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Gaining: The Truth about Life After Eating Disordersby Aimee Liu
Synopses & Reviews
If you've ever suffered from an eating disorder — or cared for someone who is anorexic or bulimic — you may think you understand these illnesses. But do you really understand why they occur? Do you know what it takes to fully recover? Do you know how eating disorders affect life after recovery? Now, nearly three decades after she detailed her first battle with anorexia in Solitaire, Aimee Liu presents an emotionally powerful and poignant sequel that digs deep into the causes, cures, and consequences of anorexia and bulimia nervosa.
Aimee Liu believed she had conquered anorexia in her twenties. Then in her forties, when her life once again began spiraling out of control, she stopped eating. Liu realized the same forces that had caused her original eating disorder were still in play. She also noticed that other women she knew with histories of anorexia and bulimia seemed to share many of her personality traits and habits under stress-even decades after "recovery." Intrigued and concerned, Liu set out to learn who is susceptible to these disorders and why, and what it takes to overcome them once and for all.
With Gaining, Liu shatters commonly held beliefs about eating disorders while assembling a puzzle that is as complex and fascinating as human identity itself. Through cutting-edge research and the stories of more than forty interview subjects, readers will discover that the tendency to develop anorexia or bulimia has little to do with culture, class, gender — or weight. Genetics, however, play a key role. So does temperament. So do anxiety, depression, and shame. Clearly, curing eating disorders involves more than good nutrition.
Candidly recalling her own struggles, triumphs, and defeats, Aimee explores an array of promising and innovative new treatments, offers vital insights to anyone who has ever had an eating disorder, and shows parents how to help protect their children from ever developing one. Her book is sure to change the way we talk and think about eating disorders for years to come.
"Thirty years after Liu penned Solitaire documenting her teenage experience with anorexia nervosa, she recounts her midlife relapse and recovery. Liu exposes many myths surrounding eating disorders, with a combination of research and in-depth interviews with other former anorexics and bulimics. She interviews men and women of various cultural and economic backgrounds to refute the notion that anorexia and bulimia affect only 'modern rich white girls.' Liu's interviewees range from Rob, a 50-year-old physician, to Jessica, an Australian 25-year-old aspiring actress. Liu devotes many chapters to the impact of family on the anorexic or bulimic, contradicting the accepted belief that the victim is 'the sick one'; rather, she locates the starting point of the disease in genetics, family life, shame and personality. Like other victims, Liu finds a history of mental disorders in her family, ranging from alcoholism to obsessive-compulsive disorder. According to Liu, a manifestation of an eating disorder is a call for help and should be treated as early as possible, and she fleshes out facts and statistics with her personal interviews, making this book poignant even for those who have not suffered from an eating disorder." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In 1979, 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.
Aimee Liu, who wrote Solitaire, the first-ever memoir of anorexia, in 1979, returns to the subject nearly three decades later and shares her story and those of the many women in her age group of life beyond this life-altering ailment. She has extensively researched the origins and effects of both anorexia and bulimia, and dispels many commonly held myths about these diseases with the persuasive conclusion that anorexia is a result of personality.
Key revelations include: the temperament required for eating disorders,the long-term effects of eating disorders on health, brain function, relationships and career,why some individuals recover while others relapse, and why many relapse in mid-life,Which treatment approaches are most successful long-term and how parents can tell if a child will be vulnerable to eating disorders.
Using her own experience and the stories of many recovering anorexics she's interviewed, Liu weaves together a narrative that is both persuasive in argument and compelling in personal details.
About the Author
Aimee Liu was born in 1953 and raised in Connecticut, and received her B.A. from Yale University in 1975. She lives in Los Angeles.
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