Eating well can transform your daily life and help you become a happier, healthier and more energetic version of yourself.
However, you should also be mindful when dieting. If you’re over-zealous in counting the calories, it can have a drastic effect on your body.
People who suffer from orthorexia become obsessed with systematically avoiding foods that they think are harmful. It often starts with good intentions – a person looking to improve themselves – but ends up going too far.
If dieting is stressing you out and stopping you from eating the things you love, then you’re doing it all wrong!
What is orthorexia and why do people get it?
Unlike anorexia, this condition isn’t about how much a person eats. Instead, people with orthorexia limit the types of foods they consume to the extent that their nutritional needs aren’t met. There’s been a steep rise in the number of people who’ve gone one step beyond healthy eating, especially among women in their 30s.
In today’s world, we’re constantly bombarded with exaggerated (often contradictory) health ‘advice’ and un-realistic body goals. A new diet or wonder-food is promoted almost every week, and this flood of information can make people become neurotic about the types of food they will eat. Like all good things in life, moderation is key.
You can still eat all the foods you love, even when dieting. And, more importantly, you can avoid the stressful eating habits that cause conditions like orthorexia.
How to spot the warning signs
With the condition on the rise, medical experts have been quick to try and work out the potential warning signs.
Dr. Steven Bratman (who coined the term back in 1997) has come up with a 10-point test to assess whether you might have orthorexia:
- Do you spend more than three hours a day thinking about your diet?
- Do you plan your meals several days ahead?
- Is the nutritional value of your meal more important than the pleasure of eating it?
- Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet has increased?
- Have you become stricter with yourself lately?
- Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthily?
- Have you given up foods you used to enjoy in order to eat the 'right' foods
- Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat out, distancing you from family and friends?
- Do you feel guilty when you stray from your diet?
- Do you feel at peace with yourself and in total control when you eat healthily?
If you answered ‘yes’ to four or more of these questions, then you might need to think about taking a more relaxed approach to your eating habits.
How can I lower my risk of orthorexia and keep dieting?
Rediscover your love for food with the ‘If It Fits Your Macros’ (IIFYM) method. This method is simple, stress-free and (most importantly) pretty damn tasty. All you need to do is satisfy your macronutrient needs.
Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The amount you should consume depends on a range of different factors, including:
Using these variables, you can work out a score that becomes your dieting target for the day. Each macronutrient is equal to a certain number of points. Make sure your macronutrient points add up to your target score, and you’re successfully dieting – as well as eating your favourite, mouth-watering foods.Find out how you can achieve nutritional harmony and discover a whole new level of health and vitality.