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Book Review: Bulimia

What a delight to be reviewing the 25th Anniversary Edition of BULIMIA: A GUIDE TO RECOVERY by Lindsey Hall and Leigh Cohn, the publishers of Gürze Books. This “completely revised and updated” edition is not simply a book about how to recover from bulimia. It’s a valuable read for all sorts of troubled eaters.

Although I had recovered from 18 months of purging in my early 30s, by the time I read Lindsey’s original book decades later, it still spoke to my heart. By then, I was starting to counsel clients with eating disorders and I know it helped every client I lent it to. This expanded edition will help even more of you, not only those suffering with bulimia.

First off, Lindsey’s personal account of her triumph over disordered eating and purging is nothing but inspirational. Her straight-from-the-heart honesty and courage shine through every page. Reading about her recovery will spur you on to work on your own eating problems, whether you’re a compulsive/emotional eater, restrictive dieter, or binge-eater. Every chapter details what you need to do to make progress and sustain it, get back on track when you’re derailed, and move beyond merely overcoming disregulated eating to creating a meaningful, happy, healthy, loving, balanced life.

Like Lindsey and Leigh, I believe in the model of complete recovery. Going on 64, I haven’t binged, purged or weighed myself (except at the doctor’s office) in decades. Sure, I overeat occasionally, but so does every “normal” eater. I also agree with BULIMIA’S stance that total recovery from entrenched dysfunctional eating is unlikely to happen without professional help. You may be able to stop bingeing or purging, but to become mentally and emotionally healthy, your best bet is professional treatment—individual, family or group. BULIMIA encourages you to trust the process of recovery and teaches skills which will spur it on: mindfulness, expressing your needs, finding purpose and meaning in life, visualization, self-regulation, and being your authentic self.

The two-week, stop-bingeing program at the end of the book is focused and beautifully sequenced. Whether you want to jump-start your recovery, target aspects of it, or learn specific skills, you’ll benefit from the program. The book also guides you toward figuring out the right weight and amount of exercise for a healthy you. Lastly, there is a wonderful resource guide and bibliography at the end of the book. Between the personal story of recovery it offers and the professional, clinical advice it provides, BULIMIA is a classic that belongs in the library of every disordered eater.