Are you obsessed about eating a pure diet?

Anila Kurian, DH News Service, Mar 12 2018, 11:57 IST
Orthorexia nervosa is an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.

When the whole world is in a rush to be healthy and stay healthy, experts say that you might just be harming yourself in the process. The medical term is orthorexia nervosa, an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.

Nutritionist Keertana Ramu says, "Fitness industry is growing rapidly as everyone wants to be healthy. There are plenty of places you can head to now, like the park, gym or even join small groups that practice some sort of exercise. But what you are most often not sure of is if the person who is training you is certified or not."

However, she says that it's great that the world is heading towards the healthier side, but one needs to be careful if they are joining a "professional" course for a prolonged period.

"Food is also an important aspect when you are trying to stay healthy. Unfortunately, many think that following a food fad that is available on Google or what bloggers say is the right way to go about it. Each body is different and it will respond to things differently. When you haven't consulted the right person and just calculate every calorie you consume, you are only hurting yourself in the long run," she adds.

One of the major aspects that many don't realise they are doing wrong is losing weight but not the right kind of weight. Keertana explains, "You may have lost your muscles and toned down but you will have fat in your body which you weren't rightly tending to."

Orthorexia is common mostly between the ages 20 to 45.

Dr Teena Thomas, obstetrician and gynaecologist, says, "Orthorexic patients are obsessed with when they will eat next and how much calories it contains. It will lead to behavioural changes, complexes and depression."

Eating healthy is good but what you choose to be healthy is not good enough. "When you eat a certain food, you have to understand that it needs to have something to absorb it as well. Most often, the supplements you take are harmful."

Reema Gupta, a school psychologist, blames the media for these disorders. "People start taking the advertised supplements without giving a thought."

She says that the younger generation is pressurised to compromise in order to follow routines and practices which they are unable to adhere. "It's quite evident that adolescents are very conscious about the kind of food and drinks they have. With children, we find cases where the child might be following the mother's instructions but end up losing friends if they don't match up to their food quality status."

And the solution to this? Reema advises, "Some people may differ but the umpteen thought process which we dedicate to the "righteous eating" can be relaxed."

Food for thought

Working professionals who suffer from orthorexia have mood swings at the workplace, anxiety under pressure and distance themselves from colleagues who don't share strict diet rules. This might be a byproduct of dedicating a lot of time to think solely about the food. It hampers efficiency to a great extent.

The aftereffects: Fatigue, brittle bones, brittle nails, hair loss, constipation, dehydration and seizures.

Depression, anxiety attacks and negative self-esteem.

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