Throughout the week we have been learning more about health in terms of energy intake and energy expenditure in relation to health and debunking common perceptions that physical activity is more important to look at to being healthy versus what is being consumed.
Something that I felt was interesting that was discussed in class were the effects of physical activity on mental health and overall well being. In addition to physical activity, most people believe that when you eat well, you also feel better about yourself.
We tend to celebrate people who choose not to partake in even a little bit of the typical western diet and commend them for having such self-restriction and being what we consider healthy. The article that I found suggests that perhaps commending such “healthy” choices and dieting may not be so beneficial and instead contributing to possible eating disorders. One example of these eating disorders has been unofficially diagnosed as “orthorexia” which means an unhealthy obsession with healthy food. Now, usually people wouldn't consider this a bad thing, however the difference between having a strict diet and orthorexia is that rather than making you feel better about your choices and having a healthier lifestyle, it makes you feel worse. The writer agrees with my earlier statement by saying that the problem isn't benefited by the fact that “people get positive feedback for behavior that appears healthy” and that it is “socially acceptable and often heralded as a great statement of self-control and doing the right thing for your health”, especially in our culture where fast food dominates an increasing percentage of the food we consume.
The writer highlights that people can be so fixated on the foods they eat in fear of consuming something “unhealthy” that they may in fact be cutting out necessary nutrients and fats still needed in a healthy diet. This form of obtaining healthy perfection can be considered a gateway to other eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia and has to be addressed.
Something interesting to note is that the author does not address whether or not these people partake in physical activity, or at least in the case of Alena Moodey who was diagnosed in the article. If she did partake in such dieting habits but also had an obsession with working out, this would potentially lead to an even bigger problem, or perhaps the opposite would happen and she would consume more of an array of nutritious foods to maintain the energy to continue her physical activity.
This article just further reinforces the idea that in order to be healthy, one needs to find a balance between energy expenditure as well as energy intake and be conscious of the foods being consumed, but not to the point where it will have a negative effect on our lives.