So the subtitle of this book is “true love in and out of the kitchen”, and it applies to both self love and love of someone else. This is the author, Hannah Howard’s true story about her life of eating and eating disorder. From the very start of this book, I could relate to Hannah. Thankfully (for me), she was way more messed up than I ever was, but she might be further along in her recovery journey than I am too. Thankfully none of the abusive romantic relationships hit home for me, just the food stuff. I’m basically just dumping my purse on the table with this review, so buckle up.
Here’s just a sampling of the sentences I highlighted in my Kindle, because they spoke to me (quotes are bulleted, my words are below them):
- My mom gives me a sideways glare. I know that look, the same one from when I was a kid. It means You are eating a lot and I am noticing and it is not okay. It means You are not a skinny girl and you are not okay.
My mom used to do this to me. It took years and years of me telling her that it was hurtful, not helpful to get her to stop. I know she meant it in a loving way, but it hurt. I think we’re in a good place now, and we love each other very very much, but she still has very disordered thinking around food.
- Everyone hugs me goodbye like I am human, not a cookie monster.
- Food blots everything out and calms everything down, draws the shades and tucks me in. Cozy. Miserable. Numb.
I’ve felt this way so many times. I’m really trying not to use food to comfort myself, because it’s not helpful. It’s keeping me numb, and I want to live my life without depending on it for solace.
- The new me is supposed to be the thinnest me.
- taking up space is the worst curse.
I’ve always been tall, and for the past decade been overweight, so I’ve alllllways felt like this.
- Mom is on a diet, off a diet.
Another mom one. (Sorry mom – good thing you don’t really read the internet!) I know that a lot of my (and my sister’s) weight hang ups come from our mom. It’s not her fault though, because she was fat when she was younger, and people (including her asshole brother) made fun of her. She didn’t want that to happen to us, so she made “watching our weight” a priority. That’s a good way to have an unhealthy relationship with food. I don’t blame her, because she didn’t do any of it maliciously. She’s always had the best intentions. Its taken a looong time to unpack all the dieting crap from my life though, and it’s still a daily struggle.
This still happens to me. I become fixated on (usually) snacks, or an appetizer, instead of the people I’m eating with. It’s really hard to refocus myself and stop eating the snacks or appetizers even when I’m full. I have to make a conscious effort.
- “Screw the size. You need clothes for your new job. Sizes are arbitrary, anyway. It doesn’t matter if you are a zero or a sixteen. It matters that you have something to wear that fits and that you feel good in.
- “You are plenty lovable. The trick is finding the person you want to love back.”
- My eating disorder is all about me, me, me. A selfish beast. It tricks me into thinking that if I can shrink enough, I will be safe and loved and admired. But I am safe and loved and admired just as I am, no matter what size I wear, even if I have to tell myself this a million times over to half believe it.
- Even when this recovery is painstakingly, teeth-grittingly hard, the magic is here. Right here. There is no butterfly. There is only me.
I recommend this book for anyone who struggles with any type of eating disorder, or dieting obsession. I cried so much at the beginning of this book. Sometimes the stories were fun, and I guess if you’ve never had a problem with food (are there any of us out there?), you’d just enjoy the stories. I’m glad I read it, and I think I feel better afterwards.