Guest Blogger

Jennifer Denise Ouellette

Jennifer Denise Ouellette

The name of the personal blog I began in 2007 is Juggling Life and that’s also my two-word autobiography. My current, and largely joy-filled, juggle consists of: my full-time job as Allied Health Program Director for a vocational school (I love counseling and supporting students in the pursuit of their career goals), my almost-full-time work as an advocate and activist in the eating disorder world, overseeing my sometimes full and sometimes empty nest (my oldest two children are fully on their own, my younger two are still in college), finding time to enjoy the post-24-hr/day parenting phase of our marriage with my high school sweetheart husband, and self-care like bike riding, kayaking and book group with the steadfast and amazing women I have as friends.

As a blogger, tweeter and Facebook user and once one of Nielsen Online’s Top 50 Power Moms, I consider social media to be an unparalleled tool for activism. Arguably the most important work I have done to date is to drag many of my compatriots—middle-aged women—onto Twitter to take their activism to the next level. Our first successful campaign was to get sunglass designer Thierry Lasry to change the name of a sunglass line from “anorexxxy.” As I said in this interview, if people think anorexia is a fashion choice, they won’t also think it’s a deadly disease.

I enjoy advocacy on both the macro and micro levels and my involvement in Mothers Against Eating Disorders Support, Mothers Against Eating Disorders Advocacy and Activism, International Eating Disorders Action, Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders, and the University of California at San Diego Eating Disorder Center Parent Advisory Committee gives me a variety of avenues to pursue my advocacy work and directly support mothers and families.

Combining my passion for writing with my activism is one of my most rewarding pursuits and I am proud to write a parent column for the UCSD Eating Disorder Program. My favorite and most important post to date is Ten Things Parent Wish Educators Knew About Eating Disorders; I encourage you to print it and share it at your school and with teacher friends.

I am on the social media committee for the inaugural Mothers and Others March to be held in Washington D.C. on 9/30/14. Our purpose is to have moms, families and advocates unite in the fight against eating disorders. On 10/1/14, many of us will lobby our legislators at Eating Disorder Coalition Lobby Day. The Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders (FREED Act) is an important piece of legislation and is needed to address gross inequities in the distribution of funding dollars. Did you know that in 2011 the United States spent about $90 per sufferer on Alzheimer’s Research and $0.93 per sufferer on eating disorders? This is despite the fact that eating disorders affect six times as many people as Alzheimer’s does.

I am a long-time daily practitioner of “the attitude of gratitude” and I am thankful for my wonderful friends and family and for the energy and passion I have to bring to the pursuits that give my life happiness and meaning.

For More from Jennifer:
Personal Blog: Juggling Life
Additional Blog: UCSD Parent Perspectives Tumblr
Facebook: Jennifer Denise Taunton Ouellette
Twitter: Menopausal Hen Jenn @JugglingJenn
Instagram: JDOuellette
LinkedIn: Jennifer Denise Ouellette


Blog Posts by Jennifer Denise Ouellette

  • Five women and two men holding a sign that reads "We Are Marching for so many #MarchAgainst ED

    Present Day

    My daughter spent almost five months in the UCSD Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment Program in 2012 and six weeks in their adult program in 2013, after a relapse. She continues to check in with her (phenomenal) psychiatrist regularly. She has found art to be an important tool for her to maintain her recovery. Recovery: A […]

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  • Happy Family at a wedding

    FBT What?

    Family Based Treatment (FBT) understands this truth: recovery from an eating disorder cannot be made without full weight restoration and ongoing full nutrition. There is another important acknowledgement FBT makes which conventional (and markedly less effective) treatments don’t: when the symptom of a disease is anosognosia (inability to recognize one is ill), waiting for the […]

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  • Line drawing of an elephant

    Down the Rabbit Hole

    I am fond of prefacing conversations about eating disorders with: “If, everything you know about eating disorders you learned from an ABC Afterschool Special or Lifetime TV movie, you don’t know anything.” A frightening aspect of this disease is that most people—including doctors and other clinicians—wrongly assume full authority on the topic. Many people don’t […]

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  • Smiling teenage girl on a beach

    When Choice Isn’t A Choice

    Long before I knew the term “disordered eating,” I knew its environment. My stunningly beautiful mother maintained her perfectly-proportioned, svelte figure with Carnation Instant Breakfast, cigarettes for hunger control during the day and an enormous, home-cooked, delicious meat, potatoes, salad and vegetable dinner every night. Sweets and sugar were forbidden, but sour cream was encouraged—low-fat, […]

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  • Whit Picket Fence with yellow flowers in the background

    Taking the Road you Never Wished to Travel

    Intellectually, we know John Lennon nailed it, “ Life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans.” Truly owning that sentiment is something else. For me, an inveterate planner (right down to March and May babies for Kindergarten-readiness) with a proven track record of turning the plan into a reality, this […]

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