Thursday, February 28, 2008

Book Report

You may have noticed a new edition to the EWHAED book club (quick, look over on the right!) It's Abby Ellin's Teenage Waistland, a part-memoir, part-reference look at how parents can best help their overweight (and, here, I mean this in the most literal sense--over the "ideal" weight our society has agreed upon, as some of the adolescents Ellin describes, including, herself, are not really fat) teens. In Teenage Waistland, Ellin tackles difficult questions, such as: 1) What should you say/not say about your child's body? 2) How can you respond to your overweight teen who is bullied at school? 3) Should you send your teen to "fat camp?" 4) How about diets? 5) Is losing weight simply a matter of willpower? 6) Why don't heavy teens want to be thinner? 7) What should you do with your overweight teen who eats well and exercises but can't seem to lose any weight?

As for the answers to these questions, you'll have to read the book. And trust me, it'll be a treat--not just because it's chock full of helpful information and case studies, but because Ellin reflects on her personal experiences in a sensitive, yet light-hearted way and because she uses careful and poignant language to make her point and to convey the deep-seated relationship between emotions and our weight. There are plenty of books out there on how to help your children lose weight and/or gain acceptance of their bodies. Ellin, having personally climbed through the fat-camp and diet-fad ranks, can effectively tell us how.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog and will have a look at all the books listed here. Thanks for what you are doing here.

:) Connie

Palmtreechick said...

If only there was a manual on how to talk about weight issues with your children in a way that won't cause them to be disordered. I know you posted something about this a few weeks ago, when a friend asked about raising her daughter free of an ED. Kids pick up on the slightest things, things we don't even realize they're picking up on. We're oblivious but they're observant.

In therapy the other night, I was discussing ordering pizza for my nephews. (I'm babysitting for them in my apartment and I think they'll enjoy seeing a man come to do the door to bring us pizza.) My T said, "this would be a great opportunity for you to eat it with the cheese on it." I made a face, of course. She said something like, "That way you're nephews won't see you're strange behaviors." Those weren't her exact words, but you get it.

I watched my niece eat a cupcake the other day, (she's 3 1/2) without a care in the world. She said Aunt --- do you want a cupcake. I was sad when her mom replied, "She doesn't really eat those." :( I don't want to be a negative influence on her. Makes me sad.

Wow, that was long and pointless. Sorry.

cmoore said...

On the subject of books, I thought I'd mention one of my personal favorites, "The Rules of 'Normal' Eating" by Karen Koenig. I put her right up there with Geneen Roth as far as experts writing really useful material on decoding and dealing with eating issues.

Also, I thought you might enjoy Kenneth Cole's new "aWEARness blog" ( The current front page article discusses three models who were dismissed from a fashion show in Spain for being too thin.

littlem said...

"Wow, that was long and pointless. Sorry."

Um, I would say exactly it's the opposite of pointless. IMHO it's right to the point.

Becky-BBW said...

Will check the books.
Fashion and style is NOT about one size fits all. Truthfully it's about loving yourself, being healthy and knowing what works for you. Dont fall into the "Media" idea of what is Beauty, know that YOU as a Human and Individual are SEXY and Beautiful! ---

Steele said...

ooo case studies are my favorite. Seriously. Im that much of a nerd.

Rosalie said...

Hi Dr. Stacey,

I'm an avid reader of yours (but I rarely comment). I've had an eating disorder for the past 4 years and I've been in recovery for the past 1.5. For NEDAW, I wrote the following article about EDs for my school newspaper, and I was wondering if you'd be interested in reading it!

I think the story about sammy and the last paragraph applies to everyone -- people with EDs, people without, men, women, athletes, and anybody in between. :)



Rosalie said...

Link here


Anonymous said...

Apologies if my comments appear twice, by mistake: So many kinds of disordered ways of being in the world (and...Away from it) are begun with a few careless comments from someone on how a girl looks. Maybe a casually hurtful couple of words, something that, on the face of it, seems like not such a big deal. And so, a young girl is told that her body is too big. Or Too strange. Or Too oddly shaped. Her hips are too big, or her thighs. Her behind sticks out too much or is too flat. She may be quite thin, or not. It doesn't matter. One moment she either felt fine about her body/or wasn't even thinking about it for a while - the next moment she is made (FORCED) to see herself as flawed and judged in the eyes of another. She is deeply shamed and hurt, but she doesn't have enough strength to say to herself: I'm fine the way I am. Instead, she sets out to either hide herself or change her shape (self). Or, probably both. It's maddening and it's really a tragedy as it unfolds. It might result in a lifetime of disordered eating and self-hatred. It might end with the death of the hated body. All from a few words that helped to start a young girl on a collision course with herself and this culture's skewered way of looking at women, food and bodies.