Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too

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Product Description

A unique new approach to treating eating disorders

Eight million women in the United States suffer from anorexia nervosa and/or bulimia. For these women, the road to recovery is a rocky one. Many succumb to their eating disorders. Life Without Ed offers hope to all those who suffer from these often deadly disorders. For years, author Jennifer Schaefer lived with both anorexia and bulimia. She credits her successful recovery to the technique she learned from her psychologist, Thom Rutledge.

This groundbreaking book illustrates Rutledge's technique. As in the author's case, readers are encouraged to think of an eating disorder as if it were a distinct being with a personality of its own. Further, they are encouraged to treat the disorder as a relationship rather than as a condition. Schaefer named her eating disorder Ed; her recovery involved "breaking up" with Ed

  • Shares the points of view of both patient and therapist in this approach to treatment
  • Helps people see the disease as a relationship from which they can distance themselves
  • Techniques to defeat negative thoughts that plague eating disorder patients

Prescriptive, supportive, and inspirational, Life Without Ed shows readers how they too can overcome their eating disorders.

Customer Reviews:

  • Extremely Well Written and Helpful
    This book is easy to understand and puts eating disorders in a different perspective enabling women and men to better understand how to view the disorder as an individual separate from themselves. It has helped me continue on my road to recovery. I recommend this book to anyone that suffers from an eating disorder or knows someone else who does. I will continue to use this book as a reference.
    ...more info
  • incredible!
    Never have a read a book with such inspiration and hope. I literally couldn't put it down from start to finish. It had me constantly wondering what was going to happen next. I recommend this book to anyone, but especially someone in recovery from an eating disorder (or any other disorder for that matter). It's just simply wonderful!...more info
  • The definitive how-to recovery book!
    I am a recovering anorexic and bulimic. Without a doubt, "Life Without Ed" is one of my all-time favorite recovery books. I also have to say, as a participating member of the eating disorders recovery community, that "Life Without Ed" is probably the single most beloved text amongst those who are engaged in the day-to-day recovery process. In the later stages of my own recovery, I became a writer myself, and as such I frequently get the chance to mentor and talk with others who are recovering. I have noticed that it usually doesn't take very long before the subject of "Life Without Ed" comes up. And that is why I can say without a doubt - buy this book. Don't hesitate. Don't wait. Don't wonder if it will be helpful. It will. Jenni's ground-breaking approach (with the support of her own therapist Thom Rutledge) has paved the way for a simple, yet profound, and ultimately, highly effective means of divorcing ourselves from dangerously destructive thought patterns and habits, and replacing them with healthy doses of support, love, life, and self-respect! I am grateful for "Life Without Ed" and hope you will give yourself the gift of this book.
    -Shannon Cutts
    Beating Ana: How to Outsmart Your Eating Disorder and Take Your Life Back...more info
  • Turning point for me
    In reading this book, I identified with so much of what Jenni described. Although I receive semi-weekly support from both a dietitian and a therapist, I credit this book for both bringing me out of denial about the fact that I have an eating disorder and for being a turning point in my own recovery. After reading this book, I feel empowered to fight an eating disorder. After reading this book, I feel more compassion for myself and anger towards my eating disorder. I cannot describe how much of a turning point this book has been for me. And, for the record, I read this book a month ago and I am still reaping benefits from it. (It's not like I JUST set the book down or something and am now all motivated and everything).
    ...more info
  • Really amazing
    k...well...having had an ed it was good to read this and think of my ed in other ways....
    its optimistic but truthful cuz recovery is no easy process. my mom read it and was helpful for her to understand somewhat of what im going through. Although this book won't aid in the recovery process (what book rly does) it helped me gain insight and hope 4 the future. I strongly recomend it to anyone who knows someone who has an ed because this book is about as close as u can get to understanding it. ...more info
  • Wish we had borrowed this book
    This book was a good look into the mind of a person with an ED but it's not one of those books I need to keep and cherish - or mark up and highlight or refer back to. My husband read a few chapters and gave up - too much the same. I keep trying to finish it, concerned that I will miss something important if I don't. Our daughter has her own copy and I think for her it is important - it helps her verbalize her feelings and really gives her somebody that she identifies with. But even she, a month later, has not finished the book. Perhaps down the road I can loan it out to someone to save them some money. ...more info
  • a MUST read for ED sufferers AND family.
    When my daughter was first diagnosed with anorexia, and before we had even worked out her treatment plan, I jumped online to find info...Life Without ED was the first book I found and ordered, and before I could even read one page, my daughter claimed it, read it, and to her, it was a god-send. Jenni is so real, honest and vulnerable as she shares about her battle with and victory over ED. My daughter felt like she was reading about her own life in many way..she finally knew she wasn't the only one! and it encouraged her that there is hope. Once she started treatment, it was the ONE book each of her treatment team wanted her to read...and she already had! For anyone living through this wicked disease, this book is required reading and will keep the hope alive. Also a must for supporters, family, friends of those suffering from ED....more info
  • change my life
    this book changed my life...its one of the greatest book, it help you realize that you are not alone and the "feeling" in each moment! i love it!!!!!"!...more info
  • Great Book
    I love this easy-to-read story of triumph!
    I provide this book for all of my patients and their families to read at the outset of treatment with me to help them understand the mindset of someone struggling with the chains of ED!
    Thank you Jenni for sharing your wonderful story!
    ...more info
  • "Life Saver"
    Thanks to this book I can finally say I'm on the recovery path. I have suffered from an eating disorder for eight years and never thought I would live a "Life Without Ed". When I purchased this book I thought it was going to be like all the others, useless in helping me to gain control over and move beyond my eating disorder. Boy was I wrong, it helped me to look at things in a new perspective and changed my way of thinking completely. By separating myself from my eating disorder I was finally able to disobey and fight back. For me, knowing "Jenny" was just a page away helped me to do what was necessary in recovery. I am and forever will be grateful to what this book has given back to me. I highly recmommend this book to anyone as a tool to "Divorce Ed" and get back what they rightfully deserve a "Life Without Ed".

    Sandy Peterson...more info
  • Great and helpful book!
    I absolutely loved this book! it has a lot of great recommendations and tips to work on recovery.
    Sometimes we need a book like this, that tells us what to do step by step in order to continue in recovery and it is better by someone who experienced an eating disorder in first hand.
    Thanks Jenni for sharing your experience!!...more info
  • Life Without Ed
    This is an easy read but focuses on the author's recovery & stumbles along the way. I did not personally reap any benefit from reading this book but if you've never read any "self-help/recovery" books before, you may gain a few tips from this one. Her therapist has a few chapters in the book where he tells you what worked for "her". It's not a step-by-step book but if someone loans you the book, give it a read. I wouldn't buy it though. It's just not "hard-core" enough to give you any boundaries or core work to help you get started on your on self recovery. It may give you the hope & reassurance that you need to recover but that's about all!!!...more info
  • Excellent Resource
    I find this book an excellent resource for anyone who has an eating disorder or knows somebody who does. It offered me an insight into what my ED daughter is feeling and battling internally and gave me very practical ideas on how to support her and talk with her. She uses the same approach that Jenni uses and talks back to the emotional 'voice' that an ED can present and this approach is extremely useful in her recovery. ...more info
  • lifewithouted
    Life Without Ed: How One Woman Declared Independence from Her Eating Disorder and How You Can Too
    Good book. Recommended. Gave it as gift. Delivery prompt....more info
  • The best book out there for people with eating disorders!
    As a nutritionist specializing in eating disorders, I am always looking for books to recommend to patients. Life Without Ed is the only book I know of that truly tells the story of how the writer recovered from her eating disorder. Too many of the books out there devote most of their pages to describing the horrors of the eating disorder, but say very little about how the author recovered. Life Without Ed is different. Jenni describes in helpful detail how she recovered, what worked, what didn't. If you want help recovering from your eating disorder, this is the book for you. This is also the book that should be on every professional's bookshelf. Marcia Herrin, EdD, MPH, RD, LD, author of The Parent's Guide to Eating Disorders: Supporting Self-Esteem, Healthy Eating, and Positive Body Image at Home....more info
  • Plain language for understanding complex issue
    It helps you understand what is going on in the person you care about in plain language. It can help shape your understanding of thsi complex condition. There is no one answer, but with understanding on both sides, tools can be learned to control ED...more info
  • Great Book
    This book is terrific and must have. She shows there is hope for those who battle ED. the fight can be WON!

    another excellent read is " it's not about weight" by dr. susie mendelsohn...more info
  • Goodbye Ed, Hello Self
    Written by a woman who has overcome her own struggles with her eating disorder ("Ed"), Life Without Ed is a first-hand account illustrating how dealing with an eating disorder is in many ways similar to being in an abusive relationship. Jenni shares how she was able to painfully separate herself from Ed by learning how to discern her own voice, goals, rules, values, and beliefs from his. She shares the work that she has done during her recovery process, while encouraging the reader to design and discover their own unique path to recovery. She demonstrates how recovery involves more than separating from Ed---it also involves reconnecting with your self to finally satisfy your hunger for life....more info
  • Life Without Ed

    An excellent book for individuals looking for support as they attempt to regain an honest focus on freeing themselves from an eating disorder.This book (I have learned) is used by many eating disorder (intervention) programs, as the message is on steps that can be applied for "self-recovery"....more info
  • I've read better.....
    In "Life Without Ed" Jenni Schaefer provides a look into her life and how, by learning to view herself and her eating disorder as separate beings, she overcame her disorder. I believe this process can work for some people, but it is not the "cure-all" for everyone. I am not discounting the author or her work or her process of recovery, but I could not get through this book and take any of it seriously enough to get anything of use out of it. Schaefer talks about writing a "Declaration of Independance", fashioned almost word-for-word after the original document, and then signed by members of her support group. In another part, she speaks of getting caller I.D. placed on her home telephone in order to prevent "Ed" from calling her.

    When "Ed" is a voice inside one's head, the notion that said voice could morph into an actual physical being with the ability to use a telephone is rather absurd. I understand the symbolism behind it, but found myself laughing at various parts of what I presume is supposed to be a serious book, not a piece of comedy.

    A better book is "Eli's Wings" by Elizabeth Best. Her book is a look into her life both with her eating disorder and through the recovery process. While she doesn't sugar-coat recovery (it is harder in some ways than living with the disorder), she also writes in a way that is captivating and leaves the reader inspired, rather than "triggered", like some other books out there. ...more info
  • I Recommend This Book to My Eating Disorder Patients.
    This inspirational and practical book stands out among the many how-I-overcame-my-eating disorder genre. In particular, the author separates out the dysfunctional eating disorder voice (that she calls ED) from Self. This simple step is the beginning of healing, which also helps to dampen a person's profound guilt with eating behaviors and body shame. The short chapters are written with wit and compassion. ...more info
  • A Book Every Person & Parent Should Read!
    It's not a pretty topic. It's not a comfortable topic. It's not a topic that makes a book "easy" to read. Yet, walking with author Jenni Schaefer through her eating disorder on the road to healing, somehow helped me feel absolutely liberated. Be warned - Life With (or Without) Ed is not comfortable. That said, this is exactly why it's a book every person, especially every parent, should read.

    Jenni gives us a powerful and candid account of what Life "With" Ed (Ed is an acronym for her eating disorder) is like. You will want to know the signs. You don't need to know "Ed" personally to see the signs of someone struggling with an eating disorder. Yet, you will want to know the ways he "talks" to you and those you love. Ed works by tempting you to destroy yourself and your body through the quest for body-image perfection. I'd be willing to bet Ed is closer than you think. Even as close as your own friends, family, or in your own mind and body.

    As Jenni tells us, it is not a simple task to recognize someone with an eating disorder. They come in all shapes and sizes and you'd be surprised where "Ed" lurks. For me, I was amazed how this "voice" Jenni describes can tempt us simply through body issues. But, it does. And I'm left to wonder if any of us are really free or safe from the quest for perfection.

    Jenni offers hope. She encourages all of us to seek help when we know it's too big to go it alone. She advises us to build a support system. Too, trouble with food, happens to the best of us. Trust me. For me, even as a health professional, I have historically had a horrible time navigating food. It has always seemed an impossible task since the days of my own "real, live Ed" - a personal trainer gone bad.

    It took me years to recover. In my mind, I never could get it right after "he" promised me I'd have a perfect body if only I'd listen to him. This meant training "heavy" i.e. using as much weight as my body could withstand. This meant there would be an "off season" (Winter) whereby I would "bulk up." To do so included eating anything and everything I could. This (supposedly) built muscle. Not to worry about the fat, I was told. When Spring rolls around, you will eat "clean."

    What then, is eating clean? My mind begged to know. The answer involved all sorts of weird eating. An example? Separating food groups at meals: protein at one meal, carbohydrates the next. All with no less than three hours between. Then, gradually depleting carbohydrates from the diet entirely.

    The problem (other than the potential kidney damage)? I wasn't doing it "right." I was having trouble separating food groups by three hours and depleting carbohydrates to remove the extra body fat that one who "bulks up " experiences. I was heavier than ever, and I still couldn't get it "right." I just couldn't attain this superhuman body "he" promised. In fact, when I looked in the mirror - I didn't look like I was in shape at all - the mirror told me I looked "fat." And I'm quite sure I wasn't healthy.

    Intellectually, I recognized there was no "health" in this program. Yet, I can tell you in gyms everywhere, it is an accepted one. For me, even after I began listening to my body and treating it well, the voices of the "trainer in my head," haunted me for years... separate food groups, deplete carbohydrates, have perfect body.

    I'm here to tell you, danger lurks everywhere in the quest for perfection. Jenni and her book will undoubtedly back me up. Eating disorders happen to great people as much as darkness lurks in the supposed safe havens of "health-touting" gyms across the country. These "voices" become our friends, our enemies, our obsession. We want to look good, therefore, we listen. The problem, as Jenni points out in her book is, we listen to others... when we should be listening to, educating and taking care of ourselves.

    Jenni's book liberated me from my own past dysfunctions with eating, dating back to my early twenties. It finally seemed to all come together for me after reading her story. As she puts it, when she put herself and her healing first, then she could keep her dreams alive. But, she first had to divorce the voice. And I am following suit. Finally, after all these years I am hereby telling "him" off - I am telling the trainer in my head he can go to hell.

    Moreover, Jenni helps us all get it right - it's not about binging, purging and starving or eating weird diets in the quest for body perfection - it's about everything in moderation, listening to your body and deciding what it wants. Yes, it will tell you if you listen. It is about educating yourself. It is about finding a healthy lifestyle. And with food, everything is fair game as long as you listen to yourself. It is a tuning in that is balanced every day, every season, every year. It is about taking care of "you" first, so you are healthy, can be there for others and can pursue your dreams. Jenni's given me permission to love myself as I am, exactly as I am right now. And if you take this journey with her, she will most likely find her way into your heart and help you do the same.

    ...more info
  • A must read
    This is an excellent book for those with any kind of eating disorder. It's a must read! Jenni puts a name and a face to the demon ED....more info
  • Simple Yet Life Changing
    Although the statements, advice, and treatments in this book may be simple and easy to understand, the impact that it has had on me has been far more complex. Sometimes the most basic ideas to comprehend, are also the most monumentally life changing. Struggling with my own "ED" for over 8 years, I began to realize after reading this book that Ed truly is a separate entity from myself - a horrible, negative force that has take a life of his own over the years. Being able to separate myself and change my inner dialouges, has been key in my beginning to recover. Jenni also writes from her own real, raw experiences, and tailors the book specifically to those sturggling with Ed. I liked how the chapters were short, and how the therapist gave treatment input throughout. I would recommend this book to ANYONE dealing or coping with Ed, including family members and friends....more info
  • The best book for recovering bulimics I have ever read
    This is the best book that I have read thus far in my recovery. Jenni touches on all of the emotions, insanity, and obsession of the disease with humor and strength. She provides hope for all of us trying to recover. It is a great book ....more info
  • Creative and motivating approach to eating disorders
    "Life Without Ed" is a novel and creative way of looking at and overcoming an eating disorder that worked for one woman---depersonalizing it as a separate persona and entity and then interacting with it, thus learning about it and about herself. She conceptualizes this process as "divorcing Ed" ("Ed" as a male name that is short for "eating disorder"). She learns over time and with lots of hard work, to disagree with and disobey Ed, and instead, to listen to and follow the healthy part of herself that was still there, even though it had been overcome by Ed for many years. This process is ultimately healing for her, though not a quick fix. Anyone with an eating disorder knows this is the only way anyone can truly recover---there are no quick fixes---and it's hard.

    Many reviewers who were suffering with eating disorders found this book informative and life-changing. I found it creative and refreshing. A few others found it not helpful, but very few. Despite its serious nature, "Life Without Ed" is helpfully humorous and fun to read. It is short (188 pages), and organized into brief, absorbable, and topical chapters.

    "Life Without Ed" is recommended, foreworded, and co-authored by Thom Rutledge (he writes the helpful exercises throughout), a terrific author himself, and a creative psychotherapist. He was the author's therapist throughout her recovery.

    It is appropriate reading to learn to deal with any and all eating disorders, from anorexia and bulimia, to NES and general food issues. It would even helpful for related issues such as perfectionism, body image, and exercise obsession.

    The author is transparent and open about the realities of having an eating disorder. Her stories compare and contrast her life now that she is free from anorexia and bulimia (especially her thought life) with her life before recovery; this was of particular interest to me. She writes compellingly about surviving relapse.

    "Life Without Ed" delivers on its promise of hope beyond eating disorders. It is encouraging, inspirational, and realistic. It shows, through the example of the author's life, how to stand against your eating disorder and for yourself.
    ****...more info
  • Not triggering, a daily inspiration
    Life Without Ed is one of the only books I have read on eating disorders that is NOT triggering (Jenni does not give any tips or tricks). I find hope and inspiration every time I read it. I actually carry it with me daily just in case I need to refer back to it.

    Thank you so much Jenni for sharing your stories. You and your book will always be a source of encouragement for me....more info
  • Someone finally understands!!
    I have read many books dealing with eating disorders, but this one finally struck home. For the first time I felt like someone truly understood what I was going through, feeling, and thinking. For so long I thought I was so alone because no one in my life understood. This book offered me so much HOPE! This book was very instrumental in my true attempt at recovery. It served as a jump start to my recovery and is still a book I go back and read when I'm struggling! Thank you so much Jenni for being so open, honest, and real! You are offering so much hope and encouragement to those of us who feel so alone in our eating disorder!...more info
  • Refreshing, filled with hope
    I am so lucky a friend of mine dropped Jenni's book into my possession. As someone who has suffered from an eating disorder since I was a child, I had become resigned to the fact that there was not a book out there that could help me. After reading Life Without Ed, I can no longer say that. This book has given me perspective, and it's allowed me to separate myself from my eating disorder. I know that I have a long way to go, but Jenni's book has allowed me to see things in a new, more positive light. I have strengthened my will to defeat my ED after reading this book.

    All you really need to know is I love this book, and I would recommend it to anyone.

    Thank you so much for your work, Jenni!!

    ...more info
  • Silly
    Full of gimmicks and silliness. If you are into "gimmick therapy", you might like to call your eating disorder "Ed" and talk to "him" in an empty chair. Not helpful at all, although Ms. Schaefer seems sincere enough. Glad I checked it out of the library instead of buying it. I prefer to be talked to like an adult....more info