Even though only the two of us knew it.

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Photo by Maylies Lang Photography courtesy of the author

A few months before my wedding, I sat in my counselor’s office, crying. I was having trouble writing my wedding vows. I struggled with an eating disorder for years, and she was one of the people who helped me to heal.

When I booked this appointment, I hadn’t seen her for a few years. I’d worked really hard to repair my relationship with food and movement. I was feeling fantastic. But I wanted to know: At what point can I say I am truly recovered?

I explained: I no longer obsess about food, nor do I exercise compulsively. I eat…


With a little intention, you can make Instagram a tool that supports your mental health

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Photo: geo uc/Unsplash

It took me a while to realize it, and then to accept it, but following my friends on Instagram makes me feel shitty.

I can be having an otherwise very lovely and relaxing day until I see a photo of my friends on a grand adventure, or having a raucous hangout, or anything that seems better than what I am currently doing. Then, I start to feel lazy, boring, left out, or otherwise inadequate. …


We have more important goals than shrinking our bodies

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Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

Imagine you’re explaining the concept of goals to someone from outer space. You have two minutes. The alien needs to understand the movement from Point A (setting a goal) to Point B (achieving said goal). What example did you use? Was it weight loss? Odds are high.

I am so sick of people using the desire to lose x amount of pounds as the example they keep in their back pocket anytime the topic of goal setting or objectives comes up.

If you haven’t noticed. Start paying attention. It happens all the time.

Just today, I was browsing feedback on…


I’m not talking about sexy older women.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Last week, two cougars attacked and killed our neighbor’s horse. We carry bear spray everywhere we go. It’s spring and just as our government restrictions have started to relax, the animals have woken up.

Every day, it seems, there is a new report of a terrifying or deadly encounter. We are new to the area, having fled the city for a new job and a change of pace. It’s our first spring as country dwellers and the wildlife’s propensity for violence is unnerving.

I am not a city kid. I’m used to making noise to scare off bears and occasionally…


I refused not to use my degrees, and these three strategies helped me succeed

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Photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash

I have two degrees in social anthropology and zero regrets.

When I was pursuing these degrees, the only jobs on the horizon seemed to be in academia. I loved school, so I figured, maybe I’d be a professor. To be completely honest, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about the end goals of my degrees, or even what I would be when I grew up. I just really loved anthropology. I still do.

It’s been six years since I finished my thesis, and I’ve managed to use my degrees in all four of my jobs since. It won’t…


Don’t get stuck in the trap of “recovered enough.”

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Photo by Raphaël Biscaldi on Unsplash

Recently, I came across this document explaining the 10 stages you can expect to pass through on your journey to recovery from an eating disorder.

The stages come from Carolyn Costin and Gwenn Grabb’s book, 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder, and I was shocked by how accurately they chronicled my experience. It was like looking at the plot points of my recovery screenplay.


Your small talk might be hurting your colleagues.

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Photo by Zach Miles on Unsplash

We’re used to diet talk at the office. Jim from marketing is Keto now, your boss, Alison, is trying to slim down after the holidays. Everyone on your team feels so guilty for what they ate over the Thanksgiving long weekend.

It’s acceptable and expected small talk, something to chitchat about at a lunch meeting as we look around at everyone’s tupperwares or takeout containers.

For myself, and others who have recovered, or are still recovering from an eating disorder, it’s torture. …


I was obsessed with healthy eating and addicted to exercise

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Photo by Vitalii Pavlyshynets on Unsplash

As someone who was secretly struggling with disordered eating, wellness was the perfect cover. I was about 20 when the wellness industry came on the scene. I’m 29 now. Before that, I hid behind a projected passion for “healthy eating,” a far less sexy umbrella.

Wellness, though, that’s something everyone can get behind. It’s about caring for your body, increasing your longevity, making eco-conscious choices, and living a good life. It’s a constant pursuit of good health, as defined by those who serve to profit from that quest.

For a twenty-year-old wanting to escape anorexia, it was a new, socially…


This Is Us

When the most important man in your life is the one telling you not to eat too much

A black and white photo of the author kissing her husband on their wedding day.
A black and white photo of the author kissing her husband on their wedding day.
Photo by Maylies Lang Photography courtesy of the author

For over a decade, the most important man in my life was the one in my head who told me not to eat too much. Many people with eating disorders find it helpful to personify the disease. Mine didn’t have a name, but I felt sure it was a dude. Our relationship was a classic case of codependency. We’d been together so long, I couldn’t tell where he ended and I began.

I’ll call him ED. We met in high school. His voice spoke to me from my magazines, in the tips to stay svelte and the instructions on “how…

Ivy Staker

Social anthropologist | Passionate about the outdoors | Intensely curious | UX researcher | Fledgling eating disorder recovery advocate

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