Stephanie Haines: Prevention Education Specialist

How YOU Can Help Reduce the Stigma Around Eating Disorders!

Let’s work together to empower youth, decrease body shaming, reduce the stigma, and create much-needed awareness.

Challenging Assumptions

Why are you holding back? Is it because of that little voice in your head telling you are inferior? Fear? Doubt?

Olympic Spirit Gold

Why do we choose to focus on the physical bodies of Olympic athletes, when what we should be marveling about is what these bodies are accomplishing?

A Health Educator on Body Image

Even in a group attuned to prioritize and recommend health over physical appearance, many of us still felt the sting and pull of messaging designed to encourage us to fix our so-called imperfect bodies.

Redemption Letter to a Seventh Grader

How do you explain to a 12-year old that as she gets older, fitting in with the “popular” crowd won’t matter as much? That individualism is an asset in the adult world? How do you give her hope that her ideas, values and self-concept will change as she matures?

There’s No Shame In The Resting Game

There are some quick fixes that can make a big difference in sleeping efficacy: drinking more water, taking shorter naps, limiting “screen time” in the evening, spending time outside and appropriately moving are all great starts to your path to healthy sleep.

Helping Others

“You have two hands; one for helping yourself and another for helping others” In the week following National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, I find myself reflecting on the memorable events that I was a part of and those that I attended. Much of NEDAW is focused around spreading knowledge and awareness of these life-threatening illnesses […]

All About You: New Year Healing

RESOLVE VERB Settle or find a solution to (a problem, dispute, or contentious matter): Cause (a symptom or condition) to disperse, subside, or heal: (Of something seen at a distance) turn into a different form when seen more clearly: NOUN firm determination to do something: So many people resolve to change their weight every year, […]

Gender Prisons: A Place We All Reside

“Eating Disorders are a response to gender prisons.” This is an idea Gloria Steinem put forth during her keynote address at a recent conference of eating disorder professionals. Though there was silence in the room, inner rumblings were palpable. Since that day, there has been talk. Some people are outraged that she said such a […]

A Season to Remember: Thank You to the Eating Disorder Prevention and Awareness Communities

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. -Margaret Meade When I look back at my autumn of 2015, I will remember it as an intense season of solidarity and community. As the days grew darker, I felt my spirit grow […]

Health and Fat

There are lots of people to help kids stay healthy-teachers, parents, doctors, health advocates…even the First Lady of the United States of America. Eat Healthy foods! Move your body! Lose that weight! Get outside! Go play! Get some fresh air! Stop those video games! Limit your screen time! Connect with your parents! All great suggestions, […]

A Platinum Rule

The first thing I read this morning was the text of a headmasters address to a student body at a very prestigious high school. This school is best known for the academics, and sends many graduates on to the most revered colleges and universities. I imagine he is very proud of the reputation the school […]

The Drawing Of Hearts

A petite, young woman makes her way to the center of a busy outdoor marketplace. She carries with her a sign that says “I’m standing for anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder or self-esteem issue like me. To support self-acceptance, draw a heart on my body.” She is dressed in her undergarments, and […]

What’s In A Bakery Name?

Years ago, I made wedding cakes. I loved it. My license plates read “FRSTNG”, and I agonized over what I should name my business. FRSTNG didn’t look so great on a business card. I settled on “Simple Sugars.” My cards were buttercream yellow, with leaf green script. They were lovely. I delighted in the name […]

Babies On Board

“Are you pregnant?” “When are you due?” “Oh, you’re so big!” “Are you having twins? Are you sure? You are awfully big…” “Boy or girl? Do you want to find out? What are you hoping for?” “Do you have names picked out? How about the name….” “You know, it’s hard to lose the weight after […]

What We Can Learn from the Plus Size Runner on the Cover of Women’s Running Magazine

When I read the headline, “Magazine puts a Plus Size Model on the Cover and Twitter Freaks out”, my first reaction was one of frustration. Why, I thought, is the world so irritated by larger bodies? What is it about plus size models that people react so strongly to? Why can’t plus size models be […]

What Color Are Your Marbles?

Today I went and saw the new Pixar film, Inside Out. If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s the gist: You are witnessing the emotional life of an 11 year old girl from the inside of her brain. Specifically, you are watching life in her Limbic System and Hippocampus. You are watching personified emotions-Joy, […]

Save the Drama for Your Llama!

Do you have stress? What stresses you out the most? What is hard about the grade you are in? I posed this question to a group of about 17 students, ages 9-13. The first and most common answer? Drama. Yes, both the volume and the content of school work was mentioned by these students as […]

Prevention Actually

One of the tough things about the work of prevention is that one doesn’t often see definitive proof of one’s efforts. I cannot know exactly how much the words I spoke during a presentation effected any of the individuals in the audience.  I will never know if a small group seminar averted certain disaster. It […]

Warning Signs

You must imagine the joy I felt when I was given the last time slot before the holiday weekend during a day-long professional development program for teachers in a rural NH school district: the sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and the threat of a late frost was gone. My audience was dressed for […]

The Ignorance Project

A few years back, I crossed off one of my “bucket list” items by attending the European Counsel of Independent Schools (ECIS) Conference for educators. It was a fantastic; I got to spend time with my favorite colleagues, some I only see on rare occasions, and I had time to explore the city of Nice, […]

Fences & Ambulances: Treatment Versus Prevention

Eating Disorders bring individuals right up to the edge-the edge of their internal resources, to the edge of their health and well-being, to the edge of their hope for better days. This cliff is a jagged one, and it’s a long way down.

Learning The Language Of Prevention

I was enthusiastic about our visit to a small therapeutic school in a local rural community. I was excited to present to a group of students who are accustomed to tackling emotionally charged wellness topics with counselors and with each other. I was excited to lead discussions on the benefits of restful sleep, ample amounts of fresh air and sunlight and moderate exercise. I wanted to talk about brain chemistry and resilience. I wanted to hear them talk about their experiences, and watch the lightbulbs above their heads turn on as they made new connections in understanding. I was hoping, ultimately, to help these kids to better understand how disordered eating patterns fit in to the picture. I was well prepared to lead this group of students (and their teachers) in a rich discussion that would be profitable for all of us.

Choose Your Room

After a 20 year hiatus from formal instruction, I have returned to yoga. Last week I arrived at my class early. I parked behind the church this time, closest to the door that provides access to several rooms that are rented to small groups in need of space.  It had already gotten dark, and two adjacent rooms were lit already; my yoga teacher and a few of my classmates were busy moving chairs to make way for our mats. The other room, the room to my left, contained five or six women, their meeting clearly already in progress.

Have A Cookie?

For some individuals, cookies and other foods do present a distinct health risk; diabetics, those with specific food allergies and food sensitivities, for example. Additionally, there is a growing body of research that suggests that some binge eaters have an easier time abstaining from certain foods than moderating their intake of them. For most people, enjoying a cookie does not pose a significant danger.

Fifty Shades of Eating Disorders

I recently read an article about the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey”, in which a mother describes the nature of the main relationship in the story. She urges her children to see the relationship for what it is-not for the fantasy it is being sold as. As a money-making piece of entertainment, it’s a so-called love affair. To the author’s mind, interpreted through the lens of reality, it smacks of abuse.

The Miracle You Are

Last week I worked with an entire grade of Massachusetts 7th graders. In the course of a conversation about comparing ourselves to others, one student asked a very poignant question: “What’s so bad about holding myself up against people I admire? My dad is a great man, and I want to be like him, so what’s so wrong about comparing myself to him?”


I think of life as a journey through a mountainous forest. There is darkness and light, sweeping vistas and tight spaces, peaks, and valleys. There are many footpaths to trudge along, and as many travelers trudging. I think of all beings as lantern holders.

No Apologies

“Watch your thoughts… they become words. Watch your words… they become actions. Watch your actions… they become destiny.” Earlier this week, my best friend got a text from a man she used to date. “He wants to have lunch,” she said. “He just got a job a few blocks from my apartment. “

Choose Beautiful Part 1

A few moments ago I watched the video connected to Dove’s Choose Beautiful campaign. It’s an interesting one; if you haven’t seen it, the basic setup is this: Dove has labeled select mall entrance doors “Average” and “Beautiful”. Women (and only women in this video) choose which door they will walk through. This is all caught on video, and the participants are then interviewed.

Choose Beautiful Part 2

In my most recent blog, I wrote about reasons why we might choose the average door for ourselves, and the importance of helping others choose differently. Before we can help others, we must know something of our own beauty. This can take practice. This can take time.

Preventing Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders Together

Substance abuse is a primary, progressive, chronic and sometimes fatal illness that affects all members of society. While there is currently no cure for substance abuse, there are several treatment and prevention strategies available.

I Had No Idea

Every year Walden commemorates National Eating Disorder Awareness Week by holding events throughout the last week of February to honor those whose lives have been affected by eating disorders.

Super Ad Monday, Part 2

I must say that the last few years of Super Bowl ads have left me sad, and perhaps this has been the saddest to date. As a prevention specialist I am particularly annoyed at how dysfunctional behaviors are celebrated and equally as perturbed when things are so vilified that viewers discount the message entirely.

Super Ad Monday, Part 1

Ah… the Super Bowl. How wonderful it is to live in a place where one’s team consistently wins-deflated footballs or not. I don’t actually watch the Super Bowl; Instead, I celebrate my own little holiday: “Super Ad Monday.”