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Life After Emotional & Binge Eating

Happy Birthday to me

In recent years I have hated birthdays….it wasn’t about age, per se. Instead, my angst has been about expectations and sometimes about feeling lonely. Birthdays are the only thing about being single I dislike.

Last year I spent my birthday with my Mother in a Boston hospital. She was having a gastric feeding tube surgically implanted into her stomach following a stroke.  At the time, due to damage from the stroke, she could not swallow, eat, talk, or even write, but her comprehension was 100%. Imagine one day being yourself and then the next still being as sharp as ever, mentally and intellectually, but not being able to communicate to others any of your thoughts or feelings. They call it being “locked in”.   It’s horrible!  Needless to say, it was a difficult day in the midst of a very difficult time. I spent most of that day trying to hold myself together for my Mom. So this year I decided I really wanted to make some better birthday memories.

Most of my friends are busy, married, writing books, trying to make new businesses successful. They’re appropriately wrapped up in their own lives. They are not sitting around thinking about my birthday. Still, in the past, if people didn’t remember my birthday, or initiate birthday plans, I would feel sorry for myself, sit at home with my two dogs feeling sorry for myself.  Not this year!

This year I decided to practice extreme self-care.  Two weeks in advance, I sent out an email to several close friends saying Saturday, Oct. 2nd is my birthday and I was wondering if anyone would like to hang out, go to lunch, a movie, and/or dinner. It felt a little odd asking people to spend my birthday with me. But the result is that I am having a wonderful day!  And there’s more the come.

My friend Lorah Dorn was going to be away today but emailed and asked if she could take me to dinner Wednesday night. We had a lovely dinner!  At 11am today Mary Gilbert and I went to see “The Social Network” (the movie about Facebook-fascinating) and then we had a wonderful time over lunch. I’m having dinner with my friend Debba Haupert who started Girlfriendology.com (practicing what her online community is all about), and then we’re going to a concert that our friend Colleen Cushard helped organize. 

I got birthday messages on Facebook from many old friends, an old boyfriend, a friend of an old boyfriend, and from my sister-in-law (thank you Mark Zuckerberg for creating Facebook—many of those people would not have remembered my birthday without you). Even my niece who is in her freshman year at Wash U called. I got to keep her company while she was waiting for her laundry to finish.

Life is good today! I’m pleased I was willing to contribute to making that so!


  1. Happy Birthday Ellen! It sounds like you were surrounded by love and care. I wish you the best this year.

  2. Great news. Happy belated birthday! Sorry I haven’t been in touch. Broken foot had keep me a bit uninvolved.

  3. Happy Birthday Ellen!! Sounds like you had a wonderful day…creating just what you wanted. Thanks for sharing your approach to that. You are a great example to all of us! Go Libra’s!!!

  4. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says

    Thanks, Meg! I always thought it was ironic that my zodiac sign was a scale! Got to have a sense a humor!

  5. Ellen, Not sure if I realized our birthdays were so close together. Today I turn 39. Happy Birthday to Us!

  6. Ellen Shuman, Emotional Eating Coach; A Weigh Out says

    Happy Birthday to you, too, Suzanne! We’re still in our “Birthday Season”, as a few of my friends call it..allows us to celebrate before and after the day with friends who are not available on the day! Convenient, huh!

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