Orthorexia Dietitians and Nutritionists
Do you find yourself hyper fixating on food ingredients, macronutrients and micronutrients? Do you avoid foods that you or society deems to be “unhealthy?” Do you have anxiety that certain foods are going to cause disease?
These are all signs your or a loved one might be struggling with orthorexia. Orthorexia is an obsession with healthy eating. What makes orthorexia especially tricky is that we live in a society that is obsessed with “healthy eating.” We are constantly bombarded with messages of cutting calories, eating more of certain foods, eating less of certain foods and watching out for different ingredients. Plus, people in our culture are praised for eating “healthy.” Because of this, orthorexia can often go undiagnosed. It’s important to note that food should not take up too much of your time or energy. If you find that your relationship with food is distracting you from being present with family members and friends, causing anxiety, or preventing you from living life according to your values, it might be time to get support. If you or a loved one is struggling, read more to find out how our highly skilled clinicians can support you.
What is Orthorexia?
Eating disorders can present in various different ways and one of those ways is orthorexia. Orthorexia isn’t “officially” an eating disorder diagnosis, as in it’s not in the DSM 5. However, this term is increasingly used in the eating disorder world. Orthorexia is defined as a strong drive to eat healthfully. The definition of “healthy” for people who struggle with orthorexia becomes increasingly more rigid. This leads to increased anxiety around food and inflexible eating patterns that negatively impact a person’s life. A person with orthorexia might find themselves: avoiding eating out, avoiding certain foods, obsessively reading ingredient and nutrient labels, suffering from certain micronutrient deficiencies, struggling with a growing list of food rules and feeling super overwhelmed when it comes to food choices (especially if it feels like the food choices are out of their control).
How We Help Treat Orthorexia
At Courage to Nourish, our dietitians work one on one with our clients and their treatment team to improve orthorexia thoughts, urges and behaviors. We value trusting and compassionate relationships between our dietitians and clients. We value safety and a non-judgmental space so our clients are able to process their relationship with food and body in a way that is met with understanding and empathy. Not only do we work with you or your loved one in individual sessions, but we also collaborate with various members of the treatment team. We also provide text and email support and keep our caseloads small. This can assure you are getting the highest quality of care.
Our dietitians understand how extremely anxiety provoking it can be to challenge food rules. We work with our clients on the same team to guide and support them. We understand that this is a journey and we meet our clients where they’re at, each step of the way, to make changes to develop a better relationship with food. Each session we might discuss different food rules and how you can challenge them. Additionally, part of our role is to support you in dispelling nutrition myths. Our society makes nutrition a black and white subject. It makes sense why we want nutrition to be black and white! It’s WAY easier if there is a yes or no answer. However, there is a ton of gray area in nutrition. We can comb through nutrition information together so it feels less scary and more manageable.
Typical Clients We Work With
FAQs About Orthorexia
How do I know if I have orthorexia?
How long does it take to treat orthorexia?
Will I need to follow a meal plan?
How can I help a loved one with orthorexia?
Supporting a loved one with an eating disorder, including orthorexia, can be so difficult. As loved ones, we often want to “fix it.” But, recovery takes time and there’s not much we can do other than offering a listening ear and a non-judgemental space. Read our blog on Supporting a Loved One with an Eating Disorder. Also, visit our resources page and sign up for our newsletter to get more tips on how to support your loved one.
How can I find support for orthorexia?
Courage to Nourish is happy to help. Contact us for more information about working with us. We provide both virtual and in person services. If for some reason we are unable to support you, we would be glad to refer you to other resources. You can also read our blog and resources page for more ideas and support on eating disorder recovery.
Have more questions?
About Courage to Nourish
Courage to Nourish is a group of eating disorder specialized dietitians. We have in person locations in Alexandria, Virginia, Columbia, Maryland, and College Park, Maryland. We offer virtual services across the state of Maryland. Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania, and Colorado. We offer individual nutrition therapy. As well as support groups. We would love to guide you in building a better relationship with food.
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