ripping the band-aid off
welcome to weightless, a newsletter about eating disorder recovery
Welcome to the very first edition of my newsletter, weightless.
Full disclosure, I have been staring at the above sentence for at least 45 minutes. I am so unsure of what to write next. I thought about starting this newsletter for months, jotting down essay ideas into the notes app of my phone and building a list of people I’d like to interview. I felt like I had so much to say about my eating disorder, my recovery and how all of it has impacted my life. But now that I am here, actually writing it? Nothing.
It turns out that writing your unedited thoughts on the internet for anyone to see (and try to not sound like an idiot or an asshole) is very hard.
So I find myself questioning: have I made a massive mistake? Did I just set myself up for failure? Am I embarrassing myself? What if no one actually cares what I have to say?
I asked my therapist that last question the other day, and her response is helping me power through this awkward ramble of a first newsletter. She said something along the lines of, “what if you didn’t carry the burden of needing others to validate your experience and accomplishments?” Basically, why don’t I stop being my own worst critic, just do what I want to do (i.e. write this goddamn newsletter), and let people decide for themselves whether or not they want it in their inbox every 7 days?
Easy in theory. Terrifying in practice.
So here is where I put my very legal and very cool disclaimer: if you find yourself cringing at everything I am saying, or generally at the idea of me writing a newsletter, don’t worry, I have already done enough of that for the both of us.
I first tweeted about my intention to start this newsletter on a Thursday afternoon, moments after being turned down from a full-time reporting job that I desperately wanted. Like I said, the newsletter is something I had been toying with for a while, but I kept thinking I needed more stability in my life before I could be creative and start a side project. It felt wrong to put energy into anything besides looking for a job that would pay the bills.
But for whatever reason that day, I said “f*ck it,” and went for it. I tweeted it out, and honestly, I thought that was going to be the hardest part. You know, first step is the hardest, first cut is the deepest, etc. etc. Now that I’m sitting here typing an actual post, it feels like *this* is the hardest part.
Maybe life is just continuously doing impossibly hard things over and over and over again until we die.
And HERE is where we finally get to the point of all this, and I talk about my eating disorder.
Having a mental illness is hard. Choosing to get care for that mental illness is hard. Making a million little decisions every day to stay on the path of recovery is really hard.
Not to get all Pinterest-quote on you, but ~choose your hard~
I have to choose recovery, even though it feels impossibly difficult most days, because I know what shouldn’t be hard in life. Eating ice cream with my best friend, looking in a mirror, buying clothes, putting cream in my coffee, taking off my Apple Watch, feeling worthy and being comfortable in my own skin are all things that can and should be done without a second thought.
Everyone approaches eating disorder recovery differently. In the 15 months since entering residential treatment for my eating disorder, I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error. And I have found that I have to be very in-my-own-face about it. I have to talk about my struggles and triumphs with people. I have to write about my past and present. I have to read books and listen to podcasts. I have to unfollow social media accounts that make me feel bad about myself, and follow body positive influencers.
Recovery, at least for now, has to be the line leader of my life so that all of my other values and goals can follow.
I want this newsletter to be an outlet for me to practice that. But mostly, I want to learn with you. We’ll talk about eating disorders, disordered eating, the impacts of diet and “wellness” culture, and so much more. I plan to write personal essays (with much clearer themes than this one, I promise), do Q&As with anti-diet professionals and interview other people also in recovery.
My hope is that this newsletter will be informative and fun to read, no matter what your relationship to food, exercise or your body looks like.
Thank you so much for reading and subscribing. If you enjoyed seeing this email in your inbox, I encourage you to share it!
Take good care of yourself this week,
what nourished me last week
(On New Year’s Eve, my friends all selected a word they wanted to live by in 2021. I picked “nourished.” So here is where I will talk about the nourishing things I read, listened to, watched, cooked, etc. )
what nourished my mind: I’m currently reading Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman. I’ve also recently become obsessed with their podcast, Call Your Girlfriend. Last week’s episode featured an interview with cookbook writer Julia Turshen, who just came out with her latest book, Simply Julia: 110 Easy Recipes for Healthy Comfort Food. They talk about how cookbooks are an act of cultural preservation, the first meals they want to cook for friends post-pandemic and Julia’s own complex relationship to food, even as a chef.
what nourished my soul: Having an outdoor BBQ with some college friends during the beautiful weather in DC this week. It felt SO good to be in their company again after countless virtual Zoom hangouts throughout the pandemic.
what nourished my belly: I made these HelloFresh burgers. Yum.
save the date
To celebrate the launch of weightless, I am teaming up with my friend and favorite food blogger Tessa Trach (@allthecheeseplz on Instagram) for a virtual happy hour cooking class on Tuesday, May 18th at 6:30pm ET. Join us for virtual drinks as Tessa guides everyone through making a yummy whipped ricotta appetizer! We are asking for a suggested $5 donation to Martha’s Table to participate. Sign up and donate here.