Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Read

If you have some time off during the holidays, I recommend reading Insatiable: A Young Mother's Struggle with Anorexia, a memoir by first-time author, Erica Rivera. As the subtitle notes, the young Rivera (in her early 20s) traces her eating disorder from dieting to restriction and over-exercise to binge eating, and then to recovery.

Rivera recalls a childhood memory:
I don't just have my mother's face; I have her body, too. We share the same padded hips, the rounded thighs, the kangaroo pouch of a belly. When I see the abrasive way she turns away from herself in the mirror, how can I think of my body as anything but flawed?
It's not long before Rivera develops eating-disordered behavior. After a consultation with a diet doctor ("Being this requires sacrifice"), Rivera takes the diet to an extreme, which morphs into anorexia. Not surprisingly, Rivera suffers the physiological and psychological consequences of countless days of restriction and eventually ends up overeating (developing a persona whom she refers to as "Binge Bitch").

Rivera relies on her family, treatment team, and her writing to guide her to health. One of her journal entries reveals: "In The Writer's Life, author Julia Cameron says going sane looks a lot like going insane." What a perfect description of recovery. . .

Note: I've added Insatiable to the EWHAED book list. While this book may be helpful to many, it may be triggering to some. As always, I recommend you be mindful of this as you read.


SuSuseriffic said...

Do you have any insight into the Britany Murphy death? It is speculated that is was partialy due to her eating disorder (and likely drugs.)

Gayle said...

Thanks for the recommendation. I just ordered Insatiable, Feed Me and Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat to add to my huge collection. Will arrive on Wed so looking forward to finding some time to read this long weekend. Maybe if I stay focused on books I won't be so focused on food *sigh*.

Icie said...

That snippet is an excellent example of how body image issues can be transmitted from mothers to daughters. Mothers obsessed with diet and body image tend to transmit that same worry and behaviour to their children.

SuSuseriffic... interesting you should bring up the Britanny Murphy death. I too have read much speculation in last 48 hours that drugs and an eating disorder may have contributed to her death. It seems like a lot of people close to Brittany were aware that she had some pretty intense body image issues. Her actor friend Jamie Kennedy even tweeted: "Britney (sic) they say died of cardiac arrest from anorexia. Jesus Christ how long before we f . . . in realize w r too hard women in this biz."

The coroner said the cardiac arrest was brought about by natural causes... but there is NOTHING "natural" when a 32-year old suffers cardiac arrest which makes me suspect that it was helped along by drug use or an eating disorder.
I blogged about it today on my blog Celeb Body Image. I'd love to hear your commentary on it! :)

Icie said...

I forgot to ask, do any of you feel embarrassed or stigmatized to be seen reading books about eating disorders or body image?

Erica Rivera said...

Thanks for the great review!
Readers can stay updated on all things INSATIABLE at my Facebook Fan Page and my website. Happy holidays!

Erica Rivera

drstaceyny said...

I was interviewed abt Brittany Murphy just a little while ago. To be 100% honest, my first thought after learning of her death was, I wonder which of my specialties (e.d.'s vs. addictions) is responsible for this. We really can't (and shouldn't) speculate, though, and this is the media angle I took (the story was on the danger of e.d.'s in general, and hopefully, the media will use this opportunity to focus on that and getting treatment for those who suffer, rather than exploiting a particular individual).

P.S. Hi, Erica! Thanks for stopping by. . .

Shae Adele said...

That's where my eating disorder stemmed from.

My mom and I are identical; when she bashes her body she also bashes mine.

Thanks for sharing!

BlAnCh said...

that is so relatable.
i think mi disordered eating is rooted in my mothers insecurities.
i means shes been bulimic since she was 13, what hope did i have. i have the same body as her. if thinks she's fat, than how do i feel about that.

thnku, im def going to read that book

Fat Bastard said...

SHEEESH! According to the CDC there are only 200,000 anorexics in the US and less than 200 die each year from it. Give it a rest!

On the other hand over 400,000 of us gluttons eat ourselves to death. AND... most of us fatling are male.

Proud FA said...

What about Michael Jackson? His BMI was 16 when he died. He was way skinnier than Miss Murphy.

I Hate to Weight said...

the book was wonderful. it also inspired me to pull out my notebooks, pick up Natalie Goldberg's WRITING DOWN THE BONES and get writing again after 10 years.

thank you for the suggestion. very meaningful.