ACTION WEEK – Day 4: E-Book Launch!

By Katie, 8:18 pm

It’s official!!!

My first e-book, called Taking Action: 30 Specific Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Eating, is now available!

To purchase it for the Amazon Kindle, go here:

Buy E-Book for Amazon Kindle

The e-book is just $4.99.


Potentially Asked Questions

Q: Is emotional eating really that big of an issue?

Absolutely! Over 10 million people in America suffer from an eating disorder, 4 million of whom struggle with Binge Eating Disorder (by far the most common eating disorder). Countless others face the occasional emotional eating episode.

Among Health for the Whole Self readers, Monday’s poll shows that 94% struggle or have struggled with emotional eating, brought on by everything from stress to loneliness to insecurity to excitement.

Q: Are people equipped to cope with this issue?

Not as well as they could be! Of the poll’s respondents, half have never received professional help. The majority of people (59%) said they only feel comfortable using 1-5 coping strategies, and 15% said they feel confident using none.

Q: Why did you write Taking Action?

I wrote Taking Action to address the number one question I get about emotional eating: What can I do about it? The issue can be so frustrating and exasperating; it can leave you feeling hopeless. Having concrete tools and strategies has allowed me to be more proactive, and I’m certain others can benefit from that as well.

Q: How will the e-book help me deal with my emotional eating?

The e-book can help you take insightful but vague advice – like “make peace with food” and “stop fighting your body” – and make it more useful, more tangible. As I write in the Introduction, it’s about learning the “doings” that can get you to a healthier place of “being.” Taking Action is an emotional eating toolbox.

Q: How is Taking Action different from other resources available?

It’s different because, honestly, I’m not an official expert. I don’t have a degree in psychology or nutrition or anything like that. It’s just me – my personal experience with emotional eating, and the steps I’ve used in my own life to combat it.

Also, it’s meant to be extremely user friendly. There’s no puffy language or dauntingly-long chapters. It’s simple and straightforward: here’s what I did and here’s why it worked for me.

Q: How is the e-book different than this blog?

Most of the strategies covered in Taking Action are ones that have not been discussed on Health for the Whole Self, and the ones that have been mentioned in blog posts have been expanded.

Q: What have others said about Taking Action?

Katie McLaughlin has a way with words, especially when talking about the delicate subject of food and body image. She outlines coping skills in easy to follow ways, from a friendly personable voice. While there are many eating disorder self help books out there, I believe that this is one of the first ones I have read where the writer knows what she speaks of, but does not claim to be recovered or a certified expert – just a person, trying to get beyond struggling, wanting to share what she has learned. Everyone should get their hands on this e-book! – Sarah Blake, LCSW – Eating Disorders Clinician

Q: How long is the e-book?

It’s difficult to say with an e-book, since it’s not as concrete as a book you hold in your hands, but Taking Action is approximately 70 standard book-size pages.

Q: How can I purchase Taking Action?

You can purchase the Amazon Kindle version by going here:

Buy E-Book for Amazon Kindle

Q: How much does it cost?


Q: What if I don’t like it?

If for some reason you just hate this e-book, let me know and I’ll make sure you get a 100% refund. No worries.


WHEW! This has been one of the most exciting weeks of my life!

Thank you all for reading this blog (and potentially the e-book) and for your constant feedback and support. All of that means the world to me!!! As cheesy and dramatic as this sounds, I truly am the person I am today – happier and healthier than I’ve ever been – in large part because of my experience connecting with you through the good ol’ Internet. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!

Have you ever purchased an e-book before? Think you might want to write one someday?

ACTION WEEK – Day 3: Trust Your Gut

By Katie, 5:45 am

If you’ve seen Day 1 and Day 2 of Action Week, you know that I’m through-the-roof excited to release my e-book tomorrow. It’s called Taking Action: 30 Specific Strategies for Overcoming Emotional Eating, and it’s been my behind-the-scenes labor of love for quite some time now.

Remember last week, when I shared with you a story of when I followed the wrong path for me and ended up horribly disappointed? Well, the journey of writing Taking Action has been the exact opposite. I knew from the moment the idea popped into my head that it was the way to go.

I could feel in my gut that it was right, even though logic may have said it was wrong. Has that ever happened to you?

Here’s how it happened for me. A long time ago (like, when I was twelve) I decided I wanted to write a book. That desire was only solidified by my experience of writing Health for the Whole Self. So I started to work on a non-fiction book proposal.

But it didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Shortly after I began, I got stuck. Really, really stuck. To the point that I felt stressed out just thinking about it. :-?

After spinning my wheels for a few weeks, I realized that maybe I was trying to jump too far too soon. Maybe I’d be better off with an electronic book first instead of a paperback one.

As soon as that thought entered my head – Katie, why don’t you write an e-book? – it was like the flood gates opened. I began pouring myself into writing, and the words seemed to multiply on their own before my eyes. That’s not to say that this book didn’t require a lot of hard work; it most certainly did! But many times that work felt almost effortless because it felt so right. I knew I was reaching for MY stars because – as commenter Jenn said – they suddenly became reachable.

That’s why I’m so excited to share it with you tomorrow – because to me it’s more than an e-book. It’s more than a collection words and chapters. It’s a tangible representation of what happens when I stop worrying and start trusting my gut.

Do you know that feeling I’m talking about? The one in your gut that says YES, this is the right path for me? When have you felt it?

ACTION WEEK – Day 2: Video Reveal

By Katie, 5:11 am

First, let me apologize for yesterday’s cryptic post. Today I’ll let you know what I’ve been up to.

Second, while watching the video below, please keep in mind that I am not a techie. I thought the multi-media aspect would be cool, but it’s obviously not my forte. Nevertheless…

I’ve been working my booty off on this project, and it’s finally here! It’ll be available in two days! 8-)

ACTION WEEK – Day 1: Emotional Eating Poll

By Katie, 5:06 am

Something very exciting is happening in my life this week. And I have you to thank for it. Yes, YOU! :-)

But instead of revealing it all at once, I’m going to take you on a little journey, quite similar to the one I’ve experienced with this project. All of my posts this week will be leading up to this event I’m obviously so excited about.

I want to start by learning more about you and your relationship with food. I would love if you took the time to answer the five survey questions below. It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds, and your answers are anonymous. (If you’re reading this in a Reader, you’ll need to click over to participate in the survey.)

Have you ever struggled with emotional eating, either in the present or in the past?

View Results

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What kinds of emotions lead/have led you to emotionally eat? (Select all that apply.)

View Results

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Have you ever seen a professional for help addressing emotional eating?

View Results

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If yes, what kind of professional? (Select all that apply.)

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How many coping strategies do you feel comfortable and confident using to address your emotional eating?

View Results

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Thanks for participating! I’ll show you what I’m up to tomorrow!

Moment of Zen: Wedgie Edition

By Katie, 5:53 am

As wedding season approaches, I felt this was only appropriate.

Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do! 8-)

Using Intuitive Eating to Recover from an Eating Disorder: Nina’s Story

By Katie, 5:17 am

Today I’m handing the reins over to Nina, who chronicles her story of struggling with various eating disorders and eventually finding relief in part through using intuitive eating. Nina blogs regularly at, where she shares more information about her experience with intuitve eating. Enjoy!


Eating disorders ruled my life for almost a decade. I was obsessed with, and tried, every possible diet, weight loss plan, detox, cleanse and restrictive eating plan. All that I got was an even greater obsession with food and weight.

My eating disorder took various shapes and forms – starting off with anorexia and then progressing to binge eating, compulsive overeating, excessive exercise, laxative abuse, bulimia and binge eating. I have been through it all! I was given a taste of all the different flavors of an eating disorder.


I sought help through a number of different paths and sources. I tried eating disorder counselors, support groups, spiritual healing and I was even hospitalized twice in order to stop the extreme acting out.

What I didn’t realize was that it was my dieting and restrictive eating that was fuelling the eating disorder and until I stopped that, nothing would change. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

I would try all the different treatment programs but my behavior and attitude remained the same – I would diet, restrict and eventually binge. I just could not connect the dieting to the eating disorder. I thought you HAD to be on a diet and anything else was absurd and ineffective.

I never truly believed that I would find a lasting eating disorder recovery solution. I thought that I would always in some way or another live with the mental obsession, the preoccupation with food and weight, and at best have periods of “abstinence” from the extreme manifestation of the eating disorder.

Things got so bad at some point that I guess I reached that real rock bottom place. You now the place – where you cannot live another day the way that you have been living. Things had to change because I had no life, no interest and no spirit left.

I did not know exactly what intuitive eating was at the time, but I just had the desire to be a “normal eater.” You know the ones? They eat what they want, they stop when they are full, they do not have any off limits food and they do not suffer with guilt or obsession over what they ate.

This was my goal and after reaching that rock bottom place where I absolutely had no life or interest other than food and weight loss, I became determined to become an intuitive eater (or a normal eater as I knew it back then).

The process takes time, patience with yourself and practice. We didn’t become disordered eaters overnight, so the recovery will take some time. However, the more you let go of diet rules, plans and restriction, the more you focus on ACTING like an intuitive eater, the faster you will get results.

The challenges that I faced were initially not knowing what to eat and a major fear of weight gain. But slowly I added food that I liked; I tested things out and observed the results. Even thought I was terrified at times that I would not be able to stop eating, the results were that the more I focused on being a normal eater, letting go of the scales, rules, restriction, the more freedom I experienced and the lesser the obsession became.

I have been an intuitive eater for over 4 years now and have completely recovered from all eating disorders. I believe that this is truly possible for anyone. I encourage you to give it a try!


Thanks for sharing with us, Nina! Be sure to check out her blog for more information!

House Update!

By Katie, 5:15 am

Here’s where we are as of last weekend. I’m squirming with excitement knowing that beautiful farm will be in my backyard. :-)


Whose Stars Are You Reaching For?

By Katie, 5:04 am

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau (emphasis mine)

From elementary school all the way through college, I had a reputation of being a bit of a teacher’s pet.

It wasn’t that I was a brown-noser, at least not exactly. It was more that I genuinely enjoyed school, and teachers tend to genuinely like students like that.

Not surprisingly, my love of school combined with my people-pleasing tendencies meant that I cared a lot about what my teachers thought of me.

Fast forward to senior year of college. I’m applying to graduate programs in literature, hoping to become an English professor someday. I’m thrilled when I get my acceptance letter from School A, which I always had a good feeling about. Then I find out I’ve also been accepted to School B, which is considerably more prestigious and yet didn’t give me the warm fuzzies like School A. Better school + no warm fuzzies or slightly less prestigious school + warm fuzzies? Which would you pick?

Unfortunately, I chose School B. Why? Because it was where some of my professors thought I should go. They worried I’d have trouble finding a job coming out of School A (the competition for English professors is fierce, believe it or not). They thought of me as a high caliber student, so of course the high caliber school was more appropriate. One professor actually balked at the notion of my attending School A.

So to School B I went. And I was miserable. Within three months I was so unhappy I was practically hunting for a reason to leave; I high-tailed it out of there as soon as I could.

Why do I share this with you?

Because the whole experience taught me one of the most important lessons of my life thus far: that the message shouldn’t be “reach for the stars”; it should be “reach for your stars.”

You see, I was constantly letting other people’s expectations of me get in the way of my own dreams and goals. I was less concerned about fulfilling myself and more concerned with making sure everyone else approved. The fear of disappointing someone – even just a little – drove me to make decisions I never would have otherwise.

Now I realize that no matter what anyone else said or thought, the decision of where to go to school was ultimately mine. I was the one who got accepted, I was the one who had to move to a different part of the country and then back again. I packed the boxes, I took the tests, I wrote the research papers. While my professors certainly cared about me and were trying to be helpful, in the long run I was but a blip on their student map. And yet I let them decide for me.

I’ve learned my lesson. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks or does, because they’re not the ones standing in my shoes. I need to follow my dreams even if other people want me to do something else; I need to pursue my goals even when people tell me I should take a different direction. I need to reach for my stars.

Have you ever reached for someone else’s stars instead of your own? Whose stars are you reaching for now?

Put Down the Dasani: World Water Day 2011

By Katie, 5:55 am

I will admit that I used to be a bottled water junkie…until I learned just how much harm I was doing by buying plastic bottle after plastic bottle after plastic bottle.

Today, March 22, is International World Water Day, which is held annually “as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.”

Water Facts

  • About 1 billion people in the world lack access to safe, clean drinking water.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • The average American uses 100 to 175 gallons of water per day.
  • The average African family uses 5 gallons per day.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.
  • Women, who are usually the ones responsible for hauling water, carry on average 45 pounds of water at a time.

Fact Sources:,, and

What We Can Do

  • Change Our Perspective

It’s easy for those of us who have access to clean water – myself included – to take it for granted: leaving the sink running longer than necessary, taking long showers, etc. We forget that there’s only so much water in the world, so we waste it. To get a handle on it, I recommend checking out National Geographic’s Water Footprint Calculator and/or downloading an App like Water Buddy to help track your water usage.

  • Change Our Behaviors

The tools above can help each of us figure out ways to cut back on our individual water usage. Perhaps one of the easiest is to stop purchasing and consuming bottled water. It’s bad for the environment, and it’s actually not healthier than tap water. The National Resources Defense Council tested 103 bottled waters and found that over 25% were simply tap water. Not to mention there are huge water shortages in the areas where bottled water plants are located.

Here’s a great video explaining the dark side of the bottled water industry.

  • Take Action
  1. Spread the Word. Help educate others about the clean water crisis. You can find good information on and
  2. Donate. Your money can go to building a well in a developing country, buying water filters, or some other means of giving more people access to the clean water most of us already enjoy.

What’s your water usage like? Are you a reformed bottled water buyer like I am?

Airbrushing Ourselves? A Real Beauty Manifesto

By Katie, 5:10 am

Hold onto your hats, folks, because I have some alarming news. Airbrushing, retouching, and Photoshopping is no longer just for models in magazines; it’s going mainstream.

Sure, you could already Photoshop yourself with some fancy camera software, but now it’s going to be even easier. Last week Julie from Beautiful You posted about the new camera from Panasonic, which features built-in modes for “cosmetic retouch” and “beauty retouch.” Take a picture, click a button, alter what you look like. Just like that. 8-O

I’ve spent some time thinking about why this bothers me so much. What’s the real harm in eliminating a blemish here or a stray hair there?

Here’s what I’ve concluded: I am firmly against these kinds of retouching cameras because they imply that beauty has a concrete, universal definition, one that can be boiled down to a few buttons on a computer or a camera. If you don’t have these particular features, you better Photoshop them in so that you can fit society’s definition of what’s attractive.

But society’s definition isn’t the end-all be-all. The best thing about beauty is that it’s fluid and diverse; it can take on an unlimited number of forms, many of which include real people in their real, raw, unchanged state.

The options on the Panasonic camera’s “beauty retouch” mode – like whitening your teeth, plumping your lips, and smoothing your skin tone – represent only a single understanding of beauty. They ignore the countless other ways beauty can be embodied and expressed, naturally.

And the more and more retouched photos we see – either of models in magazines or of ourselves – the closer we come to losing sight of the real beauty all around us, the beauty we already embody, no button required.

If we’re all taking photos of ourselves and not liking what we see, dare I say that the person in the photo isn’t the problem. Instead of changing the photo or the camera, how about we start changing our perspectives?

Have you heard of this camera? Do you think it’s something you would purchase? Why or why not?

And for the record, I much prefer the unaltered version of the photo above!

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