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Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a loved one battling an eating disorder Paperback – September 25, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


As the mother of 6, including 2 daughters, we so pray to avoid any eating disorders....How? As a homeschooled child and daughter of a pastor, Emily Wierenga writes transparently and tenderly about her own journey and how God has brought healing and brings to the page the wisdom of some most esteemed disorder experts on the continent. A deeply helpful read for those in ministry with young women. ----Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts

It is rare I find a resource that so uniquely supplements the whole-person approach to eating disorder treatment as what I have discovered in this insightful, inspiring book. ----Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, author of Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders

Chasing Silhouettes is a must-have field manual for parents, spouses and friends of disordered eaters, as well as professionals seeking greater understanding of the family aspects of this struggle. Written in the blood, sweat and tears of the author and her family, and featuring expert clinical perspectives, Chasing Silhouettes blazes a trail of hope and practical insight for all who long to help but don't know how. --Constance Rhodes, author of Life Inside the Thin Cage and The Art of Being and Founder and CEO, FINDINGbalance, Inc.

About the Author

Emily Wierenga is an author, a freelance journalist, commissioned artist, and mother. She battled anorexia both as a child and as an adult and has appeared as a guest multiple times on Canada's premier Christian television talk show and radio talk-back program. Emily also serves as a volunteer counseling for families with anorexic loved ones with the National Eating Disorders Association and has spoken at eating disorders conferences.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ampelon Publishing; 2nd edition (September 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984009558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984009558
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #808,675 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, artist, and the author of five books. Her first novel, A Promise in Pieces, released Spring of 2014, and her memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I thought to Look (Baker Books) released July 1, 2014. The sequel, Making It Home, will release in September 2015.

She is a columnist for Christian Week and The Christian Courier, a bi-weekly contributor to MOPS International, a monthly contributor to The Better Mom, and a paid contributor to The High Calling. In addition to being associate editor, ghostwriter, copy editor, and staff writer, Wierenga has written for Catalyst, Relevant, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, Adbusters, Prodigal Magazine, Today's Christian Woman, (in)courage, Radix, Christian Week, Faith Today, Geez, The Anglican Planet, Focus on the Family, Christian Courier, and In Touch. Her work is also regularly syndicated by Christian Family Post.

In January of 2014 Emily traveled to Rwanda and Uganda on a bloggers' trip.

And in June of 2014, she founded The Lulu Tree, a non-profit dedicated to preventing tomorrow's orphans by equipping today's mothers in the slum of Katwe, Uganda. All proceeds from Atlas Girl benefit The Lulu Tree.

Emily speaks at women's retreats, universities, churches and conferences, about her journey with anorexia nervosa, and was one of the keynote speakers at the premiere Christian eating disorders conference, Hungry for Hope 2013, where she shared the platform with Kirsten Haglund, Miss America 2008. She also spoke at Hungry for Hope 2014, and is scheduled to speak at Allume, in addition to leading a COMPEL training webinar for Proverbs 31 Ministries, fall of 2014.

Emily serves as an Official Ambassador for FINDINGbalance and is a Navigator with the National Eating Disorders Association.

She has appeared multiple times on 100 Huntley Street, The Drew Marshall Show and Chris Fabry Live!,as well as on Breakfast Television Edmonton.

On July 29th, 2013, Emily wrote a letter on her blog to Kate Middleton on the postpartum body. It went viral, receiving over six million views, and was shared by Dove.

She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary.

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michelle DeRusha on October 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
There are so very many misconceptions and misperceptions surrounding eating disorders, and this is one of the many reasons why Emily Weirenga's book, "Chasing Silhouettes: How to Help a Loved One Battle an Eating Disorder" fills such a critical need. My assumption, for example, that boys don't succumb to eating disorders is simply wrong. Of the estimated 8 million Americans who suffer from anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders, one million of them are male.

Not only does Emily weave her real-life story of suffering and recovery from anorexia with research and facts about the illness, this book is also a spiritual guide for those of us who love someone suffering from an eating disorder. As is often the case, a book like this might answer our questions from a physical or even an emotional perspective, yet it often leaves the spiritual perspective untapped. Emily artfully weaves all three perspectives together into a coherent, gracefully written narrative.

I appreciate, for instance, that Emily includes a prayer at the end of each section. So often, when we are ravaged by hopelessness and fear, we simply can't pray, we simply can't find the words. Emily offers these words to us to pray when we fear prayer is impossible.

This book is not a dry, statistic-filled, how-to tome. Written in honest, evocative, lyrical prose, Chasing Silhouettes shines truth, hope and grace into the darkest corners of an illness that ravages so many millions of women and men. And while she doesn't shy from telling the hard truth, Emily also insists that the reader comes away from her story, and this book, with the knowledge that all hope is not lost and that, above all, those who suffer through this disease are never alone.

A person I love struggled with this disease. I dearly wish Emily's book had been available to my family in the midst of that darkness.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Laurie on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
After reading Emily's book, Chasing Silhouettes, I wished I had this knowledge when my daughter's life was turned upside down. My two oldest girls tested the dieting world, so when my youngest daughterstarted skipping meals I figured she would just grow out of it. But she didn't. She was always a stubborn child and dealing rationally with her was already a struggle. Emily talks about her alternate identity and that is how I would describe her without food. When her eating habits became noticeable on her body, I had no idea where to go for help. Her pediatrician just told her to eat more while she told my other daughter to eat less. I had done my own research on the Internet and every article stated that it wasn't my fault. Chasing Silhouettes reinstate this fact but points out that there are triggers. It haunted me all the time wondering what happened to make her stop eating. After changing pediatrician, she suggested a doctor at our local hospital. They diagnose her with anorexia and suggested we put her on the Maudsley Method. This method makes the child eat what is prepared by parent with no exceptions. Because my daughter was so full of rage, plates and food went flying across the room. This tiny girl became a monster and her words cut like a knife. I really felt and understood what Evonne went through. Therapy didn't make her eat and even admitting her in the hospital didn't help. She would eat what she had to just to get out. For a long time, I felt alone in this battle. Professionals weren't helping and family was in denial. Godly professional who worked with eating disorders are impossible to find in my area. Time after time, prayer is mentioned in the book. I wish I had done that more. I was angry with God for not answering my prayers.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Chris Funkhouser on November 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My wife recently had a relapse with an eating disorder after thirteen years of relative quiet in regard to her Anorexia. I did not always know how to feel about what was happening, but when you read others stories you hear your own story in the book and it helps you process the reality of it all. There are many helpful recommendations as well.

The only con I have to the book is really just a side-effect of one of its strengths. The book is written from many different points of view at different stages of the disorder, so sometimes it can seem a bit disjointed.

But overall I benefited greatly from reading about other people's stories and emotions especially as many of them had faith backgrounds.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Glynn Young VINE VOICE on September 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
I'm haunted by the eyes of a nine-year-old girl - a nine-year-old girl who thinks she's too fat and begins to starve herself.

Nine years old. Those eyes belonged - still belong - to Emily Wierenga, and she's now writing about what happened.

"Chasing Silhouettes: How to help a loved one battling an eating disorder" may well be one of the most important books published for the church this year. That's right, I said for the church. Because eating disorders don't just happen outside the church; they happen in the church, too, to pastors' daughters like Wierenga. And the church can do great good - and great harm - in how it responds.

The book is a painful read. It is also a hopeful read.

Wierenga has structured each major section of "Chasing Silhouettes" with a story, including perspectives of both the person with the disorder and family and friends; observations and insights by medical professionals; practical advice on what to do and not do if you're trying to help; and then a prayer.

What this structure does is to provide a comprehensive look at what constitutes an eating disorder - it is physical, biological, emotional, and spiritual. Those are the roads Wierenga takes us down as she opens up her own experience, mind, and heart. And one of the critical points she makes is this - you cannot heal a loved one of an eating disorder. They have to decide that they want to be healed, and you cannot make that decision for them, no matter how much you love them.

And it happens to girls as young as seven. And to young men, whose commitment to physical training crosses a line into obsession.
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