Orthorexia During College: The Dangers of Focusing on Perfection

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Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
College campuses are a unique melting pot of people, ideas, and approaches on life.  Students may use their time during college to experiment with new perceptive on living as individuals seek to grow into their own and solidify their identities.  Some changes that students undergo may be more drastic than others, with every decision playing a part in the journey of individual growth.

Perception of Perfection

For some students, college can become a time of trying new approaches with eating and exercise.  While attempting to adapt healthier changes in one’s daily routine are generally seen as a positive thing, there can come a time where changes may become drastic and even detrimental.  Some students may find the opportunity of achieving perfectionism with diet and exercise as a means of being successful, but what are the dangers associated with this mindset and mentality?

Young woman on the marketOrthorexia is a term coined to describe an obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.  While good nutritional is fundamental to establishing a healthy lifestyle overall, extreme behaviors that lead to obsessions and disordered eating can serve as a gateway to more problematic conditionals and harmful consequences.   If you have found yourself obsessed with eating a certain way, fearful of consuming foods that you may not classify as “clean”, or cutting out entire food groups altogether, you may be dealing with a more complicated problem.

If an obsession with eating perfectly has negatively influenced other areas in your life or has taken over other interests and priorities, this may be a sign that your clean eating trend has gone too far.  You may consider confiding in someone you trust, such as a close friend or college counselor, about the habits you have adapted .  Finding balance in each aspect of your life, including how you eat and exercise, is important to having success in each of the multiple things you may be involved in.  If you are interested in learning more about Orthorexia, check out the Orthorexia section on the Eating Disorder Hope website for more information and resources.


Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What do you think are dangers are striving for perfectionism with exercise and eating?  What are practical ways for achieving balance and moderation in all things?

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders.  These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.  We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors.  If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 28, 2015. Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

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