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Almost Anorexic: A Dietitian’s Book Review

This book by Jenni Schaefer clearly illustrates the tricky web of anorexia nervosa and how easily you or a loved one can get caught in the web.  The book talks a lot about how innocent dieting can spin out of control like cancer.  The authors discuss how researchers from the University of Sydney think that it would be a wise idea to label anorexia in stages (stage 1 to 4) like cancer so that early stages of anorexia would be treated aggressively.

Unfortunately, often times treatment for anorexia is not recognized until the eating disorder is severe, chronic and more difficult to treat. Early recognition and intervention is key for complete recovery.

Wondering if you or a loved one is struggling with eating disorder thinking or behaviors?  Take this EAT-26 to see if food and weight control your life.  Remember, the test is a screening tool and may miss people in the early stages of an eating disorder, but it may be a good place to start.  A trained eating disorder professional will be the best way for you to know for sure.

The book includes clever ways to repurpose positive eating disorder personality traits to foster recovery.  Traits common in eating disorders such as perfectionism, obsessive compulsiveness, sensitivity to emotional pain, persistence, low risk-taking, attention to detail, preference for routine, ability to delay gratification and intelligence. These personality traits be redirected from contributing to the illness to developing life goals to master health and happiness.

This book includes fabulous sections on self-awareness.  For instance, the book does a great job of describing what feeling fat feels like, even though fat is not a feeling, “feeling fat” is often a result of mislabeling certain emotions.  There are activities in the book to help you graph your feelings of fatness and ways to be curious about these feelings and develop skills to counter these thoughts.

Other excellent resources include:

  • A self-evaluation pie chart to see how much your thinking is clouded by eating disordered thinking
  • Increasing awareness of external vs internal cues about eating
  • Breaking eating disorder rules
  • Strategic ways to decrease body checking
  • Setting up a social support network
  • Finding professional support

Again, all of these activities will be most effective working with a treatment team, but this book will definitely help you with insight and support for your recovery.

If you are looking for support, reach out to us and we can help connect you with resources in your area.  We have a support group that meets Monday in our Columbia office at 7:00pm. You can email rebecca@empoweredeatingrd.com or call us at (240) 670-4675. We want to be here to support you through your recovery journey.

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