Making Weight: Men’s Conflicts with Food, Weight, Shape and Appearance

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2000 Volume 11, Number 4
©2000 Gürze Books

(Arnold Andersen, MD, Leigh Cohn, MAT, and Thomas Holbrook, MD. Carlsbad, CA: Gurze Books, 2000; paperback; 252 pp.; $14.95)

In Making Weight, three distinguished authorities review the current scene, describing how men differ from women (the short course) and how men’s psycho-developmental and sociocultural body-related issues contrast and compare with women’s with respect to appearance. They discuss the social status, group identity, and sexual signals broadcast by various male body shapes and clothing fashions, and the implications of these issues for the evolution of psychological difficulties related to men’s concerns regarding shape and weight. Dr. Arnold Andersen, whose clinical experience with males with anorexia nervosa may surpass that of any other psychiatrist in the United States, draws from his extensive clinical work and research with male patients to enrich these discussions.

Dr. Tom Holbrook’s account of his own struggle with anorexia nervosa is a highlight of the book. This remarkably candid, self-revelatory story by an astute psychiatrist whose struggles permeated his medical and psychiatric training and subsequent practice is probably matchless in the annals of wounded healers. Although large numbers of women professionals who work with eating disorder patients have written of their own personal experiences with these problems, Dr. Holbrook’s account is unique.

The last sections concern recovery, dealing with topics from basic nutritional information designed to foster realistic dietary and meal planning for gaining (or losing) weight, to psychological, social and spiritual aspects of recovery. A chapter on how loved ones can help and excellent lists of organizational, published and web-based resources add to the value of this reader-friendly book.

— J.Y.

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