Happy Thursday my loves! I hope everyone is having a phenomenal week.
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down at my computer and had a total heart spill session on the blog, and I have to say — there is something on my mind this morning that makes for the perfect type of spill-your-guts-out post.
Ready? Let’s Do it. The difference between WELLNESS & OBSESSION. //
I have been seeing a lot of stuff flying around the blogosphere lately about the defining line between wellness blogs that promote a true healthy lifestyle & wellness blogs that promote… well… orthorexia, and/or taking it too far.
I also did an interview with a big media outlet in the UK this morning and was asked point blank several times how I thought my blog was different now than it was back in my The Blonde Vegan days when I was super orthorexic and juice cleansing every single week.
I was asked how I could possibly believe I was promoting “balance” without promoting “both ends” of the spectrum: exercise and wellness, and fast food and binging on chocolate. (Not balance in my opinion — but I will get to that in a sec…)
A photo from my truly obsessive orthorexic days… and if you want to read a serious orthorexic’s blog post — check this out. (Or don’t, if you think that will be triggering. I was CRAZY, YOU GUYS.)
I know the interviewer didn’t meant to imply that anything I do on The Balanced Blonde is promoting an unhealthy obsession with health and wellness, but I couldn’t help but feel like the question being posed to me was an indictor of a lack of understanding between the difference of orthorexia and a true, wellness-focused life.
And I’m not saying that the interviewer herself had a lack of understanding (she was awesome and very sweet), she was just asking an innocent question. I think it might be a lack of understanding in general about the vast differences between a severe case of orthorexia and a happy, healthy lifestyle rooted in wellness, organic choices, natural & unprocessed & non-GMO foods, movement and exercise, and wanting to feel my best.
Beyond the interview, I have seen a lot of opinions in the blogosphere itself lately about “food bloggers being too obsessed with food” and promoting an unhealthy lifestyle that way, also implying that all food bloggers who post a lot of healthy recipes & Snaps & IG stories of them eating are in a way risking their readers developing an orthorexic mindset about food.
The photo below is from yesterday at Lifehouse Tonics + Elixirs in West Hollywood — in my yoga clothes, totally & blissfully myself, so far beyond my unhealthy days of the past.
Here’s my opinion. //
First, I just want to get something straight. There is a huge, massive, glaring difference between the severe depths of an eating disorder and being passionate about health and wellness.
I have been lucky enough to have the opportunity to develop a close relationship with Dr. Steven Bratman, the doctor who coined the term orthorexia. Yes, he *literally* invented the word and the notion of being too obsessed with healthy food. He also wrote the Foreword for my book about my orthorexia journey.
Dr. Bratman and I have greatly bonded over the fact that just because one has recovered from orthorexia (or remains in recovery) doesn’t mean that they can’t be passionate about a healthy lifestyle! We have both been targeted on several occasions for “still being TOO HEALTHY.”
Just because the pendulum swung too far one direction does not mean that someone in recovery isn’t allowed to care about exercise, organic food and natural products, feeling good & healthy & energized & well in their body, and all that amazing stuff that a true healthy lifestyle gifts us with.
I get it, there IS such a thing as being too obsessed with health. I was THERE. That’s why I know the difference of how I feel now (FREE from my obsessions !!) and how I was back then.
Kundalini life — one thing that has helped me begin to strengthen my spirituality & my intuition with myself. <3
I used to do 30 day juice cleanses and walk around New York City with blue lips and thinning hair and imbalanced hormones and zero energy because ALL I wanted was to be the “purest,” cleanest, healthiest, most rigid plant-based vegan there ever was.
But there is so much more to life than that. A HEALTHY life includes balance. Balance doesn’t mean eating fast food and binging on chocolate — at all. That is imbalanced also. Promoting that life would feel so beyond wrong to me when what I really want is for people to strike a balance between THAT and going too far.
It means indulging mindfully, learning to develop a relationship with your body, finding a spiritual practice so that you can connect to your core and your heart center and truly find YOUR happiest, healthiest self.
And the wellness blogger thing. //
Beyond the differentiation between orthorexia and a passion for wellness, I think that the implication that all wellness bloggers are promoting orthorexia is just silly.
I do acknowledge that when people are suffering from orthorexia (and often they don’t know it at the time) and they are blogging about food and health and exercise… they can start to promote something pretty unhealthy. I see it every day. Mainly with a TON of plant-based vegan (or paleo or any labeled diet really) YouTubers, Instagrammers, etc.
That can get extreme and I think as readers and consumers of information, it’s our job and our duty to take care of ourselves and know what we can and cannot handle in terms of following people and consuming their content.
But for your general, run of the mill, inspirational wellness or fitness blogger — those people are notttt promoting orthorexia, in my opinion. They are promoting balance! Giving us all options for healthier versions of treats we love, fun ways to incorporate exercise into our lives, and inspiration to find our healthiest selves.
I follow other wellness food bloggers like nobody’s business, and support them like no other. It ain’t easy to come up with new healthy recipes every day.
I also follow fitness bloggers and Instagrammers who some people might view as extreme with their workouts — but I personally find their dedication inspiring and I know that at this time and place in my life, I can handle consuming their content without feeling like I personally have to workout the exact same way that they do.
It’s just inspiration!
It’s just the INTERNET.
We all have a voice on here, and it can get a little loud & crazy — so if you ever feel triggered by someone’s information and content, then it is YOUR job and your right to unfollow them or pay less attention to what they’re doing.
Ya feel me?
I think it’s amazing what wellness bloggers do to create awareness and community around healthy lifestyle.
There is a HUUUGE difference between a healthy life and an orthorexic life that has gone way too far.
I actually think people suffering from orthorexia can get great benefit, motivation and inspiration from wellness bloggers who are promoting a balanced approach to health: healthy food, mindful exercise, having fun in the kitchen, incorporating variety, etc.
What do you guys think?! //
I am so intrigued to hear what your opinion on the subject is!
I am so inspired by other wellness bloggers in the space. I think we all work really hard to raise awareness & concern for natural, organic foods and products, and also for a lifestyle rooted in exercise and health.
I think we also work really hard not to give our readers the wrong impression.
I don’t live a perfectly balanced life — that’s the fun of being a human. I strive for it every day and that STRIVING is what I choose to share. 🙂
Friends of mine like the amazing Lee From America (on yesterday’s podcast episode!! CHECK IT OUT!), Rachel Mansfield (check out our NYC EVENT together on April 24th!!!), Jeannette Ogden, Christina Rice (my amazing assistant and VERY TALENTED blogger + writer) and so many others have spoken out about their journeys with everything from over exercising to hormone imbalances to eating disorder recovery — in hopes of sharing INSPIRATION for others in the same boat.
With my gorgeous human Lee, on this week’s episode of TBB Podcast, discussing all things BALANCE !! (Real balance.)
So let’s choose to be inspired & consume content that inspires us on the daily.
Instead of tearing wellness bloggers down and/or confusing a healthy, happy life with something that has gone way too far.
We will help our friends and readers in recovery so much more if we remain authentic to who we are at our core and support one another in the process. 🙂
ALL MY LOVE !! Let me know your thoughts my gorgeous angels!! Have you experienced anything similar? People with orthorexia or in recovery, have you ever felt challenged to find that balance? XX