National Eating Disorders Association

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Orthorexia/Counting Calories

Hello! I need to share my story because I've never told anyone about this. My family knows that something funky is affecting my life, but I never share. It all started in High School when my family decided we should start counting calories and lose weight. I used to work out and eat healthy, but not obsessive and still enjoyed life. Once I found out about calories and how much was in everything I ate, I became obsessed. I restricted foods I used to love because I didn't want to be fat again. I lost a lot of weight. I gained it back by simply eating more calories and now I am at a healthy weight, but I know I have a problem. I can't even go have sleepovers at friends house because I am afraid they won't have healthy food and I will starve at their house. I think about food all the time. When I go out, I think when I will be hungry again and make sure I have a snack because I don't want to buy food or eat food high in calories, but not filling. I HATE being hungry, so that's why I eat my foods because they fill me up and I feel better about it. I make delicious healthy desserts and they make me happy that I can eat as much as I want and not feel guilty about over indulging. I've always just loved food. Even when I was younger I would get excited about food and ate way too much. This is controlling my life because I don't go out because I am afraid people will make fun of me for my food choices and meals. I also feel that if I ever stayed at other peoples house that they eat unhealthy and I would have to eat small portions and be starving the rest of the day. I would rather be healthy, full, and happy then eat small portion and be starving. I'm scared I will never enjoy life again, or find a boyfriend who will understand me. I just need some advice or help. Thanks! /:

I Do Too

Isnt it just all 2 much on our Minds. It becomes all encompassing and self absorbent behavior of mine too. I try not to, but during any down time i have free at work it starts all over again. Any idle time is dealt with by my counting of any food ingested for the day , the week, the month, and how much gained or lost. The moment i lightened up a bit and focused on health, my period actually returned, plus no gym for 2 weeks too. I didn't miss it mentally or physically, but it felt good when it was over and done with finally.

You are not alone in feeling

You are not alone in feeling preoccupied with food. It is definitely not easy to deal with other parts of your life when thoughts of food are stealing so much of your focus and time. Have you considered seeing a therapist? S/he would be able to help you find some coping strategies, and you wouldn't have to go through this by yourself!

I'd really encourage you to call the NEDA Helpline - they'll help you locate resources near you. (1-800-931-2237).

I don't think your fears or

I don't think your fears or anxieties are unfounded. In fact, I relate 100%. Of all the things EDs steal, friendships and socializing are two of the worst.

Wishing you the best as you work towards recovery!


I read your blog and immediately felt connected. I have an obsession with eating "clean" and calorie counting that consumes my every day thoughts. It all started 1 year ago because I would get a lot of stomach bloating, cramps and socially unacceptable gas. I decided to take matters into my own hands. At the time my weight was in the fairly normal range. I cut out almost everything that I thought was unhealthy. I also started working out excessively to compliment this healthy lifestyle. I quickly realized that by eating a "healthier" way and exercising intensely I could lose weight. People began to notice and I was getting a lot of awesome attention. I loved it. I lost a lot of weight. then something bad happened, I lost my period. I didn't tell anyone for months hoping that it would come back. I told my mom and fiancé after a few months and the look of concern on their faces terrified me. I know that I need to make a change but I'm terrified of gaining the weight back out of fear that I will no longer stand out or be desirable even though my fiancé has told me so many times that he wants me to gain weight because I look better. I'm in this transition period where I know I need to do something but it gives me a great deal of anxiety to begin the change. Please help me figure out how to get through this.

edit notification

Hi Jaymee90, your post has been edited to comply with NEDA's community guidelines: As you continue using the forums for support, please take a moment to review them as well as our page on sharing your story responsibly: Users are not allowed to post any numbers or specific details about food or exercise, as this content may be triggering for other users. Thank you for helping us keep this a safe space for everyone!

re: Help

Hi Jaymee90—welcome to the forums! You’ve come to the right place for support. This is a great community full of people who really “get it,” so we’re here for you during this tough time.
My own ED started with overexercise and my sister also developed an ED as a result of orthorexic behaviors, so I can really relate to what you posted here. In a society like ours that’s obsessed with being healthy and fit, it’s so easy to slip into an ED without even knowing it. You think you’re doing everything right, treating your body how you should, and before you realize it you’ve passed a point psychologically and you’re not sure how you can get back to where you started.
None of us are professionals here so we can’t diagnose you, but I wanted to point you in the direction of a few NEDA resources I think you’ll find helpful as you start to navigate this process.
ED screening test:
General info about orthorexia:
General info about EDs overall:
The thing that stuck out to me most about your post is that you’re feeling really scared about gaining any weight back, even though the loss of your period indicates that you need to gain weight/you know logically that you should. This suggests to me that your ED thoughts are driving right now, so it’s more than just the behaviors that you need to address at this point.
Beyond telling your mom and fiancé that you lost your period, have you been able to confide in them about any of these other feelings and fears you’ve been having? Have you considered seeking professional help from a counselor, therapist, dietitian or nutritionist? If you’re not sure where to start, NEDA can help you locate treatment options in your area—including affordable ones:
Overall I wanted to remind you that you’re not alone and we’re here to support you! I hope to see you more on the forums. Please keep us posted on your progress.


Hi Jaymee90,

I wanted to welcome you to the forums as well. I can totally relate to what you're going through, as a lot of what you mentioned mirrors my own struggle with orthorexia nervosa: cutting out unhealthy foods, an obsession with 'eating clean.' I would recommend checking out the resources that dropthemetaphor provided, as we are not able to diagnose any sort of ED, but you may find some of the materials validating of your experience. I know for me, just being able to know that I was not alone was so helpful. And you are not alone in what you are facing. I also agree with dropthemetaphor in that seeking professional help would be a good step towards beginning to make the change. It is definitely normal to have that anxiety around weight gain & re-adding certain types of food back into your diet, therefore I think having a therapist, dietician, etc would be helpful in walking with you through this process. And it is a process- try to be gentle with yourself in it. It took a long time even after I was weight restored for my period to come back. But recovery is possible. Keep us posted on how you are doing, we care about you here and are always here to listen <3