Supporting a Sibling in Recovery

The impact mental illness has on a family is extraordinary. As parents, we were challenged every day for years as we struggled to understand anorexia, depression, and anxiety and find a way to stop it from destroying our daughter’s life. We had her to protect and, equally as important, her younger brother. He was caught up in the chaos and confusion like the rest of us, and he was only eleven. How could we help him understand what was happening to his big sister when we didn’t fully get it ourselves? Our love for both of them dictated our path moving forward. We decided not to shut him out or protect him from the truth; instead, we chose to do our best to meet his needs, openly communicate what was going on with Julia and include him in her treatment, get him personal counseling so he could ask questions and share his feelings, and always make sure he knew he had our unconditional love and support.

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Intuitive Eating

Many of us have heard the phrase “intuitive eating” before on social media, in conversation, or, if you’re like me, from a dietitian or other nutrition and/or eating disorder specialist. But what exactly does it mean? Simply put, intuitive eating is an evidence-based approach to eating that encourages making food choices without guilt, honoring hunger cues, respecting fullness, and enjoying the pleasure of eating. It was introduced in 1995 by dietitians Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch and in eating disorder treatment is considered the “gold standard” and the ultimate goal in recovery.

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Parenting a Child with Anorexia

Julia was only thirteen when she was diagnosed with anorexia, depression, and anxiety: the trifecta of mental illness, as I called it. I spent far too much time trying to figure out how and why it happened; after all, I was the stay-at-home mother by choice and with all that daily love and experience I was giving my children, I should have seen the signs and intervened. But more often than not, parents aren’t to blame for mental illness, as was the case for my wife Susan and me.

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Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Happy National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2021! It seems like with every passing year, the engagement in this event grows. I’ve loved logging onto Instagram and Twitter and seeing so many positive quotes and recovery stories on my feed. This type of openness and support has been monumental in chipping away at the stigma surrounding mental illness and truly is the best way to normalize talking about mental health and keep making forward progress.

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Eating on a Schedule in Recovery

Food is fuel. Food is medicine. Most of us are familiar with the first saying, and those who have had or cared for someone with an eating disorder also know the second. Our bodies send out hunger cues every 3-4 hours as our blood sugar level drops. If we don’t take the cue and eat enough, we lose energy and aren’t as alert or focused. We start to feel sluggish, irritable, and weak. If we respond to our bodies’ need for fuel, we typically feel and behave better. It makes sense that a regular eating schedule can significantly contribute to helping our bodies and minds function at their best.

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Sunshine Blogger Award

A huge shoutout and thank you to Smitha’s Bake Love for this awesome nomination! Smitha’s blog posts beautiful, mouthwatering food content that we always look forward to seeing on our timeline. We strive to one day bake and photograph food as masterfully as she does! The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to bloggers by fellow bloggers who are creative, positive, and inspiring. After receiving the nomination, the blogger has the honor of writing a post that thanks the nominator, answers some fun questions, and nominates more bloggers for the award.

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Surviving the Holidays with an Eating Disorder

Like many children, when I was younger, Christmas was my favorite time of the year. From the abundance of presents to the delicious food to the fun traditions to the time spent with my family, it was a magical experience. Memories like riding the “Polar Express” in Essex, portraying an Archangel in my UU church’s Christmas Pageant, and visiting the enormous Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center have stuck with me to this day, many years later.

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Writing Saved My Life

Something super exciting happened this week: I published my new book, Choosing Life! This is the third book I’ve published in the past three years and will complete the Changing Ways series that I’ve devoted my life to since I was seventeen. For those of you who don’t know my story, I started writing in eighth grade. It began as a half-assed attempt to please my then-therapist, who was constantly suggesting coping skills for me to try, but it quickly became something much more. I was deeply entrenched in my eating disorder at that time and struggled to talk openly about what I was going through. But when I wrote, it felt like a weight had been lifted of my chest. Writing became my voice during those dark and scary years when I was very sick. It basically saved me.

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