When Healthy Becomes Disorder

I’ve got to be honest with myself: I am susceptible to eating disorders. And with these new changes in lifestyle, I think it’s important to make myself aware of risks.

It’s not an official eating disorder, but it could, at the very least, be labeled as a sibling or cousin to the not-so-lovely anorexia.

Orthorexia is an unhealthy fixation on health. It’s the difference between balance and extremism. It’s not just having restrictions– it’s seeing impurities and exaggerating them.
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Why is it bad? An orthorexic person restricts healthy foods upon discovery of anything impure within said food, such as carbs or fats. Such restrictions will actually make them less healthy. Though focused on nutrition, they may become malnourished. Their social life may suffer because they do not allow themselves to go to outings where unhealthy food is served. And if they break from their healthy habits, an orthorexic person may punish themselves by fasting for a time or over-exercising.

vgggg

In November of 2015, blogger Jordan Younger released her book Breaking Vegan. I have not read the book, but there has been quite the outcry from the vegan community. Her title definitely, whether consciously or not, points fingers at veganism for her orthorexia. Though she claims in her blog, Balanced Blonde, that being vegan was not the cause of her problems, the title of her book implies that she thinks otherwise. Again, I have not read the book, but vegans are pretty ticked.

Honestly, maybe being vegan did cause her orthorexia. It’s entirely possible. But that does not mean that being vegan is unhealthy. In fact, there have been many people I have met and vloggers I have watched who used a plant-based diet to gain a healthy relationship with food and recover from previous eating disorders. Anything could make you unhealthy if done improperly. That’s the bottom line.

I’ve mentioned Jordan because there is always a way to make something unhealthy when focusing on restriction instead of healthy relationships. Is orthorexia a risk for me? Absolutely! But only because everything involving food is a risk for me. We’ve been enemies for so long!

 

How To Get A Dancer’s Body In Less Than 24hrs!

I want a dancer’s body.
I’ve heard the words from more than my own mouth.

Two_dancers
Photo Credit: wiki

The sentiment is odd, for sure. Of course, we are really saying want to look like the dancers we watch, without actually being a dancer. But… wait, why don’t we want to be dancers?

I am not just referring to dance bodies either. Perhaps you admire body builders or figure skaters. Maybe you want a runner’s legs. Maybe you want a boxer’s arms. Perhaps the body you had in high school? Beach-body abs? A gymnast’s back?

To achieve these body types, wouldn’t it make most sense to become those things?

Literally.  Well, not literally. You don’t actually want to become a runner’s legs. But would you like to be a runner? If the answer is no, why?

Athlete running on the road in morning sunrise training for marathon and fitness. Healthy active lifestyle latino woman exercising outdoors.
Photo Credit: Unknown

Recently, a friend told me she is taking circus classes.

Before you assume that she is running off to get a degree at some clown college (though, really, there’s nothing wrong with that), she’s learning how to do aerials such as aerial silks and aerial lyra. Primarily, she is learning for enjoyment. But since attending, she not only has gained a new passion, but has also seen her body change in ways she didn’t expect. She continually says that she feels empowered. And that empowerment is, likewise, weaving its way into other parts of her life.

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Photo Credit: circusdreams.tumblr

I don’t know why it has never occurred to me before, but if you want a dancer’s body, you’ve got to dance. If you want to have a runner’s legs, you’ve gotta run. If you want any sort of body, you have to put in the work. You have to train. Otherwise you are just a junior-higher wearing Etnies when you have no interest in skate boarding.

A dancer’s body is the result of dancing. But the cool thing is, if you dance, you, by default, will have a dancer’s body. It may not be your idealized body that you watched on screen, but you will be a dancer, and dancers have dancer’s bodies.

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Photo Credit: KQED

Being a dancer is more than looking like one. It’s an all-body experience. It’s experiencing the movement and learning how to flex and flow.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to work to be a professional to do something. Back in junior high, our science teacher taught us that we are all scientists if we ask questions and attempt to find answers. And it was true! We might not have been very great scientists, but we were scientists nonetheless.

The same goes for dancing or running or swimming or any other active thing you could think of. When you do something, you become it. You don’t need to win a medal to be a runner. You don’t have to perform to be a dancer. You just have to run. You have to dance. You’ve gotta move. 

“But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).

50 Things I Love About My Body The Way It Is

The idea is simple, but important: give your body compassion!

Don’t expect your body to be the body of your dreams today. Even more importantly, don’t rag on your body for what it cannot do. Instead, treat it with love. Accept what it is already doing for you subconsciously. Notice the little things that are beautiful about it.

As a person who struggles with self esteem, I try to write lists on what I like about myself just to keep my confidence in check.

Here’s one I wrote specifically about my body tonight:
1. Flexibilityflex flexi
2. Arms that let me carry all my groceries from the car to the fridge in one trip
3. Vocal chords that let me sing
4. The mole inside my bellybutton
5. This freckle on my ring finger
freckle
6. Knuckles that crack (and don’t hurt when I do over and over)
7. A face makes me transparent
8. Scars that tell more truth than I might want them to
9. Teeth are strong enough that only two have had a cavity
10. My curvy thighs
thighs
11. Cubby cheeks
12. An overall look that makes it possible to pull off the weird clothes I like
13. A well-defined waistline
14. Charming clumsiness
15. My fat calves (seriously, I hope they are always disproportionally large)
calves
16. Soft skin
17. Hips that don’t lie
18. Little ears
19. Circular chin
20. My hair on its good days
hair
21. The lines on my palms
22. Dimples at the base of my spine
23. The stretch marks on my belly
24. The creases beneath my eyes when I smile
25. Hilarious expressions my face makes
expressive
26. Bony ancles
27. Narrow shoulders
28. Soft body, huggable body
29. Warm smile
30. This mole on my neck
mole
31. A digestive system that works without me thinking
32. Consistant low blood pressure
33. A siatic nerve that no longer gives me immense amounts of pain
34. Eyes that see color vividly
35. Little feet that look so adorable in little socks
little feet
36. Ears that pick up on music quickly
37. Lungs that work so hard at breathing, even though sometimes it hurts
38. A brain that can do tasks for long periods of time
39. Joints that bend like they are supposed to
40. Eyes that look so beautiful after I cry
eyess
41. Boobs…that I have them? I am glad they aren’t so big they break my back.
42. The shape of my mouth
43. My oval face
44. Hands that can create art
45. This puppy dog nose
nose
46. A rockstar immune system
47. Skin that doesn’t get rashes or burn easily
48. Stubby little gremlin toes
49. A body that looks good in dresses
50. This creeper face
creep
If you are a person who struggles with self esteem (which, c’mon, who doesn’t?) give this exercise a try. It has taken me years to make lists this long. If you need to start out with ten, that’s fine. If you five is all you can make it to, that’s good too. But when things get hard, try to make yourself do five more than you think is possible. Digging deep within yourself for things you like can be one of the most frustratingly difficult things, but also the most rewarding.

To further the exercise, whenever you find yourself harassing yourself each day, make yourself say five compassionate things for every negative thing you think. It’s something I learned from a friend in college. Sound cheesy? Trust me, it will change your life!

“But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).

I Will Never Diet Again. EVER.

To further discussion on eating disorders:

Never have I been more annoyed than when I starve myself, step on the scale, and see no results.

It’s been happening since I was a little girl. Diets. Workouts. Workouts. Diets.

The adults, who meant well, told me it’s a simple science: eat less, exercise more. Their words haunted me like soft whispers from under my bed. Advice from lips, television screens, and magazines flooded my mind and drowned any confidence that managed to plunge to the surface.

I spent days indoors, not leaving the house because of how people would look at my body. Or, worse, talk about my body. Either in hushed voices and snickers or yells and roaring laughs. It was all the same. I knew what they were saying, no matter what volume they said it at.

Recess, if I could find an excuse, I would spend in the classroom. Maybe writing spelling words. Maybe writing stories. Maybe, if I’d spent too many days in a row inside, hanging out in the girl’s bathroom.

Summer months were filled with bowflex routines I made for myself. Richard Simmon’s VHS’s. Crunch after crunch, lunge after lung after hour-long treadmill walk.

My diet consisted of Lean Cuisines, Special K, Slim Fast, and single pieces of fruit. Except when I would slip up and eat an entire box of Little Debbies.

Forgive me, I was eight years old.

Me, age eight, left
Me, age eight, left

I wasn’t healthy, though I desperately tried. My body seemed, to me, a liar. No one knew just how hard I worked for the body I had.

Again, me on the left
2nd grade (left)

“Today’s youth are lazy,” I’d hear a news reporter say. “All they do is sit on the couch and watch TV. We have to beat this obesity epidemic.”

I was that epidemic.

me
5th grade (right)

I need you to know, I am not doing this as some pathetic sob story. But the lies the dieting industry tells us are very real. If anything, they don’t make things easier for us–they make them impossible.

Me, 9th grade, left
9th grade (left)

The dieting world does not improve with age. If you struggled with weight as a child, wait until you have to step foot in a locker room.

By the time I was in high school, I had it with my weight. I was not the biggest one in the class anymore, but I was still being scoffed at. I decided I was going to lose the weight once and for all. I counted my calories to a T–no more than 800 a day (though 600 or below was the aim). My hair began to fall out in clumps. I was cranky all the time. I blacked out every time I stood up. Couldn’t concentrate. I was tired. Weak. But, you know, I did it. I became the thin girl I always dreamt of.

Junior year of high school (left)
Junior year of high school (left)

After not eating for so long, and going through normal high school drama, I entered into a depression. I started eating again. But this time, I binged harder than I ever had before.

I gained all the weight back that I had lost, plus and additional 30 pounds.

You know, you might think that I was unhappy to be so gosh darn big. But I wasn’t. I was finally eating again. My body was getting things it needed.

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Sitting (Freshman in college)

I tell this as a cautionary tale, both for my own sake and for yours. When dieting becomes an obsession, it makes people unhappy. Your body NEEDS food. Just because you’re thin, doesn’t mean you’re happy. And being happy is why we want to lose weight, right?

How to get thinner and be happier: quit focusing on being thin! It’s not worth it.

I’m not trying to convince people to go vegan. I will say that in every single blog I post.

But, I have to admit, I want people to know how it important it is to eat delicious foods that are ALSO good for you. You don’t need to eat less. You need to eat more of the good stuff!

Starving yourself is going to make you less happy, which negates the point of losing weight to be happier. Enjoy the journey, or you will go from fad diet to fad diet, always coming up short, always landing right back where you started. Likely, in an even deeper hole than the one you originally dug yourself out of.

February 2016
February 2016

If you’ve been following my blog thus far and are thinking, “Wow, I really want to make a change in my health,” let’s do it together. This is me cheering you on.

I will never diet again.

Let’s never diet again. Okay?
🙂

“But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).

How Being Vegetarian Changed My Body (and mind)

I became vegetarian because of animal rights. I stayed vegetarian because of the positive effects it was having on my body, my body image, and the earth as a whole.

In my last blog, I talked about constantly needing to defend my case when I admitted I didn’t eat meat. But let me assure you, through all the questioning, I never once thought about going back. Not. Once.

The strange thing is, I did not go vegetarian thinking that I would be one for life. I wanted to see how long I could last. Thinking it would only last a week, I was shocked when a week turned to two, two to a month, and when the month had ended I knew I was hooked forever. I felt so good about what I was eating and how my body felt that I couldn’t see a life any other way.

May 2012: The month I became vegetarian

I wouldn’t say the results were immediate, but living my life was a lot easier because I had more energy.

Now, you might be thinking What? Energy? From where?

Let me assure you that when I stopped eating meat, I started eating new things. Trust me, this is not what I eat:

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Though I might eat those things sometimes (rarely), I would never consider these things a meal!

The most frustrating thing about eating in the midwest is that no one knows how to accommodate for you. They also feel bad for having for not knowing so.
Me when a person is trying to host me: Ugg! I want to eat. I want to be polite. I want to eat within the boundaries I set for myself. WHAT DO I DO?!

Potlucks in the midwest were the worst. Which, going to a small-town Christian college, you go to many. They sneak meat in everything. Want some potatoes? Added little pieces of ham. Want some salad? Bacon bits coming your way. How about mac n’ cheese? Chicken. We added chicken. Why? Because it tastes good.

So you ask which things don’t have meat in them. They look around and point out a vegetable tray, some bread rolls, and the desserts. “I don’t know how you do it!” they say, as if that’s what I eat on a day-to-day basis.

Yeah. No worries. I would never commit to this lifestyle if veggie trays were what it’s all about.

But it’s not. Seriously. Here’s pictures of what I eat:

rolls
Veggie rolls, peanut sauce, miso soup
1berries
Bagel, berries, tea
1sandwich
Portabello pesto
1soup
Curry soup

 

If anything, being vegetarian has added variety to my meals. There are so many plants out there! And I was finally full for once in my gosh darn life.

My body began to change in ways I hadn’t expected. I was happier and more confident.

1run
August 2012
1dec
December 2012
1january 2015
January 2013

Because I didn’t become vegetarian because of my weight, I didn’t notice how much my figure had changed. Even now, look at the change that happened in less than a year and cry. I did not know the extent of it.

1laugh
March 2013

But, gentle readers, I have to be honest with you. I’ve struggled with eating disorders since age eight. I’ve gone days without eating, replaced meals with water, TRIED to make myself throw up a million times, worked out for 6 consecutive hours, organized cabinets of food when I was trying to avoid eating it, wrote “I hate food” hundreds of times in an old notebook and read it to myself at night to make the cravings stop. This was the first time in my entire life when I was happy with my body–and it was because I was happy with the food I ate.

When I realized I lost weight, when people told me they were proud of me because I was smaller, when people told me that I looked so much better than before, my focus switched from eating good things to not eating. After 2013, I started yet another eating disorder…having one or less meals a day.

1december 2013
January 2014
1March 2014
March 2014
1July 2014
July 2014

I can’t say I was losing weight any faster. But, I do know that it made my body really angry when I started to binge eat sugar and dairy products (curse you cheese and ice cream!) when I went through a severe depression in 2015. My body went from starved to overindulged. I gained some (not all) of the weight back.

1dress
June 2015
These days, post workout
These days, post workout

So, why tell you all this?

Simple! People lose weight as a side effect of being healthy. People do not get healthy as a side effect of losing weight (not necessarily). I am going vegan to focus more on my health. I am writing this blog to keep my focus on health, instead of weight.

Though I have taken before pictures, I am not doing this to get smaller. I am doing this as a lifestyle change. I’m doing this to feel good.

But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).

Why Veganism Offends People

When I became vegetarian nearly four years ago(!), my goal was to see how possible it was for me to live a lifestyle without meat. My reason wasn’t as experimental. I have always kind of thought that humans are weird for locking up other animals to be eaten. No other animal does that. Perhaps I was just overly-sensative to Charlotte’s Web growing up or something. I don’t know… but using animals as products is weird.

I thought the most difficult thing about going vegetarian would be cutting out things I love. It wasn’t. It was constantly defending why I made the choice. Saying over and over and over again, “You know, I don’t really miss meat that much,” or “Yes, I did like the taste. I loved the taste,” or “REALLY!!!! PROTEIN IS NOT THAT HARD TO FIND.” Also, vegetarian food is DELICIOUS.

Let the rest of this blog be littered with pictures of things I eat.

dis wut i eat
My Fridge

It was constantly offending people every time I ate in front of them. It was telling them that iceberg lettuce is not a meal that I eat. EVER. It’s that, for some reason, I have to tell people that eating vegetables is nutritious(?).

burrito
Vegan Burrito

But being honest about what you believe offends people. That’s it. New ideas are offensive. Especially if those ideas mess with people’s ideals and personal moral compass.

tempeh
Tempeh, beans, almonds, kale, broccoli, other delicious stuff

Now, I know there are some very extreme people in the vegan community. One time I talked to a girl who said she couldn’t even be friends with a person unless she knew she could convert them to veganism. So I get why you all think I’m crazy.

soup2
Minestrone

But not being honest about what I believe doesn’t get me anywhere, either. So, let me just tell you where I am at with animal rights.

vegan cake
Carrot Cake

Hunting:
If I know that the hunters are humane to the animals, they are not simply hunting for sport, and they try to use as many parts of the animal as possible it seems, to me, that people are just going along with the circle of life. Many animals need to be hunted to avoid spread of diseases and overpopulation. Hunting happens in nature all the time. I’ve eaten hunted meat since becoming vegetarian. We have evolved to hunt. It makes sense.

HOWEVER…people hunt for game instead of survival. Which, really, why on earth would they need to hunt to live? We have more than enough meat in grocery stores. No hunter, at least one that lives within the realms of modern society, is going to hunt out of necessity. So, I don’t know. My opinion varies every day. Pretty much, I won’t go on a hunting trip with you, but I will not defriend you if hunting is something you like to do.

Farms:
Yes, seeing animals as products is weird. But, farmers are usually good-natured, well-meaning people who create deep relationships with their animals. Demonizing the farming industry only makes vegetarians look crazy and farmers feel attacked for their hard work. There is a BIG difference between family farms and factory farms. And, honestly, I just find it more convenient and less worrisome to just stop eating meat altogether than research which animals have been treated well, and which have not.

Other:
I don’t know what I think about leather. Poaching is bad. Ruining habitats for unnecessary reasons is bad. Animal abuse and neglect is bad. Animals deserve just as much respect as humans. That’s all very vague, but I will go into each of these points in later blogs.

But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).

She Went Vegan?! Why?!

Hello there, friendly humans!

I suppose I should greet the non-friendly humans too. They need more lovin’ than anyone.
…Eh-hem…Hello to all humans, friendly and non! I hope my writing lends to an enjoyable read.

A little less than a week ago, I switched to a vegan diet. Vegan, according to the OED, is defined as “A person who abstains from all food of animal origin and avoids the use of animal products in other forms.”

Of course, definitions of words are fluid and often suited to the use of their speaker.

To some, being vegan is never using an animal as a product ever. That is, not only is meat, eggs, and dairy cut out– so is honey, leather products, fur products, anything that has been tested on animals, etc. While that is wonderfully honorable, my main focus right now is to cut out egg and dairy products.

Now, I know many of you, most of my audience most likely composed of midwesterners, are thinking Wait. What? You don’t eat meat or eggs OR dairy? WHY?!

3 primary reasons:
1. It’s better for animals.
2. It’s better for the environment.
3. It’s better for my body.

Now, I will delve deeper into each of those reasons in later blogs. No need to overwhelm ya! There’s a lot of information I would like to share. If you read a little bit each day, hopefully my choices will become clearer.

Each day I will be posting a blog. At the end of each week, I’ll include a little vlog to quickly go over my progress that week. I want this to be really casual and fun. If you have any questions along the way, feel free to leave me a message in the comment section and I will be more than happy to answer. Or, feeling a bit more shy? Shoot me a message!

To start, I am going to insert my before photos. It’s not the cutest look I’ve ever pulled, but it’s an honest one. And, dudes, honesty, to me, is more important than any other virtue. I want to be as raw and honest as possible on this blog.
beforee before beforeback

But, hey…psstt. I still cute!
Photo on 9-27-15 at 1.39 PM #3

But It Tastes So Good” is the number one excuse I get from meat-eaters on why they do not want to switch to a vegetarian/vegan diet. I am not out there to make everyone vegan. I do, however, want to share what food does to your body and to the world around you. Let me show you that being good to yourself and to the earth can taste just as good, or better, than what you are already doing (both literally and figuratively).