Recovery Story – Aimee Liu
Aimee Liu is the author of Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Grand Central Publishing, 2007). This sequel to Liu’s acclaimed memoir Solitaire (Harper & Row, 1979), America’s first personal narrative of anorexia nervosa, draws on her own experience as well as interviews with leading researchers and more than forty other women and men with histories of anorexia and bulimia. Liu picks up her exploration of eating disorders where she left it at age twenty-five. Back then, she thought recovery meant eating well. Gaining proves that healthy nutrition is only a first step. True recovery requires a new understanding of the role that genetics, personality, relationships, and anxiety play in these disorders. Liu uses cutting edge research to dispel the myth that fashion is wholly to blame. She examines the real reasons eating disorders — at all ages — are on the rise, and how they can be prevented in future generations.Aimee Liu also is a novelist. Flash House (Warner Books, 2003) is a tale of suspense and Cold War intrigue set in Central Asia. Cloud Mountain (Warner Books, 1997) is based on the true story of her American grandmother and Chinese revolutionary grandfather. Liu’s first novel, Face (Warner Books, 1994), deals with mixed-race identity. These books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.Aimee Liu, recently spoke with Kelly Jad’on, the OnLine Publisher of BasilAndSpice.com, about Gaining and how life with anorexia influenced this new book.KJ: Why the title, GainingAimee: That is the word that strikes fear and loathing in the hearts of those with eating disorders. It is associated with gaining fat. It has richer meanings, though. Gaining pleasure, gaining independence, gaining confidence. All of these appetites are connected. To gain freedom from eating disorders, you have to gain in power and maturity. This is central to recovery from eating disorders. In our culture, women are told implicitly to be afraid of gaining weight both in pounds and purpose; a lot of women portrayed as celebrities or in fashion magazines are encouraged to remain in a state of immature adolescence. The unspoken message has long been that an “ideal” woman is a perennial child whose sole value and responsibility is to look cute. But today, with the creation of Size Zero clothing, the message is even worse. Now the “perfect” woman is a zero-in other words, nonexistent.