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Nourish Family Nutrition & Therapy

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Orthorexia: The Dangerous Side of Healthy Eating

In a world where wellness trends dominate social media feeds and grocery store shelves, the pursuit of healthy eating has reached new heights. From gluten-free to keto to paleo, there’s no shortage of dietary movements promising to optimize our well-being. However, this health-conscious frenzy can sometimes take a dark turn into orthorexia nervosa. Orthorexia, characterized by an obsessive fixation on consuming only foods deemed healthy, can lead to detrimental physical and mental health consequences. What sets orthorexia apart is its rigid and compulsive nature, where individuals meticulously plan meals, scrutinize food labels, and may avoid social situations where they can’t control the menu.

Social media exacerbates this obsession with images of perfectly curated meals and wellness influencers promoting unattainable standards. Despite its outward appearance of health, orthorexia can result in nutritional deficiencies, social isolation, and anxiety. Combatting orthorexia requires a balanced approach to nutrition, fostering flexibility and self-compassion, and addressing underlying psychological factors through support from professionals. Ultimately, let’s prioritize a healthy relationship with food that enhances our lives, rather than detracts from them, promoting wellness without falling into the dangerous trap of orthorexia.

If this sounds like you, here are some tips to help guide you through: 

  1. Seek professional help: Reach out to a therapist and/or registered dietitian who specializes in eating disorders for guidance and support.
  2. Challenge perfectionism: Practice flexibility and self-compassion by allowing yourself to enjoy a variety of foods without guilt or judgment.
  3. Practice mindful eating: Tune into your body’s hunger and fullness cues rather than rigid dietary rules.
  4. Limit social media exposure: Reduce exposure to triggering content on social media platforms and unfollow accounts that promote unrealistic standards of health.
  5. Cultivate self-care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and self-care, such as meditation, yoga, or spending time with loved ones.
  6. Focus on overall well-being: Shift your focus from achieving a perfect diet to prioritizing overall well-being, including physical, emotional, and social health

If you are struggling with a healthy relationship with your food or body, our Food Peace team of dietitians and therapists can help. Schedule your initial appointment today.

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