When you think of an eating disorder maybe you think of the recent Netflix original movie, To the Bones that follows an unruly 20-year-old female through the highs and lows (quite literally) of her anorexic lifestyle.
Maybe you remember the book Starving for Attention, written by the daughter of singer Pat Boone, Cherry Boone O’Neill that details the pressure of aspiring to be the perfect celebrity daughter, which led her to multiple desperate attempts at physical perfection.
Even if you go back to Karen Carpenter, the lead singer of The Carpenters who died of heart failure from her years-long struggle with anorexia.
But sometimes, an eating disorder isn’t so far away. Sometimes it’s not just celebrities or the people on our screens —it’s the girl you hear at sixth period throwing up in the bathroom.
It’s the mom who just gave birth who isn’t dropping her baby weight as fast as she anticipated. It’s the girl who’s already thin, yet, every time she looks in the mirror she sees a fat whale.
It’s your co-worker who binges on coffee and donuts only to throw it all up on her lunch break. It’s the college gal afraid to gain the freshman 15 so she overloads on laxatives and alcohol. And yes, it’s men too.
It’s 30 million people worldwide. It’s 81 percent of 10-year-olds who are afraid of being fat. Over one-half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.
According to the National Eating Disorder Organization, the negative health effects brought on by obesity including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tooth decay, organ failure, stroke or worse death —are the same for eating disorders such as binge eating, anorexia, and bulimia.
And like I just established, eating disorders can affect anyone, anywhere at any time. It’s the one we thought had it all together.
In this case, she does now, but it wasn’t always this way. It’s the holistic hottie, the fit farmer —Joni Nicole.
This young lady lives with chronic back and spine pain from a farming accident as a little girl. As the years went by, the curvature of her spine moved with, which causes her extreme pain, tightness, and a frozen-like feeling all over.
From natural healing with cannabidiol (CBD) oil to chiropractic care, massage therapy —oh and healthy eating, she has worked hard to get where she is today. Here’s what she has to say.
Q: Hi, gorgeous. Can you introduce yourself? (i.e. personality, hobbies, interests)
A: Hello Macey! My name is Joni. I’m a keep to myself kind of person and a fourth-generation farmer who has a passion for growing healthy fruits and vegetables for me, my family, and the local community. I love clean simple spaces and being surround by good people (good answer).
Q: When did you decide to change your diet?
A: I have not always eaten clean. I fought serious bulimia from 7th grade well into my twenties. I’m happy to say my current diet changed my life.
I no longer struggle with this issue because of my style of eating. I knew if I didn’t do something drastic I was going to die, which is how I got started on my path to wellness.
Q: How did you overcome the challenges of moving forward without a full relapse into becoming the “sick chick” again?
A: Honestly, I had no choice. I was so inspired and determined by the online community of people I found that got me started on this health food journey to begin with. I remember not wanting to talk to the people close to me about my eating disorder.
I needed a third-party perspective so I went online and found a few support groups. I picked the top three and still remain active in them today. Facebook actually has a ton of closed or secret support groups for basically anything you can think of. From holistic treatments, drug addiction, mental illness, eating disorders —you name it, it’s there.
I still have a ton to learn and I am always excited to have the next “ah ha” moment. I will say that it’s not a singular action to avoid becoming the “sick chick” again. It’s about our entire beings. So, I try to nourish not just my stomach but my mind, body, and soul.
Q: Is it hard to keep up this new lifestyle? What foods do you find the hardest to resist? And how do you resist them?
A: I am not 100 percent vegan but I eat a vegan diet almost 100 percent of the time —if that makes sense. I don’t resist any food, if I want to eat it I do, but, at this point, I know what’s worth it and what’s not. So, this isn’t really an issue for me. I do not desire foods that cause inflammation or a mental issue (people with eating disorders would understand).
I play the tape. How will I feel after I consume this let’s say a piece of cake? Ask yourself that. The pain isn’t worth the food.
Q: What are some healthy food options you eat that help decrease your inflammation and back pain while not promoting a binge? What are foods you steer clear of?
A: I can’t handle salt. It’s great and it makes food taste good, but, because my body is now so used to plain foods such as fruits and vegetables, along with nuts and grains, my response to salt is awful. A dinner out results in swelling of my hands, feet, and face. It’s so visible the next day, it’s scary. I do it sometimes but it’s not really fun. (Don’t try this at home, guys.)
Q: What would you say to people out there right now who have lost hope in their ability to get healthy again?
A: Find the right network of people for you. Whatever support you need, most likely there’s a group of people out there going through the same thing. I think that reason alone is why I was excited to do this interview with you, Macey.
The access to online communities opens doors that wouldn’t exist if the internet wasn’t available. There’s always support. Climb little mountains first, a life change doesn’t happen overnight —it takes a lifetime.
Q: Do you have any parting words of wisdom?
There’s always someone who understands even when you feel alone. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Persistence and hard work will get you there. Accept the setbacks and don’t get discouraged —it happens to everyone.
Remember guys, we all need to eat. Food is literally a medical necessity but it’s not just about our diet. Of course, we need to opt for healthy alternatives, but it’s more about our relationship to food that impacts how we feel and how we heal.
As Hippocrates once said, “The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food.”