Orthorexia is a term coined by Steven Bratman, MD in 1996. He began to use it with his patients who were overly health-obsessed. It was not meant as a diagnosis; instead, Dr. Bratman used the term to help his patients entertain the possibility that this “healthy” eating may not be as beneficial as they presumed.
Orthorexia appears to be motivated by health, but there are underlying motivations, which can include safety from poor health, wanting to be thin, improving self-esteem. Eventually, the obsession with healthy eating can crowd out other activities and interests, impair relationships.
Its important to realize that food will not make them a better person and that basing their self-esteem on the quality of their diet is irrational. Their identity should shift from “the person who eats health food” to a broader definition of who they are – a person who loves, who works, who is fun. They will find that while food is important, it is one small aspect of life, and that often other things are more important.
I have met people from both the spectrum, a person with limited knowledge of diet who is culturally conditioned to believe that their way of unhealthy eating is perfect. And an other one with early signs of Orthorexia.
Eating healthy is very important but there should always be some room for junk food or at times no food.