Book details

What's Eating Us

Women, Food, and the Epidemic of Body Anxiety

Author: Cole Kazdin

What's Eating Us

What's Eating Us

About This Book

Blending personal narrative and investigative reporting, Emmy-award winning journalist Cole Kazdin reveals that disordered eating is an epidemic crisis killing millions of women.
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Book Details

"What’s Eating Us is a feat of reporting in the hope of helping people repair their relationship with their bodies and food." ––Shondaland

Blending personal narrative and investigative reporting, Emmy Award-winning journalist Cole Kazdin reveals that disordered eating is an epidemic crisis killing millions of women.

Women of all ages struggle with disordered eating, preoccupation with food, and body anxiety. Journalist Cole Kazdin was one such woman, and she set out to discover why her own full recovery from an eating disorder felt so impossible. Interviewing women across the country as well as the world’s most renowned researchers, she discovered that most people with eating disorders never receive treatment––the fact that she did made her one of the lucky ones.

Kazdin takes us to the doorstep of the diet industry and research community, exposing the flawed systems that claim to be helping us, and revealing disordered eating for the crisis that it is: a mental illness with the second highest mortality rate (after opioid-related deaths) that no one wants to talk about. Along the way, she identifies new treatments not yet available to the general public, grass roots movements to correct racial disparities in care, and strategies for navigating true health while still living in a dysfunctional world.

What would it feel like to be free? To feel gorgeous in your body, not ruminate about food, feel ease at meals, exercise with no regard for calories-burned? To never making a disparaging comment about your body again, even silently to yourself. Who can help us with this? We can.

What's Eating Us is an urgent battle cry coupled with stories and strategies about what works and how to finally heal—for real.

Imprint Publisher

St. Martin's Essentials



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In The News

Praise for Cole Kazdin:
"Cole’s book really resonated with me––one of my parenting fears is passing on my messed-up 1980s food issues to my children. Reading about her journey, and now about how she thinks about reframing and repairing those issues in these moments, is both calming and helpful." ––Emily Oster, New York Times bestselling author of Expecting Better

"Reading What’s Eating Us is like sitting down with one of your best friends, who also happens to be an incredible journalist. Through her own personal story, told with humor, vulnerability combined with unflinching reporting, Cole Kazdin reveals shocking truths about the woefully neglected eating disorder epidemic gripping our county, and has done much of the heavy lifting for anyone in search of real, tangible information and hope. A must read for women, no matter what their relationship is with food and their bodies." ––Jennifer Grey, New York Times bestselling author of Out of the Corner: A Memoir

"Part research, part memoir, What's Eating Us is a dynamic exploration into the world of eating disorders. Cole's journalistic background lays the foundation for so much of the data and research on the subject, while being cleverly woven into her own personal narrative. With a refreshing voice of honesty, compassion, sarcasm and wit, Cole goes on a quest demanding answers to why so many folks struggle with their relationships with their bodies and sets out to find the pathways to liberation." ––Amanda Crew, HBO's Silicon Valley

"As much a personal story as an examination of body anxiety...Kazdin’s painful honesty is leavened with humor and irony." ––Kirkus (starred review)

"Personal and illuminating, subjective yet relatable. Citing medical research alongside real-life testimonies, with a balance of personal candor and well-executed analysis, this book will resonate with anyone who’s ever been critical of their reflection in a mirror…With empathy and understanding, Kazdin offers the reader everything they need to better understand this difficult topic." ––BookPage

"What’s Eating Us is a feat of reporting in the hope of helping people repair their relationship with their bodies and food." ––Shondaland

"This book is both a memoir and a study of how disordered eating has become both normalized and encouraged in American culture...Her insightful discussions with researchers emphasize areas of eating disorders that are typically ignored, encouraging readers to think about aspects of diet culture they may not have considered...will appeal to readers who enjoy memoirs and general nonfiction, but Kazdin's conversational tone and writing style make this book accessible to all readers." ––Library Journal

"A must read. Kazdin recounts her own struggle, and surrounds it with robust research and stories on the incredible prevalence and toll of body dissatisfaction, preoccupation with food, and eating disorders. She beautifully and tragically encapsulates how almost all of us are negatively affected by the toxic diet culture that we live in, how that makes full recovery so elusive to most, and how we can start to fight back." ––Kristina Saffran, co-founder and CEO of Equip Health and co-founder of Project HEAL

"What's Eating Us takes seriously the lethality of eating disorders, a fact that is distressingly absent from most of the discourse on the subject. With disarming honesty and sparkling wit, Kazdin shares her own history with disordered eating, setting it alongside the experience of women she interviewed across the country. What the stories collectively demonstrate is that while the billion dollar diet industry will never have our backs, there is hope in new treatments and in stories like Kazdin's. What's Eating Us is a vital contribution to the literature on disordered eating, and a must-read for anyone hungry for real data and hard-boiled hope on the subject of eating, diets, and wellness." ––Christie Tate, New York Times bestselling author of Group

"For anyone who has ever struggled with body image, for those who have ever wanted to change anything about their appearance, for anyone who has ever wondered what it would be like to eat a plate of food and not feel guilty, this book is for you." ––Brattleboro Reformer

"You think you know everything about dieting and food disorders and then this book comes along! The picture Kazdin paints is shocking. If you think this does not apply to you, you should know that ninety percent of women in America are dissatisfied with their bodies. In fact, this dissatisfaction is so prevalent scientists have called it “normative discontent”. So, there is a ninety percent chance the information in this book applies to you. You will find that diets don’t work––they are designed to fail and then the companies have repeat customers. Kazdin explores why huge amounts of government and private money goes into the “obesity epidemic”, but hardly any goes into eating disorders. This is a lively and informative book." ––Catherine Gildiner, author of Good Morning Monster

"Kazdin courageously practices radical honesty in sharing her experience with an eating disorder. Honesty does to eating disorders what water did to the Wicked Witch of the West––it melts them. Otherwise they terrorize you and hold you hostage. Eating disorders are messy. Fessing up to that mess is the first step in putting the pieces back together." ––Cynthia Bulik, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders, University of North Carolina

About the Creators

What's Eating Us

What's Eating Us