When Obsessing Over Clean Eating Becomes An Eating Disorder

When Obsessing Over Clean Eating Becomes An Eating Disorder

in Eat/Nutrition by

We’ve all heard of anorexia and bulimia, but the most newly identified eating disorder hits close to home for many of us, especially in the health and wellness fields. While at first glance, one may be perceived as simply health conscious, anything can be harmful when taken a step too far. This can lead to orthorexia, which is an obsession with eating only healthy or the ‘right’ foods.

There is a global boom in the information available regarding nutrition, wellness, and health. As much as we love and participate in the health awareness movement, we believe in balance, and an obsession with being healthy can be just as harmful as a lack of understanding of what is good for you.

Food terms like ‘clean eating’ have been deemed responsible for the progression of orthorexia. Food, no matter how fattening, calorific, or sugary it is, should never be associated with guilt. Self-shaming and self-punishment when you make a not-so-healthy food choice is actually detrimental to both your mind and body.

Juicing, cutting out gluten, and eliminating large food groups from diets are at the heart of the cause of orthorexia. We all check social media platforms everyday and see people in their seemingly perfect lives sipping their kale smoothies and attending their morning yoga classes. So, how could there possibly be any harm in that?

By eliminating so many food items from your diet all of a sudden without the help of a professional you are putting your body at risk of nutritional deficiencies. If you are not a naturally flexible person, this kind of lifestyle can take a toll on your mental health too, which is a big factor in eating disorders in general. You may feel like your day is ruined because you missed out on that morning meditation session you had scheduled in your diary, or choose not to eat anything throughout the day because you didn’t have time to pack your meals for work last night.

So, are we saying eat whatever you want with no restrictions for ultimate health? Of course not. We advocate and follow a diet focused on natural foods, we love a core strengthening and mind soothing pilates workout, and meditation helps keep our minds at ease when we’ve had a crazy busy day. But, sometimes we eat a slice of cake, and we never ever feel guilty about it.

Balance is at the core of all around wellness, so always be true to yourself. Have a green juice when you feel like it and have that cake on the weekend, because just like one healthy meal doesn’t equal health, one bad meal doesn’t mean you’re suddenly unhealthy either.

Donia Hilal is a certified nutritionist with a degree in Nutrition from King’s College London. Her work focuses on women’s health in the Middle East, wellness, weight loss, and optimal pre- and post-natal nutrition. Passionate about real food and evidence based nutrition advice, Donia welcomes and enjoys guiding clients throughout every stage of their journey towards a healthier, happier life.

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