Okay guys, today we’re getting down to business on Heaps of Me. I’m finally going to be talking about something that I never thought I would talk about on the blog, but hey that’s good journalism am I right? Today, we’re going to talk about body image. I’ve always discussed how important living a happy, balanced life is, but I seem to conveniently dance around the topic of body image. Having a healthy relationship with food and your body is so important for living a happy, balanced life. To be honest, it’s something that I struggle with daily. I wish I could get back all of the time I have wasted stressing about what I am going to eat and worrying that a pair of pants make my butt look big. #REALTALK. I never thought I would be this honest with you, but it is so very important to discuss in an age where too much importance is placed on one’s appearance. If you are struggling with your body image, please know that you’re not alone! I’m slowly working towards getting better at practicing self-love, but it’s been rough throughout my teenage years and early twenties. For this reason, I’ve brought in a little help. Today, we’re talking body image, self-love and food fears with the lovely, Jordan Younger, of The Balanced Blonde.
Jordan has made headlines over the past year for her transition away from veganism, due to a diagnosis of orthorexia. Orthorexia is a lesser-known eating disorder that, according to the National Eating Disorders Association, involves an obsession with eating only “clean” or “pure” foods. You can read more about her story here. I can’t wait to read her upcoming book, “Breaking Vegan,” which chronicles her struggle with orthorexia and her journey to leading a more balanced life. Without further ado, let’s get down to the good stuff!
Heaps of Me: What can readers expect from your upcoming book, Breaking Vegan?
Jordan Younger: What a great question! Thanks so much for asking. My book is my most cherished project to date, and I absolutely one million percent cannot WAIT to share it with everyone!!! The book is a medley of sorts. It is a memoir about my journey with food throughout my entire life — the journey that lead me to choosing to go plant-based vegan, and then raw vegan, and then to become addicted to juice cleanses, develop fear foods and eventually develop an eating disorder, “orthorexia.” The book describes my experience with orthorexia in detail, and then it describes the intense backlash I received from the vegan community, my recovery journey and how it affected me and the people around me. The second part of the book is more upbeat, after we work through the messy details of the eating disorder journey.
The second half is a “Balanced Lifestyle Guide” for anyone recovering from any sort of extreme! Whether it be eating, fitness, relationships, work, academic, mental… We have all experienced extremes. This I know to be a fact. And if not, well, then perhaps you’re superhuman and you should consider a career in being a lifestyle guru, haha. The lifestyle guide includes a step by step, prescriptive guide to finding balance again after going “off the deep end,” developing an eating disorder or living in an extreme. Lastly, there are 27 healthy, whole foods recipes with beautiful food photos throughout. And speaking of photos — there are lots of fab photos in the book taken by my photographer & TBV Apparel business partner Tynan Daniels! Such a special collaboration. You can preorder the book HERE!
HOME: What has been the greatest lesson you’ve learned about your journey when putting pen to paper?
JY: I’ve learned that sometimes so much of what we worry about it all in our heads… And I found, when writing about it, that my eating disorder existed SO MUCH inside of my head, and if I would have been able to reflect on it at an earlier date then I probably wouldn’t have gone so far down the rabbit hole, so to speak. That’s why I am now so passionate about being extremely open about my eating disorder, my anxieties, my fears, my control issues, etc., because I TRULY believe that the more open we are about the things that bother us, the less they effect us in the longterm. The easier it is to let go, and talking about it also helps us to connect with others who are going through something similar and/or have been in a similar position. Connecting with others and finding our tribe is truly one of the best, most helpful and inspiring parts of recovery.
HOME: If you could offer one single piece of advice to those struggling with an unhealthy relationship with food and/or body image, what would it be?
JY: Listen to your body! Learn to trust your body! Trust is absolutely huge. Once we learn to trust our bodies, we can listen to them and nourish them properly. And if we trust what we are feeling, then we are more likely to be true to ourselves in all areas of our lives — in our relationships and interactions, our work life, our exercise and passions, and more. And as far as body image goes: see yourself from someone else’s eyes. Drop the judgement. Fall in love with yourself. Pick a mantra. (More advice in the book… SO MUCH MORE! I’m wordy, lol.)
HOME: I’ve read a lot about the dangers of labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” What are some tips on getting over “food fears?”
JY: Ahhh, labeling food as “good” or “bad” is classic eating disorder lingo, and even if you do that and don’t have a full-blown eating disorder, you’re putting yourself on a dangerous and slippery path to potentially develop one. As far as tips for getting over food fears — constantly challenge yourself. Try new things, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Remind yourself how much more important it is to find happiness in living in the moment and living LIFE rather than being afraid of food. It’s just food. If you are truly listening to your body, you will crave the nourishment you will need, and thats what you will fuel yourself with. It turns out to be strangely simple, after all. Although it’s not an easy road to get there, that’s for sure!
HOME: What are some ways that you practice self-love?
JY: I have learned to stop being such a people pleaser and become more of a SELF pleaser. I don’t engage in activities I don’t want to do — if I have anxiety about going into a certain situation, there’s probably a reason I shouldn’t be doing it. I listen to myself. I trust myself. It all goes back to that level of trust. And I surround myself with good people, people who are true to their hearts and as such as true to others. That is a HUGE part of being kind to myself… Knowing who I want to surround myself with!
Thank you so much to Jordan Younger for taking the time to be part of this very important post. You can follow her journey on instagram @thebalancedblonde or visit her beautiful home at thebalancedblonde.com.