Weight Loss Support - Do ANY of these symptoms in this article describe YOU?

05-14-2009, 09:50 PM
Don't know if this belongs here, or in another forum, but I'll post here...

Well, people, apparently there is ANOTHER eating disorder to worry about out there and it is something that all dieters need to worry about, according to the article. I've put it here because the warning signs that the author lists are often those habits which we encourage in each other and which most of us do every day and ask advice about here on 3FC (save for a couple, I can relate to most of them...)

-Claiming you have a lot of food allergies
-Spending more than three hours a day thinking about food
-Planning tomorrow's food today
-Caring more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure of eating
-Continually getting stricter with your diet
-Feeling guilty or self-loathing when you stray from your diet
-Feeling a sense of superiority or self-righteousness


OR do you think this is another way for a diet author to sell a book?

What do you guys think?


05-14-2009, 10:03 PM
I think there's some validity to the disorder, as I've known and heard of folks who carried "healthy eating" to bizarre extremes (that often weren't nearly as healthy as the person thought).

I saw an extreme example not too long ago on a television court show, of a young married couple (raw foodist vegans) whose baby died because instead of formula or mother's milk (because milk was evil and unhealthy) they were feeding the infant a vegan substitute, and the baby in essence starved to death, and/or died of a severe nutritional deficiency.

I think it just shows that anything can be twisted or taken to an unhealthy extreme. I think the defining factor whether a behavior or set of behaviors is adaptive or maladaptive, is fairly simple - is it making life better or worse - is functioning becoming easier or more difficult?

05-14-2009, 10:10 PM
I think the author is over-reacting.
Whereas I certainly agree that being overly preoccupied with food can reach unhealthy levels of the obsessive-compulsive kind. I don't think that by merely planning what we are going to eat and making the best choices possible we have a disease.
We all know what happens when we don't plan our meals and have the right ingredients at hand: We make unhealthy food choices. In many of us those choices might even trigger binges, so our best strategy is to be prepared.
I guess there might be a really small number of people who actually develop what this author describes to the extent of being a disorder. In my personal case though, I would not even worry about it.

05-14-2009, 10:15 PM
[/I] think there's some validity to the disorder, as I've known and heard of folks who carried "healthy eating" to bizarre extremes (that often weren't nearly as healthy as the person thought). Quote..
I agree that there is some vadility although I dont agree that this is an all "bad" disorder to have.
I plan tomorrows food today becase I know that I need structure and a plan to carry out healthy eating.
I love food so ya I probably think about it for about 3 hours a day.
I do feel guilty when I stray from my diet unless it is a planned treat becuase I know I could have done better and I strive to follow my plans and complete my goals.
and Finally I wouldnt call it superiority but I do feel better and in power when I do eat healthy so ya I dont really think its an issue.

05-14-2009, 10:23 PM
I think most anything can become disordered. Sometimes it's more about the why's than the what's.

It's not an official medical/psychiatric diagnosis, but that doesn't mean it's totally invalid, or won't be someday.

Like with lots of disorders, any given symptom may be a totally normal behavior for many people. It's the context, degree, consequences and so on that make it unhealthy. So I don't necessarily think it's a problem that some of what the article lists overlaps with what we do.

05-14-2009, 10:24 PM
Honestly, I almost laughed at this article a bit and I have to agree that this may just be one of the flimsiest excuses for a book I've seen yet. The one that got me was saying there was something wrong with you if you planned what you were gonna have for dinner the next day. I have always done that whether on a diet or not! I plan ahead via my grocery list so I have the right foods in the house for each week; and I don't think that's obsessing.

I know in some European countries some people will walk to the store to pick up what they need for the day, but in our country that is not practical for everyone, but I do know a few people who do that. Some people are so busy that they don't think about what to have until just after work; and there are a few days here and there that I may have to change my plans becuz something unexpected comes up.

On the other hand, I don't think there is anything wrong with suggesting we take things lighter and not obsess too much about ANYTHING. I suppose anything can be taken too far; and that is something that I am conscious of. If I think that I am thinking about this too much, I back off a bit for awhile. Some people will feel that they need to plan and journal meticulously in order to succeed; and I say -- do whatever works best for you.

I don't think we need any more labels than we already have now. Her conclusions are nothing that you and I couldn't have come up with ourselves, and probably already have.

I have not read the whole book and I won't be becuz I have resolved not to spend one more $ on these 'diet' books that just make someone else rich and me X amount of $ poorer.

So ya, I think it's really more diet industry hype, but they will make money off the book becuz some people are forever searching for answers.

05-14-2009, 10:44 PM
i have been here at 3fc for four weeks now and i have spent a lot of time reading and thinking about the way this place works.

i think it is a wonderful support mechanism, but i have also seen some things that worry or disturb me, especially in relation to food control/limitation and self loathing and self acceptance.

i believe for myself that this journey is part of a greater lifestyle alteration. i need to be more active, and needed to become far more consciousof my eating habits. four weeks in, i am craving exercise (making plans to make sure i get it in) and have learned a lot about the kinds of foods that have caused my excess weight. (i am starting to see how weight watchers teaches me the cost of some of my favorite foods). planning prevents me from unthinkingly eating. it doesn't mean i hate myself for eating a cookie or swapping in a meal. it also means i have far greater control over my food budget, an important factor in my student lifestyle at term end.

it seems that self-acceptance here is a little less valuable than a continual process of "working on yourself." i think that's part of the nature of the site, and of the society we live in. for me, "being on a diet" isn't an option. learning how to live in fluid movement and how to eat within reason is balanced by gaining the self-confidence i have lost and retaining my unmitigated pleasure in the sensual world of food growing, making and eating.

even the rich things, expensive as they are.

so, like all things, take what you need and leave the rest.

as for orthorexia or whatever, i totally ditto julie. it's all on a spectrum.


05-14-2009, 11:42 PM
sounds like a ploy to sell books; people not on diets think about food alot too. My mother would think about what we might want for dinner the day ahead, to plan.

05-15-2009, 12:22 AM
-Feeling a sense of superiority or self-righteousness

If judging other people's grocery carts is wrong - I don't wanna be right! ;) Mostly kidding, heh.

Thighs Be Gone
05-15-2009, 12:28 AM
-Feeling a sense of superiority or self-righteousness

If judging other people's grocery carts is wrong - I don't wanna be right! ;) Mostly kidding, heh.

OMG!!!! Thank you for posting this---a great laugh yes....but NOW..well, now I know I am not alone! :carrot:

05-15-2009, 01:21 AM
I know in some European countries some people will walk to the store to pick up what they need for the day, but in our country that is not practical for everyone, but I do know a few people who do that.

And in Europe that is rarely the case anymore either. I have neither the time nor the desire to go shopping on a daily basis. I do one large shop per week and may need to top up some fresh stuff halfway through the week.
So yes, planning my food for the week is important to me.
If I don't plan, I will just plain forget stuff and am at greater risk for buying junk that is not healthy for my body or my pocketbook.
Planning does not necessarily mean obsessing!

05-15-2009, 03:01 AM
I've been there, definitely.

Yes, you can plan, you can care about nutrition, fibre, fats, carbohydrates, whether your food is vegan or natural, etc., but there is a line between caring and obsessing. An obsession is something that negatively affects your life and relationships and ability to interact with people on a "normal" basis. It's like how Dungeons and Dragons got a bad rap back in the 80's (or was it 90's?) when some kids who played it became utterly obsessive with it and never left their, uh, "Dungeons" to interact with society.

And I would say that self-loathing and guilt feelings stemming from a "failure" to adhere to a specific, narrow guideline for yourself is definitely negative.

Ironically, it is "all or nothing" feelings that can make people overeat and become obese.

05-15-2009, 03:38 AM
Hm. I think I suffer from UNorthorexia!

-Claiming you have a lot of food allergiesNope.
-Spending more than three hours a day thinking about food Nope.
-Planning tomorrow's food todayI plan a healthy shop, once or twice a week, and I cook up some healthy meals for the freezer once or twice a week but I don't spend hours planning.
-Caring more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure of eating I enjoy every mouthful.
-Continually getting stricter with your diet Nope. I keep maintaining my efforts but I don't make them harder
-Feeling guilty or self-loathing when you stray from your dietDon't know, it hasn't happened yet lol! Does that count?
-Feeling a sense of superiority or self-righteousness Oh dear, yes. I feel smug in supermarkets when I see the crp in other people's baskets!

05-15-2009, 03:48 AM
Oh dear, yes. I feel smug in supermarkets when I see the crp in other people's baskets!

I feel JEALOUSY! ;)

05-15-2009, 08:00 AM
I think the key words in the description are "constant" and "obsessive."

There is a difference between being aware and being obsessed.

That said, yeah, I've often wondered about a progression I've seen a lot on weight loss sites. First it's watching calories, then it's certain foods that must be avoided, then the next thing is veganism.

(But lots of people are vegetarian and vegan without having weight problems or food issues, I hasten to add.)

It might be an interesting book to read. Maybe at the library...


05-15-2009, 08:03 AM
2, maybe 3 of those apply to me.

Just a way to sell a book!

Those descriptions aren't even grouped together, exactly. They're just a random list of things some people tend to do.

I first thought this was going to be about the food allergies thing. I have a relative who is always saying that she is allergic to everything Not that I'm someone who get doubtful about that in general -- you say you're allergic, I'm sure you're allergic or have good reason to say it, whatever.

But this relative will (true example) mention a headache, verbally trace it back to a mushroom veggie burger days earlier and then for years announce her mushroom intolerance along with a growing list of other allergies -- allergies to various fruits, etc. My husband and I have noticed that eventually her husband also becomes 'allergic' to each item.

05-15-2009, 08:24 AM
Orthorexia is an eating disorder BUT it's not only the symproms stated in that list!
People with orthorexia tend to be obesssively worried about their foods to be pure, not contain any germs, obsessed with detox. And that article doesn't talk about this!
I'll reply one by one.

***-Claiming you have a lot of food allergies***
Typical of orthorexia but also a valid excuse to skip foods you don't want if someone is pushy, so it depends on how you use it.

***-Spending more than three hours a day thinking about food***
It would be good if you could think about food while you eat, then your meals shouldn't be too quick to let you eat with quiet. I think 3 hours is the very LEAST!!

***-Planning tomorrow's food today***
It's pretty obvious you plan it today for tomorrow or you may find yourself to need something from the market and being to late to get it. I think using this a s a 'symptom' is PARANOID.

***-Caring more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure of eating***
I can second this, if it is a constant thing, if you ONLY think about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure of eating. But it's NORMAL you eat something you aren't mad about.

***-Continually getting stricter with your diet***
Yes. I agree with this one.

***-Feeling guilty or self-loathing when you stray from your diet***
It depends on the situation, it's not always a symptom.

***-Feeling a sense of superiority or self-righteousness***
Then half of the world has orthorexia??

05-15-2009, 11:28 AM
<-- not a vegan, just a person with flaws, one of them is peering at other people's grocery carts

I was mostly tongue in cheek before, but yes, I am fascinated by what the typical American consumer buys because *I* was that typical American consumer before. Sure, there is some smugness about how I eat now, but mostly it's a sad fascination - all the white bread, the huge packages of cinnamon rolls, soda soda soda. There is usually a "but there for the Grace of God go I" kind of feeling about it. That was ME, that was my life. And yes, a certain "patting on the back" for breaking out of the American quick/junk/yummy food cycle. It's HARD work to get off that bus, but I did it. I am proud of myself for my hard work - not just losing weight, but doing so much reading about healthy foods (What to Eat, Fast Food Nation, Food Politics, In Defense of Food, Omnivore's Dilemna). I know so much more now than I did!

This is definitely not something about myself that I'm particularly proud of but I definitely do look at other people's carts. I find this place pretty accepting, so I am not afraid to confess the not so good things I do. I'm not perfect - not a perfect dieter, not a perfect person.

05-15-2009, 11:36 AM
While I am sure some cases of legitimate orthorexia exists, I think this article does a poor job of articulating the disorder well. As many of you have pointed out, most of the things they list are very normal behaviors, even in conjunction with each other. (If we are to go by the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria of you must have X number of symptoms to have Y) The article fails to mention the extremes that orthorexics may take - it's like reading an article about anorexia that suggests that you may be anorexic if you are restricting your food intake.

And Diva, I think Ailidh was just referring to the fact that people tend to buy junk food. And lots and lots of it. Maybe she was postulating on the ethical question of how the meat was killed rather than - "Giant bag of Lay's? 4 packs of Oreos? 3 bottles of soda? A cake?? Are you serious?" but I read it as the latter, not the former. ;)

05-15-2009, 12:03 PM
Hi there! Haven't seen this at all. I don't log into the vegan threads, though, as I am not vegan so I really don't have much in common with that community. As for the regular threads, I've seen lots of shoulders to lean on as required, I've seen good butt kicks given WHEN ASKED FOR (you know, the "please kick me in the butt, I need it" requests), I've seen posts and philosophies that I personally don't agree with, but I've NEVER percieved "holier than thou", self-righteous attitudes. So I'm a bit confused. But I'm new, so there you go...

I turn to the maintainers' forum to figure out what has worked for them, because to find the "secrets" you need ask those who are successful. And if one views their responses as holier-than-thou and their attitudes as self-righteous, perhaps the issue is what one reads into those messages. And what one takes away from their experiences. Maybe one just doesn't like what they have to say -- maybe the truth hurts, so to speak...

Maybe their tastes HAVE changed and they DO like broccoli more than cookies (this totally mystifies me, seriously, but I want to go to there!) but if I want to succeed, perhaps the lesson to be learned is that I need to be open to new ways of experiencing foods and maybe I have to challenge my deep-held belief that anything highly processed and sugary is a "treat" and anything natural, from the ground, is an "obligation". Maybe if they exercise religiously and it works, I need to incorporate more exercise if I want to be a maintainer. Maybe I need to accept a goal weight higher than I want. Maybe I need to accept a range of weights and draw that line in the sand once I go above it and go back on plan. Maybe I need to be dedicated to a lifestyle switch. Maybe the life that the maintainers' experience IS so much better than what they experienced before their weight loss, and maybe this makes the journey worth it. Maybe nothing really DOES taste as good as thin feels...

I guess it is just how you interpret things and what you take from another's experience. And what a shame it is not to listen to and honor a maintainer's journey...



Lori Bell
05-15-2009, 01:08 PM
I live a very long way from a grocery store so I have to plan my meals in advance or we are in trouble. I guess I could be considered a little nutty about my healthy way of life though. I like this version much better than the binge and sleep it off version, a lot better for my heart, lungs, joints, and other body functions.

It is funny about the grocery cart peepers...I notice many acquaintances I run into at the grocery store always check out my cart. It is usually very full (and there is usually a bag of chips and a case of pop in it too...;)) I don't mind much, I think people are just generally curious at what one who has lost a lot of weight eats to get to that point. I do notice the amount of obese people there are around here now...something I really never noticed before. We are a very overweight community.

05-15-2009, 01:21 PM
I do notice the amount of obese people there are around here now...something I really never noticed before. We are a very overweight community.

You know, I have just been having the same experience recently, noticing how many people are obese. It just seems more visible to me lately.

So, I can tell you, even people watching in Southern California - it seems like more people are overweight or obese than not.

It's not about judging people - at least for me, I'm just trying to observe people and the community and see what's reality.

05-15-2009, 01:39 PM
I get kind of flattered when I'm in the checkout at the grocery store and other women, including the cashier, ask me about the food I'm buying. I make it a point to buy a lot of fresh veggies and fruit, among the many other day to day stuff everybody buys, but I'm invariably asked what some vegetables are, and how they are intended to be eaten, and I'm often told that I'm buying the most produce of anybody that's come through that day. It makes me feel good, but I don't think that I've fallen into checking out other people's carts. I tend to be very reserved about people private space, like, I would no more look in someone's cart or at their items on the checkout belt than I would read a computer screen over their shoulder or peep into their handbag. Maybe I'm the odd one here, I don't know.

I have also had a little bit of a snippy response from a few people on this site about the fact that I'm dieting without giving up sugar or meat or carbohydrates or whatever it is that those particular individuals chose to give up. I have also gotten some flack for refusing to give up alcohol. I don't choose to let someone else's indignant response to my personal choice about what food/drinks to put in my body drive me away from what has been an invaluable support and tool to keep me focused. I'm all about thumbing my nose at the haters and proving them wrong about my methods by continuing to exhibit success.

05-15-2009, 02:02 PM
Well I'm vegan and I have to say that my goals are my own and my choices are my own.

I started eating healthier to lose weight and lose weight I did. I started eating lots of vegetables, whole grains, lean meat/dairy, healthy fats, etc. I was actually able to lose weight really without counting calories. I started getting interested in vegetarianism when I stopped enjoying the taste of meat so I researched vegetarianism and veganism. At some point, my goal to eat healthier became a more important goal than to lose weight and that is probably why I've remained the same weight for 18 months. I love eating a vegan diet and honestly I love food more now than ever. I will say that it is my choice though and I do try to share my experience with others when they ask about it. My opinions I express are also based on my experiences such as opinions expressed by others are based on their experiences.

That is the opinion of someone who is vegan, lost weight and has better eating habits than I did 150 lbs ago. I personally don't feel smug or superior. I think we all have different paths and if someone's goal is to lose weight and maintain it, it doesn't mean they have to follow my path, they have to find their own path.

05-15-2009, 02:09 PM
Congratulations on your progress, nelie, BTW, you must feel amazing! I especially like the last paragraph of your recent post. Well said.

05-15-2009, 03:55 PM
The article is very misleading, as a person would really have to have a specific number and severity of symptoms to warrant a diagnosis. The article makes it sound like you could have the disorder if you have even one of the symptoms (which is very unlikey in a clinical sense, to be sufficient for a diagnosis, at least unless the "one symptom" is extreme far beyond the norm. For example, with body dismorphic disorder - hating your nose isn't necessarily body dismorphic disorder - but having plastic surgery to the point that your nose collapses may be.

Again with clinical diagnoses, number and severity of symptoms AND the degree to which the symptoms interfer with normal functioning are all supposed to be taken into account when making a clinical diagnosis. I remember a psychology professor telling us that the diagnostic criterion needed to take into account functionality - if a person had the symptoms of schizophrenia (auditory or visual hallucinations, for example), but the person did not experience any deficits or disordered functioning, the diagnosis of schizophrenia should not be applied (in a sense hearing voices isn't schizophrenic, so long as you are able to recognize and ignore those voices).

Depression is even a better example. Functionality has to be considered, because if you read the symptoms for depression, nearly all adults, and many children have experienced all of them, but the diagnosis of depression is only warranted if quality of life and normal functioning is being affected.