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One of the key to being healthy is maintaining a healthy, balanced and varied diet, but taking this practice to an extreme turns against those who start worrying about their diet and eventually turn it into an obsession.
Medical insurance company Sanitas has warned of this eating disorder caused by a pathological obsession with eating food considered healthy that can be harmful to the body and psyche, leading to malnutrition.
They explain that “the need to eat a healthy diet devoid of any type of nutrients that are considered harmful to the body can become an obsessive-compulsive disorder called orthorexia.”
A person with this disorder follows a highly restrictive diet, and at all costs avoids foods that contain not only fats or sugars, but also preservatives, dyes, or other ingredients that they consider unhealthy, according to this source.
However, this passion for health can lead to the opposite situation: the emergence of health problems caused by a lack of nutrients, for example by cutting out healthy fats that provide essential vitamins such as D and whose deficiency can weaken the immune system, they point out. . .
Nutritional and medical approach
says dietitian Veronica Velasco, an expert at BluaU, Sanitas Health’s digital care service.
He notes that the disorder often also results in a lack of energy and fatigue, even due to the time a person with the disorder spends planning and organizing their diet.
According to Velasco, “In cases that are very severe and prolonged over time, orthopedic surgery has led to health problems that require surgical interventions.”
There are cases in which the patient faints, for which he has to undergo controlled hydration treatments to regulate levels of ions (minerals in the body) or implant feeding tubes into the stomach cavity through the nose or abdominal wall, according to Dr. Cecilia Sanz Garcia, a gastroenterologist at Sanitas University Hospital. No Moralia.
This restrictive diet is reflected in behaviors that anxiously seek to improve health, such as spending more than three hours a day thinking about daily diet, strict meal planning, or the need to control the composition and portion of each food according to Raquel Velasco del Castillo, a scientist Same at BluU de Sanitas.
These and other behaviors characterized by food rigidity are accompanied by a great sense of guilt in the person if he exceeds any of his nutritional requirements, and affect his ability to have a balanced social coexistence, which usually leads to isolation from others, adds Del Castillo. .
The main difference between maintaining a healthy diet and engaging in an orthopedic diet, says bluaU psychologist Diana Kamen, is that a person, rather than having a reasonable interest in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, makes all of their time revolving around food.
Six key questions
If someone answers yes to most of the following questions, it may be a sign that their relationship with food is not as healthy as you might think:
1. Do you worry excessively about food and its quality?
2. Do you care more about the quality of the food than the pleasure of eating it?
3. Does your diet often affect your quality of life?
4. Have you left out a lot of foods? unhealthy of your diet in recent months?
5. When you fall into temptation, do you feel a strong sense of guilt?
6. Do you judge and criticize others because of the food they eat?
A person with osteoporosis has a series of psychological symptoms that are indicative of this disorder, such as showing excessive concern about the quantity and quality of food, and worrying about losing control over it. fall into temptation And it breaks his self-imposed eating rules, according to Kamen.
He pointed out that this person does not follow a healthy diet, because he removes many of the foods that he considers unhealthy, Sometimes it restricts the range of foods allowed to punish herself After breaking their own rules.
According to Kamen, another self-punishment for overeating or doing something that shouldn’t be done is over-exercising.
This expert advises those with orthotics to put themselves in the hands of a specialist, to help them modify those thoughts and behaviors that may be at the root of this pathology and that maintain them, “in order to minimize the negative consequences they have in their lives.”
“It is not a disorder that can be resolved without professional help, and it also tends to become chronic or worsen over time,” he says.
“If the aggrieved person is a member of our family, in addition to being advised to seek professional help, we must avoid complicity in the situation and not justify or underestimate his behavior and its consequences,” Kamin stresses.
“Psychotherapy will seek to uncover the origin of this disorder, most of which are closely related to obsessive traits,” adds psychologist Del Castillo.
He highlights that “two pillars of therapeutic intervention are to help people realize the risks they are exposed to on a nutritional and social level by maintaining these strict habits and giving them the ability to make their guidelines more flexible, and to achieve truly healthy habits.” .
He concludes that loved ones (family and friends), who are always advised by health professionals, are a very valuable source of support and assistance to the patient, who, in this way, will gradually manage the orthopedic problem and restore a good individual and social life.