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Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too Paperback – December 26, 2003


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Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too + Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life + 8 Keys to Recovery from an Eating Disorder: Effective Strategies from Therapeutic Practice and Personal Experience (8 Keys to Mental Health)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (December 26, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071422986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071422987
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The truth is we all talk to ourselves. We just need to get better at it," counsels psychotherapist Rutledge in this self-help book for women with eating disorders, which he wrote with one of his patients, Schaefer, a singer/songwriter and media personality in Nashville, who both binges and purges. As might be expected in a book that draws from both psychotherapy and country western music, the story concerns a fine woman and the no good man she's stuck with. In this case, the evil, controlling character is a non-person Schaefer names Ed, from the initials E.D. (as in eating disorder). Whether Schaefer is alone in her kitchen or dining with friends, she "hears" Ed telling her she resembles a "barnyard animal," that all the girls in her eating disorder therapy group are thinner than she is, or that it would feel good to go to bed on an empty stomach. "There is something inside me... that has chained itself to Ed with a heavy-duty lock and thrown away the key," she writes. With the help of therapist Rutledge, who shares his professional observations in sections entitled "Thom's Turn," Schaefer finally gains the strength to keep Ed at bay. Schaefer's literary construct of an interior voice will delight some readers and annoy others, but if it helps any readers overcome their own disorders, it's been effective.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

"I would die if I were as fat as Marilyn Monroe. Or at least Ed used to make me think so."--Jenni Schaefer

I have never been married, but I am happily divorced. Ed and I lived together for more than twenty years. He was abusive, controlling, and never hesitated to tell me what he thought, how I was doing it wrong, and what I should be doing instead. . . . Ed is not a high school sweetheart. Ed is not some creep that I started dating in college. . . . Ed's name comes from the initials E.D.--as in eating disorder. Ed is my eating disorder.

--from the Introduction

Jenni had been in an abusive relationship with Ed for far too long. He controlled Jenni's life, distorted her self-image, and tried to physically harm her throughout their long affair. Then Jenni met psychotherapist and author Thom Rutledge. He taught her how to treat her eating disorder as a relationship, not a condition. By thinking of her eating disorder as a unique personality separate from her own, Jenni was able to break up with Ed once and for all.

Inspiring, compassionate, and filled with practical exercises to help you break up with your own personal E.D., Life Without Ed provides new hope for the disorders that plague millions of women and young girls. Beginning with Jenni's "divorce" from Ed, this supportive, lifesaving book combines a patient's insights and experiences with a therapist's prescriptions for success to help you live a healthier, happier life without Ed.


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Customer Reviews

So please read this book!
~shell~
I recommend this book to anyone that suffers from an eating disorder or knows someone else who does.
J. M. Johnson
It's not a topic that makes a book "easy" to read.
Laura Turner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Wiley on February 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
I just looked up the word "campy," and there is nothing campy about Life without Ed. As a woman recovering from an eating disorder and as a clinician treating eating disorders, I find this book to be a refreshing change from the staus quo of tortuous memoirs and over-intellectualized material that tends to occupy this market.
The recovery work described in this book is undoubtedly the real deal. Jenni Schaefer has obviously worked hard to overcome her eating disorder and she is to be congratulated for that. And while we're at it, let's congratulate her for the willingness to share her story so candidly, and for being creative enough to bring such a delightful sense of humor to this very serious subject matter. She no doubt gets some of the humor from her therapist and co-author Thom Rutledge. His writing (the best of which is Embracing Fear) always manages to bring together serious self-help and the kind of humor that offers a perspective that is in and of itself healing.
If you have even the slightest interest in understanding the inner-workings of eating disorders, buy this book. If you are a therapist or counselor who works with eating disorders, buy this book. If you love someone with an eating disorder, buy this book. And if you have an eating disorder --- definitely buy this book.
Who says medicine has to taste bad to be good? Learn, grow and enjoy Life without Ed.
Sarah Wiley, Ph.D.
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36 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Constant Reader on March 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the challenges of being a parent with a child suffering from Anorexia is finding educational sources for them that are supportive of ending the disease without providing further information on how to secretly purge and restrict and without blaming the parents, the media, or "culture" for their illness.

After reading literally dozens of books in the field, this was the only one we encouraged our child to read. She quickly empathized with the notion of the ED being separate and distinct. It helped and continues to help her cope with the dangerous and unhealthy impulses brought on by the disease.

There are only a handful of books that I recommend to parents and sufferers. This is one of the mandatory ones.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "dohlendorf" on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jenni Schaefer has accurately captured the life and feelings of a perfectionist in her book Life Without Ed. Although I have never experienced an eating disorder, I obsess about calorie intake on a daily basis and am bound by the chains of physical appearance. I found the exercises at the end of each section helpful in confronting the voices and negative criticisms that my own abusive SuperEgo (Ed) throws my way.
Jenni Schaefer does not discount the seriousness of eating disorders nor does she try to convince you that divorce from ED is easy. She provides practical ways to distinguish between what is healthy and what is ED. The awarness that I gained from this book (especially section 1) has enabled me to start the separation process from my own abusive self criticism.
This book applies to all recovering perfectionists. The exercises, personal experiences, strength, and weakness that the author shared make it a real and valuable resource on my path to recovery. I highly recommend this book to anyone enduring self criticism and abuse.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Heather on January 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book!! Jenni Schaefer gives us a very realistic look at living and winning against our eating disorders but adds enough humor to make this an enjoyable read. She also lets you know that you are not alone in this fight and at times it seems she's fighting ED right there with you.The book helps you come to understand what and who you are up against with your eating disorder. The chapters are short(easy to get thru before your attention wanders). However,the chapters are filled with so much information that you find yourself rereading them and picking up more info each time. The exercises in the book truly work. This whole book teaches you to Separate, Disagree and Disobey ED(eating disorder). I especially liked learning how to talk back to ED -I feel ED's power comes from the mental warefare he launches inside your head 24/7. The book provides steps to combat and end this constant emotional abuse. I feel you will really benefit from reading this book. I highly recommend it!!!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Emily Thornell on February 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Life Without Ed" is wonderful! I was so happy to find an eating disorder book filled with humor and optimism, and I couldn't help smiling as I read through each unique section. I'm recovering from an eating disorder myself was comforted to know that I'm not alone in my struggles, setbacks, and eventual successes. Jenni Schaefer found a way to put a positive spin on a serious issue. The book was not only informative and educational, but it was hilarious, too! I finished feeling hopeful and eager to implement some of Jenni and Thom's activities into my own recovery. I definitely recommend this book to anyone dealing with their own Ed, or anyone else interested in learning more about eating disorders from an inspiring point of view.
P.S. I also liked that the cover allowed me to read this book in public without trying to strategically hide a big EATING DISORDERS title. I know you can't judge a book by it's cover, but I noticed and appreciated it anyway...
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