‘Green smoothies’, ‘lean meats’, ‘brown rice’: we’re living in the midst of a huge health movement. Suddenly, gyms are packed early in the morning, people pack lunches to work, and they ‘meal prep’ for the entire week. These are undoubtedly healthy habits, but where do we draw the fine line between healthy eating and developing an unhealthy obsession?
Is it a Real Problem?
Eating healthy food has countless positive effects on the human body. But if the thought of having to eat flax seed biscuits for breakfast consumes your mind from the night before, you might be dealing with something called Orthorexia. Steven Bratman M.D. first introduced the term in a 1977 essay for ‘Yoga Journal.’
Dr. Bratman described Orthorexia as a “fixation on eating proper food.”
Dr. Bratman further explains, “Orthorexia is not an official diagnosis. Orthorexia — which seems to include elements of other disorders, such as anorexia and obsessive compulsive disorder — can be a serious problem. Left untreated, experts say, it can lead to malnourishment, anorexia, or disabling anxiety.”
A Simple Way to Know if You’re Obsessed
If you’re not sure whether you’re just being healthy, or subconsciously obsessing over your meals, then ask yourself:
“Does it interfere with my daily activities?”
If you spend every waking minute constructing your meal plan, then you most likely need to rebuild your relationship with food. Dietician Amanda Mellowspring notes on CNN that the difference between eating healthy and having ‘Orthorexia’ is that it leads to distress and interferes with everyday life.
The Not-Too-Simple Solution
“’One of the things that’s tricky about our culture is that orthorexia is socially acceptable and often even heralded as a great statement of self-control…,” says Dietician Mellowspring. With so much emphasis on eating healthy in today’s society, people are starting to take it to the next level. This becomes both mentally and physically harmful.
Some of the THIMUN delegates share their own advice on solutions:
QA Action representative Alissar Soujaa says “Enjoy your life and try not to worry about the little things. Obviously health is a priority, but other things are important too… Keep a balance. Balance is important.”
Another QA Action representative Abrar El Hassan adds “Moderation is better than extremes. Try to be moderate.”
What is YOUR view on obsessively eating healthily?
By Heba El Zoheery
Photo By Ben Mcgrath