Why She Feels Fat

Understanding Your Loved One's Eating Disorder and How You Can Help

by Johanna Marie McShane & Tony Paulson

New Book Seeks to Help Decode Eating Disordered Thoughts and Behavior

  • “When I do eat, I feel like a failure. It’s the worst feeling in the world to have food in my stomach.”
  • “I have a weight that I want to get to. I know I’ll feel better when I get there.”
  • “I like that I can feel certain bones sticking out, and that when I take a bath it hurts because I’m so thin…but I could lose more weight. My hips are too big.”

The thoughts of a person with an eating disorder often seem bizarre and irrational to family and friends. While these behaviors make perfect sense to the person with the disorder, caregivers are often left feeling confused, frustrated and unable to relate to what the individual is going through. Why She Feels Fat (Gürze Books, March 2008), a new book from authors Dr. Tony Paulson and Dr. Johanna McShane explores eating disorders from the inside out to help those on the outside understand what the sufferer is experiencing, and how best to provide support.

Written by two experts in the field of eating disorders, Why She Feels Fat is divided into three sections. The first details the characteristics of different disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and EDNOS; the second section focuses on first-person accounts and the words from those who suffer, and the final section explains what to do when a loved one is diagnosed. At the heart of the book is decoding the deeper meaning of the statement “I Feel Fat,” as it’s understanding is crucial not only for the person in recovery, but also family, friends, and caregivers.

It has been well documented that family based therapy is one of the best means for eating disorder recovery, and better understanding allows families to respond more compassionately and effectively. Why She Feels Fat goes beyond theoretical explanation and instead uses the actual words of ED patients to provide an informed understanding of their thoughts and experiences. By being able to comprehend the rationale of the disordered thinking, loved ones can better relate to the sufferers and garner empathy and compassion rather than judgment and despair. This is a must read for anyone who knows someone being affected by an eating disorder!