Anorexia Nervosa Treatment & Orthorexia Facts

With up to 60% of high school girls reporting that they are dieting to lose weight, about 5% of adolescent girls have Anorexic tendencies. The average age of onset for Anorexia Nervosa is 17, but it can occur in children under the age of 10 as well as women over the age of 40. Approximately 10% of all Anorexics are male. About half of Anorexics also have Bulimic tendencies.

Orthorexia is a term sometimes used to describe an obsessive focus on “clean eating” — but these attempts to “eat healthy” can often go to an Anorexic extreme. Orthorexia can result in restrictive eating patterns, significant weight loss, and fear of weight gain associated with Anorexia Nervosa.

There are diagnostic criteria which mental health professionals use to determine if you have Anorexia Nervosa, but if you struggle with any of the symptoms listed below, then our EDIT™ Treatment Team is here to help. If any of these behaviors are problematic for you — interfering with your relationships, career, or your ability to enjoy your life — then we can design a customized treatment plan to guide you on your Positive Pathways of Recovery.

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Sometimes it can seem like your Eating Disorder “ED” is your identity.
Can you relate to any of these symptoms? 

Anorexia Nervosa involves chronic restriction of food intake.

AnorexiaRestrictionYou might spend most of your day thinking about food, counting calories or making other nutrition tallies, and planning what you’ll eat (or not eat) at your next meal. You like to prepare your own meals, and it’s extremely difficult if not impossible for you to eat at a restaurant or allow someone else to cook for you. You may also have certain rituals with your meal preparation and eating, such as precisely measuring food quantities, or cutting food into a certain size of bites. Friends and family may try to interfere with your routine, which infuriates you. You are beginning to realize that it’s not a desire to be in control, it’s an absolute need to be in control of what and how you eat. The rigid control of your eating disorder is controlling you — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

Anorexia Nervosa can lead to avoidance of specific foods or food groups.

AnorexiaNoFatMaybe it’s foods which are cooked in fat, such as french fries. Or foods which are prepared with fat, such as some bread products. Or foods which naturally contain fat, such as nuts. Gradually, your list of “forbidden foods” has become bigger, and your list of “safe foods” has become smaller. You may try to hide your restrictive food preferences under the guise of “healthy eating,” but in reality you know that your restrictions are unhealthy. For example, you probably know that your body needs fat, but you can’t imagine putting any fat in your body. You may find yourself cooking separate meals for members of your family, because they refuse to eat as restrictively as you do.  Your “world of food” is probably getting smaller and smaller, until it becomes difficult to eat anything at all — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

Anorexia Nervosa can be an obsession with “clean eating” — sometimes called Orthorexia.

th-5Which foods do you consider to be the “healthiest” — organic, vegan, raw? Gluten-free, lactose-free, sugar-free?  Do you avoid all refined or processed foods? Do you stay away from preservatives, artificial sweeteners and artificial colors?  Your attempts to “eat clean” may have resulted in a very restrictive way of eating. Although “Orthorexia” is not a clinical diagnostic term, it has been coined to describe one aspect of Anorexia, related to an “obsession to eat clean” — and you’ve probably been confronted about this.  You might deny that your eating is problematic, and yet you’re aware that you feel extreme anxiety at the thought of having to eat something which you don’t consider “clean.”  You probably find yourself unable to eat at most restaurants, because of your concerns about how food would be prepared.  You may even avoid eating with others, because you find it difficult to watch people eating “unhealthy” foods.  Your healthy intentions have led to isolating outcomes — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

Anorexia Nervosa can cause significant and ultimately uncontrollable weight loss.

AnorexiaWeightLossYour weight loss efforts probably began with a diet, or an attempt for “healthy weight loss.” This seemed simple enough — you just ate less and exercised more.  As you began losing weight, you may have received compliments — so you began increasing your weight loss efforts. You may have started a food diary, and an exercise log, and you probably began to record your weight and other body measurements more precisely. And obsessively — possibly weighing and measuring yourself several times throughout the day. Eventually, your weight loss efforts became nearly effortless, and it was as if you couldn’t stop losing weight. You’re probably noticing consequences of your extreme weight loss — such as hair loss, energy loss, and an overall loss of joy.  What began as “healthy weight loss” has now gone to an unhealthy extreme — and you may be noticing serious medical issues, which may require immediate medical attention.  At first you felt in control of your weight loss, but now your weight loss is spiraling out of control — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

Anorexia Nervosa can result in an intense fear of weight gain.

You may be confronted about how thin you are, but you don’t see yourself as “too thin.” In fact, you’re pleased with your recent weight loss, and you’d actually like to lose more weight. Or, perhaps you have begun to experience medical consequences of extreme weight loss – and you’re scared, but you’re even more afraid to gain weight.  You might weigh yourself every day, or more than once a day — and if the number on the scale goes up, you might skip your next meal, or go for a long run.  Even a half a pound of weight gain can seem overwhelming, because you’re afraid that once you start gaining weight, that the weight gain will never stop.  Your fear of weight gain continues to trigger restrictive eating and excessive exercise patterns — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

Anorexia Nervosa can trigger episodes of binge eating and/or purging — which may lead to Bulimia Nervosa.

AnorexiaBingeIf you have been eating restrictively and/or exercising excessively, your body has been signaling you to restore a healthy balance with your eating exercise and weight — but it’s probably very scary for you to trust the messages that your body is sending you.  You might find yourself feeling hungry, and so you decide to give yourself permission to eat — but then you find you can’t stop eating once you start.  Panicked about weight gain, you might make yourself throw up what you’ve just eaten, or you might “purge” by going for an extra-long run.  Or both. You used to feel in control of your eating, but now your eating is out of control — which is exactly what “ED” wants…

You can reclaim your life – without “ED” as your identity.
Hold onto the hope of complete recovery! 





I might be Anorexic and I need help…

What concerning symptoms do you have?
What unhelpful behaviors are you noticing?
What challenging life issues are you experiencing?
At Positive Pathways, we’d like to hear your story.
Our therapists listen with empathy and compassion.
We can develop a customized action plan for your recovery!

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EDIT™ Recovery Plan for Anorexia Treatment Denver Colorado:

At Positive Pathways, we believe that complete recovery from Anorexia is possible! Our EDIT™ Treatment Team will customize an Anorexia Treatment plan for you. Unlike other programs for Anorexia Treatment in Denver Colorado — which may require inpatient or residential care — we work with clients on an outpatient basis. You’ll discover how to have healthy control of what’s currently out of control. You’ll learn intuitive eating strategies to help you make peace with food, one bite at a time. You’ll replace your eating disordered behaviors with your own unique Intuitive Self-Care techniques, to feed yourself from within. Are you ready to begin your journey of recovery, from a place of compassionate Self-Love, seeing your wholeness beyond the symptoms of your eating disorder?


YES!!! we do...

  • Provide strategies to reduce Anorexic behaviors
  • Teach Intuitive Eating and Intuitive Exercise skills
  • Address the root cause of Anorexic behaviors
  • Encourage gradual restoration of a healthy body weight
  • Partner with medical doctors as needed

NO!!! we don't...

  • Treat extreme cases of Anorexia (referrals are available)
  • Expect immediate extinguishment of Anorexic behaviors
  • Use meal plans or dictate what you must eat
  • Monitor your body weight or measurements
  • Provide medical treatment (referrals available)

Get started TODAY on your POSITIVE PATHWAYS of Recovery!

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