Tag: edrecovery

Going Camping with Project HEAL!

Going Camping with Project HEAL!

Camping with Project HEAL!

picture via theprojectheal’s twitter

by the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Recovering from an eating disorder can take a village — family, friends, healthcare professionals, and nonprofits, all working together to save a life. One of the nonprofits doing such lifesaving work is Project HEAL, founded in 2008 by two teens — Liana Rosenman and Kristina Saffran – who have recovered from eating disorders. To date, Project HEAL has helped over 100 folks get eating disorder treatment through grants/scholarships. Resources are provided by Project HEAL’s HEALers Circle, which encompass centers such as Renfrew, CIELO House and Walden. Project HEAL’s work is vital because for so many, getting help from eating disorders is prohibitively expensive – $20,000 a month or higher.

The Project HEAL site features testimonials from folks whose lives have been changed by the generous contributions they’ve received. “The grant from Project HEAL provided me with the opportunity to receive treatment for my decade-long eating disorder,” writes Stephanie, “something I couldn’t have afforded on my own. Receiving treatment undoubtedly saved my life, gifting me with hope in a future filled with self-love and a healthy body image I never imagined was possible to achieve.” The nonprofit also offers group support and one-on-one mentorship via the Communities of HEALing program. What is so special about this program is that the mentors have had eating disorders themselves, and therefore, know firsthand what their mentees and support group members are going through. For those who just want to learn more about eating disorder recovery in general, there is a lot of information on their blog, about things like eating disorder myths, self-care, and the beauty industry.

We have personally become involved with Project HEAL by partnering with their website. You can get an Eat Kale and Cupcakes hoodie, shirt, or tank, with the knowledge that you are doing something really amazing to help people in need. The money from the merchandise goes to raise money for scholarships for eating disorder treatment, and free shipping is part of the deal! We are proud to say Project HEAL raised approximately $3800 through our items, all of which go to help the cause.

There are so many other ways to support this fantastic cause too, whether you choose to give your money or time. Volunteer, be an ambassador, social support mentor or intern, start your own chapter, donate (as little as $50 can make a difference), or attend an event. Keep an eye out for Project HEAL events across the country like Body Project Facilitator Training in Massachusetts, the Great Gatsby Gala in Denver (both March 2nd), and Camp HEAL, at the Angeles National Forest in California, September 27-29.  It will be the premier year for this camp, described as “an enrichment retreat that celebrates eating disorder recovery, body positivity, mindfulness and self-care.” It is not meant to provide treatment, but fun and inspiration to folks who need it. Workshops and activities will adhere to a “Healthy at Every Size” outlook, and will include yoga, mindfulness, writing, art,, archery, cooking, hiking, swimming, a talent show and more. Liana and Kristina will both be appearing as special guests, and some financial aid is available.

We hope you will check out this awesome organization and get involved in some way. Folks who need eating disorder help should never be denied just because they can’t afford it, and we are so happy that Project HEAL is doing their part to connect folks with that treatment and their future.







What Celebrities Say About Body Positivity

What Celebrities Say About Body Positivity

What Celebrities Say About Body Positivity

by Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Team;

Photo by Marcel de Groot


Celebrities struggle with body confidence just like you do. They’re human, after all, plus they have the added pressure of being under the constant glare of cameras, which probably doesn’t help. In recent years, though, many have been turning away from the need to present as perfect, and instead are being real with fans about loving yourself in a world that typically only praises “thin” bodies. I’ve compiled a list of some of the most important things celebrities have ever said in the name of body positivity.  We’re so lucky to have folks like these leading the change for a more inclusive and loving world!

“Regardless of what society tells you these days… You don’t have to have a thigh gap to be beautiful. It is possible to love your body the way it is.”  — Demi Lovato

Demi Lovato has been going through a rough time lately, but she’s been through rough times before and come out with flying colors. One of her biggest battles has been against bulimia. The singer has been honest on social media about the fact that she hasn’t always felt 100% confident. She posted this quote on Instagram in 2015, alongside a picture of herself without a thigh gap. It proves that even celebrities have “regular” bodies. It may seem like just another picture on Instagram, but consider this: If all you ever see are pictures of thin models whose thighs never touch, that can have a damaging effect on how you view your own body. Thanks to Demi, women have someone they can look up to who they can see being comfortable – in a body that doesn’t fit the traditional, limiting standards of “beauty.” And that might make it a bit easier for them to love their own.

“This is who I am. I am proud at any size. And I love you and want you to be proud in any form you may take as well.” – Lady Gaga

Well, of course, the singer of Born this Way is going to be a champion of loving yourself no matter what! The current star of A Star is Born posted this quote online in 2012 after she had been attacked for her weight. She told fans that she had had bulimia and anorexia since she was 15 and that weight issues have been a concern for her since she was a child. A year ago, she had been body-shamed, this time following her appearance on the Super Bowl, an experience that should have been only joyful. “No matter who you are or what you do,” she said on Instagram, “I could give you a million reasons why you don’t need to cater to anyone or anything to succeed. Be you, and be relentlessly you. That’s the stuff of champions.” Yes, Lady Gaga!


“I’m not a size. I’m not a number.” – Kesha

Today, Kesha feels positive about her body but it was a rough road to get here. “I almost died,” she told Yahoo, of dealing with bulimia and body dysmorphia. “I came very close, closer than I ever knew. By the time I entered rehab, they were surprised I hadn’t had a stroke, because I wasn’t consuming enough of anything.” She got treatment in time and returned to the music industry in a big way, with a beautiful song called “Praying.” She believes nasty Internet commenters contributed to her eating disorder and today tries to spend less time online as a result. The lesson to learn here. Find a safe space away from people who make you feel bad and recognize when you need to get treatment.


“My limbs work so I’m not going to complain about how my body is shaped.” – Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore – acting icon and all-around beautiful soul – has the right message here. It’s all about perspective and gratitude. We spend so much time criticizing our bodies that we forget to praise them and appreciate all they can do for us. How far can your body run? How high can it jump? How does it feel when you hug someone? When you do a pose in yoga? Your body accomplishes so many wonderful, awe-inspiring acts in a day and in a life that it feels downright ungrateful to look at it in a mirror and be upset because it doesn’t look like society tells you it “should”. Thank you, Drew, for this much-needed perspective.

Photo by Peabody Awards [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

“I wanted to instill in my kids self-acceptance and a sense of self-love. I wanted them to know they’re unique and that that’s what makes them beautiful. I wanted them to be confident, and I knew I had to model that.’ – Dascha Polanco

Dascha Polanco portrays Dayanara Diaz, an inmate who has a good heart but tends to get into a lot of trouble on Orange is the New Black. In real life, she’s a heroine for the body-positive movement. She has posed in skimpy bathing suits, showing that every body is a beach body – it’s just about your attitude. As a child, she says, she felt isolated, envious and sad due to her bigger body, but now she takes joy in it, and she talks to herself in a positive manner so she can feel more confident, and also does meditation for her depression.  No longer ashamed of her thighs, in a recent magazine photo, she hugs them and she’s smiling.


“I want to especially thank @EW for not airbrushing me. For real very cool. Thank you. Proud size 6 yo!” – Amy Schumer

When comedian Amy Schumer landed the cover of Entertainment Weekly in 2015, she was not airbrushed, as so many magazines have traditionally done to celebrity cover models, in an attempt to show the public a false version of who they really are. Amy has never bought into that, and she let the public know that this was her real body, even going so far as to state her size. This is not the first time, nor will it be the last, because Schumer’s just that kind of person – honest about her life in a funny way. She has also spoken about how hard it is to find clothes she feels attractive in, she has revealed her weight and says it has no bearing on her dating life whatsoever, and she spoke out on her anger at being labeled plus-size when she looks like the average woman.

“This is my body. Health and the functionality of my body are more important than what it looks like.” – Tracee Ellis Ross

The daughter of Diana Ross and star of ABC’s Black-ish has emerged a strong body-positive idol as well. She told Health.com that it took her awhile to get comfortable with her body, until her 30s, but she’s finally here. She realized her body was built a certain way and that is was ridiculous to fight that. She has stopped trying to look like someone else and has become more confident in herself, her age and her body. She appreciates how body-positive other women in her gym class are. “You see women in their 40s wearing jog bras and their stomachs out proudly, walking in a stance that says, “I love my body,” and that’s exciting to me.”



Seamless Exposed: The Secret Behaviors Surrounding a Seamless Meal Order

Seamless Exposed: The Secret Behaviors Surrounding a Seamless Meal Order

Seamless Exposed: The Secret Behaviors Surrounding a Seamless Meal Order

Laura Cipullo, RD, CEDRD, NYC, NY and Closter, NJ

The company Seamless originally launched in 1999, as SeamlessWeb is an online system for ordering meal delivery. It seems like such a great idea for convenience. You create an account, store your credit card information, and voila, now you have a seamless experience ordering takeout/delivery food. Why is there shame surrounding use of this service? Why do I recommend some of my clients to cancel their account? The short answer is an anonymous meal delivery system, effortlessly accessed by the tap of your finger at any time of day, is a dangerous accomplice to binge eating. You eat large amounts of food in an uncontrollable manner in the privacy of your home. The only human interaction needed is receiving the meal from the delivery person. It is you and the food until the food is gone leaving you to feel shame and guilt.


Don’t get me wrong, services like Seamless are not to blame, nor are they the cause of a binge eating episode (keep in mind, binge eating is a form of an eating disorder found in the DSMV). Rather, the anonymity and ease of this service allow emotional eaters and binge eaters alike to order a lot of food or multiple meals from multiple restaurants in one very short period of time. The customer may order Chinese food from food establishment A and a cheeseburger with cheese fries from food establishment B. There is no face-to-face accountability, and this removes the inhibitions as well as perceived and or feared judgment. The binge eater becomes the only person to judge his/her food and the act of eating his/her food. This person already feels shame when feeling hungry, when thinking about food and even more when someone sees him/her buying, ordering, and eating food. Seamless and other web-based meal delivery services remove this immediate shame, but in the end it bites you in the rear.


I would guesstimate that once week, a client reports ordering his/her binge foods from an online meal service, which is then followed by eating in an uncontrollable manner. In no way does this act of eating remove the individual’s guilt. While it may be easier for the person to order the food, it is still an act of self-soothing or self-sabotage. My clients feel shame when just reporting this behavior. I never want my client or any individual to feel shame. In an effort to change this behavior and prevent impulsive actions, I typically encourage the client to delete the app and remove his/her credit card from the account. We are simultaneously working on creating and following a meal structure further supported by using mindfulness or coping skills. The goal is create awareness and give the client the opportunity to change his/her harmful behavior. When a client identifies the urge to binge, he/she will have to download the app again and re-enter credit card information, delaying the binge and therefore, helping to create a new neuro-pathway. Option 2 would be to stop the impulsive mindless ordering and instead eat adequately throughout the day, as well as use breath work or mindfulness to identify and address the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in the moment.


While online meal delivery services offer a great convenience, think twice before downloading the app or storing your credit card information in your account. If you have a tendency to eat for emotional reasons and/or suffer from Binge Eating Disorder, consider developing a plan of action with your certified eating disorders registered dietitian!


Work, Move, and Be Mindful of Your Seamless Account.


Creating a Body-Positive Social Media Experience

Creating a Body-Positive Social Media Experience

Creating a Body-Positive Social Media Experience


by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

There are many positive aspects to social media — making new friends, expanding community, learning about subjects you care about, and getting various perspectives on the news. But unfortunately, as most of us are aware by now, there is a darker side. Every day there seems to be another story about online harassment. The most high-profile social media news recently involved Lindy West. On January 3, the body-positive activist quit Twitter, disgusted with the platform’s inability to control its abusive members.

So yes, social media can be harmful, whether you are in recovery for an eating disorder or simply trying to feel better about your body, but that doesn’t mean you have to avoid it. There are ways to make Twitter, Facebook and Instagram more positive. Below, I offer some suggestions.

  • Secure your accounts.

You can make accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram private, meaning you approve who follows you, and no strangers will be able to comment. This easy action will eliminate “trolls” (abusive commenters) and just generally protect your security when you are online. It is also a bright idea if you have children or teens who use social media.

  • Know your hashtags.

If you’re new to social media, you may be confused about what hashtags are. They are ways to organize information. You will see this sign – # – followed by a phrase or a word. To see body-positive accounts, images, comments and news on Instagram and Twitter, look up hashtags like #effyourbodystandards, #bopo, #haes (health at every size), #riotsnotdiets and #bodypositivity.

  • Block when you need to.

If someone is harassing you online, you can block and even report them. If someone is being a persistent enough troll, they can lose their access to Twitter entirely, as happened to Milo Yiannopoulos, the man who waged a harassment campaign against SNL actress Leslie Jones.

  • It’s ok to take a break.

You’ll find most people on social media tweet or post often, but when it comes to social media, there are no rules. A social media break can be good for your mental health. It can certainly help you be more mindful! Simply announce you are taking a break, and when you expect to come back, so your followers are not left in the lurch.

  • You don’t have to overshare.

People tend to overshare online, but you don’t have to. You don’t need to post pictures of yourself, if you aren’t comfortable with that, and you don’t have to talk about the innermost details of your life. Oversharing can invite trolls or unwanted opinions, and may work against you with a future employer. Social media is like a good acquaintance — but not like your very best friend or family member that you tell everything to.

  • Make use of lists.

Twitter has a list function that allows you to group social media accounts based on subject. So you can have a list of body-positive folks, news about fashion, recipes, etc. Doing this makes Twitter less of a mess to wade through, and allows you to control what type of news you get and when you want to get it.

  • Reach out.

One of the best parts of Twitter is being able to talk to others. So if someone is tweeting about a subject important to you, you might want to reach out to them to keep the conversation going. By doing this, you’ll connect with like-minded folks who care about the same issues you do.

  • Remember, you control who you follow.

When you start out on social media, follow the people you know in real life — plus publications and organizations you trust. Avoid those who post selfies of their “perfect” bodies (including celebrities like the Kardashians) or magazines that feature unrealistic diet stories (like advice on how to get that “bikini body in one month”). So many women’s and health magazines promote unrealistic body standards, so you have to be careful about who you let into your feed. Look at the L’ifestyle blog post on five magazines that won’t make you feel bad — all of these publications (except for MORE, which is now out of business) have social media accounts.


Also, many women’s magazines frequently do round-ups of body-positive Instagram accounts to follow. @NicoletteMason is one of the more well-known Instagram bo-po stars and a top fashion writer, while @mynameisjessamyn is great if you need some yoga inspiration.

I follow over 2,000 people on Twitter, and I try to focus on those with body-positive attitudes. My suggestions — straight from that list — include @FoodPsychPod, body-positive author @LesleyKinzel, @DrJennyThomas of Harvard, and Endangered Bodies NYC @EndgrdBodiesNYC. Click on “following” on my Twitter profile, for more of who I follow. I am at @LauraCipullo on Twitter and Instagram, and Lisa Mikus, RD, my colleague, is at @LisaMikusRD on both platforms, and we are all on Instagram at @EatKaleandCupcakes and most recently, @LifestyleLoungeNJ.

Hopefully, these tips will help you create a more body-positive feed. I would love to hear from you — on social media, of course — if you’ve found the article helpful. And feel free to let me know of other suggestions you have that I haven’t covered here.

Here’s to a more body-positive 2017!

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season

Throwback Thursday: Entertain the Concept of Health this Holiday Season


                                   Picture courtesy Kimberly V. at freeimages.com                                        by Laura Cipullo and the Whole Nutrition Services Team

The holidays are almost here! I thought now would be the perfect time to revisit an older blog post about how to celebrate without thinking about your weight and instead just enjoying the present — all the happiness, family and great food that comes with the holiday season. Read on for my tips on how to celebrate health and holidays during the month of December and beyond.

Tis the season of food, food and food. So how do we manage our health while entertaining and celebrating?  Instead of fearing weight gain or trying for weight loss during the holidays, let yourself maintain your current weight. Slow and steady wins the race. However, this is not a race, rather an almost two-month period of eating and drinking.  This year, vow to make the holiday season healthy with family and friends as the focus, and these tips to plan a mindful season balanced between food and fitness.

5 Tips to Celebrate Health and Holidays

  1. Focus on Family and Friends – Growing up in an Italian family, I remember the holidays were about food and family. Instead of making food for 25 people, we made enough for 50 people. Instead of sitting around the fire, we sat around the table. If this was your family, start a new tradition this year. Celebrate your health and the holiday season by focusing on family and friends, not food. Have family and friends come over to socialize rather than eat. You can serve food, but don’t center the evening on/around the food and the act of eating all of it.
  2. Plan Fitness – With limited time, shopping exhaustion and colder weather, our fitness routines get displaced. Since moving increases your energy, your mood and your metabolism, this is the last thing you want to give up over the holiday season. Instead, make dates with friends to go to yoga together rather than getting drinks. Schedule spin class or any classes that you have to pay for if you miss. This is a great incentive to make sure you attend class.
  3. Make a Date – Use your daily planner or PDA to schedule all activities, whether it is food shopping, meal prep, exercise or therapy. If it gets scheduled, just like any important meeting, you will set the precedent to ensure this activity gets done.
  4. Slow down and Savor – Being a foodie, I know how hard it is not to celebrate with food. However, you can change your mindset and that of your guests too by hosting smaller, more intimate holiday parties. Create small, intense, flavorful meals. Start the meal off with a prayer, a toast or even a moment of silence to allow you and your guests to refocus, create inner calm, and engage in mindful eating.
  5. Use Your Five Senses – Rather than race through your holiday meal and overeat, be sure to use all five senses while eating. Smell your food and think about memories the aroma may conjure up. Touch your food is your bread hot and crusty or naturally rough with seeds and nuts? Think about the texture and how it makes you feel. Really look at the plate. Is the food presented beautifully? Are there multiple colors on your plate there should be. Listen to the food. Yes, listen to see if the turkey’s skin is crispy or the biscotti crunchy. And finally taste your meal!! Many people eat an entire meal and can never tell you what it really tasted like. They were too busy talking, or shoveling the food in so they could either leave the dinner table or get seconds. This holiday season, be healthy mentally and physically by truly tasting your food and appreciating each bite. A small amount of food tasted will fulfill you more than a few plates of food you never tasted would.
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