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The Anorexia Workbook

The Anorexia Workbook: How to Accept Yourself, Heal Your Suffering, and Reclaim Your Life

Despite ever-widening media attention and public awareness of the problem, American women continue to suffer from anorexia nervosa in greater numbers than ever before. This severe psychophysiological condition—characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming obese, a persistent unwillingness to eat, and severe compulsion to lose weight—is particularly difficult to treat, often because the victims are unwilling to seek out help. This book uses innovative new techniques based on a revolutionary model of psychotherapy called acceptance and commitment therapy, or ACT, to teach readers that efforts to control and stop anorexia may do more harm than good. Instead of focusing efforts on judging impulses associated with the disorder as “bad” or “negative,” this approach encourages sufferers to mindfully observe these feelings without reacting to them in a self-destructive way. Guided to this more compassionate, more receptive frame of mind, readers are coached to employ various acceptance-based coping strategies.

Structured in a logical, step-by-step progression of exercises, the workbook first focuses on providing readers with a new understanding of anorexia and the ways they might have already tried to control the problem. Then the book progresses through techniques that teach how to use mindfulness to deal with out-of-control thoughts and feelings, how to identify choice that will lead to better heath and quality of life, and how to redirect the energy formerly spent on weight loss into those actions that will heal the body and mind. Although this book is written specifically to anorexia sufferers, it includes a clear and informative chapter on when readers need to seek professional treatment as well as advice on what to look for in a therapist.

From “You will learn to accept and live with the uncontrollable thoughts and feelings that haunt you about your weight, and you will learn to take charge and move your life in directions that you value,” promise the authors, both specialists in treating people with anorexia. They use the ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) philosophy: Accept the thoughts and feelings, and commit to actions that take charge of your life in a positive way. Step by step, you learn to understand that what you’ve been doing isn’t working, deal with emotions and thoughts more effectively, identify your life values, start living a life that reflects those values, and cope with barriers. The overriding point is that you can act before you “get things right in your head.” The style is warm, simple, and accepting–no stern lectures or commands to eat. The workbook has large pages and is well laid-out and easy to follow. Each chapter presents bulleted preview points at the beginning, clear content, and plenty of self-tests, exercises, and worksheets to get you immediately involved in each part of the process. Highly recommended for people challenged by anorexia and those who love them or work with them.”

Softcover, 200 pages.

The Anorexia Workbook

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John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder & CEO of Psych Central. He is an author, researcher and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues -- as well as the intersection of technology and human behavior -- since 1992. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member and treasurer of the Society for Participatory Medicine. He writes regularly and extensively on mental health concerns, the intersection of technology and psychology, and advocating for greater acceptance of the importance and value of mental health in today's society. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2016). The Anorexia Workbook. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 30, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 May 2016
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 May 2016
Published on Psych All rights reserved.