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Book Review – Getting Over Overeating for Teens

  • Eating

I wish I’d had a book like Getting Over Overeating for Teens by Andrea Wachter, LMFT, as a teenager when my dysregulated eating began. Maybe I’d never have become a chronic dieter or a binge-eater. Maybe I wouldn’t have had to struggle for decades to become a “normal” eater. Without talking down to them, the book is written in a language that teens will understand and is divided into four easy-to-focus-on sections.
Section 1, Healing What You’re Feeling, explains how teens (adults, too!) may think that they need to make uncomfortable feelings go away because they’re wrong to have or because they believe they can’t handle them. Wachter explains how to ride out waves of distress and encourages readers to recognize and accept emotions rather than to eat over them. She includes workbook exercises to promote understanding, tolerating, and dealing with emotions.
Section 2, Pay No Mind to Your Unkind Mind, describes how to recognize and quiet an over-active mind. She reminds readers that thoughts come and go, often have no intrinsic value, and are not to be confused with verifiable facts. She explains how our minds often create “mind movies” which keep us from living in the present moment. Then she teaches readers how to replace negative or upsetting thoughts with positive self-talk, rather than food, to effectively calm and soothe upset.
Section 3, Befriending Your Body, describes ways to develop a conscious, intentional, positive relationship with their bodies. She stresses the need for self-care—from sleep to movement, from medical visits to avoiding toxic substances. I love the way she describes the main modes of operation for teenage eating: diets or riots. She explains the overeating cycle and examines what might trigger it, then lays out how to tune into appetite to become a “normal” eater and establish a natural, comfortable weight.
Section 4, Filling Up Without Feeling Down, examines which needs readers might be trying to fill during the times that they turn to food when they’re not hungry. She explains the need to live a balanced life, which may go against what our culture encourages, and how to stop fat chatting, body shaming, and all-or-nothing thinking.
This book, written for teens and their parents, is chock full of enlightening exercises that give readers a chance to go at their own exploratory pace in understanding and dealing with their relationship with food and their bodies. For more information on the author and on her previous books (both are excellent), visit www.andreawachter.com/.