Bill Victor

The Peril of Eating to Perfection

Perfection obsession?

Perfection obsession?

It’s called “Orthorexia” – an eating disorder marked by such an acutely perfectionist approach to eating, that those who suffer from if are often socially isolated and ironically, can result in malnutrition.

While these criteria could easily be construed as desirable to the person that insists they gain weight by just looking at food, it is no laughing matter.  In fact, it is presenting itself with greater frequency and has now joined the other eating disorders that include obsessive overeating, anorexia and bulemia.

Unknown to many Washingtonians however,  is that one of the nations most well known locations for treating this disorder is located  within the boundaries of our northern neighbor.

Known as The Moore Center in Bellevue, WA it serves as the longest-established eating disorder treatment facility in Washington state and has been dedicated to treating patients with eating disorders for more than two decades. Founded in 1991, by Dr. Mehri Moore, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, The Moore Center has treated over 6,000 patients since its inception.

In a conversation I had with The Moore Centers Lisa Geraud, M.S., LMFP, RD who serves as the Clinical Director, The Moore Centers humble beginnings were born from the work Dr. Moore did with patients suffering from eating disorders enrolled in a program at Ballard Hospital in Seattle.

Recognizing a need for a dedicated treatment center for eating disorders Dr. Moore began an intensive eating disorder therapy program that has now graduated into a multi-phasic program that provides graduated therapy based on each patients needs.

Each treatment program is comprised of physicians, therapists and dieticians who  combine forces to provide patients with the psychotherapy and food selection education to help them recover.

The programs include a one-week outpatient program that consists of 9 intensive therapy hours; a secondary program that is 7 days long and 11 hours of therapy and education per day; and their new inpatient program with 24 beds and a 30-40 day treatment window that treats both adolescents and adults.

Ms. Geraud went on to explain that that at the core of any successful eating disorder treatment program, physicians, therapists and dieticians must work closely in developing a successful outcome.  This is referred to as a “multi-disciplinary care environment.”

Orthorexia is often marked by individuals who are predisposed to having perfectionist tendencies.  These tendencies frequently present themselves in other aspects of that persons life as well.   Often, it begins innocently with a focus on improving health habits, primarily in the form of food selection.

This quest for perfectionism, becomes increasingly obsessive to the point where there is complete elimination of a critical macronutrient (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) from the diet as that person perceives the behavior as “perfect” eating.

It’s called “Orthorexia” – an eating disorder marked by such an acutely perfectionist approach to eating, that those who suffer from if are often socially isolated and ironically, can result in malnutrition.

While these criteria could easily be construed as desirable to the person that insists they gain weight by just looking at food, it is no laughing matter.  In fact, it is presenting itself with greater frequency and has now joined the other eating disorders that include obsessive overeating, anorexia and bulimia.

Unknown to many Washingtonians however, is that one of the nation’s most well known locations for treating this disorder is located within the boundaries of our northern neighbor.

Known as The Moore Center in Bellevue, WA it serves as the longest-established eating disorder treatment facility in Washington State and has been dedicated to treating patients with eating disorders for more than two decades. Founded in 1991, by Dr. Mehri Moore, a Board Certified Psychiatrist, The Moore Center has treated over 6,000 patients since its inception.

In a conversation I had with The Moore Centers Lisa Geraud, M.S., LMFP, RD who serves as the Clinical Director, The Moore Centers humble beginnings were born from the work Dr. Moore did with patients suffering from eating disorders enrolled in a program at Ballard Hospital in Seattle.

Recognizing a need for a dedicated treatment center for eating disorders Dr. Moore began an intensive eating disorder therapy program that has now graduated into a multiphasic program that provides graduated therapy based on each patients needs.

Each treatment program is comprised of physicians, therapists and dieticians who combine forces to provide patients with the psychotherapy and food selection education to help them recover.

The programs include a one-week outpatient program that consists of 9 intensive therapy hours; a secondary program that is 7 days long and 11 hours of therapy and education per day; and their new inpatient program with 24 beds and a 30-40 day treatment window that treats both adolescents and adults.

Ms. Geraud went on to explain that that at the core of any successful eating disorder treatment program, physicians, therapists and dieticians must work closely in developing a successful outcome.  This is referred to as a “multi-disciplinary care environment.”

Orthorexia is often marked by individuals who are predisposed to having perfectionist tendencies.  These tendencies frequently present themselves in other aspects of that person’s life as well.   Often, it begins innocently with a focus on improving health habits, primarily in the form of food selection.

This quest for perfectionism becomes increasingly obsessive to the point where there is complete elimination of a critical macronutrient (fats, carbohydrates, proteins) from the diet as that person perceives the behavior as “perfect” eating.

Complete elimination of any macronutrient can exact negative consequences of the body to the point that body physiology can suffer and create a host of more physical ailments.

The repercussions of this behavior can often lead to social isolation as others who don’t suffer from this condition don’t wish to be around those that pass judgment on their own food selection.  This can lend itself to significant frustration, alienation and ultimately depression.  Profound loneliness is one of the most recurring social cues of the person seeking perfection through food.

The obsessions of the Orthorexic can create an ongoing anxiety of what they are going to eat, where a particular food will be selected from and how it will be prepared.  It is not uncommon, for someone who suffers from Orthorexia to leave an entire food group out of their diet altogether.

While Orthorexia is generally classified as “all eating disorders that are not specified” it frequently presents itself in the form of food choices and affects more women than men.

In a society where pandemic levels of obesity are frequently the object of news headlines, there also exists an eating disorder that has negative consequences in the pursuit of perfection.

 

Bill Victor

Bill Victor, M.S. Exercise Science is the President of Victor Fitness and Performance Training. He and his team of trainers are dedicated to bringing the fitness experience, and the self-confidence that comes with it, to the citizens of Clark County. He can be reached through www.victor-fitness.com or his email, bill@victor-fitness.com.