Bigorexia, orthorexia, non-purgative bulimia - is there no end to the illnesses you can catch from trying to eat healthily?
Wake up and smell the lettuce. There is nothing wrong with going on a diet.
You can’t pick up a newspaper during silly season without reading about the dangers of wanting a body that is decent enough to take to the beach. Remember, it’s what’s inside that counts – and in any case, low carbs diets give you funny, furry, fat-coated poos.
But much as it pains me to say it, Angelina Jolie didn’t become Lara Croft and Jennifer Anniston didn’t get to marry Brad Pitt because they learned to love who they were inside. Okay, so most us have better things to do than 24-hour power yoga, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be nice to have the perfect figure.
People moan about the skinnies on TV – Ally McBeal, Geri Not-sing-very-well – but I’m sure the majority of anorexics would be more than a little pissed off if you accused them of being influenced by somebody like Posh Spice. And is it surprising that people are becoming more body conscious, given that we are forever being told to be healthier? Eat less fat, drink less alcohol, go organic, take exercise and go through a bucketful of water a day.… I’m already sick of hearing about how good wholegrain cereals are for my heart. No wonder people are more paranoid about what they eat.
But trying to work out what actually is healthy gets even more confusing. How about a rock-hard six-packed toned lean waxed torso with beads of perspiration running down rippling muscles? No! Stop that thought at once. Haven’t you heard of bigorexia?
Bigorexia, or muscle dysmorphia, is apparently the opposite of the eating disorder anorexia nervosa. Sufferers believe they are too thin rather than too fat, and work out intensely to build up their muscles. Just as anorexia affects mainly women, bigorexia affects mainly men. The blokes’ disease is not quite so bad: while anorexia involves starvation sometimes to the point of death, bigorexics don’t want to explode – they just want to be, well, big.
Hmm. Bulking up might be boring – but an illness?
Some see bigorexia as a symptom of a broader problem – that men are becoming more and more body conscious. Some surveys indicate that up to 50 percent of men are unhappy with their bodies. But aren’t we all? I haven’t yet met a person who loves themselves 100 percent. It might be worries that ‘bellies gonna get ya’, wishing your legs were a teeny bit longer, or wanting nipples that are less hairy – everybody has a complaint.
Even healthy eating can now be seen as an illness. Orthorexia is apparently the condition you suffer from if you are obsessed with eating healthily. And then there are all those other funny habits, now labelled disorders. That bloke you see jogging every morning could be a compulsive exerciser, the fat woman on the bus an overeater. Even if you don’t make yourself vomit you could be bulimic – the non-purgative variety. If none of the above applies to you but your eating habits are not exactly normal, you could be suffering from ED-NOS – ‘eating disorder not otherwise specified’.
At least you know where you stand with a crash diet. It’s naughty and you’ll probably put the weight back on afterwards. Trying to get healthed up, it seems, is more dangerous – just look at all the illnesses you could catch.
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