What should a trainer look like?

There are so many misconceptions around what trainers look like and assumptions about the correlation between body shape and knowledge/expertise. I have talked about it in my blog previously. This is one of the better talks I've seen; doesn't give you all the answers, but nudges you to think about it for yourself.  Grab a beverage and watch.

 

 

 

 

 

Treadmills – Did you know?

treadmills originated in prisonTreadmills Originated in Prisons!

Exercising on a treadmill often feels like torture, and that’s not exactly a coincidence.

In 1818, an English civil engineer named Sir William Cubitt devised a machine called the “tread-wheel” to reform stubborn and idle convicts.

Prisoners would step on the 24 spokes of a large paddle wheel, climbing it like a modern StairMaster. As the spokes turned, the gears were used to pump water or crush grain. (Hence the eventual name treadmill.) In grueling eight-hour shifts, prisoners would climb the equivalent of 7,200 feet. The exertion, combined with poor diets, often led to injury and illness (as well as rock-hard glutes), but that didn’t stop penitentiaries all over Britain and the United States from buying the machines. In 1824, prison guard James Hardie credited the device with taming New York’s more defiant inmates. He wrote that it was the treadmill’s “monotonous steadiness, and not its severity, which constitutes its terror." 

Over the years, American wardens gradually stopped using the treadmill in favor of other backbreaking tasks, such as picking cotton, breaking rocks, or laying bricks. In England, the treadmill persisted until the late 19th century, when it was abandoned for being too cruel. The machine was all but lost to history. But when Dr. Kenneth Cooper demonstrated the health benefits of aerobic exercise in the 1960s, the treadmill made a triumphant return.

Today, well-paid personal trainers have happily taken the place of prison wardens.

Source article by Cassie Arnold here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/12275/treadmill-originated-prisons 

 

 

 

Is everything ok?

It's easy to make excuses for not getting out of the house, or not doing (fill in the blank) when we're not feeling great within ourselves.

It can be our conditioned default response when we feel bad to start telling ourselves we *are bad, or lazy, or not good enough, or not deserving of feeling good. 

The truth is feelings pass, with or without our input. Something can happen to change our mood, or we can do something to change our mood. 

I know I don't have to repeat all the benefits of exercise on mood and motivation, because you probably know most already. 

What's more of a challenge is changing the way we've always thought. "Oh, I can't go. I'm just not motivated today."

"No, I'm not going. I'm not in a good mood."

"I had a rough day, so I'm just going to stay home." You cannot get motivated if you're not doing things to motivate yourself. Staying home on the couch does nothing to inspire or lift your mood. 

Motivation comes from doing. 

You have to do the action to get the feelings. 

You can't switch on motivation; if you could, you wouldn't make excuses. 

Do things to get the positive feelings. Wishing doesn't get you anything unless you're doing the actions that lead you to your wish. 

On your bad days, your worst days, the good days, the long and tiring days, get out and do your PT session, or your group class, or go for a walk. 

Do something that consumes physical energy in a positive way. It will distract you from your mental woes, it's stress relief, and doing something good for yourself always makes you feel better. 

Doing those things consistently means you'll have those positive feelings longer and more often. 

So turn up. At the very least, you're getting away from all the things you have going on for 30 minutes and that is simple, necessary self care. If you don't look after you, who will?

PS...Metafit is on this Tuesday cup day. Business as usual! See you there!

#metafit #metafitkensington #5minutefitness #hiit #instafit #instafitness #groupfitness #kensington #kensingtonbanks #yarraville #footscray #outdoorfitness #maribyrnong #personaltrainer #melbourne #melbournepersonaltrainer #workout #exercise #fitfam #fitness #squat

Camp Quality Christmas Fundraiser

Camp Quality Christmas Fundraiser

Help Me Help Some Kids

christmas kidsSome days, life can get pretty hectic and stressful, especially at this time of year! Often, the simplest way to get out of that state of overwhelm is to do something nice for someone else.

Please help me to support Camp Quality this Christmas by donating $10 via my Everyday Hero fundraiser page.

Your generosity will be truly appreciated.

 

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/5minfit-kidschristmas

About Camp Quality

Camp Quality’s purpose is to create a better life for every child living with cancer in Australia.

The services they provide for children (0-13 years) living with cancer and their families help create a better life by building optimism and resilience throughout each stage of their cancer journey.

Right from diagnosis, throughout treatment and in remission or bereavement, their programs support the whole family; at hospital, at home, back at school and away from it all.

This means they support the mums, dads and siblings of kids with cancer too; research shows that cancer has a huge impact on them and they often feel neglected by support that focuses solely on the child with cancer. This makes Camp Quality’s inclusion of these family members across the programs unique, essential and urgent - so they can quickly form a solid support network around their brother / sister or son / daughter with cancer.

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/5minfit-kidschristmas

camp quality

My Story

I spend my time helping people to be in the best possible health and fitness for them. Having an auto immune illness means I have some lifestyle limitations. However, it also allows greater perspective. I'm grateful for the ability to choose my level of health and fitness. Some don't have that choice.

I’ve experienced what it’s like to sit beside a hospital bed in a cancer ward as a 20-something loved one endured rounds of chemo and multiple surgeries. Staying awake all night while he dealt with the pain of drug reactions, and rushing to the emergency department late at night due to complications from surgery…it’s heartbreaking. I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for a child to experience.

My hope is to bring some support and joy to kids who aren't afforded the luxury of choice when it comes to their health.

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/5minfit-kidschristmas

christmas bowBe Rewarded for Your Contribution

To show my appreciation of your contribution, I will provide my services to the value of whatever money is raised to one random person who donates. (Make sure to select to notify me of your contact details when you contribute.)

Your $10 donation can make a difference!

Thank you for supporting my Camp Quality fundraiser and helping me help the kids and their families this Christmas!
Eve
aussie-parenting-1-600x313

everyday hero

Featured image from Babyology

.

Tasmanian High Country Fitness Retreat

Beautiful Wilderness Retreat near Cradle Mountain

Gas log fires, spacious bedrooms, that feeling you get when you’re immersed deep in natural surroundings; this is what you will experience when you spend a few days with 5 Minute Fitness in beautiful log cabins nestled in the Tasmanian wilderness, getting fit, rejuvenating and getting away from it all.  

There’s room enough for 8 people to join us in this world famous location.  

lemonthyme 1 2 bedroom

Experience the wonder of Tasmania’s pristine high country as we hike the walking trails to waterfalls and get back to nature.

Just 90 minutes drive from Launceston and close to Cradle Mountain, Lemonthyme Wilderness Retreat is where we’ll relax, rejuvenate and revitalise ourselves.
special offer button

Book and pay in full before midnight Sunday 13 September 2015 and save $600!

$1,597 now only $997!

There are limited places, so make sure one is yours!

We’ve found the perfect retreat to rediscover yourself while you get away from it all.

Reserve your place here: http://www.5minutefitness.com.au/tasmanian-high-country/

lemonthyme 11 treetop-entry  lemonthyme 10 stairs  lemonthyme 15 ferns  lemonthyme 21 wine  lemonthyme 17 reception  lemonthyme 4 Bedroom  

So what’s included?

* 4 nights wilderness retreat accommodation
* group fitness sessions
* hiking the high country trails
* mountain biking
* mindset and well-being discussions
* 1:1 health and fitness feedback and advice
* fun outdoor games and activities
* health and wellness workshops
* all meals
* a workout program to keep you on track when you’re home
* and more!

Have fun, relax, get fit and have a break from life!

When?

Sunday 11th October to Thursday 15th October.
Places are strictly limited and we’re taking deposits now!

lemonthyme 2 2br_deck lemonthyme 5 forest lemonthyme 7 signage

 

 

 

Dinner Plain 5 Night October Escape

Spend 5 nights and 6 days with us in this idyllic location!

One of Dinner Plain's finest properties, overlooking the reserve this fabulous chalet has loads of space, all the comforts, including spa baths, and big balcony with views that go for ever. You will want to come back and stay any time of the year!
 
Spend 5 nights and 6 days with us in this idyllic location, getting fit, rejuvenating and getting away from it all. There's room enough for 8 people to join us in superb accommodation!

Get active with us, walking some of the 15kms of tracks around the village and maybe even cross country to Mt Hotham.

So what's included?
camelot front view

* 5 nights accommodation
* all meals
* group fitness sessions
* outdoor games and activities
* health and wellness workshops
* a workout program to keep you on track when you're home
* and more!

camelot dining loungeWe're here to show you that being fit and healthy doesn't mean you have to starve yourself and workout till you're ill.  

You can have fun, relax, get fit and have a break from life without checking every calorie consumed, or worked off.

Whencamelot lounge3

Take advantage of the new long weekend and stay with us from the night of Saturday 10th October to Thursday 15th October.

Places are strictly limited and we're taking deposits now!

Do not wait, or you will miss out!

Click here to reserve your place now!

A percentage of the profit from every retreat will go to GR8M8S Foundation to help improve the lives of less fortunate kids. Help us to help kids in need!

 

October Short Retreat at Wilsons Promontory

Beautiful Beachfront Cottages at Wilsons Promontory

Take advantage of the new long weekend and spend a few days with us in lovely self-contained cottages, getting fit, rejuvenating and getting away from it all. There’s room enough for 8 people to join us in fabulous beach front accommodation with spectacular ocean views across Waratah Bay to Wilson’s Promontory and the Bass Strait shipping lanes.  Absorb the coastal brilliance with exclusive views from each of the cottage. The beach front is only 5 minutes from each cottage door!

This secluded and amazing natural setting abuts the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park,  and is home to a variety of wildlife including wombats, koalas, wallabies, echidnas and an abundance of bird life.

We’ve found the perfect retreat to experience the vitality of nature’s elements. This pristine coastal retreat has it’s own little beach tucked into the coast of Waratah Bay.  A perfect place to swim, fish, snorkel, dive or just fossick amongst the beautiful rock pools.

During the cooler months it is just as beautiful as you sit by the fire watching the wind whipping up the waves or watching the lightning as it explodes over the granite boulders of Wilson’s Prom.

So what’s included?Bear Gully Coastal Cottages Luxury Accommodation

* 3 nights accommodation
* all meals
* group fitness sessions
* outdoor games and activities
* health and wellness workshops
* a workout program to keep you on track when you’re home
* and more!

We’re here to show you that being fit and healthy doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself and workout till you’re ill.  

You can have fun, relax, get fit and have a break from life without checking every calorie consumed, or worked off.

When

Take advantage of the new long weekend and stay with us from the night of Friday 2nd October to Monday 5th October.

Places are strictly limited and we’re taking deposits now!

Do not wait, or you will miss out!

Click here to go to our Getaways page and reserve your place now!

A percentage of the profit from every retreat will go to GR8M8S Foundation to help improve the lives of less fortunate kids. Help us to help kids in need!

 

It’s my birthday, but the party is yours!

It’s my birthday, but the party is yours!

You get to have your cake and eat it, too!

blue suede cake Source: susansdisneyfamily.com
Source: susansdisneyfamily.com

 

go ahead make me an offer

 30 days unlimited group sessions

STEP 1: YOU decide how much you're willing to pay for a month of small group fitness classes.

STEP 2: YOU make me a reasonable offer via the chat window at the bottom of the page, or the contact page.

STEP 3: WE come to an agreement.

BONUS: YOU stay on our agreed rate for THREE months*.

It's that simple!

Join today and start changing your body now!

Tell your friends!

Blue velvet cupcakes Source: tidymom.net
Source: tidymom.net

* Offer expires midnight Sunday 9 August 2015
* Payment must be made in full prior to commencing sessions.
* No, I don't need birthday presents, thanks! 😉

 

The real reason we work 

The real reason we work 

I had a literal wake up call of sorts this morning. Cats are like kids in that they have their own personality and quirks; things that are endearing and others that drive you nuts. 

This little girl who, although slightly neurotic and very jealous of her sister, wakes up perky and talkative, was slow to move today. Her eyes were half shut and her mouth open. I knew before I got out of bed we'd be visiting the vet before lunchtime. 

Fortunately, the good people at Kensington Vet don't think there's too much concern and she may just be unwell from eating different than her normal food last night. She was given a painkiller and I have to monitor her breathing for a day or so, but it's not a nice feeling to not be able to 'fix' it and make her feel better. 

There's often that initial "What's this going to cost me?" thought with unplanned or unbudgeted medical costs, whether for yourself, your family, or your pets. 

I had that thought this morning, but knew it didn't really matter. I'd do it and I'd pay what's necessary to fix either myself or my pets. You just do. 

Now I'm sitting here in my lounge with both my cats asleep on my lap. I believe they think I exist so they can sleep on me and so I can feed them. 

Too often, we take for granted the status quo; our daily routine, the things we have and, most importantly, our health. We simply can't be, do, or have the things we need if we don't have our health. 

I have to take medication daily, to help me function 'normally' (whatever 'normal' is), although I still need to remind myself sometimes to be grateful for the health I have. It allows me to work a job, run my businesses and take care of my responsibilities. I'm grateful for my limitations, because they make me appreciate my ability to move and be active. The choice to move and be active. 

Taking care of yourself is a responsibility. How can you expect to continue to work, to provide, to care for and nurture those around you (including your pets), if you're not looking after yourself? How can you fully serve others (and that includes what you do at work and at home) if you're not first of all fully taking care of yourself? 

Putting others first is a little backasswards. Looking after yourself first allows you to give and be more for others. It's worth the change in behaviour and perspective, right?

   

How do you win a door prize?

How do you win a door prize?

The only way you can have any chance at all is to turn up!

Start personal training or group classes with me in July. You never know what other bonuses you might receive!

Use the contact form at the bottom of the screen to chat with me or leave a message, or go ahead and take advantage of my group class offer now!

 

Exercising as a family makes you healthier

Exercising as a family makes you healthier

family going to beachExercise together for better health

Electronic gaming is increasing as a way for families to ‘chill out’ together. While it’s great to spend time together as a family, don’t forget the importance of being active together either.

Why physical activity?

Lack of physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO)[i].

 

WHO states regular physical activity will:

  • help maintain a healthy weight
  • improve cardiovascular fitness
  • improve muscular strength
  • aid bone health
  • reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure)
  • reduce the risk of developing some cancers
  • reduce the risk of depression.

Kids who exercise regularly can also enjoy these extra benefits[ii] [iii]:

  • an increased ability to learn
  • improved short-term memory, reaction times and creativity
  • increased cognitive development
  • reduced stress
  • improved strength, flexibility and endurance
  • better able to handle physical and emotional challenges of growing up
  • better sleep
  • improved confidence.

How much activity?

snow kidsPhysical activity shouldn’t be confused with structured exercise.

Current recommendations for physical activity are [iv]:

  • at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity daily for children 5-17 years of age
  • 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity weekly for adults 18-64 years of age.

According to Active Health Kids Australia, only 19 per cent of Australian children aged 5-17 years are getting enough physical activity, with 71 per cent of kids in this age bracket exceeding more than the recommended two hours of screen time per day. [v]

It’s clear that our children need to get away from the screens and off the couch!

Exercise as a family

water tube ridingExercising as a family is not only fun (and often inexpensive), but it’s an important way to show your children what a healthy lifestyle is.

Exercising together will help your children establish good exercise habits as well as provide an opportunity to learn the importance of regular exercise and good nutritional habits.

Some great ideas to be active as a family include:

  • At the park — throw a Frisbee, fly a kite, walk the dog, kick a ball, ride your bike, use the playground.
  • At home — plant a garden, paint a fence, sweep a patio, dance in the living room, jump rope, rake leaves.
  • At the beach — play cricket or volleyball, walk along the beach, go for a swim, go sailing.
  • In the snow — build a snowman, toboggan or ski, have a snowball fight, go ice-skating.
  • Out and about — go hiking, participate in a fun run, ride your bikes, go bowling, abseil, kayak, go rock climbing, talk a walking tour of your city.
  • Take a class — take up dancing, learn how to play tennis, take up karate or swimming lessons.

Of course, the activities above are only a guide. Choose something you’d all like to do and give it a go. Perhaps you could set aside a regular time to be active together and take turns in choosing the activity.

Whatever you do however, make a commitment to get your family off the couch and into exercise!

Mountain Biking - two Girls on a steep Descent

little girl smiling

References:

[i] World Health Organisation, Physical activity, Last update January 2014; accessed 1 July 2015 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/

[ii] Raise Smart Kid, The Benfits of Exercise on Your Kid’s Brain, published not specified; accessed 1 July 2015 http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/35-the-benefits-of-exercise-on-your-kids-brain

[iii] Kids Health, Kids and Exercise, last reviewed February 2012; accessed 1 July 2015 http://kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_center/staying_fit/exercise.html

[iv] World Health Organisation, Physical activity, Last update January 2014; accessed 1 July 2015 http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs385/en/

[v] Active Health Kids Australia, Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Young People, published 20 May, 2014; accessed 1 July 2014 http://www.activehealthykidsaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ahka_reportcard_shortform_web.pdf

 

 

 

Marriage equality 2 for 1 offer!

 ❤️🎉❤️ DOUBLING MY SPECIAL OFFER!

Ok, let's celebrate marriage equality and cross our fingers it happens in Australia, too!

I'll do you a two for one deal! 

Sign up for your first month of group fitness classes and bring your favourite person to as many classes as you like FREE!  

Be QUICK! This will be for 30 people only! JOIN NOW!

CLICK HERE NOW TO JOIN!

 

The real cost of obesity

The real cost of obesity

Overweight and obesity in Australia is reaching epidemic proportions.

We are now one of the fattest nations in the developed world with the prevalence of obesity more than doubling in the last 20 years.[1]

The most recent statistics from Obesity Australia indicate that 63 per cent of our country is overweight or obese, with 28 per cent obese. According to their 2014 report, No Time to Weight, obesity is a major health and societal factor for the Australian population. [2]

Unfortunately, things are likely to get worse with projections seeing around 70% of Australians being overweight or obese, by 2025, with around a third of the Australian adult population falling into the obese category.

apple with stethoscope and measuring tape

Personal cost

It is well documented that carrying too much weight is dangerous for your health. While obesity is not a disease, it does contribute to the development of other diseases. [3]

Health problems and consequences of being overweight include:

  • cardiovascular disease such as hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • coronary artery disease and stroke
  • obstructive sleep apnoea
  • insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • cancer
  • osteoarthritis
  • cognitive impairment
  • mood and anxiety disorders, including depression, negative body image and poor self-esteem.

If the thought of developing the above diseases isn’t enough to shock you, what about dying early?

Obesity Australia states that 40-year old obese women who don’t smoke will lose around 7.1 years of life, while obese male non-smokers will die 5.8 years earlier than expected. This is compared with their normal weight counterparts. [4]

sliced vegetables

The financial cost

As well as costing people years and quality of life, obesity is costing our country billions every year.

Estimating the financial cost of obesity is complicated. However, 2008 figures from Obesity Australia puts Australia’s total obesity cost at $58.2 billion per year. [5]

Costs relating to obesity include loss of productivity, carer’s costs, health system costs, and wellbeing. The total financial and lost wellbeing costs broken down by obesity-related diseases are as follows:

Cardiovascular disease

  • Financial cost $2.8 billion
  • Lost wellbeing $31.8 billion
  • TOTAL $34.6 billion

Cancer                                       

  • Financial cost $695 million
  • Lost wellbeing $9.0 billion
  • TOTAL $9.7 billion

Type 2 Diabetes                    

  • Financial cost $3.0 billion
  • Lost wellbeing $5.3
  • TOTAL $8.3 billion

Osteoarthritis                        

  • Financial cost$1.8 billion
  • Lost wellbeing $3.8 billion
  • TOTAL $5.7 billion

That’s an awful lot of money to spend on disease!

The future

There is no doubt Australia is at a crossroads.

If the rate of obesity continues to grow at the projected rate, it’s fair to say the financial and wellbeing costs will also grow — to overwhelming proportions.

However, by taking steps to lose the excess fat, improve health and wellbeing, we as a nation can turn the statistics around. Not only can we save billions of dollars, we can improve our quality of life, and our life expectancy.

If you feel you need to take control of your weight and health, speak to your health care practitioners and consider joining your local fitness studio and/or take some personal training sessions.

baby pasta face hand in mouth

References

[1] Modi, Monash University, Obesity in Australia, last updated 6 August 2013; accessed 24 June 2015 http://www.modi.monash.edu.au/obesity-facts-figures/obesity-in-australia/

[2] Obesity Australia, No Time to Weight. Obesity: A National Epidemic and Its Impact on Australia, published 27 March 2014; accessed 23 June 2015, http://www.obesityaustralia.org/resources-1/no-time-to-weight

[3] Ibid pp18-19

[4] Ibid p 20

[5] Ibid pp26-27

 

 

Orthorexia: are you at risk?

Orthorexia: are you at risk?

There is a new trend in town and it has a name: Orthorexia nervosa, or more simply, orthorexia.

However, it can be hard to diagnose because at its core is a desire to eat more healthily — and most of us want to do that.

The term ‘orthorexia’, originally coined in 1997 by Dr Steven Bratman, describes an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food. The term is derived from ‘anorexia’ with ‘ortho’ meaning “straight” or “right”.

Despite orthorexia not being recognised as a clinical diagnosis in the DSM-5 (Fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health) — a handbook used by health care professionals in the US and much of the world as an authoritative guide to mental health disorders [1]it is widely accepted that it is an eating disorder.

What is Orthorexia?

orthorexia | 5 Minute FitnessPut simply, orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. What may start out as a ‘health kick’ or simply an attempt to clean up one’s diet and include more healthy foods, can quickly turn into something sinister.

While anorexia focuses on restricting food intake in the quest to achieve a certain body shape (usually ‘thinness’), orthorexia restricts the types of foods themselves. Orthorexics will only eat foods deemed ‘clean’, ‘healthy’ or ‘wholesome’.

Following a vegetarian, vegan or any other nutritionally sound eating plan is fine. Reading food labels and making informed decisions about which foods to eat, is also fine. However, when a seemingly innocent attempt to clean up one’s diet, turns into a fixation on food purity and quality, alarm bells should ring.

Dr Steven Bratman, author of the website Orthorexia.com says that people with orthorexia have developed “an extreme, obsessive, psychologically limiting and physically dangerous disorder”.[2]

Sufferers become consumed with what to eat, how much to eat and are constantly striving to ‘eat right’ and ‘be good’. Self-esteem becomes a direct reflection upon how well they eat and they may even begin to feel superior to others, based upon their dietary choices.

As the disorder takes hold, food choices become more restrictive and the obsession with food takes precedence over other activities and interests in their life. Because food choices are so restricted, the person’s health may begin to suffer (which is ironic given that the disorder was born out of a desire to be healthy). In some cases, a person may become malnourished, sick and may even die.

According to Bratman, the disorder “has an aspirational, idealistic, spiritual component, which allows it to become deeply rooted in a person’s identity”.

woman holding grapefruit What are the symptoms?

Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you are orthorexic. However, key signs [3] [4]that you need to look out for include:

  • You find healthy food a primary source of happiness and meaning, even spirituality
  • Your lifestyle interferes with relationships, work, friends or family
  • Food helps you feel in control and eases feelings of anxiety and insecurity
  • You have to take your diet to further extremes to get the same ‘kick’ out of it
  • When you stray from ‘pure’ foods, you feel a compulsive need to cleanse
  • Your interest in healthy food controls your life
  • You sometimes wish you could just eat and not worry about the quality of your food
  • You wish you could spend less time thinking and preparing food and more time on other things
  • You panic if you do not have control over everything that goes into your mouth, particularly when someone else has prepared a meal for you
  • Following the ‘perfect’ diet is the most important thing in your life
  • You feel guilt or self-loathing when you ‘eat off plan’
  • You feel in control when you stick to the ‘right’ foods
  • You feel superior to others, based upon your food choices.

steak being slicedWhat role does social media play?

According to Google statistics, the number of searches for terms such as ‘paleo’, ‘vegan’ and ‘gluten’ has risen significantly over the past 10 years, with a considerable rise since 2011. [5]This is not to say following these lifestyles are bad, but it’s important to remember that orthorexia begins with a desire to eat ‘healthily’ and rightly or wrongly, these terms have become synonymous with health.

apple with stethoscope and measuring tapeWith social media being such an integral part of our lives, orthorexia can be easily fuelled. How many ‘sugar-free’ or ‘carb-free’ or ‘guilt-free’ posts of food you see in one day on your social media feed? A key problem is that many assume that those posting such pictures and recipes are ‘experts’, particularly if they have a large following.

However, as we learned in the case of ‘wellness guru’ Belle Gibson (the young woman who lied about overcoming terminal brain cancer and using that lie to build an empire), not everything is always as it seems. Those who seem to be ‘in the know’ can actually be dishing out incorrect and dangerous advice.

Add to the mix the trend of photographing your ‘clean’ plate and uploading it to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, and the positive feedback and praise that often follows, it is easy to understand how eating well turns to a dangerous obsession.

How should you eat?

While adopting a healthy lifestyle is great, living a life that centres around restricting food choices is not. Food should be used to nourish and fuel or bodies, but it should also be enjoyed — free from rules, guilt or anxiety.

The Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) recommends eating a wide range of foods from each food group — lots of fruit and veggies, legumes, wholegrain cereals and breads, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds and low-fat dairy — and limiting foods with added sugars, saturated fat, salt and alcohol. [6]

veggies with measuring tapeRather than excluding food groups, or labelling them ‘good’ or ‘bad’, the DAA encourages enjoying all foods. It recommends categorising foods into two groups; ‘everyday foods’ and ‘extra foods’. Obviously ‘everyday’ foods can be enjoyed every day, while ‘extra foods’ should be enjoyed sometimes and in small amounts.

The DAA also warn against relying upon nutritional information found online, including social media. It believes that many people with orthorexia are mistaken about food and nutrition, which is often caused by inaccurate information from less reputable sources. When it comes to dietary advice, the DAA recommends seeking the advice of trusted health professionals.

Treating orthorexia

The US-based National Eating Disorders Association says that recognising orthorexia can be difficult, particularly given society’s value of healthy eating and thinness[7]. It can also be easy for sufferers to hide behind the thought that they are eating well, and insist that they do not have a problem.

Like many eating disorders, orthorexia can be treated with the help of professionals, although the road ahead for sufferers is not always easy. If you suspect you or someone you know, is suffering from orthorexia, or any other eating disorder, speak to your health care professional.

 

References:

[1] American Psychiatric Association, What is DSM and why is it important? Published unknown; accessed 18 June 2015 http://www.dsm5.org/about/pages/faq.aspx

[2] Stephen Bratman, Orthorexia, What is Orthorexia? published 23 January, 2014; accessed 18 June 2015 http://www.orthorexia.com/what-is-orthorexia/

[3] Karin Kratina, National Eating Disorders Association, Orthorexia Nervosa, published unknown; accessed 18 June 2015 https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/orthorexia-nervosa

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