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Life Without Labels + My Thoughts on Breaking Vegan

November 20, 2015

I kid you not, this post has been half-written for 1.5 years now, but it wasn’t until I got my friend Jordan’s book, Breaking Vegan into my hands that I found the inspiration to finish it.

breaking-vegan2Her book chronicles her experience with veganism, orthorexia and her recovery to becoming a healthier, more balanced person. I’ve touched on some of these topics before, both generally and about my personal experiences but it was Jordan’s courage in opening up about her journey that truly gave me the confidence to be more forthcoming about my own.

It’s at this point that I’ll admit that I am absolutely terrified to be publishing this post.

Here on THM I preach balance in every sense of the word. I make no secret of the fact that I don’t eat “healthy” 100% of the time, enjoy a nice glass of wine and my workouts are sporadic and vary in intensity. At the same time, I also love to be active and really, truly enjoy eating plants.

However, reaching a state of balance between these two sides of myself has been a long road, and one that I continue to evaluate every single day.

I’m an all-or-nothing kind of person. C jokes that I see the world through black or white lenses but grey does not exist. All of this is true. I find peace in being able to categorize my life. Most of us are wired to do this (I promise not to go all psych-nerd on you) but some people, like myself, experience this at extremes. It makes us extremely good at playing roles, but it’s virtually impossible to deviate from them.

When you apply this to healthy living and wellness, this rigidity can actually get pretty scary.

In Jordan’s memoir she chats a lot about her tendency towards extremes and how this personality trait made her vulnerable to developing an eating disorder. Her story may as well have been my own because the words she shared rang all too true for me.

Hindsight is always 20/20 and when I look back now on my own journey towards a healthy-balanced lifestyle I can see where things got way out of control. I was never diagnosed with an eating disorder, for a variety of reasons but I think the fact that I continued to be a fully functioning member of society contributed to this.

Though it may have appeared from the outside that I had it all together, what was happening inside my head was far from together.

I was whole-heartedly obsessed with health. My life revolved around getting in my workouts and what my next meal would be. At one point I wasn’t eating anything with gluten, eggs or dairy because I was convinced it was what was making me feel sick. I was also convinced that all my fitness goals would go out the window if I didn’t workout and I spent hours dissecting menus to figure out where I could eat out with all of my so-called dietary restrictions. It never occurred to me that the stress I was putting myself under was counteracting any of my efforts.

The worst of it, I was overwhelmingly scared.

The health of so many people in life was compromised around this time and the only way I could figure out how to deal with it was to try to control one of the few areas of my life that I could, namely my own health. I was also in the lost post-grad state of mind where it’s not out of the ordinary to have a complete identity crisis on the daily. Smacking a label (or a variety of labels) as someone who is “health-conscious” helped to distract me and comfort me instead of dealing with the anxiety of figuring out who I was and what I wanted in life.

I became “that healthy girl” or “that fit girl”. I was a go-to for workout ideas and recipes. It’s one of the leading reasons for starting this blog. But deviating from these titles (despite being the furthest thing from healthy) was an agonizing thought.

Hearing Jordan’s eerily similar story brought up all of these memories for me. Of struggling with my own sense of identity, fear, control and health. The fact that her journey involved a life-changing move to NYC that to a degree was tainted by these struggles struck a cord with me.

Most of all, it reminded me why these days I choose to live label-free.

The labels were a shield; An opportunity for me to define myself without having to do the sometimes painful work of self-discovery. But like Jordan, it wasn’t easy shedding myself of them.

As talked about in her book, Jordan shares the experience of telling the large and engaged audience that she had built on her vegan lifestyle, that she was choosing to no longer live as a vegan. I never had the experience of having to tell my audience (because it was virtually non-existent when I started to clear my world of labels), which I’ll admit I am grateful for as Jordan dealt with an excessive and outrageous amount of flack.

Learning to accept that I could still value health and lead a healthy lifestyle without having to be “that health-obsessed girl” was painful enough so I can’t imagine how agonizing it must have been to have people giving her death threats for it. The fact that she stayed true to her commitment to find better balance in her own life, despite the naysayers is a testament to her character and a reminder to all influencers that you cannot inspire others if you don’t prioritize yourself.

I’ve lived in a world full of gluten-free, vegan, HIIT workout-obsessed, egg-free, dairy-free, runner extraordinaire and none of these labels made me feel healthy. I felt frail, and scared and void of life. Everything was planned into perfect little boxes that stressed me out as much, if not more than any of the dietary issues.

It got to a point that the comfort I felt in these labels was no longer protecting me from my demons. It required two other moves, a lot of therapy, medication (one day we’ll talk about this..) and a priority of self-love to learn to live without them.

These days I still find myself trying to categorize everything but I know how to better deal with the grey areas. I love me some gluten-free bread and vegan muffins but I don’t have to be 100% gluten-free and vegan in every aspect of my life to enjoy them. I can be inconsistent and hypocritical and still be a good, healthy person, worthy of love.

davs-breaking-veganI eat more than I ever have, work out less than I ever have and have never felt better. I’ve learned to move because it’s good for me and not because I want to look a certain way. I know that eating lots of fruits and veggies makes me feel awesome and that if I’m craving a cookie I don’t need permission or punishment to eat it.

Even though my recipes are sometimes gluten-free or vegan or paleo or whatever label they fall under, I have actively chosen not to label THM under a specific diet. It goes against everything I preach about niche blogging, but I could never go around promoting a certain lifestyle that I knew didn’t work for me. Balance is my approach.

Most importantly, I don’t need a label to define who I am and how I should live. I’ve never been more grateful for the privilege of having learned this.

I’ll admit that reading Breaking Vegan was hard. I was forced to relive a part of my life that feels very dark and opened up Pandora’s box of emotions that I’ve tried very hard to conceal. But I knew it was time to start opening up about the darkness. I owe it to you and I owe it to myself.

I’m so proud of Jordan for having the courage to share her story and I hope that the young women out there struggling with their own eating disorders (diagnosed or not) can find solace in knowing that life CAN get better.

Before I check out of this insanely long post (and encourage you to buy Breaking Vegan!), I want to leave you with an email I sent to Jordan last year (June 2014) when she announced her struggles with Orthorexia on her blog:

Just read your post from yesterday and wanted to tell you how unbelievably inspiring you are. It is all too prevalent in this community that people aren’t honest with their readers and especially with themselves so it is refreshing to meet someone who is both. At the end of the day your blog is a reflection of you and making changes to improve yourself means you must be doing something right. Keep on being you.”

I urge all of you to be honest with those around you and even more importantly, with yourselves. Because the only label you really need to live a healthy life, is truth.

Breaking-VeganMake sure you check out Jordan Younger aka The Balanced Blonde’s open and honest memoir, Breaking Vegan. In addition to sharing her journey, she also has some great tips on leading a more balanced lifestyle with some delicious recipes to keep you on track!

Disclaimer: This post was written as a reflection on Jordan Younger’s memoir, Breaking Vegan. I was given a free copy of the book but was not told what to say or write about. All opinions expressed are truthful and entirely my own.

No questions – just your thoughts.

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  • Reply
    Lauren
    November 20, 2015 at 5:46 am

    It is very courageous and beautiful to bare your soul like this Davida, it is not an easy thing to do. Your words are also very scarily like my own story. I applaud you and am proud of you in sharing this as we all need to be vulnerable in order to not only help heal ourselves but to help others going through similar issues. I will be reading Jordan’s book very soon. I feel extremism and black and white thinking is an all too common trait for many women and something that we can all overcome by being brutally honest with our stories, sharing and helping. Sending lots of love xx
    Lauren recently posted…A Little Catch Up – Move Away From Veganism and My Health

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:38 am

      It is so so prevalent I’m learning. Thankfully, with a little self-love and a lot of mindfulness, it can be overcome and each day will be a little bit happier and healthier. I applaud YOU for always being honest with yourself and your readers about what’s working for you and what isn’t. Like I told Jordan, so many bloggers get wrapped up in their own labels that they lose sight of their truth. It’s so important that we have people like you who are showing that it’s okay to re-evaluate. Lots of love!!

  • Reply
    Alicia
    November 20, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Thank you for sharing your story Davida. I pre ordered Jordan’s book and finished it within 3 days. I don’t feel I have the extreme personality as she does, but I do constantly think of food sometimes and worry about going out to eat and what will be on the menu that I will like/be able to eat. I don’t label my diet, but I find people around me at work sometimes do, like when I pull out my salad for lunch and they say how healthy I eat or when donuts are brought in and they think I could eat the whole box because “I’m skinny”. Really, I’m am fit and I try to eat well. I do not like how our society thinks like this, but what I am continually learning each day are the things that work best for me and that’s what is important to me. I eat the way I do because it makes me feel good and I really do love veggies and fruit just like you, but I also enjoy some chocolate pretty much daily. I do a variety of workouts each week because I love to workout and I love how it feels and I have learned how to better fuel my body before and after them. I strive for balance and that’s what is important to me.
    Alicia recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #27

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:45 am

      People don’t realize the effects they can have with their words. I hated when people would comment when I ate a piece of cake or in true form, ordered a salad. It made me stick to my labels even more because people expected me to. I’m so happy you are constantly striving for balance. That’s my attitude too!

  • Reply
    Brittany @ Barr & Table
    November 20, 2015 at 8:31 am

    I absolutely love this post. Thank you so much for being brave enough to sharing some of your past, hard as it may be. The “healthy living” community is something that can easily become a disguise for someone, knowingly or not, and it happens all too often. I’m so happy that you were able to find your balance.
    Brittany @ Barr & Table recently posted…The Next Chapter

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:42 am

      I completely agree. There are so many bloggers out there sharing their truths and journeys but so many who feel stuck in their labels and end up straying so far from their truth. Thank you for always being honest, lady! And of course, for your amazing support. xo

  • Reply
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth
    November 20, 2015 at 8:40 am

    “if I’m craving a cookie I don’t need permission or punishment to eat it” <- THIS. It took me so long to get this, especially the punishment part. When I first started eating 'clean' it was so regimented. It's a wonder I even breathed without keeping track of how much oxygen was going into my body. Now that I've finally learned that the goal is balance not 'clean' I'm a lot better. But now I occasionally have to stop myself from going too overboard with my enjoyment of things I previously wouldn't let myself have. Like you said, it's a constant battle!
    Thanks for reminding us that we're not alone in it 🙂
    GiselleR @ Diary of an ExSloth recently posted…Vegan Gingerbread Brownies + Happy Birthday to me!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:14 pm

      I’ve been there too. After I took off the shackles of labels I went a bit crazy but it also taught me my extreme on both ends. One side felt incredibly restrictive and the furthest thing from health and the other side made be feel sleepy and gross. The happy point sits somewhere in the middle, but that place is ever changing. Realizing this was incredibly rewarding. Thanks for the support, love! xo

  • Reply
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen
    November 20, 2015 at 8:41 am

    Sooo basically crying right now. Like, no joke. *SIGH* I can relate to this all too well. And clearly still need to find the courage to open up about it myself. So many things here… black and white, all or nothing, yes. My obsessive compulsive, perfectionist tendencies can definitely lend itself to some negative behavior. Only just this past year have I started to really be mindful in changing that. “I can be inconsistent and hypocritical and still be a good, healthy person, worthy of love.” <333 Gaahhhh.
    Ashley @ Fit Mitten Kitchen recently posted…Friday Link Lovin’ [#5] Thanksgiving Edition

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:16 pm

      Aw thank you, my love. And thank you for sharing! Your support is amazing. We’re in this together. Let’s vow to just be badass bloggers together who like a good workout but also one hell of a pizza. We’re gonna have it all, alright?! xoxo

  • Reply
    Georgie
    November 20, 2015 at 9:08 am

    Beautifully written. I think so many women (myself totally included) can so relate to yours and Jordan’s story. Both your bravery is the kind of courage we need to raise the next generation of strong, joyful, confident women. Thank you <3
    Georgie recently posted…Recovery is Real – a letter to my 20-year-old self

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      Thank YOU for your beautiful post. I truly admire your honesty with your readers and ability to connect with people on a personal level. You have no idea the effect you’re having on so many young women’s lives. Keep being you, whoever you choose to be that day! xoxo

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food
    November 20, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I love this post. I’ve been following your blog since the early days and although I don’t comment very often anymore, I still try to keep up with what you’re up to. It’s incredibly brave of you to share your story and thoughts like this. I’m so happy to hear that you’re no longer in such a dark place and that things are better for you.
    So much love for you, girl!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…Friday Favorites 11.20.15

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:12 pm

      Kelly, thank YOU for your endless support. I so appreciate you reading, whether you’re commenting or not. I value our virtual friendship and have always admired your true pursuit of balance. I can’t think of a blogger who has better found a sustainable way of living between health and having fun! Kudos to you, girlfriend xoxo

  • Reply
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie
    November 20, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Such a beautifully written post. I can relate to a lot of this- especially being the “fit girl” that everyone goes to for food advice and workouts and fearing what people will think when I am not always the “fit girl.” I’ve learned to let those thoughts go away because at the end of the day it is my own journey I need to worry about, and not what others think of it. Thanks for sharing this post Davida <3
    Brie @ Lean, Clean, & Brie recently posted…{Friday Favorites} 11/20

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      Agreed. Thanks so much Brie! It’s nuts how crazy we can get being wrapped up in how others perceive us. It’s our life so we should live it exactly as we want it!

  • Reply
    Paula
    November 20, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Yeah, girl, yeah!! I lost a decade of my life swinging from full-blown anorexia and over-exercising to more “moderate” orthorexia, all while maintaining this mindset that I also had to be the perfect student, perfect employee, perfect girlfriend, etc. Even though it’s been a few years since I’ve found some balance, I still have to actively disconnect when people around me talk about their strict diets or lifetyles (and after starting crossfit, that happens A LOT). I respect and appreciate when women like yourself share their own experiences, so that the rest of us know we are in good company. I’ve been commenting a lot this week on how much more wonderful the world is when we stop feeling ashamed of our experiences and start bolstering one another instead. Thank YOU for being strong, positive, and vocal.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      Thank YOU for your incredible support and courage to strive to be YOU instead of engaging in the endless pursuit of perfection. It’s no way to live and truthfully, perfection cannot be achieved so there’s no use in torturing yourself to get there. I’m so glad I am in good company as well. I like this little crew 😉

  • Reply
    Chrissa - Physical Kitchness
    November 20, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Davida, this post is so awesome because it’s raw, honest, and from the heart. Thank you SO much for having the courage to write it. I can relate to certain aspects and I know that balance is probably the hardest challenge with healthy-nuts like ourselves. I see myself in you after I had my son – it was like “when can I get to the gym” “need to eat healthy” “must run” to shed off the baby weight and flatten my oh so mushy tummy. I look back and it makes me sad for myself! I know mental health is just as important (if not more) than physical health and the pressures of society along with stereotypes can really affect that. I love you, love your posts, and love that you are human!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:35 am

      What’s sad is that my background is in psych and mental health so I really should have recognized all of the signs and I know first-hand the effects of stress but when you get so wrapped up in something it can be hard to have any perspective. But beating myself up for that isn’t helpful either. You live and you learn and then you live some more 🙂 Thanks for the support, Chrissa!

  • Reply
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks
    November 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

    I’ve read so much about her book and I just know that it will open up a pandora’s box of emotions just like it did for you! The days that I have been happiest and healthiest have been when I was wasn’t overwhelmed with labels and thinking about my next meal, even if I was being extraordinarily healthy from the outside. Stress is HUGE and counteracts everything!

    I’ve learned to just roll my eyes at myself when I find those tendencies creep back “should I have a whole or a half banana with my oatmeal this morning? well I went for a run, so I guess I could have the whole banana, plus I really like bananas, but i’m having oatmeal, which also has carbs in it – jesus dani, just eat the f*ing whole banana”
    Dani @ Dani California Cooks recently posted…Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies (vegan, gluten free)

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

      EAT THE WHOLE FUCKING BANANA! These crazy thoughts still happen to me but putting them into perspective aka “this banana is not going to have a profound impact on my life” tends to do the trick. Our brains are so crazy, eh? On that note, I’m going to eat a banana, because why the hell not?!

    • Reply
      Kelly @ Eat the Gains
      November 29, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I legit have had that conversation in my head so many times. It’s a fucking banana!! I am working on trying to not think like that anymore, but still struggle some days.
      Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Pumpkin Cinnamon Raisin Balls

  • Reply
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats
    November 20, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, Davida! I can totally relate to both you and Jordan’s stories. I also struggle with being an all-or-nothing person: overworking myself, overeating then restricting, pouring my 200% into every single thing I do because GOD FORBID I do something half-ass. Which is great sometimes, but not when it comes to health. 100% clean, all day, every day, crying because I ate a huge spoonful of almond butter…really? Although I do call myself vegan, I feel more free from labels now than ever (because I know there’s a shit ton of vegan junk to indulge in too (: )
    Hooray for more eating and being damn happy with it!!!
    Emilie @ Emilie Eats recently posted…Chai Spice Mix + Vegan Chai Latte

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:31 am

      It’s really all about finding the balance that works for you daily and long-term. We gotta stick together and remind each other to eat more almond butter. Because damn is that stuff good 😉

  • Reply
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together
    November 20, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Girl, I love you so much. Thank you for being my constant cheerleader and role model that extremes just don’t work. Stuff like this is so hard to put out there and I applaud you for being so honest and open. Reminding people that they have to be kind to themselves, have self compassion and have to think about something other than their workout/next meal is what works – spending their entire lives in the gym and beating themselves up over an ice cream isn’t what works. It’s a slow process but I’m working on it every day.
    Cassie @ Almost Getting it Together recently posted…Now Trending – Best Links Week of 11.16

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:30 am

      I know you are and I’ve loved seeing your constant progress. We’re in this together, babes. Love you!!!

  • Reply
    Ellen
    November 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Thanks for such an honest post. This is something I can whole-heartedly relate to and have no doubt many women can. It’s so interesting to me how lately in society there’s an underlying need to define ourselves, e.g. “I’m vegan” “I do yoga” “i’m paleo”. I went through many phases of extremes very similar to yours, and have now found its so liberating just to live your life in the present. What a refreshing idea, we don’t need a prescribed set of rules to live by, just take care of yourself, respect your body and be happy. I hope other people can come to this exciting realization too.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:30 am

      I just wrote this down: “What a refreshing idea, we don’t need a prescribed set of rules to live by, just take care of yourself, respect your body and be happy.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you, Ellen!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    November 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    This really hit home for- thank you for sharing and I congratulate you on your honesty and willingness to always remain frank and open with your audience!

    As someone who has struggled with disordered eating for many years and still struggles with the lingering effects of those habits, this resonated with me. I, too, have recently achieved a level of label/lifestyle freedom and have begun loosening the reigns to find the balance that makes me happy and allows me to participate in LIFE without constant restrictions

    I love your blog and media outlets and really appreciate what you do for your readers
    Thanks again for sharing and I hope you continue to be a cool chick 🙂

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thank you so much for your amazing support, Stephanie! I am so happy that you are also learning to ditch the labels and just LIVE! It’s incredibly freeing isn’t it? Let’s keep this train going! xoxo

  • Reply
    Maeve
    November 20, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I so appreciate the authenticity with which you wrote this post. It resonated with me as I know it has/will with others, including those who choose not to comment.
    Here’s to nourishing ourselves and moving our bodies in order to live our best lives rather than living to eat and exercise “perfectly”. Here’s to not missing out on the big stuff because we are focused on what does not, in the end, really matter.
    Thanks for being you.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      Amen to that! I’m literally cheers-ing my screen with a mimosa. Because why the hell not?! Thank YOU for being YOU!

  • Reply
    Hillary | Nutrition Nut on the Run
    November 20, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    You write so so so well, Davida. Enjoyed every word of this post. Touching, personal, reflective. Definitely want to read that book now. Thanks for your bravery xo

  • Reply
    Chelsey
    November 20, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    This is something I deal with everyday, as someone with a career in dietetics and on a personal level. Going to school for nutrition really opened up my eyes about how much we need food to feel good, we need to stop comparing ourselves to each other, and to stop using labels. Sometimes I totally feel hypocritical because I do label recipes, but I too try to avoid labeling myself. One of the hardest things I find with clients and friends in the field is that food is seen as “good” or “bad” and it breaks my heart when clients tell me they’ve “been bad” because they ate a cookie or a slice of cake (on their birthday, no less!). I know how difficult it is to overcome these perceptions and kuddos to you for being so honest with your readers! You too keep being you, girl! XO
    Chelsey recently posted…What I Ate Wednesday 9 + When I Should Take My Own Advice

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      I can’t even imagine how much you have to witness and how hard it must be on both sides. I’ve found I have little tolerance for language that perpetuates these negative behaviours. When I hear my friends calling themselves fat and punishing themselves with diet after diet I just can’t hear it. I’ve surpassed trying to change it but man does it get to me. It’s just so sad. Thank you for doing what you do!

  • Reply
    lindsay
    November 20, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    I honestly don’t know many women who haven’t felt this way at some point it still do. OUr society is cruel. So I’m glad that you and jordan are so open and honest and we all can support each other through finding balance. It’s a daily effort! Whether it be a fear of getting sick again (that was me) or a fear of not eating or being perfect.

    now pass me a glass of wine. And I’ll take cheese with that. Mmm k?

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:12 pm

      So so cruel. And so ever changing too. It’s like impossible to meet these ridiculous standards, and yet we put ourselves through hell to try to get there. OVER IT. Onto the mimosa I’m drinking before 5:00 PM because FUCK SOCIETIES STANDARDS xo

  • Reply
    Jordan @ The Balanced Blonde
    November 20, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    I ADORE YOU. I basically copy and pasted everything you said into a word doc because I wanted to quote you from it in upcoming blog posts and whatnot, but I related to so much of what you said I literally copied and pasted your WHOLE post, lol. Wow, I am so honored and touched by your words. It feels good to let it all out, doesn’t it?! I swear it’s a cathartic feeling. Love you, you’re amazing, and your book is next I can feel it… XO

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      I ADORE YOU! Thank you for writing a brilliant book and inspiring me to be as honest as you have been. It really is cathartic. Love you lots xoxo

  • Reply
    Margaret @ youngandrungry
    November 20, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    I don’t know you but you’re AMAZING! This is my favorite thing I’ve read in months. I can relate to everything so where do I even start? When I first created by blog it was “Paleo running marge,” but the weight of the label was SO heavy for some reason and kept preventing me from from launching it. Finally, I paid to change my domain to what it is now and I had the courage to launch without the label and it’s so freeing. I’m even hesitant to title my recipes as “paleo” because I’m scared to feel like a hypocrite when I eat the occasional whatever I want, but this is giving me the confidence. Thanks for your honesty, story, and courage to post it!
    Margaret @ youngandrungry recently posted…Crock Pot Taco Soup

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm

      Don’t feel like a hypocrite! I so get the sentiment but you’re allowed to be inconsistent. I’m someone who thinks if it doesn’t fit into a perfect little box then it doesn’t make sense but that is no way to live! I would never hold someone else to that kind of standard either. Be you and if one day that’s paleo and the next it’s a free-for-all then so be it! Thanks for the support, lovely!

  • Reply
    Katerina
    November 20, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    When i hear people calling their eating habits a “diet”, i kinda know for sure what they will talk about next, how they struggle, starve, earn eating disorders and looking for ways to justify themselfes. Fed up with that kind of stories…poor girls, who eat just grass and blame veganism for being silly cows

  • Reply
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West
    November 20, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Just had to stop in to say that I enjoyed reading this post, Davida. I think Jordan was very brave for sharing her story and so are you! Here’s to be balanced, healthy and living without labels!
    Ashley @ A Lady Goes West recently posted…Friday Favorites: Fun stuff and discount codes

  • Reply
    Les @ The Balanced Berry
    November 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    Every part of this post was so honest and relatable. For so many health-conscious young women (myself included) the best of intentions sometimes turn into the toughest of times where we are not very kind to ourselves. Thank you so much for opening up and sharing. I know so many of us can relate to this! Cheers to life without labels.
    Les @ The Balanced Berry recently posted…Cookie Dough for One (Gluten Free + Vegan)

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      It’s scary how quickly those best intentions can take such a negative turn. Luckily we also have the power to turn around or power forward in a different direction. Thankful for this and for your support xoxo

  • Reply
    Nicole
    November 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing so openly Davida. The more I try to be healthier the more I end up rebelling and I am constantly battling to find balance. I may have to pick up a copy of Jordan’s book since I’m sure I’ll learn a thing or two.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Yes I’m sure you will! It’s always great to hear someone else’s journey to remind you that you are not alone in your struggles!

  • Reply
    Kelsey
    November 21, 2015 at 8:18 am

    First things first – I may go out and buy this book today. Reading your story reminds me of my own, and I am so happy to be in a place of just “me”, instead of trying to put a label on everything. Being a psychology nerd as well, I learned that putting labels and categorizing everything isn’t always the best for us. And sometimes, when we drop those labels, we become that much happier. I still get a little flack of “so what diet are you on now” and “what foods are on the avoid list”, and I’ve started to just tell people the truth. It has been really nice to just be honest; yes, I don’t eat dairy but it’s because my body can’t digest it well, and yes, I don’t eat a lot of grains/gluten, but I don’t avoid them if I want them or if they are in a homemade meal. Before I ramble off too much, let me just say I’m glad you have found your place in this world that works for you, and I’m so happy to be in a similar place myself. It scares me to look back on what I used to think was healthy, but it has definitely helped become who I am today, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.
    Kelsey recently posted…Currently / November 2015

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      It scares me too but I trying not to dwell on it too much. There’s too much to look forward to and be excited about then get bogged down in other people’s opinions and even our own old, outdated opinions! It really isn’t best for us either xoxoxo

  • Reply
    She Rocks Fitness
    November 21, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    LOVE this post and thank you for opening up to all of us about your journey! It is wonderful to hear that you are in a good spot in your life both physically and nutritionally. I feel like so many of us women go through this at one point or another. I have been there and it scary and dark. And it takes time and work, but being happy inside and out is 100% worth it. XOXO
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted…Full Body Treadmill Workout

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Time really is all it is. And open-mindedness I suppose 😉 Always good to know you’re not alone!

  • Reply
    Maddie
    November 21, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    This post is incredibly inspiring. Following blogs, such as your own has made me realize that I am not alone in my struggles with food and the health industry.

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      Never ever alone! Always here to listen if you ever need to chat!

  • Reply
    Alexandra
    November 21, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I too have been there. Love these sentences:

    “I eat more than I ever have, work out less than I ever have and have never felt better. I’ve learned to move because it’s good for me and not because I want to look a certain way. I know that eating lots of fruits and veggies makes me feel awesome and that if I’m craving a cookie I don’t need permission or punishment to eat it.”

    Here’s to feeling awesome, healthy and vibrant and living a fun life. You’re awesome. Thanks for sharing girl!!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      You’re awesome! Thanks for always being so supportive, Alexandra! Keep being awesome xoxo

  • Reply
    Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A.
    November 21, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Such a heartfelt post Davida. Thank you for sharing. I’m halfway through the book myself!
    Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. recently posted…10 Tips for a Healthy Turkey Day

  • Reply
    Grace
    November 22, 2015 at 7:42 am

    Thank you for sharing such an honest and thought provoking post! It really is something I’m sure everyone can relate to when trying to pursue a healthier life – I always try to remind myself that balance is key.
    Grace recently posted…Truffle Oil + Parmesan Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 22, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      It is so key. And that key is different for everyone! No lock/person is the same 😉

  • Reply
    Kelly
    November 22, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Love this book, love this post. Thanks for your honesty!

  • Reply
    Gina
    November 22, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I am so glad to see that this conditon is getting more exposure. I have struggled with anorexia, othrorexia, and over-exercising for 20+ years. I am finally seeking the therapy I need to hopefully recover. Recovery is hard. What I have lived with is exhausting. I can totally relate to searching the menus for acceptable meals, counting calories, working off any “extras” consumed, the guilt experienced with eating a treat, planning, planning, planning. I am just so glad to know that I am not alone. I have a ways to go to acheive recovery but it is one day at a time. I have longed for balance. Unfortunately, I have lived this way for so long that the habits are so incredibly ingrained. Undoing and rethinking takes amazing effort. I wish you well in your endeavors. Please keep on pursuing balance. I will too. Thank you to you and your friend for bringing this to light!

    • Reply
      Davida Kugelmass
      November 23, 2015 at 8:55 am

      One day at a time is right, friend! It is all-consuming and when the going gets tough it’s important to remember that actually LIVING your life is far more important and happiness-fueled then spending it trying to control it. It’s a struggle though so I applaud you for making the changes you need and know that you are not alone xo

  • Reply
    Cassie
    November 25, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    I think labels are very harmful if you feel obligated to them! I’ve felt obligated to eating gluten free, sugar free, carb free, low fat, et cetera, and it often never works! I love living a life of variety and balance.
    Cassie recently posted…The Meaning of Life is in the Little Things

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains
    November 29, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Just getting caught up in your posts. I can relate to this so much and still struggle sometimes with labels and being all or nothing. And I believe so many other women do. Thanks for putting this out there for others to realize they are not alone.
    Kelly @ Eat the Gains recently posted…Pumpkin Cinnamon Raisin Balls

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