In some cases, it’s actually possible. There are illnesses where people become obsessed with exercising and eating healthy. These are known as compulsive exercising disorder and orthorexia nervosa, which is an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. We’ll cover both of these illnesses in this article.
Compulsive exercising or exercise bulimia is a disorder where people feel that they can’t stop exercising. For people with this illness, they feel like their workout regimens are never enough. Because of this, people with compulsive exercising disorder are more likely to:
- Suffer injuries easier
- Significantly lose healthy fat and muscle mass
- Need joint replacement surgery
People with this disorder tend to exhibit the following behaviors:
- Feel like they can never miss a workout.
- Feel like their exercise plans are never good enough.
- Have the need to always be exercising.
- Have an unhealthy low body weight.
Compulsive exercising disorder is a difficult illness to treat because you can’t go cold turkey on exercising because it’s good for you. However, if you’re exercising too much it can really hurt you. The key is to find professional medical help for those who are suffering from the disorder.
Orthorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder where people have an obsession with avoiding foods that they think are unhealthy. Because of this, people with this disorder are actually starving themselves from the nutrients they need. People with this disorder tend to care more about virtue of what they eat as opposed to the pleasure they receive from eating it. Additionally, people suffering from orthorexia nervosa tend to obsess over healthy foods.
Orthorexia is significantly different from other eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia because the disorder is not about weight loss. It’s about nutrition. People with this disorder will zone in on food labels and obsessively worry about the hormones and pesticides used in some foods. Some people may even obsessively wash and clean their food before eating.
Here is a helpful questionnaire to help you see if someone you know suffers from this disorder:
- Does the person spend a significant amount of time thinking about healthy food?
- Does the person plan healthy meals way out in advanced?
- Does the person avoid eating foods they once loved in favor of healthy foods?
- Does the person’s diet segregate them from family and friends?
- Does the person look down on others who don’t eat healthy?
- Has the person suffered significant weight loss to unhealthy levels?
If you think someone you know has this disorder, you should advise them to seek professional help.
For both orthorexia and compulsive exercising, it’s important for people to get the treatment.
About the Author: Dave West is fitness expert and owner of a Scottsdale health club that eliminates the need for personal trainers through automated fitness training