It’s not the house, friends, or culture that makes a place a home, but rather the ability to fully express oneself

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Where are you from?

It’s a simple question asked whenever you meet someone for the very first time — on the first day of school, during a first date, or at a job interview. It typically comes right after, “What’s your name?” and, “What do you like to do?” It’s one of the first phrases you might master when learning a new language.

As humans, we love to ask about the place someone calls home because it helps us connect with one another. When we learn about the place where a person feels a deep-rooted sense of belonging, we get…

Loss of appetite, hives, or muscle soreness might be your body’s cue to give your brain a little extra TLC

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For the last seven days, I haven’t been very hungry.

My distended, bloated, aching stomach makes the mere thought of even my favorite foods seem incredibly unappealing. I’ll often attempt to make or eat a meal, only to be completely uninterested by the time my fork sinks into the random concoction I prepared.

I’ve also been hyperaware of the way my swollen body feels in clothes, straining against the elastic waistband of my tight yoga pants and bubbling over the top of my sports bra.

The disordered part of my brain — remnants of my former eating disorder — tell…

Challenging situations build resilience by pushing us to our limits, but they can also shatter us

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The five years I spent studying, researching, writing, and presenting to earn a doctoral degree were the five most trying years of my life.

As a graduate student, I was expected to prioritize my studies over my wellbeing, so I sacrificed sleep for experiments and meals for rigid time points. In turn, I developed severe anxiety, perfectionism, and an eating disorder because of the debilitating stress and pressure to perform in such a way.

During my recovery process, my eyes were opened to the fact that in academia, especially for young graduate students like myself, emotional, physical, and mental suffering…

A number does not speak to who you truly are

Graphic by Josh Uhlorn, Author’s Husband

Over the past eight years, my weight has fluctuated within a range of 40 pounds: I gained and lost the “freshman 15” during college, shed an exorbitant amount due to an eating disorder in graduate school, and have now gained back all of that, plus a fair amount more.

Now at the heaviest weight of my life, I couldn’t be more proud, healthy or happy.

Absorbed in a culture fixated on body size and shape, the number on the scale used to define who I was as a person. Watching it decrease meant I was a “good,” likable person, but…

My inability to support new life has allowed me to rid myself of the woman I “should” be

straw bassonet for a baby with a blue blanket
straw bassonet for a baby with a blue blanket
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Before they can read, young girls learn their biological role: motherhood. But when I received my infertility diagnosis, I got the opportunity to redefine my worth.

Baby girls are clothed in onesies adorned with flowers, symbols of fertility. Pacifiers are replaced by dolls and plastic blocks by kitchen sets as young girls immerse themselves in the imaginary game “house.” These seemingly harmless swaps and clothing articles subtly reinforce the notion that when a young girl grows up, she is destined to be a mother.

As a child, I never fancied dolls and detested anything floral. I preferred playing street hockey…

Tap into the science of yoga to get the rest you crave

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Getting eight hours of undisturbed sleep can be challenging, but when you add the stressors associated with a seemingly never-ending pandemic to the mix, it can be nearly impossible to wake up feeling refreshed.

As a former scientist and newly minted yoga practitioner, I’m fascinated by the science of yoga. You’re likely aware of the plethora of mental health benefits of yogic staples like meditation (dhyana) and breath work (pranayama), but the poses (asanas) can also support essential bodily processes like digestion, reproduction and sleep.

Known as the “rest and digest” system, the parasympathetic nervous system conserves energy by slowing…

Put on your white lab coat and approach your next story like a scientist

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As a scientist-turned-writer, I’ve often wondered how my doctorate in cancer biology and training as a researcher benefitted my career in journalism. I was quite skeptical as to whether I’d utilize any of the technical skills I painstakingly mastered during eight years at a laboratory bench.

Now five months into my new career as a writer, it’s clear that the process of preparing, reporting, writing and revising a story is much like the research process that had been ingrained in me since elementary school: the scientific method.

As you prepare to tackle your next big assignment, put on your white…

Research shows restrictive diets won’t bring you lifelong wellness, but trusting your mind-body connection can

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Diet culture exists on the belief that a smaller body equates to health and happiness. Like 43% of Americans, I bought into this ideal. By meticulously counting my calories, eating only “clean” foods, and engaging in vigorous strength training and cardio workouts, I believed I would live a life of abundance.

That was until my seemingly harmless diet, disguised as a wellness pursuit, turned into an eating disorder and an unhealthy coping mechanism for my underlying mental health issues.

Studies show that diets, concealed as benign “lifestyle changes,” not only fail to help people achieve long-term weight loss, but they…

Stop avoiding. Start living.

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For much of my life, perfection wasn’t a lofty goal but a standard I was compelled to exceed. When I developed a large crack in my armor in my early twenties, a plethora of uncomfortable thoughts flooded my headspace for the first time in my life. Because I had never before navigated emotional discomfort, I developed an eating disorder to regain control and numb my feelings.

For years, I had sheltered myself from situations that might crack my perfect persona and trigger debilitating emotional discomfort. In grade school, I routinely made the excuse that I was buried under a mountain…

Five steps to help you carefully make the transition

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Having battled orthorexia and anorexia nervosa during my mid-twenties, I approach food and dramatic lifestyle changes with caution. The extra care doesn’t stem from lingering fears of calorie-dense foods or gaining weight, but instead, from slipping back into my disordered ways.

As I struggled to recover a few years ago, any “diet talk” — conversation about restricting foods or entire food groups to lose weight, or exercise with the desire to change one’s body weight, shape or size — was a major trigger. …

Brittany Uhlorn

Science communicator, mental health advocate, avid yogi, recovering perfectionist

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