28 September 2009

Book Review: "Diary of an Exercise Addict" by Peach Friedman.

"Diary of an Exercise Addict" is a truly amazing book; though the dust jacket may look deceivingly like the writing could be "triggering" for those with an eating disorder (ED), Peach Friedman does an excellent job at giving the "bigger picture" of just how much an ED and/or exercise addiction destroys and encompasses every aspect of an individual's entire life (not just physical health, but relationships, friendships, motivation, potential, etc). I genuinely recommend this book to anyone who might think that they have an unbalanced relationship with their body image, food, exercise; I also think this candidly written memoir is eye-opening to anyone with a fully-diagnosable eating disorder who wants a genuine picture of what "recovery" really looks like and entails. In the epilogue, Friedman speaks more in-depth about how an ED and exercise addiction are manifested in our culture (and gives more "research" and "clinical knowledge," rather than her side of the story or her memories), as well as the rarely-admitted, difficult (yet possible) journey into a strong recovery.

There are many quotable words-of-wisdom throughout her memoir and epilogue, but there are two sections that really stood out to me (both in the section of the epilogue about finding balance in a world that encourages "black or white" thinking). Also, just to preface the following: Peach Friedman is now in strong recovery as a personal trainer to women and men of all walks of life, including patients at the highly-regarded Summit Outreach ED Programme in Sacramento, CA.

The first is:
"It is estimated that only 2% of women worldwide (worldwide!) describe themselves as beautiful. I'm on a mission to move these numbers UP."
Wow, just... wow- how maddening is that ridiculously low percentage? Looks like we all need some self-care, self-satisfaction, and self-love, no? The second section is something that I thought really applied to many women of all ages in our western culture, who have not yet found that "healthy balance" between food/health/exercise/body satisfaction:
"As soon as we track ourselves to fight our bodies, to fight our natural size and shape, like I did, we embark on a battle destined for failure. It is impossible to win when we fight who we are. We only run further from happiness, from health, and from freedom... It's worth mentioning that an exercise addiction does not affect only those who are underweight and spending hours every day in the gym. A person can have an unhealthy, addictive obsession with exercise while still working out in moderate, recommended amounts. Some individuals may maintain a healthy body weight while exhibiting the psychological symptoms of an exercise compulsion, such as feeling the need to exercise on certain days at certain times in certain ways, or, if that routine is not possible, feeling extreme guilt as a result."
So... how many individuals do you know that sound like they might just be a little "disordered" in their thinking/fitness routines/eating habits, eh? It's something to contemplate, and Peach Friedman does an excellent job of bringing it to our attention, with her own truly relatable story and without a sense of "know-it-all personal trainer" condescension.

Peach also has a great website, located at: http://www.peachfriedman.com.

2 comments:

  1. Lily~ Such a powerful Paragraph and Insight to her book! Thank you so much Lily for sharing your thoughts and reaction to her book! You write from your heart which makes it speak right too me!
    thanks.
    xoxo love you Lots!

    p.s. Definitely makes me want to learn to live in the gray for once!!
    we can be free!!! and will be soon!

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  2. Your review was great, but I had such a different feeling reading this book. I dontknow, it didnt "hit" me like other books did.

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