What is Orthorexia and How to Overcome it

by Peter Sacco

Orthorexia Concept Image

Are you an orthorexic?

If you have never heard of this concept, then perhaps you might want to read on as this is not a new phenomenon, but one that is getting more attention due to the greater emphasis in today’s society on eating healthy.

Are you obsessed with eating healthy all of the time?

Orthorexia nervosa was first coined by Dr. Steven Bratman to describe his own experiences with food choices and eating. It is not currently listed in the DSM-5 as an actual eating disorder, but has many of the qualities of an eating disorder which makes it similar to actual eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

In a nutshell, othorexics have an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy all of the time.

Orthorexia nervosa in fact means having a fixation on righteous eating. Orthorexics have intense, rigid eating regimes which are based on food purity (clean eating) and quality.

They are completely obsessed with when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat. If and when they “cheat“, that is eat anything “bad” in their mind, or in between meals, they loathe themselves for doing so, and some even believe that they have to punish themselves for doing so. This punishment is usually carried out in the form of stricter eating, self-starvation/fasting or intense exercising as a way of “purging” their minds of the bad which they have done.

One of the most interesting aspects of orthorexics is their sense of mastery and control.

Some actually feel a sense of superiority over other people because of their perfect eating habits. This is when this eating disorder closely resembles anorexia nervosa and bulimia.

Orthorexia is all about control!

This control is the by-product or result of the orthorexic’s self-esteem. The intense control for eating good, pure food translates into one believing they are physically, spiritually and mentally pure. The orthorexic possesses this need to at least feel they are living a superior lifestyle. This compulsion for eating right helps them create a sense of identity for themselves which creates a greater self-esteem, while at the same time leading them to mentally escape their fears and inadequacies.

Is it mentally healthy? No!

Sure they are eating well, but at the same time they have created obsessions and compulsion (rituals) which may be disrupting their lives, their social functioning, while making others around them feel uneasy.

The best approach for treating orthorexia nervosa individuals is to help them re-create their thought patterns which are distorted and definitely irrational. Their intentions started out good but somewhere along the line became obsessive.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best methods for helping individuals overcome this dogmatic thinking. Also, hypnosis is an excellent aid in helping people who are overly stressed out with obsessed thoughts surrounding food and lifestyle.

You see many individual with obsessed thinking patterns operate with a “must do” mindset to live out this perfection. Hypnosis can help retrain the unconscious mind to move from a “must do” thought process to one that is more liberal, easy going and forgiving! If you want to discuss working directly with us on mindset to see if we can help and advise you on a next step, then check out our Hypnosis Services or you can contact us here.

If you constantly are checking and fretting over what you eat and the time and feel “bad” when you slip up on food choices then conside a self-hypnosis hypnosis download program such as this one on Orthorexia here >>>


Crush Your Aversion to Going Gluten-Free and Sticking with it! >>>

Library of Self-Hypnosis Downloads Products >>>

Peter Andrew Sacco Ph.D.
Staff Editor
Free At Last Hypnosis

| Read more like this here:

Interested in making a significant change in your life and interested in learning more about what I do and how I do it? Discover my hypnotherapy services here or contact me here.

Image of iPhone and earbuds showing picture of Erika Slater


In this free audio hypnosis session, you’ll experience the power of your subconscious mind to begin to change your habits. If you've never experienced hypnosis before then this is a great introduction...