I recently found out I have a mental condition called orthorexia. When I started to obsessively avoid certain foods and focus entirely on what I ate, I never thought it would become a disorder. But according to my therapist, having an intense interest in “healthy eating” isn’t always healthy.
The hardest part of my condition isn’t necessarily the way it has changed my relationship with food, though that can be difficult. It’s coming to terms with the fact that a seemingly good thing like eating healthy can turn into an obsession that begins to control every aspect of my life.
Learning to identify the signs of an unhealthy relationship with food has been challenging because this disorder often looks different from other serious mental illnesses. My thoughts about dieting and nutrition had become so intertwined with my sense of self-worth that it was easier for me to deny something was wrong than admit I needed help.
By seeking treatment and understanding more about orthorexia, however, I am slowly beginning to break free from the compulsion of this disorder. With every step forward — not succumbing to a rigid diet plan or punishing myself for small deviations — I’m reclaiming autonomy over my habits and ultimately, my wellbeing.