How to Identify "Orthorexia"

Updated: Mar 3, 2020

For different reasons, disordered eating does commonly occur in sports and athletics. It is particularly common in athletics that have weight classes or when a specific 'look' is desired in that sport.

Orthorexia not recognized as a real eating disorder but it is still talked about in the athletic community. It is the obsession with proper or healthy eating. Does that really sound like a bad thing? It is wonderful to be a conscious and mindful consumer because what we eat, how much we eat, and when we eat directly impacts athletic performance. Orthorexia has no clear definition and also no treatment. Currently there is no clinical treatment for it at all. Can you imagine what that might actually look like? "We think you might be obsessed with eating healthy foods, so were going to force you to eat a cheese burger." Ridiculous.

The National Eating Disorder Association does provide these are the warning signs:

  • Compulsive checking of ingredient lists and nutritional labels

  • An increase in concern about the health of ingredients

  • Cutting out an increasing number of food groups (all meats, all dairy)

  • An inability to eat anything but a narrow group of foods that are deemed ‘healthy’ or ‘pure’

  • Unusual interest in the health of what others are eating

  • Spending hours per day thinking about what food might be served at upcoming events

  • Showing high levels of distress when ‘safe’ or ‘healthy’ foods aren’t available

  • Obsessive following of food and ‘healthy lifestyle’ blogs on Twitter and Instagram

  • Body image concerns may or may not be present

I encourage everyone to eat well and stick to the science, and as you learn more and more about healthy eating skills please share them with friends and family. I encourage a plant focused diet because there is such room for variation. Enjoy some fish or chicken once in a while if you feel like you can't live without it, and absolutely go out for ice cream with friends. The key is a mostly plant fueled diet and being mindful of your food choices without guilt.

Happy snacking!


#DisorderedEating #Orthorexia

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