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The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to be Perfect Hardcover – June 28, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0471691587 ISBN-10: 0471691585 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Intellectually, women know that:
  • We are more than the sum of our physical parts
  • The answers to life's problems can't be found in an "ideal" weight or body shape
  • Our sense of personal and professional fulfillment shouldn't be determined by our dress size

Still, too many of us remain caught up in the grim downward spiral of body image distress, overexercising, compulsive dieting, and obsessions about "good" and "bad" food. Meanwhile, many of us believe that eating disorders and body image issues are problems for adolescent girls, not for mature women. So we're often too ashamed to talk honestly with anyone about our dilemma.

Now there is hope.

Clinical psychologist Margo Maine has been successfully helping women over thirty overcome eating disorders and body image problems for more than twenty years. In The Body Myth, she explains the terrible toll these problems can take on your life. More importantly, she provides healing insights and proven techniques for reclaiming your life—or the life of someone you love—from the debilitating belief that a woman's self-worth and her worth to others are derived from how she looks, how much she weighs, and what she eats—our culture's Body Myth.

With the help of poignant real-life stories from women of various ages and walks of life, Dr. Maine explores the complex emotional, social, and cultural forces that perpetuate the Body Myth. She describes the dynamics of how and why it seduces so many otherwise sensible women into self-loathing, destructive behaviors, and unhealthy relationships with food and the body.

A unique and invaluable source of information and inspiration, this breakthrough guide equips everyone with the knowledge and tools to find release from the clutches of the Body Myth and live a more balanced, fulfilling life.

From the Back Cover

Advance Praise for The Body Myth

"This book can save your life! In a bold and honest analysis, Dr. Margo Maine and Joe Kelly offer a beautiful balance of truth and inspiration that invites you to release yourself from the trappings of the Body Myth and come home to your magnificent self."
—Jeanine C. Cogan, Ph.D., Policy Director of the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action

"Delve into this no-nonsense call for liberation from the Body Myth to personal freedom. You will emerge well informed and want to spread the word!"
—Emme, supermodel, bestselling author of True Beauty and Life's Little Emergencies, and Chair of the National Eating Disorders Association's Ambassador's Council

"Margo Maine and Joe Kelly have written a must-read. This book says what so many women are feeling but don't dare say, and offers responsible guidance and help for those who don't dare ask. The Body Myth puts it all on the table with incredible intelligence, compassion, and support."
—Lynn Grefe, CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association

"It's high time America recognized that compulsive eating and dieting are not just problems for the young. We have Margo Maine and Joe Kelly to thank for this wise and compassionate guide to liberation from the Body Myth—at any age."
—Aimee Liu, author of Solitaire

"The Body Myth exposes the multiple stresses in our current culture that contribute to eating disorders and then describes what women can do to become empowered in the world."
—Pauline S. Powers, M.D., President of the Eating Disorders Association

"This is a very, very important book. The authors authoritatively identify the problems and then offer informed solutions. It is a landmark publication that will be useful to both sufferers and professionals working in the field of eating disorders."
—Craig L. Johnson, Ph.D., founder and Director of the Eating Disorders Program at Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471691585
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471691587
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #655,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
Thank you, Dr. Maine and Mr. Kelly.
gregarious1
Ms. Maine explains the reasons behind the body image crisis in our culture and offers adult women a new, more accepting way to look at the female form.
A.R.G.
This book is at the top of my recommendation book for anyone dealing with eating/body issues and those that want to understand why women struggle.
crazy4books

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A.R.G. on July 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Ever looked in the mirror and been unhappy with what you saw? Odds are, if you're female, you have. Ever since Twiggy came on the scene, it's been common knowledge that the worship of unhealthily underweight celebrities and models in our society is leading to a self-esteem crisis among our teenage girls. But this book is the first real resource for adult women on this topic. Ms. Maine explains the reasons behind the body image crisis in our culture and offers adult women a new, more accepting way to look at the female form. I learned about the effects of the family's expectations on women's perception of themselves, as well as the science behind female nutrition--what a woman's body really needs. I recommend this book because it's relevant to all women, and because it shows that a healthy woman, not a malnourished woman, is truly beautiful.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By gregarious1 on November 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Thank you for writing this book! I have struggled with compulsive eating (although I would not call it that, this book does) for most of my life.

In the 1980s, feminist Robin Morgan called the power and provenance derived from men, and based on the ability to attract men/smaller body size, "abstract power" -- as opposed to "real power", the power derived from a woman's being physically strong and able to provide for herself.

While there are flaws to that theory, I see it in practice. Every single day, even at my job. And I work in the medical public relations field. A field where those guys could and should know better!

Yes, big news!?! This sexist, size-ist garbage does not diminish with advancing age. I spent, off and on, only a tiny fraction of my life at a normative size (including now, this time for the longest stretch ever). By virtue of large bone structure, I am a size 12 (spent part of my young adulthood in a size 44 dress). I practice moderate calorie restriction and exercise vigorously about five times a week to maintain this size. I haven't yet internalized anything long enough to be able to comport myself wisely and supremely unselfconciously at a buffet in Atlantic City, for instance.

Thank you, Dr. Maine and Mr. Kelly. You have the spirit of Everest-scaling mountaineers as I have never before seen in such authors on this topic!! As a result of reading your book, I feel that I have only twenty minutes' worth of Knowledge. And not the kind of "knowledge" you get from a Weight Watchers meeting (or any other bunch of self-righteous diet dweebs who think they alone have the right answer).

I am 51 years old. I am looking forward to your sequel and to seeing this book become a best-seller especially among us baby boomers.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By crazy4books on August 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best books on eating disorders/body issues I have ever read. It is one of the few books that really "understands" what it's like for women to struggle with body/eating issues.

What makes this book especially unique is that it is geared towards adults. Most books on this topic focus on teenagers and at the oldest, college students. This book addresses the unique experiences and perspectives of adult women and their struggles. The book is more then just information - it offers a great deal of food for thought and thinking/writing activities to help women overcome their issues.

The book not only expresses a true understanding about eating disorders, but it offers the reader much opportunity for insight, change and hope through the words and exercises.

This book is at the top of my recommendation book for anyone dealing with eating/body issues and those that want to understand why women struggle.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By bootsenhoffer on August 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If you or a loved one have an eating disorder or weight issue, this is the book for you. If you don't, but you suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) or another form of crushing insecurity about your appearance which is unrelated to weight, you may wish to look at some of the other titles on the subject. While Ms. Maine does a nice job of describing the root causes (media, culture, etc.) of women loathing their own bodies, and makes an excellent case for a pro-women revolt of some sort, the classic title on that subject, "the Beauty Myth," by Naomi Wolf, goes into much greater depth on the subject. Either one, however, would be a great book to share with any unsympathetic men in your life, but the Beauty Myth is much more comprehensive.

As far as the practical suggestions in the Body Myth, again, if you have eating or weight issues, I think this book may help you. But if your concerns are on specific body parts, aging, or anything unrelated to weight and eating, keep shopping.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. J. E. Drew on August 20, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book very clearly and concisely explains why women in society are increasingly pressurised by the media to conform to a very narrow definition of feminine beauty. It is well-written and has excellent advice on how to counter the messages a woman is not considered a woman unless she is white, heterosexual and middle-class. The book does not blame women for feeling insecure but holds the media and society responsible. The authors argue that women are in fact diverse and they all come in different shapes, sizes and ethnicities. It is positive and includes some cases studies. This book is different in that it focuses on adult and mature women. Highly recommended and well worth the purchase price.
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