Prioritizing a healthy lifestyle is good. An unhealthy preoccupation with health, though, reveals a toxic, restrictive mindset with an emotional foundation that can quickly become all-consuming. This obsession begins through learned behavior, like family dynamics, trauma, and other life-altering experiences.
What is Orthorexia?
The NIH describes Orthorexia as a “pathological obsession with proper nutrition that is characterized by a restrictive diet, ritualized patterns of eating, and rigid avoidance of foods believed to be unhealthy or impure.” The rigid approach individuals take makes Orthorexia a challenge to navigate, but it isn’t impossible.
Due to the nature of the eating disorder, the side effects of Orthorexia are more mental and behavioral than physical. This can include refraining from eating out, negative reactions to perceived unhealthy foods, and a desire to eat in a ritualized way. Depending on how Orthorexia presents, some individuals may experience nutritional deficiencies from removing food groups from their diet.
There is also typically a compulsion to over-exercise for those with Orthorexia, which manifests with overuse injuries, relationship conflicts, and in extreme cases for women, amenorrhea, or loss of their period.
We believe that Orthorexia stems from an individual’s values, like living a healthy lifestyle. This may stem from a health event or food allergies before growing into an all-consuming behavioral concern like Orthorexia, which is why we focus on adjusting value systems.
What to Expect During Therapy for Orthorexia
Therapy for Orthorexia helps you address an unhealthy approach to health by releasing a restrictive mindset and how this behavior no longer serves you. We help you remove all-consuming, health-related thoughts so you can build a healthier mindset towards health.
While we find that those seeking therapy for Orthorexia do best in individual therapy, we always recommend participating in group sessions to build community with others who have had similar experiences.
Because of this, we focus on realigning the purpose behind your behavior and how it no longer serves you. Through this, we’ll work together to move from an obsessively healthy lifestyle to a more balanced approach.