Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's Orthorexia?

Pronounced as or-tho-rex-ee-uh, orthorexia is an eating disorder marked by an obsession with healthy food which is usually seen in people more than 30 years of age, and women are more likely to have it. Some common symptoms are sticking to a stringent regimen, - vegan or raw food diet - as well as nervously avoiding foods with artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

According to Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist from Pittsburgh, compulsive healthy eating can lead to physical problems like chronic hunger because people with orthorexia regardless of how hungry they are, refuse to eat anything "unhealthy."

You need to know that there's a difference between a healthy diet and an unhealthy fixation on a healthy diet. Warning signs of orthorexia are: being overly concerned with how food is prepared, making a never-ending list of foods you won't eat, and focusing on the healthfulness of food instead of how it tastes.

Good news is that a treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy works really well wherein people can be helped replace the thoughts that lead to this rigid behavior with healthier alternatives. That can also stop an orthorexic pattern from cascading into anorexia.