“I think a book of letters would be so helpful for everyone, from those completely isolated by e.d. to those individuals less controlled but nonetheless influenced. It would be so therapeutic, in my opinion, to be able to literally read along through the stages of recovery. And personally, it would make me much more optimistic in my path toward recovery, truly knowing that it was possible.”
Shannon, a 22-year-old just beginning intensive treatment for anorexia
This letter, from one of the readers of my last book, Gaining, got me thinking. Why not assemble the letters I'd been receiving into a portrait of recovery? Why not invite clinicians and researchers to respond to the questions that crop up in the course of recovery? Why not publish the book and use the proceeds to further research and treatment?
So that's what I did, and the resulting book, to be published this April, is
Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives:
Guidance and Reflections on Recovery from Eating Disorders
Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives is much more than an anthology of letters about eating disorders; it is a multi-voiced chronicle of the true experience of recovery. This compilation of letters, originally addressed to Aimee Liu, author of Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders, reflects the different challenges and rewards that individuals experience at each stage of recovery, from the first turning point toward treatment, through the restoration of physical health, to their ultimate reclamation of vibrant, diverse, and genuinely fulfilling lives. This book answers the desperate desire of sufferers to know not only how they can recover but also, and perhaps even more urgently, what recovery “feels and looks like.” As one young woman wrote, “Recovery is a process and a unique journey for each person; I think that message needs to be shared more often, and can be a message of comfort for all those perfectionistic people in the midst of recovery who feel they are not recovering the ‘right’ way.”
In addition to the letters, Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives includes insights that author Aimee Liu has gained as a veteran and student of eating disorders ever since writing the first memoir of anorexia nervosa, Solitaire¸ in 1979. Each chapter also includes expert commentaries by eating disorders professionals from the Academy for Eating Disorders, addressing issues such as medication, specific therapies and healing practices, insurance coverage, and advice for parents, friends, and partners. The book’s preface is by AED past president Judith Banker.
This anthology was conceived as a benefit project to fight the stigma that surrounds eating disorders and to promote education and research. To those ends, and all net royalties from Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives will be donated to the AED’s research scholarship fund.
Causes Aimee Liu Supports
PEN USA, Academy for Eating Disorders, Women for Women, UNICEF, Amnesty International