Facebook Pixel

How to Avoid Orthorexia: Becoming Balanced in Your Healthy Eating Quest

By HERWriter
Rate This
orthorexia-is-obsession-with-healthy-foods Creatas Images/Thinkstock

Everything cannot come in a hermetically sealed package.”

“Orthorexia and anorexia both are not about food, weight, or health,” she added. “They are about trying to manage a thought problem with a behavior solution, similar to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. So if you eliminate some food and feel good about it, great. But if you eliminate one food and either compulsively crave it or immediately move on to the next food to eliminate, identify that something is not right about this process and get an appointment with an eating disorder dietitian.”

Judith Matz, a licensed clinical social worker and co-author of “The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating, Acceptance and Self-Care,” said in an email that there is a certain way of eating that can help people avoid obsessive eating behaviors. It involves really listening to your body.

“Rather than focus on ‘healthy’ foods, the goal for everyone should be to have a healthy relationship with food,” Matz said. “This means that you eat when you are physically hungry, eat what you are hungry for - choosing from a wide variety of foods - and stop when you feel satisfied. This style of eating is known as attuned or intuitive eating. People find that when they listen to their bodies, they want all types of foods, including healthful foods.”

“When you have orthorexia nervosa, your eating is rigid, giving you a sense of being in control,” she added. “At the other end of the continuum are people with Binge Eating Disorder, whose eating is out of control. The healthy, balanced way to eat is attuned eating, which allows for flexibility, the inclusion of nourishing foods, and pleasure from eating. Attuned eating lets people feel in charge of their eating, rather than needing to control their food and constrict their lives.”

How do you keep balanced while eating healthy foods? Have you ever struggled with orthorexia? Share your stories in the comments section.


Cottrill, Carol. Email interview. March 13, 2012.
Nussinow, Jill. Email interview. March 13, 2012.
Setnick, Jessica. Email interview. March 13, 2012.
Matz, Judith. Email interview. March 13, 2012.

Reviewed March 14, 2012

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Great info. I've been cautious about what I eat but not to the point of restricting myself to certain food groups. A few years ago, I've gained weight when I met an accident. I couldn't go to the gym and I was told to eat more for fast recovery. I find it difficult losing weight when your older. I've used a pill and this Prescopodene helped me get into my former weight, which is perfect. Now back to my diet, I suppose, eating small frequent, well-balanced meal is much more healthy than depriving yourselves to a balanced diet. A balanced meal is a good way of being healthy plus exercise of course.

June 18, 2013 - 8:47pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I am also on the same pill but I I also portion size but not to the point of omitting some food groups. I go visit the gym at least thrice a week. It really helped me maintain a good shape since it did kill my irritating hunger pangs that I would normally feel two hours after eating. I also think that a good cardio exercise can keep your heart healthy even when your not on the pill. I am not a believer that a diet pill effective for women would be as good for men too, but now I am. 

July 5, 2013 - 6:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

Hey, thanks for sharing your story. I find it helpful as I also find it hard to exercise but I do want to if I get the chance. I'd love to have a look on the ill your using. Wish me luck!

June 30, 2013 - 8:43pm

Thank you for the information.

May 29, 2012 - 1:53am
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy
Add a Comment

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.