Weighing It Up

Author: Ali Valenzuela

Date Of Publication: 04/10/2009

This book, and the account contained within it, is a testament to the possibility of recovery. Ali Valenzuela describes her struggle with anorexia as she fights to break free from the illness, to cope with the feelings that surface during the recovery process and to make choices based on what she, rather than anorexia, wants.

Ali’s account contains diary extracts from various stages of her illness. Ten chapters guide the reader through the early stages of anorexia, a period of hospital treatment and the return back into the ‘real world’. Split into subsections, the chapters explore various aspects of the illness and the recovery process. For example, the chapter ‘Mixed Feelings’ includes sections on competitiveness, perfection, indecision, black-and-white thinking and anxiety. Ali describes how these things were for her and, in doing so, reflects on what has helped her to overcome these aspects of her illness.

In the introduction, Ali writes that she hopes the book may enable a sufferer to feel less alone or a carer to feel as though they understand the illness better. The book contributes to the fight against eating disorders in other ways too. For example, a royalty on sales of the book goes towards supporting Beat and a chapter on the fight for treatment is included, highlighting the need for care centres in Wales.

This book includes a photo of Ali at the “worst” of her illness and a letter to herself whilst in the grip of anorexia. Diary extracts from this time are also included, where the thoughts and feelings associated with anorexia are evident and this may be triggering for some readers. Ultimately though it is Ali’s voice, rather than the voice of anorexia, that shines through, strong and determined in her commitment to her own recovery, reducing the isolation of others and increasing understanding about eating disorders.

Inclusion of a book on this website does not indicate a recommendation by Beat and it is important to check whether you feel the book is suitable for you at this time. Beat try to ensure that we put a warning about any content that may be triggering in the reviews but different people will respond in different ways to things that they read. Remember, if you do feel distressed by anything you read then you can contact our Helpline Services Team to talk through how you are feeling and get information about other sources of support.