Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review: Give Food A Chance - A new view on childhood eating disorders


I have always been obsessed about my weight...Always.  I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t.  I remember reading food labels as a child to look at calorie and fat content.  I remember comparing the width of my thighs to those of my friends and wishing I looked more like them.  The problem with all of this was that I was never overweight.  Yes, I should have eaten healthier at times and grabbed an apple instead of a brownie, but I was perfectly proportioned to my body.  Even now, I obsess with a passion about my weight and I know in my heart that I should be so proud of my body.  I don’t know what my label would be (it’s the therapist in me to diagnose myself) – is it body dysmorphic disorder?...Or a form of anorexia?  I don’t know…but, I have always wondered why I am the way that I am.  I have a couple of theories, but I won’t get into them here. 
Eating disorders have typically been characterized as a disorder that is a result of family issues, oppressive parenting, the effect of the media, etc.  However, in “Give Food A Chance”, Dr. Julie O’Toole presents an alternative view.  Dr. O'Toole suggests that eating disorders are the result of a hereditary, biological brain disorder.  As Dr. O'Toole discusses, this was not a very popular theory initially, which is something of which I was never aware.  I believe it is a very intriguing explanation for a crippling problem.  Certainly many people develop eating disorders that come from in-tact, well-adjusted families. 

"Give Food A Chance" is a book that is an amazing resource.  Dr. O'Toole educates others about the facts of eating disorders and their treatment.  I thought that I had been well-educated about eating disorders in graduate school, but honestly, I had no idea about the extent of the disorder. 

As I read this book, I felt a bit of anxiety because of the whole idea that it is a heriditary, brain disorder.  Did I pass along my obsession to my daughter?  Only time will tell I guess...

About the author:
Dr. Julie O'Toole is the founder of the Kartini Clinic in Portland, Oregon.  Dr. O'Toole works with a multidisciplinary team to diagnose eating disorders and attempt to manage/control the environmental factors that could impede progress.  "The Kartini Clinic helps its patients achieve lasting physiological and psychological remission as well as personal healing and growth. The clinic was named after a 19th century Javanese princess who dedicated her short life to fighting for the education and betterment of women."

I HIGHLY recommend reading "Give Food A Chance".  Regardless of your theory, it is so informative. 
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