Eating disorders – I don’t even know where to begin. I’ve known people with it, even wonder about a few – but it is not one of my personal issues. I’ve read a clinical book about it years ago, but the only information that stayed with me is the concept of personifying it as “Ed”. Yet I’ve always wondered what I would do, should do, if someone close to me had it. I wondered what I could do for someone who was a support person of someone with it. Other than try to get them professional help…or support them as I would anyone going through issues…why could I do differently? What could I do that wouldn’t make it worse?
Then in walks this woman radiating God’s Love: Haley Snyder.
We ran into each other and quickly realized that we had a lot of interests in common. She is an amazing woman, someone who I admire deeply for her honesty, integrity, and her ongoing drive to build a life worth living.
Part of the life she has built includes her book, Get That Girl a Cheeseburger: Eating Disorder Myths and Misnomers. This quick and meaningful read, is a gateway to understanding eating disorders and the role of support people. Packed with clear explanations of the many ED (eating disorder) terms, corrections of the myths and assumptions around ED, and first-person experiences from a variety of individuals, this book is a must read for anyone who needs, or wants to be, equipped to help others with eating disorders.
First, the explanations of terms related to ED, such as the types of eating disorders and treatment options, help clear the fog. Instead of a hazy understanding of this scary thing, Haley brings it into focus by understanding what is involved.
Second, Haley divides her book into chapters addressing the most common myths and misnomers of ED. Each myth is broken down by a well-written explanation and a real-life story of someone dealing with ED.
Third, the first-person stories make the most impact. Individuals who could be our friends or relatives, share their journey. The images we hold in our heads of those with ED are replaced with real people just like us. ED becomes not something someone else has, but something anyone can have.
I asked Haley how writing the book has changed her life:
“My life has been changed by this book. It was the first time that i publicly shared my story, so writing it was scary and exciting. I actually didn’t even think about publishing it until it was almost complete. Right after I published and released it on Amazon and on my website, I panicked. It had become real that people were actually going to read what I wrote – and pay to do so, but it also opened up the reality of criticism. Luckily I haven’t had to deal with much of that, and when I do get feedback, I always look at it as a lesson to better my art.”
I also asked Haley what reactions she has received:
“I have gotten mostly good reactions. My family and friends were very proud, though most of the feedback has been from people who don’t know me and who are validated by the way the book was constructed. Most memorably was a man who came to my book signing after reading about it in a newspaper. ‘My daughter has an eating disorder, and we have done everything in our power to get her help, but it just isn’t working. Do you have any advice for me?’ My heart broke for him. I gave him some tips and highlighted a couple of the parts of the book that may be of help and he left with tears in his eyes because he had finally found a little hope. That is what I wrote the book for. If is family are the only people who benefit, my job is complete – but it’s been much more than that. I am so blessed that God put this book in my head and on my heart. All of the Glory goes to him.”
Who should read this book? Anyone who needs a bit of assurance on being a support person for someone with E.D. Anyone who is a mentor to youth so that you can be better prepared if you realize one (or more) have an eating disorder. Anyone in ministry, as somewhere along the way you will need to deal with it.
Haley, Thank you for sharing your story – but not just your story, the story of many others dealing with this dreadful condition. You do bring hope as a survivor yourself, but also as someone who can speak for those who can not speak for themselves.
Lord – be with all those who are lost, that they may find their way. Help those who find the only way to control their life, to let out the pain, is to harm themselves. They are beautiful, good, loved and a blessing – I pray that can see themselves as you see them. And give all those around them your eyes too, that we may be patient, supportive and understanding. Amen.