December 19, 2013


I'm taking one this year. A holiday. Time off. "Out of Office."

If you don't hear from me, it's not you, it's me. I could use a break.

I'll be back. Probably.

December 18, 2013

When Anorexia Came to Visit: Families talk about how an eating disorder invaded their lives

I've been quite busy lately, and my to-read stack was getting out of control. I fell behind, and so it was a really cool surprise to finally get to read the final version of Bev Mattock's book, When Anorexia Came to Visit today. You never know what gems are just sitting there.

I have a rule that I don't review books I don't genuinely like. I don't endorse books, even of friends, unless I'm ready to live with having my friends and readers go out and buy it and tell me about it later.

I really, really like this book. And not because I wrote a little intro or because I  know several of the families inside, including the author -- though that is an extra thrill.

I like this book, and I'm endorsing it warmly, because it tells the world what I know is true and important. It shows real families facing eating disorders with all the heroic, courageous, exhausting love that I know is going on all over the world. If we want to beat the stereotypes and truly change the way parents and families are regarded this is a 20-dose package of that medicine. These perfectly normal yet also extraordinarily challenged families are the antidote to images of over-involved, uncaring, crazed, clueless parents. Yet each is unique: there is no one solution or one lesson.

Each family's story, wonderfully edited by Mattocks, is a view to family commitment and engagement.

Families who have been part of the F.E.A.S.T. and Around the Dinner Table community will cheer for the families and even recognize a few!

Another feature of this book is that all these families are in the UK. This adds to our library of family stories that includes My Kid is Back with Australian families and Just Tell Her To Stop with US families. The healthcare systems and culture of each country contribute to the relevance of each family's story. Although I considered myself familiar with the particular issues in the UK I learned a great deal more here than I knew before.

December 17, 2013

Why you want to buy your ticket to Dallas for the 3rd F.E.A.S.T. conference TODAY

10.     Ticket prices are not going down.
9.       It's Dallas. Dallas!
8.       You will meet other parents who get you.
7.       You will BE one of the parents who gets others.
6.       Your story, as a parent, will help other families
5.       Clinicians want to meet families, real families, and learn from them.
4.       F.E.A.S.T. offers an advertising-free, marketing-free, non-profit event.
3.       Real meals. Sitting down.
2.       The best science and practical information, designed FOR parents
1.       Where else can you wear Ruby Slippers?

Join me and the F.E.A.S.T. community January 31 & February 1 for an educational, refreshing, and empowering event!

December 16, 2013

Today's Tweetchat on genetics features AN25K and Charlotte's Helix

If you've never watched or participated in a Tweetchat then this is your lucky day! Join the party in four hours wherever you are. I'll be there to answer questions about Charlotte's Helix and I'm looking forward to Dr. Cynthia Bulik and Gerome Breen (otherwise known as +Cynthia Bulik and +Gerome Breen) making genetics "approachable" and learning more about the potential of the AN25K initiative.

You'll recognize other names as well, like @edbites and @aedweb.

I know not everyone gets as excited as I do over this topic, but I believe you WOULD if you knew just how much is happening now and in the near future.

If you don't "tweet" and think "tweetchat" sounds like the beginning of a tongue twister please drop by anyway? You can just watch, and it doesn't require any special skills. I'd sure appreciate the support!


"Making Eating Disorders Genetics Approachable & Meaningful: What are ANGI, AN25K and Charlotte's Helix?"

Monday, December 16
12 pm EST


Breen, Charlotte's 


with Cynthia M. Bulik, PhD, FAED of the UNC Center for Excellence in Eating Disorders and Gerome Breen, PhD, Senior Lecturer, MRC SGDP Centre & Theme Lead for Bioresource and Genomics at NIHR Biomedical Research Centre, IOP, KCL; And Special Guests: Laura Collins and Charlotte's Helix
Moderators:  Bridget WhitlowLMFTLauren Mulheim, PsyD, CEDS and Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD
Genes do not act alone. Join this discussion on the role that DNA/genes and environment play in the risk of eating disorders.

December 12, 2013

Who is Jenny, what is a PITA mom, and why each starfish matters

So, if you read my new book with Charlotte Bevan you know that we have different but complementary ways of being activists. Charlotte "throws" beached starfish and I try to get the sea to come back up and revive them all.

There is a unique project going on right now around one "starfish" that you may be interested in.

It involves an eating disorder patient who has no family support on the ground. So, a group of moms around the world have adopted her. They support her through meals by Skype, they advocate for her with doctors, and they are campaigning on her behalf with the insurance company.

Honestly, I've never seen anything like it. It's extraordinary in every sense.

Want to help? Go to the Facebook page for the project and fire up your Twitter account (or start one, already, it matters).

Want to know what "PITA" stands for? You'll have to go see.

December 4, 2013

Charlotte throws 'em, I try to raise the tide

Charlotte Bevan and I have written a book together, and it was published this week. The title is Throwing Starfish Across the Sea.
paperback version

In this new book Charlotte and I share some of the most important things we personally tell parents facing an eating disorder diagnosis in the family. We both know how shocking and frightening it is and what a heroic job parents can do when they have the information and the support they need.

We have heard the concerns, fears, and magical thinking of those new to this and we wanted to be able to furnish mothers and fathers with the most essential tools:

  • Information
  • Other parents
  • Big Girl Pants (also available in male and unisex)

The book is a labor of love for us both, but also the end of many things. Charlotte has terminal breast cancer and I am leaving the full-time eating disorder advocacy world behind. We wanted to leave something behind, together.

We also wanted our work to support the future of ED science, which is why both of us are donating the book sales to Charlotte's Helix - an international initiative to help crack the code of eating disorders.

You can purchase the book on Amazon in any country, or as an ebook so you can read it today. You can also purchase on CreateSpace, which charges the same amount but gives a higher amount to the Helix.

We also need to acknowledge the great debt of gratitude we owe our many friends who helped inspire, proofread, tweak, and encourage us as we sped this along. Special thanks to Lisa Wright for design, and our families for support.

If all diseases were treated like mental illness

I'd like to give this to everyone I know who does NOT live in the warm lovely but, regrettably, small world of mental health activists:

If physical diseases were treated like mental illness