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Your Guide to Ultherapy

As we age, the skin loses its natural elasticity and shine as the cells die out through a degenerative process. Though there are a lot of skin products that help in making the skin retain its smoothness and softness, most are still a temporary solution and in the long run become a hefty cost. Surgery can also be done but the pain and the costs often make people shy away from taking the option. Now here comes Ultherapy, a new alternative that gives you healthier and younger-looking skin.

What is Ultherapy?

Ultherapy is a skin treatment that doesn’t involve going under the knife or getting wheeled into a surgery room. This uses ultrasound waves to make the skin more loose and then lifting it without the need for surgery. Ultherapy stimulates the deep layers of the skin that are often addressed in skin surgery, but this therapy works without the need of injuring the tissues at all. Because of ultrasound, healthcare professionals are capable of visualizing the skin and just the right amount of energy is applied to the specific area of the skin to be treated.

How Does it Work?

Ultherapy makes use of ultrasound waves to stimulate the tissues beneath the skin, even reaching several layers up to the muscles. This makes the skin grow tighter, close pores, and make the skin look smoother. Regarded as safe by the medical community worldwide for over 50 years, Ultherapy eliminates the need for one to undergo surgery or other invasive procedures in order to make the skin look healthier and younger.

Contributed By:

Skin Tightening Clinic Singapore
Blk 125 Bt Merah Lane 1, #01-174, Singapore 150125

Weekend Reading, 3.18.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday, everyone. I’m back from my visit with my friend, doing my best to settle into a routine in spite of deadlines the that continue to loom.

In a mind-clearing yoga class this morning, my teacher shared this parable, or her own version of it. According to WisdomShare, the story goes,

A young, successful couple found their dream home. Shortly after purchasing it, the couple sat at their kitchen table to indulge in a delicious breakfast. The wife looked out the window, and to her surprise, she saw her neighbor hanging dirty laundry on the clothesline.
‘That laundry isn’t clean, it’s still dirty!’ she said to her husband. ‘Someone needs to teach her a thing or two when it comes to washing her clothes!’
A couple of days later, the couple sat down at their kitchen table for another meal. The wife saw her neighbor hanging clothes on the clothesline. But this time something was different.
‘Wow, look!’ the surprised wife said to her husband, ‘Her clothes are clean! Someone must have taught her how to wash her clothes!’ Without raising his head from his plate, the husband kindly responded, ‘Actually, honey, I got up early this morning and washed the window.’

It was the right morning for this fable to find me. Since I got back home on Thursday, I’ve noticed myself being more judgmental and critical than usual. Harsh judgment is a tendency I’m growing out of, but it still emerges when I’m insecure or stressed. Simply recognizing that there’s a source of the impulse has helped me to curb it: when I find myself judging more than usual, I stop to examine what might have triggered feelings of insecurity or low self-worth.

I had a lovely time with my old friend, and coming home was a little tough. I felt lonely, and—though it was difficult to admit—a pang of envy for the new-ish partnership that my friend has found himself in. It’s a strong companionship that seems built on deep respect and care. I celebrate it with him and for him, but when I got home to my place on Thursday night, greeted by the quiet I’m still getting used to, I couldn’t help but long for something like it. Feeling overwhelmed with work (and low on the necessary motivation to get it done) didn’t help.

So, I retreated to the place I often seek when I’m feeling this way: criticism and judgment, of others and myself. I feel grateful to my teacher for sharing a story that made me more conscious of what was going on. Today, as I sat down to write this post, I reflected on how far I still am from feeling at home with myself again. Nothing to judge, nothing to despair about. Just a homecoming to anticipate hopefully.

Here’s to a new week and a fresh perspective. And here are some of the recipes and reads I bookmarked while I was traveling back to NYC a few days ago.


I made my kale colcannon over the weekend, which is an annual St. Patrick’s Day ritual for me. But there’s no reason to reserve colcannon for March only, and Hannah’s version is the next one I want to try. It features cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage along with kale, which makes it a serious celebration of crucifers. You can find the recipe in her awesome new cookbook, but I was happy to see it posted on her blog this week, too.

This farro spinach salad looks fresh, tasty, and so nutritious! I’ve been making making my mushroom farro a lot this winter, but this is a lighter treatment, and perfect for early spring.

I try to bookmark at least one mouth-watering vegan sammie each week in an effort to keep my lunch game strong. This week, Natt’s beautiful beet hummus sandwich—and her recipe for homemade wheat bread—caught my eye.

The ladies at Hello Veggie posted a recipe from Richard Buckley’s upcoming Plants Taste Better, and it looks so homey and good: Tuscan lentil grain broth.

For all of the bowls I make, I haven’t thought to try a mashed potato bowl. Christine’s loaded mashed potato bowl with sautéed mushrooms is inspiring me.


1. Anthea Rowan reflects on how her mother’s stroke led to the disappearance of her lifelong, severe depression. Such an interesting look at “thinking habits,” to use the author’s phrasing.

2. If anxiety runs in your family, this one may resonate with you; it definitely resonated with me.

3. An interesting perspective on resilience, which posits that “resilience is largely about body awareness and not rational thinking.”

4. A touching story of coworkers rallying around a colleague whose son had been diagnosed with cancer—and a reminder of how precious and rare worker-friendly paid leave policies are around the world.

5. A new study of 4,600 American suggests what many might have known or suspected intuitively: the Great Recession led to increases in blood pressure and blood glucose across age groups.

Enjoy the reading material. I’ll be back this week (or next, depending on how caught up I get) with a simple stuffed sweet potato recipe that’s been keeping me company at dinnertime lately.


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Macro Bowls from Power Plates (+ a Giveaway!)

Macro Bowls from Power Plates | The Full Helping

Photograph by Ashley McLaughlin

Happy Wednesday! The visit with my dear college friend that I mentioned on Sunday has been lovely so far, but I’m taking a quick pause to share the macro bowls from Power Plates.

The bowls chapter of the cookbook came together before any of the others, with recipes that I’d been thinking about for a long time. Since macronutrient balance is a theme of the book, and since macro bowls are one of my all time favorite meals, I knew I’d be including a personal take on the grain, bean, green, sea vegetable, and squash combination.

This is it. A little non-traditional (I can’t seem to get hijiki salad just right at home, no matter how hard I try), but I did my best to pay homage to a meal that’s the essence of nourishment in my mind. Hope you’ll enjoy this one as much as I do; in the year since I finished testing recipes for the book, it’s the bowl I’ve made most often.

Macro Bowls from Power Plates (+ a Giveaway!)

Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free option, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 50 mins
Serves: 4 bowls
For the rice:
  • 1 cup (200 g) short-grain brown rice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 scallion, green part only, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
For the glazed squash:
  • 1 tablespoon neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 1 tablespoon tamari, soy sauce, or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon mirin (optional)
  • 1 pound (450 g) kabocha squash, seeded and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) pieces
For the miso tahini dressing:
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 g) tahini
  • 2 tablespoons white miso
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1⁄4 cup (60 ml) warm water, plus more if needed
For the bowls:
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • 11⁄2 cups (345 g) cooked adzuki beans, or 1 (15-oz, or 425-g) can, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup (240 ml) fermented vegetables, such as kimchi or sauerkraut
  1. Cook the rice according to package instructions. Drizzle the cooked rice with the sesame oil, then gently fold in the sesame seeds, scallion, and mirin.
  2. While the rice is cooking, prepare the squash. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the oil, miso, tamari, and mirin. Put the squash in a large bowl, drizzle with the miso mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Spread the squash on the lined baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes, until tender and browning at the edges.
  3. Meanwhile, to make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk until smooth. If it’s thicker than you’d like, whisk in additional warm water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.
  4. Before assembling the bowls, pour an inch or two (2.5 or 5 cm) of water into a medium pot and insert a steamer. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the kale and steam for about 3 minutes, until bright green and tender.
  5. To serve, divide the rice, squash, kale, and adzuki beans among four bowls. Top each with one-quarter of the fermented vegetables and drizzle generously with the dressing. Serve right away.
Reprinted with permission from Power Plates, copyright © 2018 by Gena Hamshaw. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Macro Bowls from Power Plates | The Full Helping

Photograph by Ashley McLaughlin

I’m so touched by the support I’ve gotten for the book on social media, and if you’re already cooking from it, thank you. If you’d like a chance to win a copy and try some of the food out, I’m giving away three today! Enter below (US & Canada only) to win. I’ll choose winners one week from today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And I’ll see you this weekend for the reading roundup.


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Weekend Reading, 3.9.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Happy Sunday! By the time this post goes live, I’ll be headed out of town to spend some time with one of my closest friends from college. I have the treat of seeing him a few times a year, since his folks are in New York, but it’s rare for us to have a five uninterrupted days together. I can’t wait.

My hope was of course to have all of my ducks in a row before I left: school projects wrapped up neatly in time for spring break, work inbox mastered, etc. That is not how things have gone this week. In fact, they’ve gone the opposite way: I feel as though I can’t make a dent in all the stuff I’m behind on. And I found out a few days ago that a major school deadline that I thought would be squishy is in fact very, very firm.

A year or two ago, that kind of discovery would have sent me tumbling into an anxiety black hole. That wasn’t my response this past week. I felt feelings, of course: frustration with myself for not being more on the ball. Guilt over having prioritized other things. Overwhelm. But the feelings were manageable, and I had the feeling they’d wash over me, giving me space and energy to focus on getting done what needs doing.

It’s hard for me to be at peace with errors in judgment. Part of me wishes I’d been able to foresee this bind before I was in it, but another part of me is glad to be practicing self-forgiveness and staying calm in the face of something challenging and stressful.

So, here’s to gentle self-compassion in the face of not getting it right all the time. Here’s to quieting guilt so that I can get things done. Here’s to me choosing against panic and being my most peaceful, trusting self. It’s not my norm, but this is the time to practice it.

Wishing you all gentleness in the coming week. In a couple of days, I’ll be sharing a very beloved recipe from Power Plates and hosting a giveaway for three more free copies. For now, here are some of the recipes that I pinned and bookmarked this past week.


Wish I’d made a batch of Jessica’s awesome looking carrot cake muffins for my plane ride today! Yum.

I can never get enough tofu scramble recipes, and I’m loving Sarah’s Greek-style version. Bet the olives add a wonderful saltiness and umami to the dish.

My friend Cadry’s soy curl chili inspired this recipe, which is now on steady rotation in my home. I’m dying to try her BBQ soy curl sandwich, which looks like the perfect comfort food lunch.

If soy curls aren’t your jam, maybe try these grilled cajun orange tofu kebab skewers? They look like a perfect party appetizer, and they’d be an easy protein to serve with weeknight dinners.

It took me ages to figure out how great roasted cabbage is—so sweet and tender. Nowadays cabbage wedges are one of my favorite vegetables to roast up in the winter months, so I’m super excited to try Stephanie’s roasted cabbage Caesar.


1. I’m often asked about food cravings and how best to handle them. Is it better to pause or to act? Are all cravings “valid” and worth heeding? My answer is that all cravings transmit information; even if they’re less indicative of true hunger than impulse or feeling, it’s still important to be alerted that the feelings and impulses are there.

I invite my clients to thank their cravings for giving them clues about what’s going on with their bodies and spirits. Then I suggest that we spend some time mapping out practical strategies to better understand cravings and what they’re communicating. This article by Carrie Dennett offers some of the same guidance I often share, and it’s full of useful, self-compassionate cues.

2. A new review study suggests that children who have chronic illnesses that are treated with diet (including diabetes, cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, gastrointestinal disorders, and inflammatory bowel diseases) may be more susceptible to disordered eating. More research is needed to help explain why the link exists, so that practitioners can develop a set of best practices. For now, I’m glad that the information is out there, so that parents and physicians can practice sensitivity and awareness.

3. A few years ago, I meditated on the ways in which I sometimes fail to extend enough empathy and compassion to people with EDs, in spite of having been through recovery myself. This blog post has a different focus and message, but it brings up similar points about how easy it is to label and judge others who are struggling—or whom we assume are suffering—and how problematic both the assumptions and the judgments are. It’s complex, sensitive, and inspiring.

4. This is a long read, but it’s pretty fascinating: a look at how Finland launched an official, nationwide, and influential campaign to improve food and lifestyle choices—using everything from cozy fireside chats and reality TV shows to laws and incentives—in order to combat its epidemic of heart disease. I was especially intrigued by the role that women—in particular, a Finnish housewives organization known as the Marthas—played in transmitting the campaign’s key messages.

5. Finally, a Psychology Today article that relates to my musings this week. It explores the link between anxiety and procrastination, and boy, does it strike a chord. Having always prided myself on being a systematic and nearly unstoppable doer, it’s been very difficult to accept the tendency toward procrastination and lack of focus that anxiety has introduced into my life in the last few years. I was heartened to see that the article suggests self-compassion and abandoning negative self-talk as a means of letting go and moving forward.

Enjoy the reads, and enjoy your Sunday.


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Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas

Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas | The Full Helping

I know I’ve been posting a lot of soupy, stewy things to scoop over grains lately. My instinct is to apologize for the repetition, but this blog showcases the stuff I’ve been eating in real time, and lately, these are the meals that work. They’re easy to prepare, one-dish, and so long as I’ve got some sort of grain or pita or bread to serve them with, they make for a few nights of nutritious eating.

So…looking forward to more variety soon. But at this hectic moment, sorry not sorry for the soupy stuff 😉

Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas | The Full Helping

This meal was happily inspired by my friend Jodi’s delicata squash stew with chickpeas + quinoa. I saw it when she originally posted it and bookmarked it. It’s taken me longer than a year to create something along the same lines, but the fact that the dish has been on my mind for that long speaks volumes.

It didn’t disappoint. I love the combination of tender, sweet delicata, firm chickpeas, and a soupy, curried broth. Jodi’s version uses quinoa, which I’d love to try next time, and kale; I used baby spinach instead, just because it’s what I had, but the quick cooking time was a nice bonus.

The dish is wonderful with millet, rice, or quinoa, but I also tried some of the leftovers with homemade naan (I use this recipe), and that was a winning combination, too. Speaking of, the leftovers keep nicely for at least a couple days, and I think the flavor only intensifies as time goes by.

Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas

Recipe type: main dish, entree
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free, soy free, tree nut free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 4-5 servings
  • 2 teaspoons neutral vegetable oil, such as refined avocado or grapeseed
  • 1 small white or yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried, ground ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 small or medium sized delicata squash, ends trimmed and cut into cubes (about ¾”)
  • 1½ cups cooked chickpeas (1 can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2½ cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 5 ounces (about 4 heaping cups) baby spinach
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Cooked jasmine or basmati rice, quinoa, millet, or another whole grain, for serving
  • Vegan yogurt or cashew cream, for serving (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro, for serving (optional)
  1. Heat the oil over medium in a large, deep skillet. When the oil is shimmering, add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the onion is soft and clear. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for one more minute, stirring constantly (if the skillet is getting dry, you can add a tablespoon or two of water).
  2. Add the turmeric, curry, salt, delicata squash, chickpeas, and broth to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a rapid simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the skillet and continue simmering for another 13-15 minutes, or until the delicata is tender. Add the spinach to the skillet and stir everything to help wilt it down. Re-cover the skillet and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and crushed red pepper to taste. Serve with your favorite grain.
Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Curried Delicata Squash & Chickpeas | The Full Helping

The yogurt or cashew cream is an optional touch, but I love how creamy everything gets when it’s stirred in. Here’s to simple, flavorful, nourishing, and soupy suppers.

I’m in the midst of trying to get my graduate thesis off the ground and hoping to wrap up some work projects before I visit some dear friends next week. Fingers crossed for gentle productivity! I’ll see you all for the roundup this weekend. If you’re in the Northeast, stay warm and cozy today.


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Weekend Reading, 3.4.18

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

It’s been a wordy week around here, so I’m keeping it short and sweet for today’s weekend reading. But, thank you all so much for the kind support of NEDA week and for a compassionate, honest dialog about recovery and healing. It means everything. To those of you who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign, deep gratitude: today’s the last day, and while there’s still time to give, I’ve met my goal for supporting NEDA.

There’s a quotation by Franz Kafka that keeps coming back to me as I reflect on the last couple of days and the recovery theme:

“You can hold yourself back from the sufferings of the world, that is something you are free to do and it accords with your nature, but perhaps this very holding back is the one suffering you could avoid.”

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about holding back, how that impulse sat at the heart of my eating disorder. At the same time, I’ve been thinking about how the impulse to share and connect, to be expansive and brave and bold, lights the path for recovery. The “take up space” and “be love” affirmations are connected to this, the project of allowing the spirit to radiate outward.

Until the last few days, I hadn’t written much about ED recovery in the past year. Doing so has reminded me that speaking up about this topic is a part of how I stay rooted in my healing. So, a big thank you to all of you for bearing witness and creating a safe space to talk about it, to keep it real, and to not hold back. It means so much.

Now it’s nice to be settling back into the Sunday ritual of rounding up enticing vegan recipes and scoping out a few reads. I’ll be sharing a simple curry dish with you all this week, too.


First up, an awesome lunch idea from my friend Ali: avo toast with white balsamic, golden beets, and just a sprinkle of arugula.

I’ve tried lots of different vegan falafel recipes, but quinoa falafel will be a first for me. Love this idea from Alissa of Connoisseurus Veg!

A cozy butternut squash and kale minestra soup from Sara of Sprouted Kitchen. The croutons are an awesome touch; I’m going to make them with nutritional yeast instead of parm to veganize the meal!

Speaking of squash, and parm, what a lovely, wintery vegan pasta dish! Roasted delicata, pappardelle, sage, Brussels sprouts, shallots, walnuts—so rich and comforting.

It was a rainy week here in NYC, so I was excited to see these sunny cupcakes on my computer screen: Erin’s coconut cupcakes with blood orange buttercream.


1. I’ve spent a lot of the past year trying to reconcile my hunger for intimacy and companionship with the conviction that I need to foster a sense of wholeness in solitude again. This article definitely resonated, and Becky Mandelbaum also has interesting insights into the interplay of solitude and creative work.

2. Simple and intuitive advice from dietitians, each focused addressing a high-impact behavior change. I like that these tips are focused on the big picture, on meal patterns, rather than individual foods or nutrients.

3. African-American women in the US are four times more likely than white counterparts to die during pregnancy and childbirth. This article helps to explain some of the reasons, and it profiles the innovative work of Jennie Joseph, who is making pregnancy safer for women of color in her prenatal and postpartum clinic.

4. Omid Safi has written a lovely and lyrical blog post for On Being, in which he likens the resilience and healing network of redwood trees to the human experience. He writes,

“Each of us go through ‘terrible damages’ — a divorce, a heartache, a breaking, a clinging depression, an exile, a financial ruin, a lingering disease, a loss of a loved one, a death, a loss of dignity, a violation.
May it be that despite such terrible damage, the tree of our life does not die.
May it be that there is a vitality in our roots, and that the charred tree of our experiences gives birth to a hundred new blooms dancing around us, newer versions of ourselves that leap to life from what we would have deemed to be our death.”

I was touched by Safi’s acknowledgment of the deep wounds that all people are bound to encounter as part of being human, and his hope that we keep going—together and individually—in spite of it.

5. This isn’t a NEDA Week post, but it’s the last day of NEDA week, and I wanted to share a powerful essay by actress Karla Mosley. Her reflections on the pressure she felt growing up to be small and inconspicuous and pleasing certainly resonate:

“I understood that I had to be palatable. That I had to be as “good” as possible, and that meant as unnoticed as possible. And so I’d go to my friends’ houses and do their chores; I’d make their parents like me. I was learning to ask myself, How can I be like everyone else? How can I be unnoticed? How can I be as small as possible?”

Mosley goes on, though, to explain how her disorder was also complicated by race and her career in acting. She shares an insight into the difficulty of recovery that rang true to me, and may ring true to many of you as well:

“I had to learn to challenge beliefs that I didn’t know were disordered because they had been with me for so long. And everywhere I went, I kept hearing the song “Superstition” by Stevie Wonder. He sings, “If you believe in things you don’t understand, you suffer.” I believed I was supposed to harm myself in order to change, that I’d lose my career, or relationships, or happiness if I didn’t. Stevie was right. And I’m still untangling those backward beliefs that I probably made up when I was 10 years old.”

Untangling belief is so hard, but such worthy work. Big kudos to Mosley for speaking up like this.

And on that note, I’m off to get a little rest before a busy week. Wishing you all a peaceful Sunday night.


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NEDA Week 2018: Keep Faith

I just want to start this post by thanking every person who’s been part of the NEDA week dialog over the last five days, both here on the blog and over social media. I feel so blessed to be celebrating recovery in your company.

“Keep faith” is the final of my five eating disorder recovery affirmations. When I talk about faith, I mean a sense of trust that change is possible and a willingness to let the process happen in its own time. I’m not sure I have too much to say about it that I didn’t say in this post from a couple years ago, so I’ll reprint a few of my thoughts from there:

. . . over time, simply through the act of my forcing myself to put one foot in front of the other, things actually did shift.

Growth can be like this. I’m starting to wonder if maybe growth is always like this: not neat and linear, as we’d like it to be, and not circumscribed by deep insights or obvious wisdom, as we think it should be. Rather, it’s a cluttered and confusing process that we survive only by mustering up a mixture of faith and determination . . .

Don’t get me wrong: I learned many deep and important lessons along my path to recovery, and over time I did gain certain insights that put the process into perspective. But the insights aren’t what happened first, and I don’t think they’d have been possible without a certain amount of plain persistence in the face of tedium and difficulty . . .

I guess this is what I mean by calling ED recovery a “practice.” What I’m trying to say is that recovery is often something we show up and do every day before it becomes a part of who we are or how we feel. We sit down with food and we face our stuff—whatever stuff it is we need to face—long before we can call ourselves transformed.

Back when I was in a precontemplative state about recovery, I knew that it would be hard, but I also hoped that it would feel corrective. I’d finally been able to recognize my eating disorder as a problem, and I hoped that recovery would somehow bring my life into a state of balance and peace.

I was surprised to find out that recovery didn’t feel curative, at least not at first. Anorexia was a fundamental part of my identity; healing was only possible through loss. It was a messy and sometimes agonizing process—the opposite of peaceful, at least at first.

When things were really bad, I often wondered what I was doing. If recovery was so good for me, why was it so arduous? And why did anorexia feel so right? Why was disordered eating, which I was trying so hard to let go of, the only thing that seemed to bring my life into focus?

Obviously, things changed. With time, I was able to recognize that the disorder had protected me and given me a sense of purpose, but only at the expense of my freedom. It was great company, but it was also greedy. When I was sick, I used to take pride in how ably I could juggle seemingly impossible levels of self-deprivation with academic performance, professionalism, and some semblance of a social life. But the truth is that anorexia never gave me the space or or freedom to give myself fully to anything else. It’s telling that, when I look back on the years in which I was at my worst, the only things I remember in detail are how much I weighed and what my food rituals were at the time.

I’ve asked myself why I ultimately stuck with it, since I had relapsed twice already. I think I sensed that a more meaningful and mature relationship with food was possible, if only I could tolerate the growing pains of getting there. And I knew that there were things I wanted from life—freedom, boldness, connection, growth—that I would never have if I stayed trapped within the disorder.

These convictions gave me faith. They gave me something to hold onto as I let go of the rest.

Of all the things I’ve learned from recovery, this is the lesson, or the paradigm, that I most often “export” to other areas of my life. Last year, as I struggled to let go of my relationship and the life I’d envisioned around it, I reminded myself that it’s not always necessary to have a roadmap for healing. All that’s necessary is a sense of faith and trust that something different is possible.

If you’re grappling with some part of the recovery process right now, I hope that this post gives you a little faith, or that you’ll accept my offering of faith in you and your healing. I spend a lot of time writing about how hard recovery is, because it is, and I think it’s actually reassuring to have an open dialog about that. But I also believe that recovery is possible for everyone, no matter how personally we define and experience it.

Even if eating disorder recovery is a foreign concept, I hope that the idea of faith and gentle persistence might resonate in some way. I’m allowing it to lift me up as I enter the weekend, and I’m so grateful to you for reading this week. It’ll be back to business as usual on Sunday!


This week, I’m working with GoFundMe to raise money for the National Eating Disorder Association and the work it does for people with eating disorders and their families. Your contribution will help to keep NEDA’s helpline, referral system, and legislative advocacy going, and I’d be so grateful for any show of support that feels right to you. You can learn more and donate here

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NEDA Week 2018: Be Love

“Be love” is one of those expressions that you might have come across in any number of places, from yoga studios to self-help and wellness titles. It’s one of most important of my five ED recovery affirmations, but I feel a little funny writing about it, because I don’t have much to say that relates directly to food.

When I was in anorexia recovery, I was often encouraged to “love myself” or “love my body.” I have complicated feelings about these invocations; I appreciate their spirit, but I’ve truthfully never been able to love my body in the way that media or culture seems to want me to, which is a topic I’ve written about in the past.

I’ve stopped labeling this as “body dysmorphia,” which makes it sound more fraught and contentious than it I experience it as being. It’s no longer a wound or a struggle; I simply feel neutral about my body at best, at odds with my shape on difficult days. I’m not alone in this, and I know that the dynamic will grow and change with time. It already has.

When it comes to me and my body, I’ve settled on a vow of unconditional respect. I don’t have to love what I see in the mirror, and I don’t have to feel great in my skin, at least not always. I do need to treat my body kindly no matter what; I need to nourish it, listen to it, and extend it my unwavering compassion and appreciation.

So, the mantra of self-love feels like an imperfect fit for me, which isn’t to say that I don’t have my own iterations of it: self-appreciation, self-respect, self-care, and so on. The invitation to be love, though—to embody lovingkindness as best I can, applying it inwards and outwards—that is a fundamental part of my recovery process.

Anorexia spoke to the part of me that is wounded, defensive, and locked. It appealed to my most frightened and delicate self, who gets hurt and then generalizes the experience, vowing not to be vulnerable in the same way again. It joined forces with anger that wished to fester rather than to find expression and release. It invited me to be alone with myself, where I knew I’d be safe; it told me that love and connection mattered less than being inviolable.

Recovery issues a different set of invitations altogether. It asks me to be loving and open and curious, to trust that no wound is more powerful than the resilience I’ll gain in healing. It asks me to stop applying sharp judgments, inflexible thinking, and good/bad binaries to myself and the world around me. It challenges me to give and to receive, to find out what’ll happen if I step out of the safe confines of solitude and risk sharing my voice, body, and spirit with others.

Sometimes it feels delicious to settle into these intentions, and sometimes it’s terrifying. I’ve gone through periods of unguarded, unbounded loving and periods of extreme self-isolation; I recognize that there’s a time and a place for both inwardly and outwardly focused attention. Because solitude comes so naturally to me, sharing myself is usually the more important challenge. It’s connected to my second recovery affirmation—to take up space—because giving love always feels bold and brave and expansive.

I’ve heard it said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but rather fear. Fear was the heart and soul of my anorexia, which means that feeling and extending love is a healing act for me as well as a pathway to connectedness. I think it’s probably true that we can’t truly love others until we love ourselves, but for me, it’s all bidirectional. Sharing my love with others teaches me how to extend it to myself; giving love teaches me how to receive it.

Extending boundless love to everyone who’s been reading, commenting, sharing, and connecting this week. I’ll be circling back with my final affirmation tomorrow.


This week, I’m working with GoFundMe to raise money for the National Eating Disorder Association and the work it does for people with eating disorders and their families. Your contribution will help to keep NEDA’s helpline, referral system, and legislative advocacy going, and I’d be so grateful for any show of support that feels right to you. You can learn more and donate here




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NEDA Week 2018: Break Your Rules

NEDA Week 2018: Break Your Rules | The Full Helping

Not too long ago I chatted with a client who told me, “I’m realizing more and more that I need to break my rules, because I made them all up.”

She delivered the words straightforwardly, and I didn’t have the feeling that she expected a big reaction from me. Still, I nearly fell out of my chair. Her sentiment—”I need to break my rules, because I made them all up”—might seem self-evident, but it’s a realization that has taken me the better part of twenty-five years. I was amazed at how neatly she articulated it and how little time it’s taken her, relatively speaking, to see it.

As I reflected on the conversation, I asked myself why it took me so long to see through my own rules, and then I realized that it was the wrong question. At the height of my anorexia, I did see through my rules. I knew that they had no inherent meaning. The real question is why was I so attached to them, if I knew that they were arbitrary and self-imposed?

The best answer I have is that I like rules. Rules make me feel safe. They give me sensations of meaning and order and calm, which I don’t have an easy time accessing on my own. They speak to the old and nagging belief that there’s something within me that can’t or shouldn’t be unleashed, an appetite so monstrous that it’ll consume me if I let it go.

I’ve bid farewell to my food rules, but the tendency toward self-limitation is still there. It shows up in the form of self-imposed deadlines and commitments, in small and subtle acts of me bossing myself around. It’s still a buffer between me and my fears, which is still a problem. The longer I tiptoe around my fears, the less certain I am that I can survive them.

Self-imposed rules and their safekeeping create a sense of fragility that doesn’t need to be there. I’m not so delicate that I can’t handle being triggered or uncomfortable. There’s nothing within me that needs to be shackled up. I learned this lesson as it applies to food when I was in recovery, and I’m still learning that it applies to the rest of my life, too.

When I encourage people to toss out their food rules, I’m not talking about mindful, self-aware intentions that make eating more nourishing and health-supportive. By “rules,” I mean arbitrary, limiting formulations that keep us from taking pleasure in food. I mean unnecessary and exhausting rituals, prohibitions so old that we don’t even remember why we came up with them, and constraints that make us feel safe, but also trick us into thinking that we can’t handle freedom.

Yesterday, I talked about my second recovery affirmation, which is “take up space.” Today’s affirmation, “break your rules,” is different but intertwined, because it’s impossible to be expansive and seek growth when you’re busy holding yourself captive.

The more permission you give yourself to eat what you want, the sooner you’ll recognize that there’s nothing wrong with your hungers. They’re OK. They’re more than OK; they’re beautiful, wise and nourishing. They won’t feel that way if you’re constantly trying to cage them up.

People often ask me how I let go of my food rules, and I don’t have a simple answer. I just got tired of a lot of them; at some point, letting go became easier than holding on. Studying nutrition has helped, because it’s shown me that bodies are magnificently resilient and that our diets can be beautifully capacious, which are things I didn’t use to understand.

The most important step, though, has been that of befriending my body. Inhabiting my physicality through yoga, breath, cooking, eating, and sexuality has opened my eyes to how lovely my appetites are, how undeserving of senseless overregulation.

I could say more about this, but instead I’d like to share Mary Oliver’s “Wild Geese,” which is a poem that many of you probably know already. It was a guidepost for me when recovery was at its toughest, and I’ve cherished it ever since:

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

—Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

I’ll be back tomorrow with affirmation #4.


This week, I’m working with GoFundMe to raise money for the National Eating Disorder Association and the work it does for people with eating disorders and their families. Your contribution will help to keep NEDA’s helpline, referral system, and legislative advocacy going, and I’d be so grateful for any show of support that feels right to you. You can learn more and donate here

The post NEDA Week 2018: Break Your Rules appeared first on The Full Helping.

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NEDA Week 2018: Take Up Space

Thank you for all of the NEDA week support so far! I’ve been chatting about my ED recovery affirmations this week, which are as follows:

  1. Keep it real
  2. Take up space
  3. Break your rules
  4. Be love
  5. Keep faith

Yesterday I wrote about what “keeping it real” means to me in the context of recovery. Today, I’m moving onto #2: take up space.

For a long time I took this affirmation literally, because weight gain was a part of my recovery process, and it was hard. As time went by, recovery became less physical, but the idea of taking up space continues to guide and challenge me.

Like many women, I was given the message very early on that I was too much: too big, too loud, too messy, too hungry, too unusual. I think a part of me always sensed that there was something wrong with this framing of my identity, but young people can’t help but be influenced by the narratives that are handed to them, and this one stayed with me. I can’t remember a time in my life, childhood included, when I didn’t think of myself as being ungainly and monstrous, or didn’t worry that my uninhibited self would alienate the people around me.

I haven’t come close to undoing this idea; it’s so old that it populates nearly all of my unconscious fears. But I’m aware of it now, and if recovery has taught me anything, it’s that this way of thinking is ruinous.

Recovery is all about learning how to take up space again, to stop hiding, to inhabit your body and the world around you. If you’ve come to believe that you are lovable only if you make yourself as inconspicuous as possible, this is really hard work.

For me, it began physically, with weight gain and filling out clothes. I learned to stop draping my body in baggy layers and tucking myself away behind folded arms and hunched shoulders. I struggled with these changes, but the real work lay ahead of me, which was learning how to take up space in other, intangible dimensions.

Recovery has given me the courage to use my voice, to take pride in my appetite, and to own the fact that I want things: food, experience, pleasure, and love. It’s pushed me to stop trying to sanitize and tone myself down. It challenges me to let go of the notion that people will like me more if I give them less of myself.

This isn’t a leg of the recovery journey on which I’m very far along; actually, I think I might still be navigating my way around the gateway. There’s still a part of me that fears my own wholeness, regards it as being fundamentally unmanageable or undigestible. I recognize the fear for what it is—untrue, limiting, outdated—but it hangs around anyway.

When I was sitting down to write this post, I thought of a quote from Geneen Roth’s Women, Food, and God: “You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself.”

I don’t really know how to shake off my own sense of being problematic. I have a feeling the best thing I can do is to be aware of it and invite myself to see its falseness while also accepting the fact that the belief is still there.

In the meantime, I try to embody sensations of fullness and wholeness and fully-realized selfhood, trusting that the more I longer I do it, the easier it will be. Anorexia recovery is a good teacher here, because the process asked me to embody a certain kind of self-acceptance long before it felt completely real to me.

I hope that some of this will resonate with some of you today. Perhaps NEDA Week will encourage you to share yourself more freely than ever with the world around you, to give yourself permission to be full and whole and real, rather than shadowy and obscured. Everyone, including you, will be enriched by having access to your most boundless self. ❤

More tomorrow. Happy Tuesday.


This week, I’m working with GoFundMe to raise money for the National Eating Disorder Association and the work it does for people with eating disorders and their families. Your contribution will help to keep NEDA’s helpline, referral system, and legislative advocacy going, and I’d be so grateful for any show of support that feels right to you. You can learn more and donate here


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My Five Recovery Affirmations + NEDA Week Campaign

Happy Monday, everyone, and happy first day of NEDA week. For the last couple of years I’ve used NEDA week as an opportunity to celebrate the recovery process. This year gives me special reason to do it: I spent much of 2017 navigating loss, and as I did, I called upon the patience and sense of resilience that anorexia recovery has taught me.

The theme of NEDA week this year is “Let’s Get Real,” and the goal is to expand our collective dialog about eating disorders and how they show up in real life. This means challenging preconceived ideas about how eating disorders might look or whom they impact, breaking through stigma, and being more radically honest than ever about the complexities of recovery. You can read more here.

I love this theme. I love any effort to create a more open, accommodating, reality-based dialog about disordered eating. Because the topic this year resonates so strongly, and because I’m celebrating the lessons of recovery in such a personal way right now, I’ve made the choice to gather a little support for NEDA—the National Eating Disorders Association—this week. More about that in a bit. First, I want to honor the start of this week by sharing some of the affirmations that have guided me through recovery.

What becomes clear to me as I move deeper into recovery is that the struggle with food can recede, but the old demons might continue to show up in other, sneaky ways. In my life, they tend to emerge as arbitrary rules and deadlines, unnecessarily strict boundaries, binary thinking, and other means of resisting and avoiding uncertainty. They urge me to remain guarded when I could be generous, to withhold my creativity when I could express myself, to dwell where it’s safe instead of allowing myself to take risks.

This is one of the realities of recovery that I didn’t expect. Redefining my relationship with food set me free, but I’ve learned that I need to protect that freedom by remaining mindful of the many and varied ways in which I tend to keep myself contained.

I’ve written a lot about affirmations this year and the ways in which they’ve helped me to cope with depression and anxiety. I haven’t said much about my recovery affirmations, but they’re worth sharing, especially today:

  1. Keep it real
  2. Take up space
  3. Break your rules
  4. Be love
  5. Keep faith

I’ll elaborate on each one as the week continues. “Keep it real” aligns with NEDA’s “Let’s Get Real” theme, and it seems like the right place to start.

Keeping it real, for me, means doing the opposite of what I did when I was sick, which was lie to myself and to everyone around me, all the time. I lied about my motivations for the food choices I made. I lied and said I was OK. I lied to myself in thinking that I was better than everyone, that I had a special claim to self-control. I lied and said I’d eaten when I hadn’t; I lied and said I wasn’t hungry, then ate in secret. I lied about my rituals, my habits, my compulsions.

It’s easy to look back on all of the dishonesty and denial and feel ashamed, and sometimes I still do. But shame doesn’t get me anywhere. What moves me forward is to hold myself to a different standard now—one of radical honesty. I examine my motivations with food carefully, I check in when I feel distanced from my appetite, and I don’t eat furtively or deny when I’m hungry. I openly talk about the food anxieties that have stuck around (and I’ve still got plenty: anxiety when mealtimes get delayed, anxiety about sharing my food, anxiety about travel and limited food options—I could go on.)

I don’t succeed all the time, which is OK. I still strive to stay real with myself and the people who love me. That intention is what matters most.

“Keeping it real” also means not glossing over how confusing and complicated recovery can be. Recovery is so good, and sometimes it’s so baffling. I said a moment ago that I didn’t anticipate the ways in which ED compulsions would show up outside of the actual disease. Here are some of the other recovery realities that have taken me by surprise:

● Physical recovery is often the first step. Maybe it feels like a blessed restoration; for me, it felt like disfigurement. It was a battle that waged for a long time, and watching my body change was a continual affront to my sense of identity. I’m not sure it was the hardest part of recovery, but it’s the part of the process that most often made me want to quit.

If this is where you are, try not to quit. It doesn’t last forever. At some point, maybe when you least expect it, you’ll start to feel at home in your body again.

● As you move through the journey, people who care about you might express how grateful and glad they are that you’re healing. Maybe you’ll see these comments as the expression of love that they are.

If you’re like me, you’ll greet them with rage and shame; you’ll be angry to be given reminders that the disorder no longer distinguishes you. Peoples’ support may even sometimes make you want to dig in your heels and stay sick, as if healing is a concession to something or someone you’d rather not please.

This is a lonely experience. Part of you wants to bask in peoples’ support, while another part of you wants to reject it and stay where you are, or where you used to be. Don’t force things. If you continue to do the work of loving yourself, it will become easier and easier to accept love and well wishes from other people.

There will be days when it seems as if food will always be a big, bad deal. You fear that you’ll never figure it out, and you wonder why the business of eating seems to be so much harder for you than it is for other people. Instead of feeling struggle or pain, you’ll just feel tired—tired of the process and tired of yourself. At these moments all of the recovery talk about self-love and self-acceptance will ring particularly empty.

Then some time will pass—maybe a day, maybe two, maybe a whole week—when food isn’t such a big deal. Maybe you’re still a little preoccupied with it, but suddenly there’s something else you’d rather be thinking about. It’s hard to put into words how sweet these days will feel. Cherish them. Celebrate them. They’re a big deal.

● At some point you might go weeks or months or even years feeling that sweet sense of freedom. And then there might come a day when something or someone triggers you and you find yourself restricting, bingeing, purging, chewing and spitting, or eating in secret. Or maybe you think seriously about one or all of these behaviors.

This is a good moment for an accountability check: a phone call to a friend, some real talk in therapy, using an app that supports mental health, journaling. But please, don’t let these moments talk you into thinking that you’ve failed at recovery.

Being recovered doesn’t mean that you never again struggle with an ED impulse or do something strange around food. It means living by the intention to nourish yourself and treat your body with respect. That intention sometimes lives alongside old tendencies and impulses. It can be confusing, and it’s reason to be vigilant, but it’s OK. It really is. Just be sure you have a toolkit for dealing with these moments and supporting yourself through them.

● You might sometimes run across someone who seems to be wearing the signs of an ED or disordered behavior, and in spite of yourself, you kind of envy him or her. You don’t want to admit that you feel this way, but you do. You envy the semblance of control, or you envy something about having a single, all-encompassing preoccupation, a pursuit that seems to give life purpose and shape.

Forgive yourself. It’s OK to miss the memory of the illness and who you were within it. If you’re like me, pondering this very issue might make you realize that there were many years of your life in which your ED was your closest friend, the best company you had, and isn’t it normal to miss the presence of someone we’ve lost?

I miss “her”—a word I sometimes use in therapy to denote my ED itself, sometimes to denote my anorexic self—sometimes. I missed her a lot last year, when I was feeling blinded by anger and heartache and didn’t have a coping mechanism that felt even remotely satisfying to deal with it. Therapy gave me a safe space in which to admit that I was longing for my ED the way I’d miss a now-absent friend or lover, and to acknowledge that the ache was OK. It’s a part of my growth.

If you find yourself feeling this way, you might spend some time thinking about what you’ve gained in recovery. Maybe you’re more social. Maybe you get out and explore the world more than you used to. Maybe you’re more open, less secretive; maybe you’re braver. Perhaps you’ve found a sense of spontaneity and adventure you never thought you had, or you’re quicker to laugh. Perhaps you’ve relaxed some of your critical thinking, let some judgment go.

All of the above is true of my recovered self. She’s got a lot of imperfections; as I said yesterday, she’s messy in ways that my anorexic self wasn’t. She makes judgment calls she regrets, plans she’s not able to follow-through on, decisions she sometimes wishes she could take back. But she’s loving and engaged and interested and curious, and if I had to choose, I’d much rather spend time in her company than in the company of the frightened and painfully self-contained person I used to be.

The whole point of the “let’s get real” theme is to acknowledge that there is no defining ED narrative. The experience is bound to be different for each person who’s been through it. Maybe none of the above realities resonate with you, but if you’ve been through recovery, you no doubt have your own realities to consider. Perhaps NEDA week can be an invitation for you to reflect upon them and what they’ve taught you.

Back to the gathering of support I mentioned at the top of this post. It feels like the right year for me to show my appreciation of organizations and people who are working to raise awareness about eating disorders and the toll they take. So, I’m gathering contributions for NEDA, which is the organization that makes NEDA week a reality. NEDA supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, serving as a catalyst for prevention, screening, and facilitating access to quality care.

If you’d like to join me in showing a little support for NEDA and the work it does, I welcome you to check out my GoFundMe page—I even made a little video to help explain the campaign and why it matters to me (speaking of stepping outside of my comfort zone!). If the message resonates , perhaps you’ll consider a contribution. Anything you give will help to keep NEDA’s hotlines, referral system, public resources, and legislative advocacy going.

And of course, if this type of support doesn’t work for you, there are so many other ways to give back this week. Maybe you can let a person who’s struggling with an ED—or other mental health challenges—know that you care. It might feel like the right time to volunteer with a local organization that does mental health or food-related work. Perhaps you find a way—gently and intuitively—to speak up about your experience. The more we share our stories, the more able we are to create a vibrant, dynamic, stigma-free conversation about recovery and all of its gloriously messy realities.

Perhaps at some point this week you’ll do something especially kind for yourself. That’s a great way to honor the spirit of NEDA week, too.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another one of my affirmations on offer. For today, sending out love and strength—along with my tremendous gratitude—to you.




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