthorexia. Orthorexia, is not recognised in a clinical setting, meaning you can’t be diagnosed with it, so it falls unders OSFED.

Orthorexia is an obsession with eating ‘healthy’ or ‘clean’ food. People who suffer with it may be obsessed with tracking calories and macros. They may also cut out particular food groups in an effort to stick to the rules they have created for themselves regarding food. They may have convinced themselves they’re intolerant to lactose, gluten or something else without an actual diagnosis from a medical professional. You’ll never catch them eating a donut, because it’s ‘not clean’. And if they do ‘slip up’ they feel intense feelings of guilt and anxiety. You’ll find this person also probably has an increased focus on their diet. They’ll probably have to eat at set times.They also probably judge other people’s eating habits a lot.

The scariest part of this illness is that it can be easily masked as ‘healthy living’. There’s plenty of ‘clean eating’ advocates about on social media (Thank god Alice changed her name)and this is what makes it so so hard to detect in your friends/family etc. You probably think ‘wow I wish I was that healthy all the time.’ But the truth is it’s not healthy. Consistently counting every macro isn’t healthy, never ever eating junk food isn’t healthy, skipping out on nights out/meals because it doesn’t fit in with the rules said person has made for themselves regarding their diet IS NOT HEALTHY.

Now I’m not saying for a second that everyone who eats really healthy is orthorexic. Not at all. I eat really healthily, but I also love pizza and biscuits and will have them when I feel like it.The point where this becomes orthorexia is when someone is OBSESSED with all the things I’ve mentioned above. They’re using this obsession to cope with feelings and emotions, or to feel in control. This is an eating disorder.

If you are worried about yourself or someone head to the beat website http://www.beateatingdisorders.co.uk for more info or to get help.

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