“I am an Orthorexic.”

Cora Poage is owner and CEO of Sexy Soul Wellness. She is a Board Certified Wellness Coach and holds an MA in Spiritual Psychology. Cora’s specialty is guiding her clients in co-manifesting the body AND life of their dreams through intuitive eating, exercising, and living.  She also teaches for her alma mater, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Cora spent her late teens and early 20s struggling with a diet and weight control addiction. Her dream and passion is assisting other people in finding freedom from weight and body concerns, freeing up their energy to live the most uplifting lives possible! Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Cora Poage - You Are Beautiful

I didn’t have the discipline to starve myself.

And vomit disgusted me, so bulimia was out.

My Eating Disorder of choice?


Not as well-known as anorexia or bulimia, Orthorexia can be defined as an extremely unhealthy obsession with healthy living.

So what did this look like for me?

“My name is Cora Poage and I am a Dietaholic.”

I attempted every trend diet under the sun; Atkins, Vegan, Raw Food, Macrobiotics, South Beach, The Zone, and more (sometimes shifting from week to week)!  Many times these plans were in almost total opposition of each other (think Vegan and Atkins).

The staff at Starbucks were perplexed. One week, I would order a latte with full cream, the next week with soy milk, and the next week . . . “Coffee (eye roll)??? Coffee is like, totally bad for me. I will have a green tea please.”  They never knew what to expect!

Further more, I turned down dates with friends and yes, even hot guys (gasp),  who wanted to go to restaurants or cafes without options that were allowed by my current Diet Craze.  I hardly ever ate dessert (total bummer).  I spent most of my waking hours thinking about food.  Where was I going to find the healthy food I could eat?  When could I eat next? And would it be too soon or too late from the last time I ate and mess with my metabolism?

“My name is Cora Poage and I am a Exercisaholic.”

My Orthorexic tendencies also encompassed activity and exercise. I worked out once, sometimes twice daily.  If I knew I had a busy day ahead of me, I woke up as early as 5 to make sure I was able to achieve the “fifty minutes or more rule” per day.  If I didn’t get my workout in, I was devastated, depressed, and in a foul mood, usually assuming that I looked awful and had blown up like a balloon over night. I prioritized working out over my social life, work deadlines, studying, and even my relationship with my husband, choosing to go to the gym rather than follow through on other commitments or quite frankly, actually ENJOY life.

“My name is Cora Poage and I am a Scaleaholic.”

My Orthorexia also involved the scale.  I had an extremely volatile, dramatic, and traumatic love affair with this small metal cube.  The scale saw more action than the men in my life. I stood on the scale as much as six times per day.  There was no way to win. If the number went down, I was anxious about how to keep the downward trend and if it stayed the same, I was disappointed.  God forbid the number go up, lest I feel DEVASTATED and most likely unable to leave the house.

As you can probably ascertain, my entire life revolved around my Pursuit of Ideal Health, and not much else.  I was a full-fledged Orthorexic.

Don’t think that sounds dangerous or detrimental?  Think again.

Orthorexia can be a gateway into diseases like anorexia and bulimia.  It can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. In fact, some researchers have linked Orthorexia to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Personally, I suffered from IBS, anxiety, depression, Social Anxiety, body dysmorphia, and a feeling of total emptiness in my life.

How did I heal?

“Growth is a Process, Not an Event.” – Ron Hulnick, President of the University of Santa Monica

I feel like this is a life long journey for me.  However, I have made GREAT strides.  I read an incredible book called How Much Does Your Soul Weigh, and began adopting the principles of Intuitive Eating, Exercising, and Living as my new UN-Diet.

I studied under numerous Coaches, Mentors, and Therapists to help support me on my Healing Journey.  I chose to repair my relationship with my body through better body image practices and Unconditional Love and Acceptance.  I even founded the We Love our Bodies Project to help other women (and men!) do the same.

I also attended the Institute of Integrative Nutrition where I experienced major healing in my own life and also learned how to Health Coach others through similar obsessions, which is SUCH an honor. I learn and heal with my Clients in every session.

Most importantly, I LIVE in The Middle Way, between the Extremes.

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” – Rumi

Instead of saying, “Fine, I just won’t care about Healthy Living at all”, which would not be authentic, I choose to find a balance in my life.  I work out most days,  but I don’t (usually) experience a FREAK OUT if I miss day.  I eat very healthy in general, but I don’t prescribe to ANY specific diet or weight-loss plan. I joyfully practice the 90/10 rule, where 90% of the time I eat clean and healthy, and 10 percent of the time, I let myself have the dessert at the birthday party.  And I haven’t stood on a scale in almost TWO years.

The best part of ALL of this? Living in the Middle Way with Health and Wellness has meant that I have SO much more energy and tim to bond and connect and LOVE my AMAZING husband and family, to travel, to co-manifest my ideal Business, to be of Sacred Service in this beautiful world, and to truly, truly, TRULY Live the Life of my Dreams.

Now when I go Starbucks, I order WHATEVER I feel like ordering.

And this time, don’t hold the whip cream.

Photo of Cora by Jeff Skeirik, The Rawtographer.

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Sarah Riacardson
Sarah Riacardson
October 20, 2012 5:11 pm

Kudos Cora! It was very cool to see you published in my newly adopted favorite website! Your message was very good… Keep up the great work and continue to inspire!

October 19, 2012 7:34 pm

Hi Cora,
Really enjoyed this piece – your soul speaks. Great Rumi quote and humor about your weighing scale seeing more action….!
You are beautiful!

October 19, 2012 6:47 pm

Thanks Mary Lynne!

SUCH an honor to be here!

Could you relate to the story above?

And so many hugs and so much love back atcha!

With light,

Mary Lynne
Mary Lynne
October 19, 2012 1:44 pm

Glad to see you on here, Cora! Keep up your fantastic work . Sending love and hugs!

Gaby @A Crafty Gourmet
October 19, 2012 10:13 am

Thanks for sharing your story. I think it’s so hard when you are interesting in holistic living and have an eating disorders history to find balance. It’s a daily regime of checking in and looking at my intentions when I do something. I’m also studying at IIN. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I’m sharing mine at http://acraftygourmet.blogspot.com

October 19, 2012 6:46 pm

My pleasure Gaby! You are SO welcome!

I totally agree that it can be super challenging to find that Middle Ground. How are you liking IIN so far???

And thank you for sharing your story also!!

With light,

October 19, 2012 9:59 am

Thanks for this, Cora! I went through all of this too, and IIN really showed me that I needed to get help. So i went in to treatment for orthorexia and binge eating (more of disordered eating on that!) during school and I’m so happy to get to help others now. So worth it!
love and light,

October 19, 2012 6:45 pm
Reply to  Elyza

Oh Elyza you are so brave and AMAZING!!!

I so acknowledge you for working on your own Healing first and now supporting others! Your Clients are so blessed to have you!

What is your business name? How can we find you??


Tara Cendrowski
October 19, 2012 9:41 am

Thank you for sharing this. I feel as though I have gone through these things as well and that I’m coming to a point where I value my good health but try not to stress out so much about it if my eating or exercise isn’t “perfect”. You have helped me with your mentoring along with the great information I’m being given by IIN which I am forever grateful for.

October 19, 2012 6:44 pm

Go GO Tara!!

You are rocking it!

And yes, I totally agree that the Institute of Integrative Nutrition can be soooo helpful in this Healing Process. http://www.integrativenutrition.com/

And it was an HONOR to mentor you Dear One!

Any tips for others along the journey???

Light and Love,

October 19, 2012 9:03 am

Thank you. This describes my life. I am not quite at the healed point, but slowly getting there. You give me hope.

October 19, 2012 6:43 pm
Reply to  erika

Dearest Erika,

YOU ROCK! I so honor your for choosing to opt in to the Healing Journey. You are exactly where you are meant to be!

How can I best support you??

With so much light,

October 20, 2012 11:04 am
Reply to  Cora

Aw Cora,
You already have! More than you might know. Just to read your story and to know that there is another person that had those same thoughts, feelings and roller coaster of emotions is already so supportive. I have ordered the book “How Much Does My Soul Weigh” and am seeking to finish my journey of healing.

Thank you again. Blessings to you and your work.

October 19, 2012 8:49 am

Reading your article makes me think “OMG that was soooo me”. I can completely relate and was this same way for many many years.
I am finally recovering & eating more balanced now & am much happier. Also I read a great book on this topic that really helped me start making the change called “Health Food Junkies” by Dr. Steven Bratman.
Much thanks for your honesty about this Cora! XOXO

October 19, 2012 6:42 pm
Reply to  Agatha

Dear Agatha,

YES!! We are SO connected!!!

So exciting that you are recovering. YAYAYAY!! The book Health Food Junkies sounds amazing! Do you have any other recommendations for us?

I found an Intuitive Eating Coach and Mentor. That really helped me!

With love, Cora

October 19, 2012 8:14 am

Love this post!

November 29, 2013 1:53 pm
Reply to  Winnie

THANK YOU Winnie! Would LOVE to hear what you loved about it if you are willing! xxCoach Cora