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I think I need to start out today with a few personal words. First, as many of you know, I am a big fan of Amy Einhorn Books, an imprint at Putnam, and I am hosting the Amy Einhorn Books Perpetual Reading Challenge. So for those reasons, I am breaking a policy I have about not reviewing trade health, fitness, and diet books on this blog.
I admit to being a bit surprised to find out that Tennie McCarty's Shades of Hope: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living was an Amy Einhorn Book. But once I started reading, I understood better. Shades of Hope is not a diet book, it's a book about our relationship with food, and it has a strong basis in the 12-step program.
No matter if we overeat, undereat, binge eat, diet, or have secret comfort foods, many of us have an emotionally charged relationship with food. McCarty herself is a recovering overeater, and thus intimately understands the issues her clients are dealing with at her clinic, Shades of Hope.
Through her own personal story and the stories of people who have sought treatment at her clinic, McCarty offers a way out to those who feel trapped by their eating habits. The book helps us face up our individual behaviors (denial, obsession), identify our personal role (enabler, hero), and deal with our control issues. Journaling, mindful eating, and spirituality are among the healing techniques recommended by McCarty.
The book ends with suggestions for coming up with meal plans and help with identifying trigger foods. Her guidelines are sane and seem doable for the long term. Again, this is not a diet book, it is a book to help us break the negative aspects of our attitudes about food.
I am one of the lucky people. I have been thin all my life and don't really have any particular food issues. Thus it's a little difficult for me to critique Shades of Hope and to judge just how helpful it would be for someone who is truly suffering from an eating disorder. It is well written and the personal stories are heartfelt. It is also clear that McCarty is doing good work and offering hope to those who have lost their hope. If you are struggling with food issues of any kind, I suggest you give Shades of Hope a try. It may be just what you've been looking for.
Buy Shades of Hope at an Indie, at Powell's, at Book Depository, or at bookstore near you. These links lead to affiliate programs
Published by Putnam / Amy Einhorn Books, 2012
Source: Review (see review policy)
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