Skip to main content

Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Aimee Liu)

If you're reading this post (I don't think many people are), you're probably wondering if I have an eating disorder. And the answer is, I don't. So your next question is, why did I read it?

Because I (like every other American) know at least one person with an eating disorder. And many more people who are either borderline or won't admit they have this problem.

Because this is an excellently written book that takes you inside the minds of people who struggle with eating disorders and helps you to understand where they are coming from.

Because this book sheds light on the full spectrum of each personality trait that is associated with eating disorders. As I read this book and placed myself in each spectrum, I saw how my own personality has led me down similar or contrasting paths to the men and women featured. In other words, I came to a better understanding of myself.

I wish Christians wrote books like this. Aimee Liu has carefully researched, sensitively interviewed, and evocatively described the issues and people connected with the concept of "recovering" from eating disorders. She has interpreted a range of behaviors to come up with a model for what constitutes reasonable human behavior. She has done this without the aid of the Bible or, according to her, any organized religion. Her starting point is all wrong, and yet her conclusions match up with the solution Christianity should be offering. With that caveat, I highly recommend Gaining to everyone.

Comments

John said…
I wish Christians wrote books like this.

I often feel that way. Flannery O'Connor observed this about the novel form:

"The sorry religious novel comes about when the writer supposes that because of his belief, he is somehow dispensed from the obligation to penetrate concrete reality. He will think that the eyes of the Church or of the Bible or of his particular theology have already done the seeing for him, and that his business is to rearrange this essential vision into satisfying patterns...by beginning with Christian principles and finding the life that will illustrate them... The result is another addition to that large body of pious trash for which we have so long been famous."

Why is it that Christians are so lazy in their thinking? I am tempted to answer, but I somehow think it's complicated...and may go to the root of many problems with post-modern Christianity.

Popular posts from this blog

How to Waste Time When You Could Be Watching a Zombie Movie

Today I read one of those horrible articles that the internet seems to have been designed for, consisting of 40 tips for becoming as successful as the author: "How to Live a Full Life (and Leave Nothing on the Table) by 30." Yes, that's really the title. Normally I wouldn't publish a blog post in response, but because I managed to Come Down with a Chronic Illness (and Achieve Basically Nothing Else) by 30 and Am Currently Feeling the Aftereffects of One of the Treatments I Periodically Take, Which Causes Me to Feel High and Lose My Inhibitions, I'm just going to go for it. (Author's point #33: "Seriously, You Can Do Whatever You Want." Why thank you, young man, I think I will!)

The author's name is Ryan Holiday, and he has published several books. It sounds like he is also very wealthy, because note point #15, "Sooner Is Not Better," where he says he had a weird goal of becoming a millionaire by 25, but it didn't happen until after

Lyme Recovery, Seven Years In

When I first got my Lyme diagnosis, I went to the library and borrowed all the books on Lyme disease I could find (there were only three, if I recall correctly). One book was the personal account of a woman whose undiagnosed Lyme crossed her placenta and infected her unborn son, who later died in childhood after horrific symptoms. That book and a second featured images of magnified ticks, and I would peek through the pages taking care not to accidentally touch the photographs. I realized I might never have children. I returned the books to the library.

The third book was Biography of a Germ by Arno Karlen, a scientific essay on the Lyme spirochete. I didn't finish it because I took it back to the library as part of my stop-scaring-myself-silly dragnet. But I remembered it fondly. The author methodically explored the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burdorferi, as an organism in its own right, a marvel of evolutionary survival that relies on a complex chain of ticks, small ani…

Waking Up Is Hard to Do

Ever since I was six or so, I have battled alarm clocks. They've jolted me awake. I've turned them off. I've hit snooze. I've gone back to sleep. I've tried to awaken myself gently with the classical music station or Aaron Copland CDs. No matter what, I can't get out of bed when the alarm says I should.

When I was a child, my father and I would race after the school bus. As an adult, I was chronically late for work. I'm not a morning person. I don't sleep well and rarely feel rested. Lymies don't feel well in the mornings anyway, and it didn't help that I'm easily startled and was being shocked awake each day with the equivalent of those paddles they use on heart attack victims. All morning I'd feel groggy and queasy and antsy, with adrenaline pumping through me.

A couple years ago I got sick and had to stay home from work for a few days. When I was ready to get back to the office, I took it easy for a few alarm-clock-free mornings while…