Dr. Beiseigel, Department Chair for Integrative and Functional Nutrition (College of Integrative Medicine and Health Sciences), is featured in the recent Saybrook University UnBound article "Winning the Nutritional Food Fight". Dr. Beiseigel discusses the impact of orthorexia nervosa, a condition not yet identified as a disorder. While there isn't a common definition for this condition, there are a few markers, including:
- Spending an exorbitant amount of time thinking about and planning healthy food options even more than one would dedicate time to loved ones and work/school life.
- Being openly judgmental of anyone who eats unhealthy foods.
- Exercising extreme guilt or anxiety after eating unhealthy foods.
- Immediate mood changes based on being unfamiliar or unhappy with the status of whether certain foods are considered “clean.”
- Creating new food rules that drastically reduce one’s food intake.
- Physical changes (ex. hair loss, menstruation changes, skin problems) from malnutrition that are the direct result of losing too much weight.
I was particularly moved by what Dr. Beiseigel said about self-forgiveness and allowable indulgence: "Eating healthy becomes a game of perfection, whether it is about numbers or ingredients or purity of food, it leads to an obsessive mentality around food,” Beiseigel says. “I think all weight management and health plans should teach people self-forgiveness and allowable indulgence. A healthy diet is about living, and you can’t ‘live’ when there are extreme conditions set around what can and cannot be eaten.”
For more insights on orthorexia nervosa and Dr. Beiseigel, click here.