The first time I heard of Shades of Hope Treatment Center and Tennie McCarty was on TV. I stumbled upon a reality show about food addiction, and I was simply fascinated with it. McCarty took people with all kinds of eating issues—anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder—and had them live together, go through therapy together and generally work through their own issues to truly get healthy inside and out. Her tough, no-BS approach yet loving and funny manner was captivating and got results. In fact, both Ashley Judd and Danny Cahill of The Biggest Loser credit her with helping them to overcome their food addiction demons. So when we were sent her new book, Shades of Hope: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living, I was excited to read it.
In my experience, most of us have a little something emotionally tied to our food choices. For some of us, it’s an unhealthy obsession. For others of us, it’s a self-perceived lack of control. For others, it might just be eating for a reason other than hunger every now and again. No matter what yours is, this book is a true guide—not a diet—to having a healthier relationship with food and yourself.
Truly a captivating read, McCarty shares her own personal journey with overcoming food addiction along with the personal stories of others she’s helped at her treatment center. Filled with journaling assignments and other exercises to help you pinpoint your exact reasons for turning to food, this book is as close as you can come to getting McCarty’s help without, you know, actually going to see her. It’s no magic bullet though. While the book does offer general healthy eating advice, it requires you to dig deep, ask yourself challenging questions and do the hard work to break through your patterns. It’s a true self-help handbook for overcoming addiction. (And it’s as intense—if not more so—than overcoming any other addiction, like drugs or alcohol. After all, you don’t need drugs or alcohol to live, but you do have to eat.)
If you have an unhealthy relationship with food, I can’t recommend this book enough. While the program itself in the book is awesome, the thing I loved most about it was that when reading it, you just feel understood. In my time teaching FBG Life, one thing that always comes up for women is that they always feel like they’re the only ones who feel a certain way. But McCarty touches on so many stories, examples and issues that I can almost guarantee that no matter what your food issues are or your past has been, reading this will make you feel understood—and not alone.
Do you want to read Shades of Hope? Leave us a comment, and we’ll select one random U.S. reader to win a copy in about a week! —Jenn