Book Review: “Body of Truth”

BodyofTruthHow do I sum up Harriet Brown’s new book, “Body of Truth”? Basically, it’s a body of YES. HAES experts will find themselves nodding and murmuring “exactly!” as they read through the book. It’s everything we know that we’re desperate for the rest of the world to know, so we can end this ridiculous and harmful “War on Obesity” once and for all.

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect, chapter by chapter:

  • Chapter 1: Four major myths about the link between obesity and health are examined
  • Chapter 2: Why diets are not only not helpful, but harmful
  • Chapter 3: Our disordered relationship with food (My fave, of course!)
  • Chapter 4: How the medical industry promotes and benefits from making fat into a disease
  • Chapter 5: How the media has driven us to hate our bodies
  • Chapter 6: Our obsession with thinness causes us to treat others and ourselves badly
  • Chapter 7: Solutions: Intuitive Eating, “normal” eating, HAES, etc.

One thing I really liked about the book was all the personal stories interspersed throughout the cold hard data. Although I hesitate to say that I like the stories, because the experiences described make my heart hurt. But these stories need to be heard. And everyone knows that humans are more easily persuaded by anecdotes than scientific data.

Brown also talks about her own experiences, both as a person who struggled with eating and body image, and as the mother of a daughter diagnosed with anorexia. Her personal stories are woven through the book and help unify the chapters into one larger narrative.

This is a book you’ll want to “accidentally” leave in the office of the doctor who doesn’t listen, and the bathroom of the aunt who just doesn’t get it.   I hope there will come a day where it’s easy for people to understand that obsessing about diets and thinness isn’t helping anyone, but until then, I’m glad we have authors like Harriet Brown spreading the word.

For more:

  • Read Harriet Brown’s excellent article on Slate here.
  • Follow @HarrietBrown on Twitter
  • Get a free excerpt of the book here.

Buy the book on Amazon or support your local book store:

Full disclosure:  I was offered a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.  If I had not received this offer, I might have bought the book and stacked it neatly upon my gigantic pile of books I really want to read as soon as I can stop Netflixing before bed, so I was glad for the extra motivation.  AND I was going to do a giveaway of my copy after reading, but then I accidentally doused it in bulletproof coffee.  My doctor is already awesome, so I guess I’ll just have to “accidentally” leave it at my mom’s house now.

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