Women Afraid to Eat
Breaking Free in Today’s Weight-Obsessed World
by Frances M. Berg
AN AUTHORITY ON weight management, Berg provides the most comprehensive and socially responsible guide to dealing with weight-obsession available to date. Its scope, intensity and integrity are simply unparalleled. . . . Highly recommended to all readers from undergraduates and the general public to faculty and professionals.
—CHOICE, American Library Association
THIS BOOK SPEAKS the painful truth all women need to hear so that we can come home to our bodies.
—Jeanine Cogan, PhD
Research Psychologist, Washington, DC
WOMEN AFRAID TO EAT CHALLENGES the social and medical pressures to be thin. It shows in startling detail what the current warped norm for body shape (unachievable by most) is doing to women, how it harms them physically, emotionally, and socially. It takes an authoritative look at the many issues that negatively affect eating, weight, and how women feel about their bodies. . . It is also a handbook for change at the personal and cultural level. It offers women positive feelings, reaffirming that they can be healthy and attractive at any size.
— Midwest Book Review
WHAT I LIKE MOST about Berg's approach is that she flings a coconut cream pie at the contention that thin equals fit. Even more, she knows that we must make sure our girls recognize the distinction and start thinking in terms of how they feel more than how they look. The jackpot answer, which they're unlikely to believe until they experience it themselves, is that the better they feel, the better they look."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
AFFIRMING AND LIBERATING, and a must-read for any woman who has ever obsessed over the size of her thighs.
—Sally E. Smith, Editor
AN EXCEPTIONAL BOOK that can help high school students improve their health and well-being.
AMERICAN WOMEN ARE CAUGHT UP in a body-image crisis, afraid they’ll gain weight, afraid they will not lose down to their goal, afraid to fully nourish themselves. They feel oversized in one part or another and wish they were thinner. Women Afraid to Eat probes why this is happening at a time when women have more freedom than ever before. What are the powerful forces acting on women that make them feel defective if not thin? How did it happen that a woman’s value now is being judged by her degree of slimness, not her talent, insight or generosity?
Berg, a licensed nutritionist and adjunct professor at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine, charges that the risks of obesity are being exaggerated, and the severe risks of eating disorders, malnutrition, and hazardous weight loss are ignored.
All public libraries will want at least two copies, one for the reference desk and a second for the circulating collection.
— Public Library Quarterly
EVERY PAGE IS PACKED with information, support and encouragement for women of all sizes. Bravo!
—Pat Lyons, RN, MA,
Co-Author, Great Shape
AS EDITOR AND FOUNDER of Healthy Weight Journal for the past 15 years, Berg is in a unique position to present the latest research described in her book. She analyzes the contrasting views of obesity and eating disorder specialists, size activists and the women who struggle with endless cycles of weight loss and regain. Berg believes that dieting can diminish women and keep them playing the anticipation game, instead of enjoying life to its fullest.
—Naples Daily News, Fla.
TRUE STORIES OF WOMEN FATALLY dieting to fit into smaller wedding gowns and avoiding medical checkups so that they won’t have to be weighed or ridiculed by their doctors help illustrate the problems. Throughout, Berg backs up her observations with research and statistics. She explains why women are so obsessed with their weight and calls for a change in the way overweight women are treated by society.
Recommended for libraries serving consumers, educators, and health professionals.
A MUST READ FOR WOMEN ... an amazing read for men.
—Nancy King, MS, RD, Nutrition Therapist
La Canada, Flintridge, Calif.
A MUCH NEEDED BOOK. ...This is a practical approach to a difficult, multifactoral problem affecting many women in today's society. ... The author addresses the problems in today's weight‑obsessed world while providing direction in how to break free with a new approach that helps people and does not harm them. ... The book includes self‑help tools, questionnaires, health‑centered resources, websites, index and references.
—Doody’s Journal for Health Sciences Libraries
A WHOLESOME COMBINATION of sound research, good sense, and passionate commitment to the cause of healthy weights.
— Ellen S. Parham, PhD, RD, LCPC
Professor of Dietetics and Nutrition
Northern Illinois University
EATING DISORDER SCREENING TESTS, lists of help centers and national organizations, references (including websites) and helpful charts, graphs and sidebars are also provided.
— Fitness Management
DELIVERS WHAT THE TITLE SUGGESTS — tools women can use for “breaking free.” The powerful opening chapters give a stirring overview of the many forces acting on women to make them feel defective if they are not thin. It is explained how it came to be that, in our American society, a woman’s value is judged by her degree of slimness. Intellect, competence, generosity — none of these matter unless a woman meets the warped norm for body shape — a norm that is biologically unachievable by most people.
The tremendous human costs of our cultural imperative for thinness are put into sharp focus. For example, there are predictable personality changes accompanying caloric deprivation ... irritability, apathy, depression, self-centeredness are typical of women who severely curtail their food intake. The statement “Well-nourished women cannot be stereotyped but malnourished women are all alike” is typical of the thought-provoking perspective of this book.
—Karen Petersmarck, PhD, MPH, RD
Public Health Consultant, Division of Chronic Disease,
Michigan Department of Community Health
AN OVERVIEW OF OUR MAJOR WEIGHT AND EATING problems, and a delightfully simple, integrated framework for working to resolve them. The result is an important book that supports and extends the “health at any size” revolution, a revolution that Berg has helped to create.
Will be extremely useful for dietitians, nutritionists, fitness leaders and other professionals who work with women, and it could be a life saver for women of all ages and sizes.
—Gail Marchessault, RD, PHEc, PhD
University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
WOMEN AND WEIGHT IS THE LAST accepted prejudice of our society. A must read for women of the new millennium! Ms. Berg’s analysis of the images of women reveals great truths that our society has for so long chosen to ignore. The need for a paradigm shift to good health at any weight is long overdue.
—Linda L. Johnson, MS, Director School Health Programs
ND Department of Public Instruction
FRANCIE'S WORK IS CONSISTENTLY on the cutting edge. She asks questions that must be answered if we are to truly assist people in improving health. I often use both her journal and books as references for my lectures and writings.
—Karin Kratina, MA, RD, PhD,
Author, lecturer, Nutrition Therapist; Consultant,
Renfrew Centers of Philadelphia and Ft. Lauderdale
BERG WRITES IN PLAIN LANGUAGE, drawing from a variety of sources that include personal experience and research. Divided into two parts, a warning call and handbook for change, she makes the argument of acceptance through illustrating these issues. Her message: you can be healthy at any size.
Her prescription is an easy pill to swallow, if we can accept it: Stop dieting; eat in normal ways, at normal times; listen to internal body signals that tell us to eat when hungry and stop eating when full; and increase activity level. She also advocates “saying ‘no’ to the diet industry . . . to medical and media pressures to be thin and weak.”
As a culture, Berg said we need to accept larger people; to demand, through boycotts and letters to advertisers, that media stop ridiculing large people and strive for size, shape and age diversity.
— Bismarck Tribune
MAKES THE CASE FOR CHOOSING the freedom paradigm versus the control paradigm by contrasting the two and setting forth the facts needed to plant the seeds for change. I am pleased to see the message of health at any size brought forward and the effects of the diet industry exposed in Women Afraid to Eat.
—Linda Omichinski, RD
THIS SHOULD BE REQUIRED READING for all students in medical, nursing or dietetics programs. Perhaps then they would not be so flippant in recommending weight loss.
—Joanne Ikeda, MA, RD
Nutrition Education Specialist, Cooperative Extension
University of California, Berkeley
BERG EXPOSES THE UNHEALTHY COLLUSION between government, pharmaceutical companies and scientific research in the multi-billion dollar a year diet industry. ... She advocates building self-esteem, boycotting products with destructive images, school-based education programs, and using non-dieting weight counseling techniques.
—Ventures, American Dietetic Association
EVEN THOUGH THESE ISSUES AFFECT BOTH men and women, Berg focuses on women because of the enormous pressure on them to have a perfect body. Society favors the thin body. Having the perfect body is supposedly a sign of happiness and success. People are convinced by the promoters of fad diets that it is the individual, not the diet, who is a failure if weight is not lost or kept off.
Berg also makes the startling claim that there are links between medical journals, federal obesity groups and the diet industry. She says there are many university obesity researchers whose work is funded by the diet industry.
A DANGEROUS EPIDEMIC is plaguing women desperate to lose weight: They’ve become too afraid to eat! In her startling new book Women Afraid To Eat, Berg warns that the all‑too‑common end result is damage to the body from dysfunctional eating and to the mind from distorted self‑image.