- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING PLC; New Ed edition (2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0747572496
- ISBN-13: 978-0747572497
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,369,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict Paperback – Import, 2006
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'Hunger is the loudest voice in my head. I'm hungry most of the time'. On a January morning in 2003, William Leith woke up to the fattest day of his life. That same day he left London for New York to interview controversial diet guru Dr Robert Atkins. But what started out as a routine journalistic assignment set Leith on an intensely personal and illuminating journey into the mysteries of hunger and addiction. Fat has been called a feminist issue. But in this unflinching investigation into the bodily consequences and psychological pain of being overweight, Leith reveals how it affects us all. Our fat society, he tells us, is a lot like him: always hiding from the truth about itself. "The Hungry Years" charts fascinating new territory for everyone who has ever had a craving or counted a calorie. It is a story of food, fat and addiction that is both funny and heart-wrenching.
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In the course of writing this staggeringly personal, and sometimes amusing, account of himself, Leith wanders also into related topics. He writes about French fry production and celebrity diets (Robbie Coltrane, "Hagrid" in the Harry Potter films, will not appreciate his mentions here), about pain killers and plastic surgery. (Leith's graphic description of the last should dissuade any but the most intractably vain from undergoing elective procedures.) In the end Leith's various ruminations come together into a coherent whole. The book succeeds as a readable exploration of both the West's culture of consumption and its author's demons--wounded by book's end, if not yet slain.
Reviewed by Debra Hamel, author of Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece
The author's addicted to coke, food, alcohol, etc., at various times. And he's impressively compulsive about it, cramming in food as fast as possible.
Like many people these days, I'm watching my weight (and its tendency to creep up!). And I was interested in someone else's story about dealing with food and weight issues. But I couldn't really identify with this saga. It was just so far over the top from what I feel. I'm actually amazed that, given the was he inhales his food, that he wasn't a lot heavier.
So, if you are interested in a tale of addiction, and a bit of redemption, you might enjoy this. If you are interested in a book on food & weight, it's really not so much that.
Although he does appear to be on the right track at the end of the book, whether you can put that down to the Atkins diet he was doing, or the therapy he was getting, is an open question.
So, we have a scathing diatribe against externalities of any sort, including dieting. (And especially plastic surgery!) Even credit cards and cell phones! Dieting will give you a substitute slim body with which you could appear not to have ever stuffed your face and/or had problems. Cell phones image to the world that you are oh-so-very-well-connected!! (I do not own a cell phone, and will use someone else's only if paid to do so.) Don't even get me started on plastic surgery--suffice to say, I am fine with my droopy facial skin. All of these external changes function as fashion statements. These fashion statements contribute to surface, ersatz existences!
Leith probably has the resources and much of the gumption to have afforded a personal trainer to help him physically work out some of his body image issues and obsession with fashion (usually women's territory)--instead, with formidable intellectual courage, he explores his own emotional history and, with the help of low-carbing, loses weight.
One of the main reasons I personally choose to live in my current ersatz body has been medical issues, which were not brought about by excess weight, but are aggravated by it. However, I am on a high-carb diet--it's much tougher at first, but all roads eventually lead to the same end--restrictions and strait jackets.
This book was written as an object lesson. It should be required reading for therapists, dietitians, nutrition coaches and weight loss group entrepreneurs (but it probably won't be).
In any case, as a woman I got the message, whether intended or not.