Gaining: The Truth about Life After Eating Disorders PDF

Gaining: The Truth about Life After Eating Disorders I had mixed feelings about this book It s easy to absorb and follow and she s writing about a topic that is addressed so little in the literature, that it s important It s a start I found myself struggling with personality categories that seemed too distinct, too limited, and too inflexible Three to be exact I wondered about diversity, in terms of class and race, and who exactly she was interviewing demographically I also felt like there was too much emphasis on perfectionism, for it certa I had mixed feelings about this book It s easy to absorb and follow and she s writing about a topic that is addressed so little in the literature, that it s important It s a start I found myself struggling with personality categories that seemed too distinct, too limited, and too inflexible Three to be exact I wondered about diversity, in terms of class and race, and who exactly she was interviewing demographically I also felt like there was too much emphasis on perfectionism, for it certainly doesn t characterize every person who s had and eating disorder, including those with anorexia While I think the inclusion of biology, personality temperament are really important, I also think the cultural patriachal climate we live in is also vital to understand for its contribution and I think she needs to delveinto that And by cultural patriachal climate I don t mean passing reference to the propagation of a thin ideal in advertising, I mean deconstructing sexism, objectification, power powerlessness of women, and muchI enjoyed the anecdotes and only wish she could have includedin terms of what women who ve found some sense of normalcy have done in their own processes to get there Overall, I d recommend it, I think it adds an important new dimension to the field and it leaves us with a great starting point from which to dig deeper In , Liu penned the groundbreaking memoir Solitaire, in which she described her battle with anorexia Now, three decades later, Liu shares her story and those of her peers who are still struggling to understand the role anorexia and bulimia have played in their lives ➱ [Read] ➬ Poltergeist (Greywalker, By Kat Richardson ➼ – Lavons.co.uk Liu penned the groundbreaking memoir Solitaire [Read] ➵ OBaby ➲ Geoffrey Johnson – Lavons.co.uk in which she described her battle with anorexia Now [EPUB] ✰ Defiant (MacKinnons Rangers, Author Pamela Clare – Lavons.co.uk three decades later [Reading] ➷ 21 Divisiones de Los Misterios Sanses By Ernesto Bravo Estrada – Lavons.co.uk Liu shares her story and those of her peers who are still struggling to understand the role anorexia and bulimia have played in their lives I applaud the book for really speaking to the fact that anorexia isn t about silly girls reading Teen Beat and trying to look skinny like the models in the ads, but is rather one expression of a deep psychic pain and a drive to annihilate the self The anorexic s compulsion is not about looking pretty as should be obvious from the appearance of those in the hardest grip of the disorder , but is rather about the desire literally to disappear I m grateful to Liu for giving voice to this, and for I applaud the book for really speaking to the fact that anorexia isn t about silly girls reading Teen Beat and trying to look skinny like the models in the ads, but is rather one expression of a deep psychic pain and a drive to annihilate the self The anorexic s compulsion is not about looking pretty as should be obvious from the appearance of those in the hardest grip of the disorder , but is rather about the desire literally to disappear I m grateful to Liu for giving voice to this, and for honoring the stories of people who are bravely working to regain their health after struggling with this disorder.I found Liu most insightful in the first two sections of the book on the inner self and the connections with friends and family The third section on society got a little easy and vague I remember something about how if we stopped thinking so much about our thighs perhaps we could end nuclear proliferation, or somesuch Um, no But, again, most of the book was right on target Extremely unhelpful I love that the cover features a chic who appears to weigh all of 80 lbs. Dozens and dozens of books over the past thirty some years have tried to explain what anorexia and bulimia really are, but nothing quite gets it the way Gaining The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders does.Writer Aimee Liu sums it up best on page 125 Recovery is like a big old house the anorexic or the bulimic is always going to live there People sometimes think, I can evict her, I can get rid of that But you don t develop an eating disorder for no good reason It s a profound experience Dozens and dozens of books over the past thirty some years have tried to explain what anorexia and bulimia really are, but nothing quite gets it the way Gaining The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders does.Writer Aimee Liu sums it up best on page 125 Recovery is like a big old house the anorexic or the bulimic is always going to live there People sometimes think, I can evict her, I can get rid of that But you don t develop an eating disorder for no good reason It s a profound experience So how can you wipe out that whole piece of your history I prefer to think of it this way She used to rule the house in a kind of tyranny She was in charge of the kitchen, in charge of everything Now she still gets to live there and she may still have some of those old fears and vulnerabilities, but she s got only one room in the house and has to make way forandoccupants as time passes It s no wonder Aimee Liu captures the image of recovery so well, she writes from experience In her teens and twenties, Liu battled anorexia and thought she had won the war, but found herself battling it all over again in her forties Her examination of this scary world covers so much the people she s met along the way both men and women who have been in her shoes, the causes of eating disorders always up for debate depending upon whom you to talk to , the sadness, the triumphs Publishers Weekly says this book is poignant even for those who have have not suffered from an eating disorder The author s sincerity is as touching as her website, where she shares letters from readers who have reached out to her in gratitude and their need to share what they ve survived Books such as Gaining are crucial because they help put perspective on a misunderstood disease where the victim is often blamed Free of any kind of sensationalism or need to romanticize eating disorders, Gaining lays everything on the line for patients both past and present and their loved ones And while she s not afraid to write about the grim truths of eating disorders, she leaves her readers with hope, not fear This book was seriously disappointing Liu basically implied that anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder is bound struggle with being a neurotic perfectionist for the rest of her life The majority of the book consisted interviews with said neurotic perfectionists to prove the point that eating disorders have less to do with weight and body image andto do with how one processes the tough parts of life Yes, we know already What would have been useful was somehope There is This book was seriously disappointing Liu basically implied that anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder is bound struggle with being a neurotic perfectionist for the rest of her life The majority of the book consisted interviews with said neurotic perfectionists to prove the point that eating disorders have less to do with weight and body image andto do with how one processes the tough parts of life Yes, we know already What would have been useful was somehope There is precious little until the very last chapter, and what is offered comes, primarily, not from Liu herself, or any of the middle aged professionals, but from Jessica Weiner, a 20 something actionist Save yourself some precious reading time and check out Courtney Martin s link Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters instead Primarily based on research and interviews, this book was difficult to follow The chronology of the author s life was lost and it was nearly impossible to keep track of the interviewees, their stories, and the lessons to be learned from their lives.That is not to say that this book is a waste of a read In fact, there is much insight to the disordered eater s thought processes and actions Though I would not necessarily recommend this book I would not dissuade one from reading it either. This is a muchinspirational and self helpy kind of book than I would generally touch with a ten foot stick, but I picked it up because I m at a point in my life where I genuinely want to Recover from my various mental health problems, including disordered eating and eating disordered thinking, not just keep the most destructive behaviors under control so that I m not putting myself in physical danger To do this, I ve realized I have to do the hard, embarrassing, and often very trite clich This is a muchinspirational and self helpy kind of book than I would generally touch with a ten foot stick, but I picked it up because I m at a point in my life where I genuinely want to Recover from my various mental health problems, including disordered eating and eating disordered thinking, not just keep the most destructive behaviors under control so that I m not putting myself in physical danger To do this, I ve realized I have to do the hard, embarrassing, and often very trite cliche feeling work of figuring out what emotional problems thoughtworms unmet needs unacknowledged desires etc are actually undergirding my obsessions, compulsions, and destructive behavior patterns and address those instead of treating the behaviors themselves as the whole problem Since introspective rumination can only go so far in such endeavors, I ve been reading basically anything that seems like it might provide any insight or helpful advice GAINING didn t provide much for me personally in the way of actionable advice, although that is mostly because I m already in therapy and on an SSRI, already practice some CBT DBT and mindfulness techniques, cannot do yoga or certain forms of meditation for health reasons, and do not have or expect to have a romantic partner or children However, I can easily see this book prompting another reader to make a beneficial lifestyle change such as seeking therapy or marriage counseling, starting a spiritual practice, changing the way they talk about food and bodies with their young childrenor trying psychiatric medication One thing I learned from GAINING that I badly wish I d known sooner is that SSRI antidepressants are very effective in treating most bulimics and some anorexics, especially if they are also suffering from severe depression and anxiety however , the drugs tend not to work on people who are seriously underweight When I first tried SSRIs in my early twenties, I was between 14 and 20 lbs underweight I am short, so that s a lot Because medication was ineffective then , I spentthan six years thinking I had some kind of special brain chemistry that just couldn t respond to SSRIs, when in fact the problem was likely just that I was too thin Had I known that at the time, I might have tried them again once I d reached a healthier weight instead of waiting an additional four years, until I was desperately miserable and had hurt myself and a lot of other people with my behavior, before figuring out that they could help me Oh, well Water under the bridge.The main way GAINING was helpful to me, then, was not in giving me advice or the inspiration to change anything I m currently doing , but in providing insight into the way my mind and personality work, making me realize that I m far from alone in my tendencies, traumas, neuroses, and perfectionistic self loathing, and that a lot of the groundwork for my eating disorder was laid by genetic forces and life experiences that I had no control over It s easy to feel stupid and shallow and hypocritical for succumbing to an eating disorder when pop culture paints eating disorders as the provenance of image obsessed young women who have gullibly internalized an unrealistically skinny standard of beauty, and you pride yourself on being an iconoclastic, skeptical consumer of media who does not care about being conventionally attractive It s easy to hate yourself when you can t stop doing something that part of you knows is very bad for you, worrying your family, ruining your life, etc I won t go into all the ways in which this book made me reconsider my self image and self blame, as that would be overly personal, and extremely tedious for others, and probably, well, trite and cliche and obvious sounding But learning about the ways many aspects of my mental and emotional problems are intimately interconnected, hearing the stories of others with similar experiences, and being told that almost anyone with my genetic inheritance and my life experiences and my cultural background would have ended up the same way I did, that the salient part of my story isn t that I was weak enough to succumb but that I was strong enough to pull out of it, all of that was truly empowering and affirming Gag Self help buzzwords This book is definitely not without flaw I m glad I overcame my cynic s aversion to the genre and read it anyway It s worth noting that, while GAINING acknowledges that people of any gender and sexual orientation can develop eating disorders, its focus is overwhelmingly on the experiences of heterosexual, cisgender women, and heterosexual, cisgender women with eating disorders are clearly its main target audience If you re not heterosexual, not cisgender, or not a woman and I m none of those things some of the subject matter here is just not going to be relevant to your life, and some of the generalizations will probably feel at least a bit alienating On the other hand, if you ve had anorexia or bulimia, a great deal will be very relatable indeed, regardless What a young adult needs the most are modesty, humility, and patience A question that my supervisor asked the other day really made me ponder why did you choose eating disorders given you have no prior experience with this population I was not able to give an answer that would satisfy both sides, but now I have one Eating disorder is unique it isn t purely psychological, it is physical as well it isn t based on individual traits, but also societal values and cultures it doesn t just What a young adult needs the most are modesty, humility, and patience A question that my supervisor asked the other day really made me ponder why did you choose eating disorders given you have no prior experience with this population I was not able to give an answer that would satisfy both sides, but now I have one Eating disorder is unique it isn t purely psychological, it is physical as well it isn t based on individual traits, but also societal values and cultures it doesn t just involve psychologists, but also dietitians, physicians, and nurses Most importantly, eating is such a nature of human beings a necessity to keep us alive, it is amazing that we have both epicureans and anorexics in this world Eating disorder is not a white only mental disorder It is certainly present in Asia, especially urban regions, and I have every reason to believe that the prevalence rate in East Asia is no lower than our western counterparts However, the fact is, eating disorder is not well known in Asia, nor do we have well trained professionals or institutes for this population So here comes the demand, and this is why I am learning this I see the opportunity Another reason is the treatment for eating disorder is congruent with my own understanding of life action through non action and live by nature Eating disorder, sleep disorder, and sex disorder are the very ones where body and mind must be integrated, and eating, sleep, sex are all necessities in life they could become arts and sources of joy, but also tortures and fears I believe the greatest wisdom in life is nothan this I eat when I am hungry, I sleep when I feel sleepy Nonetheless, letting our nature manage our body is not an easy job, helping people to discover and trust their body and instincts takes hard work The ultimate treatment for eating disorder is by connecting dots understand the deeper issues underlying the eating disorder, it could be mood, perfectionism, trauma, or family problems Whatever it is, we need to address the roots rather than the symptoms, and to do so, we need to help them connects dots This is a great book I highly recommend for those who might have eating disorders, or who are interested in eating disorders The author is a remarkable woman, who had a long struggle with eating disorders during adolescence and early adulthood, has been writing a lot about eating disorders and advocating public awareness, and is utterly honest, disclosing, and forthcoming She also wrote another book Restoring our bodies, reclaiming our lives about recovery from eating disorders Let s look at eating disorders this way We all have stress and difficulties in life, especially for those who are born withvulnerable personalities e.g anxious, perfectionistic, sensitive, inferior, susceptible , and there are many ways to handle the distress Restricting food intake, over exercising, binging eating, and purging are all alternatives, they provide a great sense of control so that you could live in a secluded world with your own rules You could shun away from others and fears, as long as you are obeying the eating disordered part of you, it is all right A few personality traits stand out for people with eating disorders 1 Perfectionism Everything needs to be perfect They have a high standard for themselves and everything, it needs to be exact The dilemma is life does not always allow us to be perfect life is random by nature, and even though they achieved perfection in life, they are not contented, they just keep going, feeding their need for perfection 2 Over control Life is unpredictable, there are two ways dealing with the uncertainty accept it and have a sense of humor, or control everything so that you feel safe People with eating disorders tend to over control every aspects of their life eating, sleeping, relationships, work, finances, cleaning, the list never ends 3 Insecure They don t feel secure about themselves They lack confidence and self worth, or their self worth is dependent on others They are afraid, they choose not to trust others, and they are constantly anxious 4 Sensitivity They are extremely sensitive towards people around them comments about their body shape and appearance, judgments of their capabilities, and how they are perceived by even strangers They are susceptible to media, magazines, and fashion Small cues could trigger big emotions Review in sum TW For anyone looking to understand eating disorders from the outside I implore you to do further reading to get arounded understanding For those recovering avoid For now at least This is the first ED book I ve had a problem with I have a whole shelve on here of farhelpful books, all of which I d recommend As someone early on in recovery from anorexia weight restored but with a long way to go , this isn t a book I d recommend in terms of understanding anorexia f Review in sum TW For anyone looking to understand eating disorders from the outside I implore you to do further reading to get arounded understanding For those recovering avoid For now at least This is the first ED book I ve had a problem with I have a whole shelve on here of farhelpful books, all of which I d recommend As someone early on in recovery from anorexia weight restored but with a long way to go , this isn t a book I d recommend in terms of understanding anorexia from the outside or for those attempting recovery The interviews and analyses that stick out to me are the majority which seem to describe lives just as controlled, rigid, cold and not particularly appealing as the one I m trying to break free of As some of the reviews say there are good parts BUT to a typical and triggerable disordered mind I found myself thinking numerous times throughout the book giving up MY way and all this weight doesn t seem worth it, because of the descriptions of post ED life I also found myself feeling and this is symptomatic of anorexia, but I don t expect it to be prompted by a recovery book undeserving of my diagnosis and feeling guilty of my struggle because I haven t been molested or abused, as frequently came up throughout the book The need to defeat the stereotype of rich, white, females being the only ones with disorders wasn t exactly helped either There was a distinct whiff of privilege in the vast majority of stories


About the Author: Aimee Liu

Aimee Liu is a best selling novelist, essayist, and nonfiction author based in Los Angeles.Her 2020 novel GLORIOUS BOY, published by Red Hen Press, has received rave endorsements The most memorable and original novel I ve read in ages Aimee Liu evokes every side in a multi cultural conversation with sympathy and rare understanding Pico Iyer A riveting amalgam of history, family epic, anticolonial antiwar treatise, cultural crossroads, and , this latest from best selling author Liu is a fascinating, irresistible marvel Library Journal, starred review This fascinating novel examines the many dimensions of war, from the tragedy of loss to the unexpected relationships formed during conflict The Andamans are a lush and unusual setting, a sacred home to all kinds of cultures and people, and Liu s prose is masterful A good choice for book groups and for readers who are unafraid to be swept away Booklist, starred reviewGlorious Boy is a tale of family devotion, war, and survival Set on India s remote Andaman Islands before and during WWII , the story revolves around a mysteriously mute 4 year old who vanishes on the eve of Japanese Occupation Little Ty s parents, Shep and Claire, will go to any lengths to rescue him, but neither is prepared for the brutal odyssey that awaits them.Aimee is also the author of GAINING The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders, published by Warner Books, February, 2007 Drawing on her own history of anorexia as well as interviews withthan forty other former anorexics and bulimics, Liu picks up her exploration of recovery where she ended her acclaimed memoir of anorexia nervosa, SOLITAIRE Harper Row, 1979 , at age twenty five Back then, she thought recovery meant eating well Gaining proves that healthy nutrition is only a first step True recovery requires a new understanding of the role that genetics, personality, relationships, and anxiety play in these disorders Liu uses cutting edge research to dispel the myth that fashion is to blame She examines the real reasons eating disorders at all ages are on the rise, and how they can be prevented in future generations Aimee has three previous novels FLASH HOUSE Warner Books, 2003 is a tale of suspense and Cold War intrigue set in Central Asia CLOUD MOUNTAIN Warner Books, 1997 is based on the true story of her American grandmother and Chinese revolutionary grandfather Liu s first novel, FACE Warner Books, 1994 , deals with mixed race identity These books have been translated intothan a dozen languages.Before turning to writing fulltime, Aimee edited business and trade publications and worked as an associate producer for NBC s TODAY show She has co authored seven books on medical and psychological topics Her articles, essays, and short stories have appeared in anthologies and periodicals such as Cosmopolitan, Self, Glamour, and Good Housekeeping Aimee Liu was born in 1953 and raised in Connecticut, received her B.A from Yale University in 1975 and her MFA from Bennington College in 2006 She lives in Los Angeles with her family teaches creative writing in Goddard College s MFA program and is a past president of the national writers organization PEN USA.


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