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Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives
Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives
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BOOK DETAILS

  • Paperback
  • Apr.23.2011
  • 9781590308776

Aimee gives an overview of the book:

 “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   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...
Read full overview »

 “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

 

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 and Clinical Scholarship Program.

Read an excerpt »

Hi.
My name is Anouska, I’m twenty, live in Western Australia,
and was diagnosed with anorexia last year. I’ve been out of the
clinic for over a month and I’m faced with the possibility of a
second admission.
I don’t know what I am hoping for by e-mailing you—I
won’t be surprised if I never gain a response—but I find it so
hard to believe that people do recover. That the voice does go
away, that the all-consuming desire for thinness disappears,
and the nonexistent self-worth somehow rediscovers its feet. I
have read many recovery books: from the first chapter—“I only
ate xyz a day,” “I weighed xxx pounds”—to the last—“I’ve now
been recovered for five years,” “it’s an ongoing process, it was
difficult but I got there”—no details about how they recovered!
It’s so disheartening.
Maybe recovery is possible; but maybe it’s just not possible
for me.
God Bless,
—Anouska

Dear Anouska,
I agree with you that many eating-disorder memoirs do leave
out the vital details of recovery, and that can be frustrating.

I write about self-awareness and try to focus on the process of
recovery. It’s not about dieting or weight. I have recovered, and
the vast majority of people with eating disorders do recover. If
you’ve been ill for a long time, it will take some time to retrain
your brain. But with the help of a good therapist you really can
free yourself from ED’s domination.

You need to understand, though, that an eating disorder
is a distress signal, and you need to confront the real source
of distress and find constructive ways to confront and manage
that conflict. This includes marshaling the courage to change.
Perfection is an illusion. Humans are imperfect. Life involves
joy and love as well as suffering. Those are just a few
of the truths I’ve learned to embrace. Truth can be incredibly
liberating.
Please be well and patient and compassionate with yourself.
Accept—demand!—the help you need to recover now.
—Aimee

The letters began to flood my inbox even before the release of my
book Gaining: The Truth about Life after Eating Disorders. Women who’d
heard me on the radio, or attended a discussion group, or caught one of
my television interviews wrote to tell me their stories of suffering, struggling,
and, in many cases, recovering from anorexia, bulimia, and bingeeating
disorders. Some wrote to ask my advice. Parents wrote for solace.
Husbands wrote to express the toll an eating disorder takes on intimacy.
Over and over and over I heard, “I’ve never told these things to anyone
else. I’m writing because I know you understand.”

There was also a recurrent question that emerged, both in the letters
and in the responses of audience members at talks I gave across the country:
“What is it like to recover?” People desperately wanted to know not only
how they could—or “should”—recover but also, and perhaps even more
urgently, what their experience of recovery would feel and look like.

 

aimee-liu's picture

In 2008 I joined the advisory board of the Academy for Eating
Disorders to help fight the stigma and promote scientific research on eating
disorders. All net royalties from Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our
Lives will be donated to the AED’s research scholarship fund.
The Academy for Eating Disorders, in return, has worked with me to
make this book a comprehensive resource with expert advice on issues
such as treatment, insurance coverage, and options for concerned family
members as well as for those suffering from eating disorders.
The letters in this book tell the truth about recovery as no single story
or conventional self-help book can. It’s a truth as varied and complex as
eating disorders themselves, and as powerful as the human spirit. So take
heart. Read on. And know that you, too, have the right and the power to
thrive.

About Aimee

Aimee Liu is the author of GAINING: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders, published by Warner Books on February 22, 2007. Drawing on her own history of anorexia as well as interviews with more than forty other former anorexics and bulimics, Liu picks...

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Published Reviews

Dec.28.2007

For Keeps is not an easy book to read. It is not about pretty women with perfect bodies who find easy acceptance in a beauty-obsessed culture. No. It is an impolite, impertinent, irreverent...

Dec.28.2007

Liu's book, Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders, immediately grabbed our attention because it focuses on life after a person overcomes an eating disorder. It incorporates theory, evidence,...