There really is such a thing as being too healthy.
Appearing on the “Me After You” podcast this week, actress Teresa Palmer revealed that she suffered from an eating disorder known as orthorexia.
The National Eating Disorder Association lists orthorexia as “an obsession with proper or ‘healthful’ eating.”
“So I had orthorexia,” Palmer said of the period between 2009 to 2012, according to People. “Not many people have heard of it, but it is an eating disorder.”
She explained, “I was incredibly clean with my eating, so I didn’t have anorexia or bulimia, but I had something different, which is when you become so obsessed with the amount of calories you’re putting into your body, everything had to be of the highest quality. I wouldn’t eat anything stripped of its nutritional value.”
Palmer added that “it was exhausting, utterly exhausting, to log every calorie and to just be so overly conscious of the food I was putting into my body.”
She also revealed that the disorder started after being told by an agent that she needed to work out more after candid bikini photos were circulated by paparazzi in 2008.
“She said, ‘Do you know what? You should start working out, because that’s a part of your job. You need to make sure that you look really good.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, I thought I did look good,'” Palmer said.
“The scary thing is that I’ve always been such a small person,” she added. “I look back on the photos that she’s talking about and I was just so little still. Yes, I wasn’t perfectly sculpted, but that really set off this huge whirlwind of unhealthy obsession surrounding food.”
Palmer said she eventually “healed” her relationship with food when she had children.
“My body just blossomed and I had this big belly and I could feel life within me, and it was just incredible seeing what my body could do,” she said. “I was getting stretch marks on my boobs and cellulite all over my bum and the backs of my thighs.
“I was finally liberated from these judgments that I had surrounding my body, which I realized had existed since I was … a teenager. Since being a mum, I’ve embraced it all. The lumps and the bumps and the stretch marks… it’s a map of my journey of bringing my babies into the world.”
The NEDA notes that orthorexia, which was coined in 1998, is “not formally recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual.”
“Although being aware of and concerned with the nutritional quality of the food you eat isn’t a problem in and of itself, people with orthorexia become so fixated on so-called ‘healthy eating’ that they actually damage their own well-being,” the organization states.