The Bella Vita, one of the nation’s leading treatment centers for eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia and binge eating, will host a Tweet chat from 11 am to 12 pm Pacific time on Tuesday, March 24th with Patricia Pitts, PhD, the center’s Founder and CEO, and Karen David, RD, the center’s Director of Nutritional Services. The subject for the chat, The Healthy Eating Obsession, is designated by the hashtag #EDinsight. Participants can follow the chat on any web chat application such as www.tweetchat.com.

Since opening its doors in 1985, The Bella Vita’s Dr. Pitts and David has treated and guided thousands of patients on the path back to wellness.  “There are patients who have walked through our doors confused as to how or why they needed treatment for an eating disorder; in their minds all they believe is that, ‘I eat pure and clean!  Hey, I don’t have a problem.  We are supposed to eat healthy!” explained David.  The issue is not in eating healthy; it’s in obsessively eating healthy.

The obsession of healthy eating can lead to orthorexia nervosa.  In 1997, Steve Bratman, MD coined the term, from the Greek words: “ortho” (correct, right), orexis (appetite, desire), from his personal struggles with healthy eating.  Someone struggling with orthorexia has a, “maniacal obsession for healthy food.”  The disorder parallels anorexia nervosa where orthorexics will restrict themselves and focus only on eating foods of high quality – foods that are “pure” and “clean.”

Dr. Pitts has experienced similar patient sharing during eating disorder treatment, “To someone with orthorexia, the change in eating behaviors initially begins with good intention.  There is a desire to eat and be healthy.  Sadly, the compulsion becomes greater than the intention; thus, exposing underlying psychological dynamics such as: a need for control, increase in anxiety, poor body image and ultimately, low self-worth.”  “What began as a healthy desire, uncovers an eating disorder which damages their body and well being.” Dr. Pitts shared.

During the tweet chat, Dr. Pitts and David will provide clinical and nutritional insight on how healthy eating becomes obsessive while inspiring hope towards wellness for those struggling with orthorexia.  Dr. Pitts explained, “I understand the orthorexic’s struggles; I have lived my own eating disorder journey. I firmly believe that each individual with an eating disorder is already whole.  Their eating disorder protects them from uncovering missing pieces in their lives.  I am honored to walk beside our patients as they discover that they can live fulfilled lives without their eating disorder behaviors.” Pitts concluded, “Together, we can embrace those missing pieces to find freedom from their eating disorder.  Their freedom leads to reestablishing a healthy self-esteem and fostering positive relationships with others, body image, and food.”

How to join The Healthy Eating Obsession Tweetchat

  1. Sign in (or sign up) on Twitter.
  2. In a new window, open www.tweetchat.com (or another web-based Twitter application) and type the hash tag #EDinsight to find the chat party- and you’re in!
  3. Introduce yourself, just follow the conversation, tweet thoughts pose questions and watch the tweet chat-and the insight-unfold!