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    Healing & Balance: Charity fundraiser for the National Eating Disorder Association

    Healing & Balance: Charity fundraiser for the National Eating Disorder Association

    We are excited to announce that we will be taking part at NEDA Walk LA to raise awareness and money to support the National Eating Disorders Association, which provides information, education, and resources to millions of people a year who are working towards eating disorder recovery. 

    In order to raise money for this cause, we have two beautiful accessories you can wear as reminders of self-love, balance, and healing, which are available for purchase HERE. $1 of each bracelet will be donated to NEDA!

    You can also join us for the NEDA Walk LA, which will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at 10am. We have teamed up with Gina of @NourishandEat to take part in this walk with our #GirlGang! 

    To walk with us, you can register and join our team HERE. The password to join is 'stayhomeclub'. We encourage you all to rock our HNS gear as we walk together to raise awareness!

    Details are as follows:

    Walk Venue: Crescent Bay Park
    Walk Location: 2000 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405
    Walk Date: Saturday, March 4, 2017
    Check In Time: 9am
    Opening Ceremony: 10am
    Walk End Time: 11am

    Register HERE

    We hope to see you there!


    Holidays, Bodies, and Self-Care: Set Boundaries and Live Your Values

    Holidays, Bodies, and Self-Care: Set Boundaries and Live Your Values

    With the holiday season upon us, many people feel a mix of excitement and dread. The reasons for excitement are clear, while the reasons for dread may not be understood by well-meaning families. Folks who live with weight stigma and those who struggle with an eating disorder (of all shapes and sizes) may struggle through family gatherings, in which societally-approved topics of conversation unfortunately often include judgmental commentary on bodies, weight, and dieting. These conversations can be immensely painful and triggering. They can also threaten to undo therapeutic progress around our commitment to being kind and compassionate with ourselves.

    Good news: you can get through the holiday season with your sanity and your sense of self intact! It’s a great time to set boundaries and live your values. Let’s talk first about setting boundaries. Do some thinking before family get-togethers, about lines you simply don’t want to cross, and are willing to defend. Few want to fuel conflict when the whole family is together, nor be disrespectful of elders in the family, but it’s also absolutely appropriate for you to establish some rules of engagement as they pertain to you and your body. Here are some examples of situations that might arise, and how to establish boundaries:


    Uncle Ben says, “You look bigger/smaller than last time I saw you!”


    “Actually, I choose not to make my body size a topic of conversation. How’s your business going?”


    Aunt Angela says, “I’m eating another slice of pie. It has so many calories! I’m probably going to put on five pounds this weekend. Who’s going on a diet with me next week?”


    “I prefer not to talk about calories and weight while enjoying a delicious meal. Let’s talk about what we’re thankful for this year.”


    You’re in a fragile place in your own relationship with body and food, and you’re nervous that the experience of sharing a big holiday meal with the whole family will jeopardize the hard work you’ve been doing.


    Skip the big family gathering. Sure, it would be nice to be able to join everyone and eat without a care in the world, and there might be some eyebrows raised and maybe disappointment expressed in your not joining. But it’s your life. If you’re feeling fragile and aren’t in a place right now to withstand this kind of challenge, sit it out this year. Nourish yourself well that day, spend extra time on compassion, and consider finding a smaller group or one friend to get together with that day. If you so choose, there’s always the next holiday or next year to rejoin everyone.

    The second half of this strategy is living your values. What does that mean? It means knowing what your individual priorities and goals are, and committing to dedicating your time and energies accordingly. No one can dictate to you what your values are. They are unique to you. One of my patients recently told me something so wise. She said that at the beginning of the school year, she almost chose not to try an extracurricular “in service of my anxiety.” However, she pushed through, and it’s become one of the great joys of her daily life.

    When you are deciding how to spend your time over the holidays—whether that’s choosing to go home over school break, attend a family gathering, accommodate the family traditions or make your own new ones—be sure that you choose in line with your values. The patient I mentioned was thinking about skipping out on Thanksgiving activities altogether, because she was so nervous at the prospect of eating the feast in a public setting, with family. However, she realized that if she used binary thinking (either I do Thanksgiving all my family’s way, and that’s not acceptable, or I stay home alone), she would be again doing so in service of her anxiety. Coming back to her values of connectedness, adventure, and independence, she’s chosen to take a road trip with a friend and have a quiet Thanksgiving with her, then see her family the weekend after.

    Check in with your decision-making processes over the holidays: are you holding boundaries? Are you letting fear make your decisions, or are you making choices congruent with your values? Consider this activity: write down your values, and then consult the list when you’re making a decision, to see if the values and the decision align. Here’s a list of values you can look at to help get the wheels turning: http://corevalueslist.com.

    I wish you a joyful, meaningful, mindful holiday season.



     Article by HNS Advisory Board Member: 


    Dr. Jen Gaudiani, MD CEDS













    Join us for a Free Presentation in Whittier, CA!

    Join us for a Free Presentation in Whittier, CA!

    HNS founder Katie H. Willcox will be presenting just outside the heart of Los Angeles at Whittier College on Wednesday, November 16th! The event will take place inside the AJ Villalobos Hall located at 13507 Earlham Drive, Whittier, CA 90602 (map below) from 6:30-8:30pm

    In her presentation, Katie will be discussing how media in the beauty and advertising industry affects our subconscious mind and our self-image. This is an event you won't want to miss!

    Katie's presentation begins at 6:30pm and will be followed by a meet and greet with a chance to shop HNS gear!

    This event is FREE and open to the public, sponsored by the Palmer Society and Violence Intervention and Prevention Club at Whittier College. All are welcomed!


    5 Ways to Ditch Body Shaming

    5 Ways to Ditch Body Shaming

    What can we say? We absolutely live in a culture that is obsessed with extremes – am I smart enough? Am I successful enough? Am I thin enough? Those are just some of thoughts that so many young girls and women struggle with as a result this high pressure culture that acts as a backdrop to everything we think and feel! In fact, an over-focus on body achievement happens from the moment we are born (actually before we are even born!) when the doctor asks – did she walk on time? Talk on time? Read and write on time? And, the list goes on and on. So, this creates a very strong relationship (often on an unconscious level) between body control and a sense of self-worth. When a young girl becomes a teenager that relationship only strengthens and often shifts to having body control through manipulating weight/shape.

    We typically think that manipulating body weight/shape is going to help solve the challenging feelings we may carry toward our bodies and ourselves. Ironically, what many young women do not understand is that this type of highly perfectionistic, extremist thinking instead leads to the exact opposite, namely feeling even a greater sense of being “less than” on the outside, as well as the inside.

    Unfortunately, in the process of blaming our bodies for letting us down and blaming ourselves for not having enough “will power” to change it, we often become stuck in a shame spiral. Frequently, as psychologists and coach trainers, we hear many women reporting ‘guilt’ related to their relationship with food and their body; however, though they think it is ‘guilt’ we hypothesize it is really ‘shame’ they are feeling. The difference initially appears small but it is hugely compelling! Guilt is an external response and is the way we feel when we do something wrong – essentially it is like our moral compass guiding us through life. Therefore, it can be a good thing when we feel guilt toward unhealthy behaviors, such as stealing, cheating, lying, etc. However, shame is very different and is an internal process, with the difference being that we feel we ARE bad because of the thing we have done. Shame is always damaging, never helpful and is the key ingredient in secret-keeping. Additionally, our culture also participates deeply in reinforcing body-shaming with headlines focused on intensely criticizing celebrities for their appearance without makeup, if they show signs of aging and if they fail to have the “perfect bikini body.” Heck, it is not uncommon to have continuing rumor mills of a possible celebrity ‘baby bump’ for what looks to most of us to be a person that probably just had a big lunch or was photographed at an odd angle!

     Even if we understand intellectually that these messages are negative and that we do not want to participate in them, they still affect us on an emotional level sending a constant stream of unattainable “shoulds” that over 80% of women will internalize! That’s the bad news. Now, for the good news – you CAN do something to change this!


    Here are our top 5 ways you can begin to ditch body-shaming and find begin to take steps to an empowered sense of self:

    1. Find things you like about appearance. We often hyper-focus on the things we DON’T like when we look in the mirror and therefore we practice hating ourselves. Instead, we challenge you to find 3 things you like or are neutral and you can begin to like. Practice focusing on only those things when you look in the mirror.
    2. Give yourself positive affirmations: When you look in the mirror and hate what you see, you are likely rehearsing a series of negative self-statements in your mind making those thoughts VERY strong. Instead, practice positive affirmations! These are positive thoughts you find about yourself (e.g., I’m a good friend, I am a really smart person, everyone tells me what a great sense of humor I have, etc). We recommend writing them on sticky notes and placing them on your mirror to remind you of these great things every day! Keep adding to the mirror every time you find a new positive affirmation.
    3. Appreciate what your body can do rather than how much it weighs. Take a moment to truly reflect on how amazing your body is and all of the incredible things it can do for you! Thank your body for the work it does for you every day. We encourage you to write down at least ten amazing things you can do because you have the body you CURRENTLY have – does your body help you in athletics? Running after your kids? Cooking a great dinner? Dancing with your partner? We all should take a moment to appreciate this body and realize we likely would not be able to do all of these things if we lost the 20lbs in a week that diets promise!
    4. Get involved and become empowered! There are many opportunities to get involved these days in the positive body image and body love movement. And, your involvement can truly make a difference! Whether its walking in your local NEDA walk or getting trained in media dissonance training – you can create change in the way future generations of young girls feel about themselves and you can have a fabulous time doing it!
    5. Practice self-care! So often, as young women especially, we fail to care for ourselves and instead take care of everyone else around us. Self-care is so important not only for our mental health but our physical health as well. In fact, some estimates show that up to 90% of doctor visits are related to STRESS! So, don’t be afraid to pamper yourself a bit – take a luxurious warm bath, get a mani/pedi, or hang out with supportive friends who aren’t afraid to compliment your internal/external beauty!
    Finally, body-shaming issues can sometimes be really serious and require more assistance. In fact, that is exactly why the Conscious Coaching Collective (CCC), developed a comprehensive emotional eating program that can assist in overcoming a problematic relationship with food/body. In addition, it may also be time to seek professional help from a therapist or psychologist who can help you further explore and manage these issues if they are taking over your life. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, as there are a lot of amazing options out there that can lead to a healthier relationship with yourself, reduction of body-shaming, and allow you to take part in life on your terms!


    To learn more about the CCC’s emotional eating program visit FOOD SHIFT.


    Article by HNS Advisory Board Members:

    Ariane Machin, PhD, Co-founder, The Conscious Coaching Collective

    Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, Co-founder, The Conscious Coaching Collective









    HNS at the Arizona Pinner's Conference

    HNS at the Arizona Pinner's Conference

    Guess what Arizona girl gang?! We are headed your way for a super cool presentation o Friday, October 7th as a part of the two-day Arizona Pinner's Conference in Scottsdale! 

    Get your mood boards ready and join us for an amazing day at the WestWorld of Scottsdale (16601 N. Pima Rd., Scottsdale, AZ). The conference and expo features classes and activities led by top pinners on Pinterest and an exhibition of over 200 businesses that will provide beautiful shopping options in the worlds of DIY, crafts, wedding, baby, cooking, photography, party planning, nails, scrapbooking, holiday decor, clothing, jewelry and more! It's every Pinner's dream!

    Doors open for classes and shopping at 10 a.m. and Katie's presentation will take place at 7:30 p.m. 


    Tickets are available now at AZ.pinnersconference.com/register

    Get 10% off your tickets with code: healthy