Can You Be TOO Healthy?

You can never be too healthy, right? Well, that depends. If we’re just talking about getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and getting your daily dose of exercise, then sure, there’s no arguing with that. But, for some, what starts as a well-intentioned and enthusiastic desire to eat a healthy or “clean” diet and stay fit can turn into an unhealthy obsession. This unhealthy obsession can become so intense that it can turn into an eating disorder, known as orthorexia, or orthorexia nervosa. 

What Is Orthorexia?a white plate with a portion of salmon and vegetables with a fork on one side of the table and a knife on the other side.

Shockingly, it is estimated that at least 30 million people in the United States suffer from some form of eating disorder. While most people have heard of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia, orthorexia might be less familiar to some. The term, from the Greek “ortho” meaning  “right,” “orexia,” meaning “hunger,” and “nervosa meaning “fixation” or “obsession,” was coined in 1997 by Dr. Stephen Bratman to describe the obsession with healthy eating he had begun to see in some of his patients. What sets it apart from other eating disorders is that it’s not generally about quantity of food, but rather quality. While those suffering from orthorexia might also be looking to maintain a certain weight, and there could be some crossover between anorexia and orthorexia, the main goal is not always weight loss or management. 

Orthorexia is currently not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) as an official eating disorder, but the medical community is recognizing it more and more, as it is becoming clear that it is a serious issue for some. And it’s not surprising that this type of eating disorder has become more common. Our society’s fixation on being perfect, fueled by a social media filled with influencers showcasing their “healthy” lifestyles, can end up reinforcing an obsession with healthy living in those who might be more prone to orthorexia. 

So how do you know if your healthy lifestyle is going too far? Here are 8 warning signs that you could be dealing with orthorexia.

1. You Obsess Over “Healthy” Eating

The problem with recognizing orthorexia is that it can start in a much more subtle way than other eating disorders, like anorexia. It starts with the intent to lead a healthy lifestyle, but it can spiral out of control. You become obsessed with and extremely focused on the quality and nutritional content of your food, specific ingredients that you use, or health trends that you follow. Full-blown orthorexia will begin to interfere with your social and work life. 

2. You Have Unrealistic Expectations Fueled by Social Mediatanned woman's body in a two piece bathing suit on a white floatie on her cell phone

While not all orthorexics follow “healthy lifestyle” advocates on social media, many can be unconsciously influenced by the expectations that are all around us. You might find yourself comparing yourself to others who seem to lead the “perfect” lifestyle. Just as many people dealing with other types of eating disorders might be chasing an ideal (and often unattainable) “perfect” body type, if you’re dealing with orthorexia you may look to others to point the way towards the “perfect” diet and lifestyle. 

3. You Judge Others

Your obsession with your own “healthy” lifestyle might lead you to judge how the people around you choose to eat and live. You might even begin to avoid certain people and situations if they don’t live up to your standards. This is another way that orthorexia can interfere with your personal and social life: you might tell yourself that you are “better” than other people and use that as an excuse to isolate yourself. 

4. Your Lifestyle Takes Up A Lot of Your Time

thought bubble made up of a cracked egg white and yolk.
Orthorexics will spend a lot of time thinking about food, and prepping meals.

The personal, social, and work aspects of your life can also end up getting pushed to the side as your “healthy” lifestyle takes up more and more of your time. You might spend excessive amounts of time thinking about food, planning and prepping meals, or even cleaning your food or researching your chosen lifestyle and the “rules” surrounding it. 

5. You Avoid Food You Haven’t Prepared Yourself

As with most eating disorders, much of orthorexia is centered on control. If you’re dealing with orthorexia, you will have a genuine desire to have control over all aspects of your food and health, which means you might begin to avoid eating food cooked by other people, or going to restaurants. This can further take a toll on your social life, make you even more isolated, and maybe drive you deeper into your obsession.

6. Your Food Elimination Goes Too Far

There’s definitely no shortage of influencers and ads out there perpetuating fear-based thinking about certain types of food. If you’re dealing with orthorexia, you might take all of that to heart and become so anxious about certain ingredients, types of food, or food groups that you begin to cut them out of your lifestyle completely. In an effort to cut any “unworthy” foods out of your life, you will probably obsessively check labels and take further control over food prep to make sure that everything meets your rule-based lifestyle. 

7. Your Eating Habits Control Your Emotionsthe word shame in capital letters with many little words within each letter.

As you become more obsessed with your “healthy” habits, your emotions will become linked to how strictly you stick to your own self-imposed “rules.” You might experience mood swings, jumping between anxiety, shame and self-loathing if you don’t live up to your strict standards, and euphoria if your lifestyle is going well. And, if depression and anxiety become bigger parts of your life, you might go to more extreme lengths to get that feeling of euphoria.

8. You Begin to Have Physical Symptoms

Orthorexia may not be as recognized as other eating disorders, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t take a serious toll on your body, as well as on your mind. Enough obsessing, eliminating, restricting, and rule-creating and you could eventually start to experience the physical signs of malnutrition. These include:

  • Feeling more fatigued, colder, or weaker than usual
  • Weight loss
  • Taking longer to recover from common illnesses and viruses

We don’t currently have any accurate statistics on how many people are suffering from orthorexia, for a number of reasons. But that needs to change. As we are bombarded more and more with images of how we “should” be living our lives and what it takes to be perfectly “healthy,” many of us could find ourselves dealing with some form of an eating disorder, like orthorexia. 

This disorder can wreak havoc on your mental and your physical health, and it should be taken very seriously. If you see yourself in any of the warning signs above, please talk to a trusted professional.

Why Are Senior Suicide Rates Rising?

Suicide is often associated with young people, but it is in fact much more common among seniors. The suicide risk increases with age, and is unfortunately hard to estimate the exact number due to “silent suicides.” Silent suicides are considered those of overdose, self-starvation, and self-dehydration. 

Woman with gray hair sitting on a bench looking out into the dessert.
Loneliness is a large problem for seniors and puts them at a higher risk.

Seniors at long-term care facilities are taking their lives more than ever. Some can no longer accept the fact that they are slowly dying, while others have mental health issues. Most mental health issues do not get addressed for the elderly. Why? Either they do not speak up about it, or it is not covered by insurance. So, why is the suicide rate going up?

Loneliness & Depression

Losing a loved one and feeling alone contributes greatly to a person committing suicide. Extensive research shows that post-breakup or losing a spouse, elderly men are at a high risk of suicide. Loneliness is a large problem for seniors and puts them at a higher risk. They feel like they have no one to talk to and fall into depression. 

Mental Health

The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that about 1 in 5 adults deal with some form of mental illness each year. About 20% of adults sixty-five and older in America are diagnosed with either schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety disorders such as OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), and/or certain phobias. Some seniors will not seek help, get it too late, or get misdiagnosed. 

Substance Abuse

Once a senior has dealt with a life crisis such as the loss of their spouse, or falling into depression, they can turn to alcohol and drugs. This is the third most common risk factor of suicide in seniors. Substance abuse has been an issue for years, but  recent rates show significant rises. The government is struggling to reduce the opioid issue in America, especially among seniors.

Physical Health

Physical ailments are hard to accept, Learning you can no longer function, or move around the same way, takes a toll on a person’s mental state. A research conducted in 2017 found that seniors with traumatic brain injury, sleep disorders, and HIV or AIDS had an increased suicide risk. Some seniors feel like they are better off gone than to need constant care. This is also a large reason as to why seniors in long-term care facilities will take their own life. Instead of waiting for death, they choose to meet it.


calculator balancinf a spoon with coins in it and a potato stuck on the other end.
Many seniors struggle to pay their medical bills, housing costs, and daily living expenses, so they look for a way out with suicide.

The National Council on Aging (NCOA) has found that more than 25 million Americans sixty years old and older are living at or below the federal poverty level. Many seniors struggle to pay their medical bills, housing costs, and daily living expenses. This stress leaves them feeling hopeless and considering suicide. That way they will no longer have to deal with the burden and will not have to put pressure on their family. 

There is always an easier way to deal with stress. Seek help and talk to a professional if you feel suicidal. Reach out to your family, and know that you have a sense of purpose. If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HELLO to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line.

Habits To Adapt For A Longer Life

Studies show that bad habits can age you almost 12 years and shorten your lifespan. These things are smoking, drinking, not exercising, and not eating healthier foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Making small changes in those categories can help you live a longer healthier life.

Less TV Time

Too much tv is bad for your health.
Too much tv is bad for your health. Can decrease lifespan.

A 2010 study found that people who watched TV for 4 hours or more a day were more likely to die from any cause than those who watched less than 2 hours a day. Each additional hour you watch increases your risk of dying by 11% and dying from heart disease by 18%. Too much TV can lead to adding weight due to being a couch potato and inactive.

Quit Smoking

The most important thing you can do for your health and others around is to quit smoking. It reduces your lifespan significantly and others around you who inhale the smoke. A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quit smoking by 35 added about 6-8 years to their lives. It is never too late to quit smoking, even if you have lung cancer or COPD.

More Fruits & Vegetables

Many people do not consume as many vegetables and fruits as they should in a day. But it is important to incorporate them into your diet every day because they can lower your risk of heart disease by 76%! Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables reduce inflammation and boost circulation.

Limit Sun Exposure & Use SPF

Being out in the sun too much can lead to a high risk of skin cancer. Staying out of the sun will not only help protect your skin from cancer but reduce wrinkles, sagging skin, and fine lines, essentially keeping you looking younger. Make sure to use SPF when out in the sun to prevent skin damage.

Try to excercise 3-4 days a week.
Try to excercise 3-4 days a week. Eat healthy to fulfill your body with what it needs.

Stay Fit

In order to remain as young as possible, exercise is the key to this! Running and high-intensity exercises can add almost 4 years to your life! You can start out by just walking 30 minutes a day and work yourself up more. This will lower your risk of heart issued and help your mind function more effectively, and get your metabolism working better.

A Good Sex Life

Having sex 2-3 times a week can add as much as 3 years to your life by helping burn calories. A regular healthy sex life can lower your blood pressure, improve sleep, and boost your immune system.

All of these habits are achievable if you put a little time and effort every day, and remain conscious of your health.

Simple Ways to Be Active for People Who Aren’t

As we age, the more critical it is to become healthy and strengthen your heart health. Heart disease is the lead cause of death among women and men, killing over 600,000 Americans every year. If you do not have the time to work out, there are some small activities to begin strengthening your muscles and heart stronger. The more exercise you do, then the better your heart can work efficiently, ultimately extending your lifespan.

Walking is a simple way to start being active.
Walking is a simple way to start being active. It is easy and only 20 minutes a day will benefit your health.


Walking can significantly help lower your chances of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running does. You can start by walking 30 minutes or less every day. Walking is enjoyable, free, easy, and a great exercise to begin.

Stay Active

Exercise is not something that only has to be done at one part of our day. It is easy to remain healthy and active throughout the day. Constantly get up and move around to keep your heart healthy and body moving. Little things like walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, and standing instead of sitting are little actions to take. They might seem minimal, but they make a difference and continue the trend of staying active.


Swimming is an easy activity that is easy on your joints.
Swimming is an easy activity that is easy on your joints.

Swimming provides many health benefits! It uses all the muscles in your body and keeps your heart working hard to supply blood everywhere. Your muscles will then strengthen and so will your heart. The water will protect your body, posing little injury.


Yoga is beneficial to control your heart rate and is effective for flexibility. Yoga has proven to reduce stress, which in turn keeps the heart less stressed. Also, it has been proven to reduce depression and other mental diseases. It is a good way to reduce stress, but also not enough of a workout. Yoga is best when used as a cool down after a workout. A workout is still important to get your heart pumping.

It is best to start making healthy choices today, even if you haven’t worked out in years. Set a reachable goal and start somewhere! After your goal is achieved, you can work your way up by increasing your time and doing interval training (low to high intensity workouts with rest periods). Just remember to start slow and not to overwork yourself in order to not induce a heart attack or an injury.

Vacations Are Good For More Than Your Soul

Stress can cause our bodies to become tired, causing them to become weak when fighting against an illness. When constantly dealing with stress, including constant stress at work, it takes a large toll on your health. Not only does your physical health deteriorate, but your mental health does as well. Physically you lose sleep and do not digest your food fully, while mentally you can become depressed, anxious, and lose memory over time. Stress can cause a person to become so irritable, that their social life will begin to decline.  In order to fight all of this stress consider booking a relaxing vacation for yourself. Even just one vacation a year can help your mental and physical stress levels.

Vacations are needed breaks for your health.
Getting away can have great benefits for your health.

Studies show that improvements in your psychological and physical wellbeing are caused by taking a vacation. According to a study, American employees only take about half their accrued vacation time. This can be because they think that have too much to do at work and do not have the time or finances to take a break. A vacation can be something as simple as a week off staying in your city connecting with friends and family or meditating and treating yourself.  There is no better reason to take a vacation than keeping yourself healthy. Some of the benefits of taking regular vacations are:

Better Sleep

When it is time to go to sleep, it may be hard to sleep because we have too much on our minds. We will replay our day, or think about work projects and deadlines, or chores that need to be done. It can become overwhelming and cause us to lose sleep. Loss of sleep can cause you to become less alert and lose memory, causing you to make mistakes. A vacation will help you to reset and get back to a more stable sleep pattern and essentially helping you become more focused.

Better Productivity

Sleep improved quality of life.
Taking time off to rest will increase productivy, mood, and physical health.

With better sleep comes better focus and productivity because time away produces a clearer mind and more ideas. Overworking can cause a person to burn out, especially when it comes to being productive and creative. Studies have shown that employees who go on vacations have higher performance ratings and are less likely to leave their job.  A vacation gives you the opportunity to come back refreshed with a more productive mindset and happier mentality.

Boosts Mental Health

Stress and lack of sleep take a toll on your overall well-being, making it harder to be productive not only at work but in life. Psychologically it takes a toll on you when you do not take a break to de-stress. Vacationers have a better mental health alongside a better mood. Happiness and generosity are shown to be higher amongst those who vacation regularly, and they also tend to value personal connections more than materialistic things. When we are anxious at work, it becomes harder to find solutions. Vacations lessen this stress and keep anxiety low.

Boosts Physical Health

Studies have shown that people who go on vacations are more likely to not only be happier, but healthier than those that did not go on vacations. Vacationers reported having less stress, and less physical issues; less complaints of headaches and backaches. Reports show that not going vacation at least once a year is associated with a higher risk of heart disease. This is because vacations offer the relaxation you need that in return lowers your blood pressure and stress levels. Anxiety and stress that builds up over time from work and life takes a toll on your physical and mental health. Too much stress can lead to higher blood pressure, and even a heart attack!

Vacations help us become our best selves, and be more productive not only in life but at work. There are so many benefits from vacations, especially for our health, that it is important to utilize them and take that time away to reset and refresh our minds and bodies.