Eating Disorders, Orthorexia and Aging

When we think of eating disorders, we so often imagine someone who is younger and struggling. After all, aren’t we supposed to have our lives completely figured out by the age of 35?! (spoiler alert: no)

Meg Bradbury joined us in this Dietitians Unplugged podcast episode to discuss her experience of having an eating disorder and orthorexia as an older person.

Meg Bradbury is a Certified Body Trust Provider®, anti-diet nutritionist, Accessible Yoga® Teacher, and registered Yoga Alliance yoga and meditation teacher. Meg is in private practice working with individuals, groups, and families, advocating for body acceptance, eating disorder/disordered eating/body shame recovery, freedom with food, joyful movement, and stillness/breathwork. She also co-leads the Elderqueer project, an online gathering space for 40+ queers to connect and build community through conversations about aging in body, relationships, emotions, transitions, trust, and cultural relevance. Meg’s practice is fat positive, weight neutral, and LGBTQIA+ affirming.

Episode 76 – Eating Disorders, Orthorexia and Aging with Meg Bradbury

In this episode, we discussed:

  • Meg’s experience of developing an eating disorder
  • What is orthorexia, and how it took over her life
  • Why orthorexia has become so pervasive in our culture
  • The effects of aging on eating disorders
  • The tyranny of the anti-aging industrial complex
  • Using breath and yoga to connect with the body

Like our podcast?

Make sure to subscribe on Apple podcasts (or wherever you listen to podcasts) and leave us a review. This helps to spread the non-diet love far and wide.

Want to feel freedom with food?

Tired of feeling ruled by food? I can help you get free. Learn more here.

Subscribe and get my free guide, Why you overeat …and what to do about it.

Click here if you just want my newsletter!

What is Orthorexia?

almonds

Many of you have heard this word before: orthorexia. But what is it?

While not an official eating disorder listed in the DSM V, orthorexia is a growing concern in the ED world. The NEDA website tells us,

The term ‘orthorexia’ was coined in 1998 and means an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating. Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being.” However, since there is no official diagnostic criteria, it can be very hard to recognize. It’s kind of a “I know it when I see it” situation, which isn’t great for those who suffer from it, because it means many people are probably getting overlooked.

I have orthorexic clients, and they’ve sought help because their “healthy” food choices are starting to ruin their lives. They have anxiety at the thought of eating anything outside their rigid “clean eating” food rules. It’s beyond “healthy eating” and making choices that meet both satisfaction and nutrition needs. It’s an obsession, and sometimes becomes a full-time job.

Aaron and I decided to tackle the topic on our Dietitians Unplugged podcast when he found a blog post that felt dismissive of the issue. If you are wondering if your eating might qualify as orthorexia, give this podcast a listen, and if you think you need it because your life is not your own anymore, reach out to a professional for help.

Show notes

Read the blog that inspired this episode

 

Need Diabetes Care that isn’t Weight-Focused?

image

Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, and I run a HAES-based virtual support and education group that helps with self-care for diabetes and other metabolic concerns. Get on the email list so you can be the first to find out when our next group is open.

Feedback from participants has been great and we are helping people to get past the feelings of shame that sometimes come with a diabetes diagnosis, especially for those who are in larger bodies, and moving towards positive self-care. Learn more: HAES Care for Diabetes Concerns

Want to feel freedom with food?

Tired of feeling ruled by food? I can help you get free. Learn more here.

Subscribe and get my free guide, Why you overeat …and what to do about it.

Click here if you just want my newsletter!