Tag: healed

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.







How to Deal with People who Comment on Your Health When You’re Plus-Sized

How to Deal with People who Comment on Your Health When You’re Plus-Sized

How to Deal with People who Comment on Your Health When You’re Plus-Sized

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, Whole Nutrition Services



If you follow my Twitter (@lauracipullo), you may have caught my tweet about Tess Holliday, a plus-sized model, who was in a recent issue of SELF. It wasn’t so long ago that plus-sized women were nowhere to be found in SELF or any such magazine, and for one to be on the cover (even a digital cover) is still rare. If you’re not into fashion, this may all seem superficial, but it bears noting these images really do make a difference. A Florida State University study discovered that it helped women in their twenties who were concerned about their weight to see pictures of larger women; it made a positive impact on their mental health. When young women don’t get to see a variety of body types in the media, they may think something’s wrong with their body. Representation not only normalizes all kinds of bodies, it can also reassure.

In the interview, both the author and Holliday shared their experiences with concern trolls. Concern trolls are people who ask after your health when you are of a certain size. Writer Ashley C. Ford said she shared pictures of her and her fiancé on social media and someone questioned whether they were healthy. Holliday said when she was pregnant people said terrible things about her and her baby. Trolling happens because “there’s a freedom of speech without a fear of consequences,” as psychiatrist Alan Manevitz, M.D., explained in a Health Magazine article about the subject. People who are not familiar with the Health at Every Size movement may make an uninformed connection between what you weigh and your health, even if they know nothing about your health. And you may feel the need to tell them that in fact you’re healthy, you’ve been to the doctor, you’ve had all the right tests, etc. etc. But guess what? You don’t have to! Your health is nobody’s business but your doctor’s, your family’s, and your own. (And if your doctor is making negative comments about your body, that’s another form of abuse you don’t have to take. Ask friends if they know of body-positive doctors you can see, or do some online research.) Tess encourages plus-sized women not to engage with folks who ask or comment about health: “By telling people that you see a doctor, and telling people that you’re healthy, it’s perpetuating the abuse against bigger bodies and the mindset that we owe it to people to be healthy,” she told SELF.

So how do you handle it when someone questions your health on a post or a “well-meaning” relative says something about your size? Body-positive influencer Katie Knowles tells Mic she doesn’t play into their hands. She’ll block, report if needed, ignore, and keep it “classy, which they clearly aren’t being.” (Blocking is something I also recommend in my guide to creating a body-positive social feed.) Shay Neary, another body-positive influencer, says in that Mic article, “Sometimes I even choose to go educational, but that route only works for the ones willing to listen.” That is definitely something you can do, whether the harassment is happening on or offline. Turn a negative moment around into a teaching one. The Health at Every Size community has so many great resources you can point someone to. You can also let them know that being “overweight” has actually been proven to be affiliated with less mortality from all causes on the whole. Yo-yo dieting is also unhealthy, and wanting to get thin by any means necessary is the perfect set-up for an eating disorder, which can have a traumatic effect on your health and even be fatal.

I hope you will never have to deal with someone who feels the need to “share their two cents’ worth” about your size, but chances are, you will. It’s an unfortunate consequence of the world we live in. Even though there are beacons of body positivity like Holliday, we still live in a less than fully body-positive world. Educate if you feel like it’s worth it and you have the emotional energy, but more importantly, take care of yourself – and this means go offline if you need to. But I also hope you’ll come back when you’re ready. We need your voice – and all body-positive voices — now more than ever.

Think Pink With Me This June!

Think Pink With Me This June!

Think Pink With Me This June!

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD, CDN, Whole Nutrition Services

What are you doing June 7? How does a life-changing night devoted to health and wellness sound, with some of the top names in the field (including yours truly)? I am so excited and honored to be a part of the The Pink Agenda — TPA Talks, a one-night-only event about surviving breast cancer and science’s tremendous fight against it.

The Pink Agenda has been around since 2007 when a 23-year-old named Marisa Renee Lee was looking for some positivity in her own mother’s breast cancer fight. Lee, Liana M. Douillet Guzmán, and Jaquelyn M. Scharnick soon got together to start the nonprofit. To date, it has given two million dollars towards breast cancer research and care as well as educating so many.

The event will be happening at 7pm at the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture (Loreto Theater) in the East Village at 18 Bleecker Street. If you’re in NYC or not too far, I encourage you to come. Tickets are only $35 and that includes talks from me; researcher TAL DANINO, PHD; oncology specialist NEIL IYENGAR, MD; assistant director of scientific programs at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation MANEESH KUMAR, MD, PHD, actress and breast cancer survivor KRYSTA RODRIGUEZ (Smash); journalist and activist GERALYN LUCAS and “previvor” PAIGE MORE.

Each speaker brings a unique perspective to the table in the way they’ve used their talents to wage the battle against breast cancer. I am bringing my body-positive and all foods fit theme to the evening – emphasizing self-care as always. There is a dichotomous food message for preventing cancer and or any illness. I will help to balance the message by letting those with breast cancer know that you can still eat kale and cupcakes, and that you can still love your body no matter what. In fact, loving your body should be considered a part of your total prevention and healing regimen. Taking care of you –  in mind, body and spirit are all equal parts of wellness. In fact, stressing over prevention of cancer by avoiding foods could possibly be just as inflammatory as eating them in excess.  As always, the focus is on finding what is right for you and creating balance.

Whether you are a previvor, survivor, have a friend or family member with illness, or just want to learn more about it, I encourage you to come this Thursday, June 7th. TCA also has many other events in the New York area from now through the fall, including a summer night of baseball, so definitely check them out!









Improve Your Lifestyle

Improve Your Lifestyle

How the L’ifestyle Lounge Can Improve Your Lifestyle


by Laura Cipullo and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

You may have seen my recent post on the L’ifestyle Lounge, a self-care center I will soon be opening, featuring yoga, mindfulness learning, and nutrition counseling. As I mentioned, it’s a place for all ages and bodies, where one can take drop-in classes or go deeper, extending learning for an entire semester, and I’ve even made it super easy with an app for quick scheduling (more info on that to come). Now, I want to focus a little more on why the L’ifestyle Lounge is so different from other yoga/exercise/mindfulness centers, and why self-care — something at the heart of the Lounge — matters.

One thing that sets the L’ifestyle Lounge apart is my philosophy of “all bodies fit.” Do you know that feeling when you enter a yoga class and are uncomfortable because there isn’t a range of body types represented? You might not feel good about yourself and you might not feel encouraged to come back. You might vow to return when you’ve lost weight, when you are “perfect” enough to join.

We’re not about that at The L’ifestyle Lounge. The L’ifestyle Lounge is for everybody. Walking into a class and seeing others who look like you — and who don’t — is eye-opening and will show you that we are all beautiful in whatever size we come in. Furthermore, you won’t feel pressured to try a certain diet or eat a certain way. With my philosophy of “all foods fit,” you will be encouraged, rather, to have a healthy relationship with food, a major component of self-care. Self-care, at least in my opinion, isn’t about starving yourself just so you can fit the definition of what society calls “healthy.” Self-care is sometimes eating food that gives your body the nutrients it needs (hello, kale!), or eating food your body craves (hello, cupcakes!). You trust your body to tell you what is right at the moment.

Self-care, as the Mayo Clinic points out, reduces stress. It can be reading a favorite book, watching a fun movie, or taking a relaxing hot bath. Simply put, self-care is about putting yourself first so you can feel better, physically and emotionally. Self-care is one of the most important gifts we can give ourselves, and yet, we often let it fall by the wayside. When we are most stressed, we say we don’t have the time for self-care, but that’s when we need it the most. Self-care may feel like a luxury, or something that won’t make a difference, or a trendy buzzword that doesn’t apply to you, but none of those are true. Self-care is vital and for everyone.

Mindfulness is part of self-care. We focus deeply on mindfulness at the L’ifestyle Lounge. Here, you are truly immersed in it, in a unique way, with a focus on the five senses, guided imagery, compassion, and kindness. Mindfulness is not just an extra service we offer — it is a major part of what we’re all about –and includes meditation. Mindfulness is part of our yoga practice but it is also just setting the time aside to practice breathing. The lounge will offer parents the opportunity to take mindfulness classes while their children take yoga class. There are two studios – one dedicated to yoga and the other other dedicated to mindfulness meditation. You can reserve a cushion!

Another thing that sets us apart is our focus on all ages. Yoga is typically seen as a young woman’s activity, but we don’t believe that, which is why we have options for children as young as 2, boys and seniors. Self-care can help everyone, so why should anyone be denied?

My L’ifestyle Lounge opens its doors January 1, 2017. It’s an appropriate day because New Year’s is when we make resolutions to change our lives. I hope you will join me on this journey to feeling better — and more self-confident — in the new year.

When Your Diet Becomes a Disorder

When Your Diet Becomes a Disorder

When Your Diet Becomes a Disorder


Image via Flickr/JoshWillis

by Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, CEDRD and Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

The line between eating healthy and disordered eating can be a thin one. These days, there are all kinds of diets you can follow that advocate depriving yourself of certain foods, but a balanced diet is healthiest, unless you have an allergy to a certain food and have been told by a doctor, nutritionist or dietician not to eat it.

Often people start restrictive diets to gain a sense of control, but you are out of control when your eating is disordered. As I wrote in The Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, “You’re afraid to eat anything for fear of weight gain. Chicken and broccoli are your safe foods!” Eating may be disordered when you find yourself avoiding certain activities because you can’t eat the food there — for instance, you avoid a party because of the “fattening” food, or you avoid pleasant activities to partake in “healthy” ones. When faced with a choice between an enjoyable day out with a friend and the gym, for instance, you choose the gym. Thoughts about calories and nutrition labels take over your thoughts. You are obsessed with food and how you look. Extreme dieting can also lead to bingeing, then starving again to “punish” yourself for the bingeing.

There are other more subtle signs that your eating either is or has the potential to become disordered. Eating the same foods every day, only eating foods when they come with a calorie count, exercising to burn off all or most of the food you eat, starving during the day to “pig out” at night and weighing yourself many times a day, with your mood fluctuating according to the number on the scale.

The solution to disordered eating? It’s complicated, and I urge you to read my book to learn more, but if you just begin by incorporating mindfulness into your eating then you’ll portion food just fine and be more fulfilled by what you eat. Be aware of the tastes and smells of what you’re eating, and use the other senses to enjoy food as well. Also take note of how full or hungry you feel as you’re eating, and try eating where there isn’t a screen (TV, iPad, etc). This can help prevent mindless eating and reconnect you with the joy of eating.

“You can empower change with the right help,” I wrote in the Women’s Health Body Clock Diet, and it’s something I really believe with all my heart. Seek a professional’s help, like a registered dietician and a therapist who specializes in eating disorders (you will see the initials CEDRD–certified eating disorder registered dietician– and CEDS –certified eating disorder specialist–after his or her name). Read my book to understand the concepts of habitual nourishment and the Five Pillars of Positive Nutrition. And be sure to check out these organizations for additional support — The International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals Foundation, The National Eating Disorders Association and the Binge Eating Disorder Association. Recognize the signs of disordered eating and get ready to move on with a happy, healthy, beautiful life! You deserve it.

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