What's Eating Us

Women, Food, and the Epidemic of Body Anxiety

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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date 21 Mar 2023
St. Martin's Press, St. Martin's Essentials


"What’s Eating Us is a feat of reporting in the hope of helping people repair their relationship with their bodies and food." ––Shondaland

Blending personal narrative and investigative reporting, Emmy Award-winning journalist Cole Kazdin reveals that disordered eating is an epidemic crisis killing millions of women.

Women of all ages struggle with disordered eating, preoccupation with food, and body anxiety. Journalist Cole Kazdin was one such woman, and she set out to discover why her own full recovery from an eating disorder felt so impossible. Interviewing women across the country as well as the world’s most renowned researchers, she discovered that most people with eating disorders never receive treatment––the fact that she did made her one of the lucky ones.

Kazdin takes us to the doorstep of the diet industry and research community, exposing the flawed systems that claim to be helping us, and revealing disordered eating for the crisis that it is: a mental illness with the second highest mortality rate (after opioid-related deaths) that no one wants to talk about. Along the way, she identifies new treatments not yet available to the general public, grass roots movements to correct racial disparities in care, and strategies for navigating true health while still living in a dysfunctional world.

What would it feel like to be free? To feel gorgeous in your body, not ruminate about food, feel ease at meals, exercise with no regard for calories-burned? To never making a disparaging comment about your body again, even silently to yourself. Who can help us with this? We can.

What's Eating Us is an urgent battle cry coupled with stories and strategies about what works and how to finally heal—for real.

"What’s Eating Us is a feat of reporting in the hope of helping people repair their relationship with their bodies and food." ––Shondaland

Blending personal narrative and investigative reporting, Emmy...

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Featured Reviews

What's Eating Us: Women, Food, and the Epidemic of Body Anxiety by Cole Kazdin is a great nonfiction that is part memoir part research and part self-help that I enjoyed.

This book is real, raw, honest, and lets each of us (whether we are diagnosed with eating disorders or those that are not) know that none of us are alone in this struggle.

The author, who herself is experiencing a lifetime of struggles, trials, and successes, gives us fellow women that are dealing with our own eating disorders (ummm me) and to be honest, each an every woman that has had obstacles, traumas, stereotypes thrown their way, been marginalized and objectified a sense of belonging and understanding.

We are not alone. We are not crazy. Society is messed up…but we can fix it, and help ourselves and each other in the process. Our bodies are beautiful. They are flawed, but they do so much for us that we take it for granted. I am trying to remember each day to thank my blessings and to thank my body for all that it does for me and not dwell on what it can’t do or what it doesn’t look like. I want that for each of us, and so does the author.

I thank her for her story and her courage to work toward a brighter future, flaws and all.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and St Martin’s Press for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 3/7/23.

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Wow! This book had me engaged from it's opening chapter!

I enjoyed the dynamic writing style of Kazdin which was whip-smart, funny and rich with knowledge and critical thinking. I really appreciated the way that Kazdin went about exploring this topic of eating, disordered eating, our addictions and predilection of being preyed upon and reinforcing of social media's portrayals over what is beauty and the meritocracy of being "skinny." Readers will want to slowly work your way through What's Eating Us to really let this information sit and digest. I truly learned a lot from What's Eating Us.

From candidly sharing stories of their own struggle to the interlacing of fact against media's distorted fiction - What's Eating US is one of the better books I have read about food and our insatiable. appetite for diet culture and self destruction.

Thank you to the author, publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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This was absolutely fascinating and a must read for all women! This is one I'll return to again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

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Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the ARC of What’s Eating Us. 

I am a new fan of Cole Kazdin! I thank her for writing this oh-so-necessary update on how we as a society are handling food and the bodies that we feed, as well as detailing her own life experience as one of the many eating-disordered.

Having a lifetime of immersion myself in disordered eating, in either practice or perception, much of this book was not new to me.

The author’s honest, “F-You” articulation of the reality of living in a world that both punishes and promotes food and body obsession absolutely was new. I felt seen. 

Cole Kazdin writes with jaded humor that makes the physiological and psychological complexity of eating disorders all seem so universal, this “normative discontent” of the discomfort of living in a human body in a culture dictating android-like attributes of beauty. 

Five stars!

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Both carefully researched and deeply personal, What's Eating Us explores factors contributing to our current culture of body and food obsession. What sets it apart from other books about disordered eating and diet culture is the special attention given to issues specific to BIPOC readers and the thoughtful and sometimes darkly humorous discussion of the author's experience. I will recommend to readers of Hunger by Roxane Gay.
Thank you to NetGalley and St Martin’s Press for a digital review copy.

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I loved this book! A fresh and insightful look at weight and gender and the body--I plan to give this book to all my female friends and family when it is published. It's revolutionary, and it is so needed in our current culture. Great book!

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LOVED THIS. I feel very passionate about the diet culture impacting women today, especially high school girls. Having struggled with my own issues years ago, I felt this book was worded very well and the evidence was very supportive.

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I found this book informational, enlightening, and easy to read. It described an experience that I've endured since around the age of 8. The wit and knowledge of the author entertain and inform and make the material in the book totally relatable. Interlaced throughout the narrative are facts and data about eating disorders, the diet culture, and the inequity in getting help. Every woman who diets or worries about her weight should read this book.

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Kazdin unpacks our relationship with eating and food culture in a mix of memoir and research. It was a very insightful read and one that I will return to and encourage my friend to read!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Absolutely fascinating a look at womens obsession issues with eating our bodies.Perfect for discussion gave me so much to think reflect on.#netgalley #st.martinsbooks

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This part-memoir, part-investigation of how the American healthcare system treats and diagnoses eating disorders fills a gap in the current book industry by challenging modern diet programs (Noom, WW, etc) and investigating the racist care that keeps many women from healing their relationship with food and control. Kazdin, the narrator and author, is humorous yet serious, offering her own eating disorder as clout for the thin- and white-privilege that shields her from medical malpractice. I recommend this book to anyone who has or had an eating disorder, disordered eating behaviors, or is seeking out healthier body positivity messaging.

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This book was a great read. For someone who has suffered from disordered eating and a continuous battle with my body, I felt connected to these words and the story. All awhile nodding my head about the society we live in and what is driving this obsession with women's bodies.

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This was such a wonderful insight into what is eating us - literally. Cole Kazdin's book was part memoir, part self help, and part research with plenty of evidence to support her work. It was refreshing to see how the author discusses the way we eat, eating, disordered eating, addiction to food and our culture and how it impacts the way we eat and the way we view our bodies. This is a fascinating look at how social media and our culture as a whole influence how we eat, what we eat, why we eat the way we do and eating disorders that can stem from this. I highly recommend every woman check this out!

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for this eARC.

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Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin's Press, and Cole Kazdin for this ARC. What's Eating Us comes out on March 7, 2023. This is an amazing memoir that highlights the restraints of body anxiety that hold women captive. The rise of eating disorders and body dysphoria was explored in this insightful piece. I loved that the book also included statistics and discussions on queer, poc, and intersectional identities.

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This book is EVERYTHING! Part memoir and part research about eating disorders, it’s a deep dive into diet culture, genetics, and why cis women feel the way they do about their bodies.

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Cole Kazdin provides a unique look at diet culture, anti-fat bias, and the repercussions of glorifying thinness. Kazdin's storytelling is front and center as she explains her eating disorder experiences, intertwining facts about everything related to body size and appearance. This book is great for anyone who has ever had terrible thoughts about their body—which is every single human alive today.

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TW: This book [and my review] is about diets, body anxiety and body-shaming, eating disorders and the work it takes to get into recovery from them. I am typically not a TW kind of person, but in this case [as I have friends who are in life-long recovery], I think it is important. This book is a very important read and I tried to write the best review I could about it, but I also know that it can be extremely triggering to those who are not yet in recovery, just starting recovery or are currently struggling with recovery. I have also hidden my review behind a spoiler link for that reason as well.

1. Diets SUCK.

2. Diets DO. NOT. WORK.

3. Diet Culture and the people that make it happen have their own circle of Hell waiting for them.

4. Diet influencers [I am looking at you Kardashians] will be hanging out with the people of #3.

5. Recovery is never ending [the author makes that very clear as she discusses her journey along with all the information she has found] and one should not E V E R be ashamed of where they are in life.

6. Just because someone has "therapist" behind the name, DOES NOT MEAN they have your best interest at heart [I am looking at you Joyce {from the book - IYKYK} and if they are in the pockets of a "diet" company, they are most certainly NOT looking out for you.

7. People who claim they love us need to stop saying sh*t like "YOU have such a pretty face, if only you'd lose a few pounds" [I. WAS. EIGHT. the first time this happened. E I G H T]. It is dangerous, damaging, and extremely unloving and it needs to stop. I look back at pictures of when I was that age and O M G I was freaking adorable and certainly didn't need a D I E T. Sigh. All it did was start a life-long struggle with how I looked and my weight [that has only ended since I was diagnosed with a chronic illness and medication has made it impossible to diet] that has made me hate myself for a good many years.


9. Those who love us, please just love us where we are. Support us, care for us, help us, but don't tell us what to do. Those who struggle with body anxiety, body-shame, eating disorders and all that comes with those things just need support and love and caring. IF someone tells you [or shows you] how they need supported, then for cryin' out loud, DO THAT and stop telling them what YOU think they should do.

10. Doctors who judge someone simply by their weight - see #3

To say this book hit me hard is an understatement. While I have never struggled with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia, I did, for years, overeat. I ate for comfort, for love, and to calm my anxiety. It took years [and so. many. stupid. diets.] for me to overcome that, to find things that were non-damaging for comfort and to calm my anxiety [I HIGHLY recommend therapy, something I have never had the chance to have, but I know people who have found great therapists who have helped them so much <--it may take a few, advocate for yourself and if your gut says NO, find a new one] and to tell people to STOP shaming me for my body by recommending a new diet [like I have not already tried them all] or asking me "how my weight is" [like they are blind and cannot see that I am still a very large woman]. I will say that while that was totally empowering for me, most people who loved to shame were not fans of me telling them to shut their traps. ;-)

There are ways to get better and there are ways to learn to like [if not love] yourself IN the body you are in. It is literally a lifelong process and there will be moments you will want to chuck it all and go back to the damaging behaviors; all I can say to that [and to myself] is BE KIND TO YOURSELF. You are forever a work in processes and it helps to always remember that. Surround yourself with people that truly love and support you, clean up your social media [or get rid of it completely], even if that means unfriending or unfollowing people you have known for years [THIS has been glorious for me] and BE KIND TO YOURSELF.

We are literally all in this together.

I was able to get the NetGalley audiobook for this book and WHOOSH that was crazy. Listening to the author tell her story and talk about all the things that led to her needing to be in recovery, with ALL the emotions that come with that, was amazing. It really bring home just how serious this is [for those who have never, ever, struggled with food or body anxiety will appreciate this audiobook for that very reason] and how the author still struggles while in recovery. I really appreciated her humor amidst all the sorrow and pain and I also appreciated her transparency and vulnerability. It really comes through in the audiobook. I highly recommend listening to this book. </spoiler>

Thank you to NetGalley, Cole Kazdin, St. Martin's Press, and Macmillan Audio for providing the ARC and audiobook ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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With a lifetime of struggling with disordered eating and weight, it's safe to say I have read a boat load of books about the subject. Every January the big box bookstore would roll out the huge display of the latest diet books and readers would flock to them in hope of finally discovering THE BOOK the at would end their battle with food and make them slim. Health took second place when they made their pick for the year. Next year was sure to be something else. With a medical system that fails us constantly, finding help on our own is tough.
When I saw this title available I thought what the heck and gave it a read. I'm glad I did. From the first chapter I felt I was in the company of a woman who knows the long, hard road so many of us travel. Part memoir, part science, full of interviews and facts, this was not an easy read but one I needed. I could go on at great length about what a well written book this is but I don't want my review to come across as a high school book report. It's enough to tell you that if you are sharing your life with any eating disorder, Cole Kazdin is walking beside you and has lots of information to share with you. This is a must read.
My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Cole Kazdin provides a piercing, authoritative view into our relationship with food, eating, health in WHAT'S EATING US. Throughout, Kazdin shares her own experiences and research into the terrible and strange ways we view and live our basic needs for nourishment and community. I loved how she wove memoir, interviews, and hard fact throughout the book -- at times it felt more like a well-plotted and intricately woven mystery novel than the hard examination of beliefs, systems, and structures that kill some of us and limit everyone. This is an important book for everyone -- a contribution to our world conversation about living well. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own unbiased thoughts.

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