Weekend Reading
October 9, 2022

Weekend Reading | The Full Helping

Recently, I was talking (OK, complaining) to a colleague about being stuck with a seemingly insurmountable number of work to-dos.

She offered that, when she’s overwhelmed, she shifts her mindset from “I have to” to “I get to.” She told me that this change in self-talk allows her to greet her work with more appreciation and excitement.

I’ll be honest, my first reaction to this statement was an internal eye roll. Because none of the tasks in front of me felt like things that I get to do at all. The mere suggestion of regarding them as a privilege made me more cranky.

I didn’t go into my week with the gratitude lens that my wise friend had offered me.

But I did go into it with determination. I was resolved to do what I had to do.

I’ve barely made a dent in what needs doing. But I made a bit of headway, and the small victory of the week is that I managed to overcome some learning curves.

Discouragement is a big issue for me when it comes to work. When I’m struggling to master something, it really doesn’t take much for me to deflate. At that point I end up avoiding rather than persisting with my work.

Each time I get trapped in this cycle, I remember the words of one of my lab partners in grad school.

I had begged him to give me the answer to a problem in a problem set we were working on. I promised him I’d work backwards from there.

“No,” he told me. “Until you learn how to struggle your way to the answer, this class isn’t going to get easier for you.”

He was right. And I shouldn’t complain, because these days my challenges are a lot easier than genetics problem sets. More than half the time they involve figuring out something with technology or social media.

Something good happened when I was able to persist through learning curves, rather than be being taken down by then. I did, in spite of myself, feel more grateful.

Cooking drives me crazy, but basically it’s what I love to do. And I have a job that allows me to share what I make and learn with others.

Nutrition counseling, especially with eating disorders, can be emotionally taxing. But it’s also a seat on the front lines of healing. On a good day—and there are more good days than tough days—it’s so life-affirming.

Social media and technology can be a pain. But they allow me to connect with people who are passionate about the things I’m passionate about.

That isn’t cause for complaint. It’s reason to stick with the platforms, to keep adjusting as they change, remembering that on the other side of keeping up with them is the ability to stay rooted in a community that I love.

So my friend is right: it’s a wonderful thing to shift one’s frame of mind from “I have to” to “I get to.” I wasn’t able to force myself into going there, but it happened, all the same.

Once it did, I saw the truth of something my yoga teacher said today in class: “if you want to change your life, you have to change the way you think about your life. There is never another way.”

I’m not sure if she wrote that or somebody else did. But anyway, I agree.

Happy Sunday, friends. Glad that I get to sit down and write this post each week. Here are some recipes and reads.


Excuse me while I bookmark all of the cozy pasta and risotto dishes for fall! Starting with this vegan tortellini soup.

Mushroom leek risotto is also on my list (I love leeks).

Ali’s broccoli and tempeh bacon pasta is a dish that I know I’ll make. And make, and make.

Erin’s chocolate peanut butter overnight oats are a fun, make-ahead breakfast.

And speaking of peanut butter, Jessica’s peanut butter cake looks like a slice of heaven to me.


1. A sparely written, yet harrowing (and inspiring) account of life in the wake of a near-death accident.

2. An interesting take on the difference between “what you’re like” and “who you are.”

3. This article is over a year old. But I just found it, and I’m sharing it today so that any person out there who relapsed into ED behaviors during Covid can understand that they weren’t alone.

The pandemic set many folks back in their recovery journeys. But there are ways to move forward right here, right now, for always.

4. I love seeing that Today’s Dietitian is covering some of the body-shaming practices that befall female athletes.

This article discusses the classic “female athlete triad” (disordered eating, amenorrhea, and osteopenia/osteoporosis), but it takes a deeper dive, with inclusion of tips for RDs (including me!) who want to support their young athlete clients.

5. Why do allergies appear and disappear? As a person who was walloped with environmental allergies in my early thirties, I’d love to know for sure. Until we find the answer, I’ll keep reading about our inquiries.

And hoping that I one day become not-near-deathly-allergic to cats.

On that note, friends, time to wind down this Sunday. I’ll be back this week, with a little more meal prep stuff, and also (I hope!) a new recipe.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    1 Comment
  1. Hi Gena,
    Thank you so much for including the Mushroom Risotto from Oh My Veg! on your list! I’ll be sure to check out the other recipes you linked to, they look delicious.

You might also like

It is blazing hot here in New York City. Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to keep cool and stay indoors, and I’ve been bemoaning the humidity. Still, there’s a part of me that is enjoying the languor and the torpor of summer. I have been slowing down this summer, a lot. Walking slowly, working slowly, writing slowly–even cooking more slowly and methodically than usual. It’s a choice. For the last year, my pace of life has been too frenzied. I’ve constructed a convenient narrative in which…

Happy Sunday, friends, and a very happy Mother’s Day to you! My mom and I have a museum trip planned later this afternoon, followed by dinner together, which will be a celebration not only of Mother’s Day, but also of her birthday, which is tomorrow. I’m excited to shower her in love and in chocolate, namely in the form of my vegan, gluten free double chocolate cupcakes. I whipped a batch of them up yesterday, and it took quite a bit of restraint not…

Last Sunday, I came clean about being stuck in a cycle of repetitive, anxious thoughts. My friend Maria shared the following response: When I was in my thirties, I had a therapist who suggested something that sounded really counter intuitive to me about my fearful thought patterns. She said that when I started into a worrying self-critical spiral, instead of getting frustrated or mad at myself, to say “thank you” to myself. “Thank you” to that part of myself that was trying to…

A couple weeks ago, a client and I were talking about eating disorder recovery. Specifically, we talked about the very human, relatable part of us that hopes for healing to be prompted by some sort of epiphany or answered prayer. I thought back to this post. When I wrote it six years ago, I was remembering being pre-contemplative about ED recovery. I looked back on those years in my twenties when I wanted to want to recover, but didn’t actually want to recover….