Addiction Sameness

Alcohol, Opiates, Fat and Sugar are all Addictive Substances: this blog is about that "addiction sameness".

Friday, August 1, 2014

In Recovery for Orthorexia

The Blonde Vegan — now The Balanced Blonde — tells the News about her battle with orthorexia
Jordan Younger opens up about the eating disorder that consumed her life. ‘I just didn't want food to control me anymore,’ she said about choosing recovery.

BY MEREDITH ENGEL NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Tuesday, July 15, 2014,


Healthy and happy: Younger is now in recovery for orthorexia.

What started as a passion for health quickly spiraled out of control for popular health blogger Jordan Younger, founder of The Blonde Vegan.

Younger had a buzzy blog and 70,000 Instagram followers who looked to her for vegan recipes and health motivation. Since 2013, the 5-foot-4 23-year-old was making waves in the wellness realm. But as her success picked up, so did some dangerous eating habits.

On June 23, Younger admitted on her blog that she suffers from orthorexia, an eating disorder defined by an obsession with eating healthy, not losing weight. Her site crashed immediately.

"It escalated into something very unhealthy from something that began in a very healthy, mindful way," said the New York City-based Younger, who at her lowest point weighed 105 pounds.

HOW IT BEGAN

Younger, who also teaches yoga, began a vegan diet in November 2012. She quickly lost 15 pounds and was happy with how she felt on it.

"In the beginning, I was very, very into it and doing a lot of research to make sure I was doing it correctly, so if anyone said, 'Do you think you're experiencing any health problems?' I would always say no and get really offended because I truly believed I was doing it in the best way possible," she said.

But soon the restrictions started adding up — for months, she only ate fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes, and in specific combinations (for example, only three foods on a plate at once, eating fruit without any other food to combat digestive issues). She also lived on juice cleanses that lasted 10 days at a time.
TYNAN DANIELSYounger called her change from The Blonde Vegan to The Balanced Blonde 'another step in my recovery.'

Her thoughts became obsessive. "I would go to sleep thinking about food and wake up thinking about food," she said. "Food was consuming my mind in a way that I was really not used to."

Meanwhile, she became envious of her roommate, who "has a very healthy relationship with food" and could often be caught digging into a Chipotle burrito or a burger.

"I'd be over here with my Vitamix and measuring cups, in pain because of all the stress that surrounded eating," Younger said.

FACING THE ISSUE

Two tipping points ultimately followed. One was when Younger stopped menstruating, though she didn't want to accept that her diet was to blame. A friend suggested she get vitamin B12 shots or start eating fish to kick-start her cycle. Begrudgingly, she bought a piece of wild salmon, ate it alone so no one would see her do it, and got her period two days later. But she wasn't entirely sold on the idea that her lifestyle was harming her, and thought maybe she'd start incorporating fish into her diet once every couple of months.

The second tipping point was when a friend came to visit. Younger's meal-planning went out the window when the juice bar she frequented didn't have the drink she had wanted.

"It sent me into such a state of panic that scared me — I physically couldn't make a decision," she said. Younger and her friend ended up walking a mile out of their way so that Younger could get that coveted juice. But from then on, a light bulb went on.
TYNAN DANIELSThe 23-year-old yoga teacher said she was tired of food controlling her life.

"I just didn't want food to control me anymore," she said. "I saw the people around me who I loved very much just able to enjoy their food in a way that I wasn't doing anymore."

A conversation with a friend led Younger to believe that she was suffering from orthorexia, and she confronted her mom about the issue. Younger's mother was relieved: Her parents were planning to sit her down and discuss what they had been noticing for months.

From then on, it's been all about recovery. Younger started seeing an eating disorders therapist and a nutritionist. She is slowly introducing fish, eggs and chicken back into her diet, though she still has trouble accepting that she's doing so.

"My mom thinks I might feel this way forever and I hope she's not right," she said. "I am so determined to get this back on track."

When she told her followers about her condition, she was met with a lot of praise — and lot of backlash. She received death threats and hateful messages in the thousands. But it didn't slow her down. This week, she changed her brand name to The Balanced Blonde, a name that encapsulates her new lifestyle.

"This was a huge step for me and I think another step in my recovery, just from shedding that label and limitations," she said. "Several months ago I thought I could never change my diet, so becoming The Balanced Blonde is like stepping into a whole new realm of possibility."





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