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Over the last 25 years, our longing for thinness has morphed into a relentless cultural obsession with weight and body image. You can't be a woman or girl (or, increasingly, a man or boy) in America today and not grapple with the size and shape of your body, your daughter's body, other women's bodies. Even the most confident people have to find a way through a daily gauntlet of voices and images talking, admonishing, warning us about what size we should be, how much we should weigh, what we should eat and what we shouldn't. Obsessing about weight has become a ritual and a refrain, punctuating our every relationship, including the ones with ourselves. It's time to change the conversation around weight. Harriet Brown has explored the conundrums of weight and body image for more than a decade, as a science journalist, as a woman who has struggled with weight, as a mother, wife, and professor. In this book, she describes how biology, psychology, metabolism, media, and culture come together to shape our ongoing obsession with our bodies, and what we can learn from them to help us shift the way we think. Brown exposes some of the myths behind the rhetoric of obesity, gives historical and contemporary context for what it means to be "fat," and offers readers ways to set aside the hysteria and think about weight and health in more nuanced and accurate ways.
Over the past twenty-five years, our quest for thinness has morphed into a relentless obsession with weight and body image. In our culture, "fat" has become a four-letter word. Or, as Lance Armstrong said to the wife of a former teammate, "I called you crazy. I called you a bitch. But I never called you fat. " How did we get to this place where the worst insult you can hurl at someone is "fat"? Where women and girls (and increasingly men and boys) will diet, purge, overeat, undereat, and berate themselves and others, all in the name of being thin? As a science journalist, Harriet Brown has explored this collective longing and fixation from an objective perspective; as a mother, wife, and woman with "weight issues," she has struggled to understand it on a personal level. Now, in Body of Truth, Brown systematically unpacks what's been offered as "truth" about weight and health. Starting with the four biggest lies, Brown shows how research has been manipulated; how the medical profession is complicit in keeping us in the dark; how big pharma and big, empty promises equal big, big dollars; how much of what we know (or think we know) about health and weight is wrong. And how all of those affect all of us every day, whether we know it or not. The quest for health and wellness has never been more urgent, yet most of us continue to buy into fad diets and unattainable body ideals, unaware of the damage we're doing to ourselves. Through interviews, research, and her own experience, Brown not only gives us the real story on weight, health, and beauty, but also offers concrete suggestions for how each of us can sort through the lies and misconceptions and make peace with and for ourselves.
I've never had anorexia, but I know it well. I see it on the street, in the gaunt and sunken face, the bony chest, the spindly arms of an emaciated woman. I've come to recognize the flat look of despair, the hopelessness that follows, inevitably, from years of starvation. I think: That could have been my daughter. It wasn't. It's not. If I have anything to say about it, it won't be. Millions of families are affected by eating disorders, which usually strike young women between the ages of fourteen and twenty. But current medical practice ties these families' hands when it comes to helping their children recover. Conventional medical wisdom dictates separating the patient from the family and insists that "it's not about the food," even as a family watches a child waste away before their eyes. Harriet Brown shows how counterproductive--and heartbreaking--this approach is by telling her daughter's story of anorexia. She describes how her family, with the support of an open-minded pediatrician and a therapist, helped her daughter recover using family-based treatment, also known as the Maudsley approach. Chronicling her daughter Kitty's illness from the earliest warning signs, through its terrifying progression, and on toward recovery, Brown takes us on one family's journey into the world of anorexia nervosa, where starvation threatened her daughter's body and mind. But hope and love--of the ordinary, family-focused kind--shine through every decision and action she and her family took. Brave Girl Eating is essential reading for families and professionals alike, a guiding light for anyone who's coping with this devastating disease.
This collection of poignant, heartbreaking, and funny essays includes works from some of the literary world's most accomplished authors about one issue that plagues nearly every woman: her relationship with food.
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