Too Fat or Too Thin?

A reference guide to eating disorders

By: Cynthia R Kalodner


Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 234mm x 154mm
Pages : 240
ISBN : 9781904424857
Format: Paperback
Published: August 2005

The deluge of information regarding eating disorders can be mystifying and misleading. It's often difficult knowing where to begin and who to trust. This practical resource guide for students and parents dispels the myths surrounding eating disorders by providing factual and historical information on how our understanding of theses problems has evolved. Chapters on anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, compulsive overeating, and other disorders use case studies and current research to describe and explain symptoms, dangers and current theories about what causes such disorders.

Medical and psychological issues are thoroughly discussed in a manner accessible for students. Psychological therapies and other forms of treatment are described, providing each treatment's history and effectiveness. Other chapters focus on the prevention of eating problems, the relationship between image disturbances and popular culture and controversies in the field of diagnosis and treatment.

Picture for author Cynthia R Kalodner

Cynthia R Kalodner

Cynthia R Kalodner PhD is director of the Counseling Psychology program at Towson University and a licensed psychologist. She has written extensively about eating disorders and disturbances and has made presentations across the USA.


  1. Do you find the deluge of information about eating disorders mystifying and misleading? Is it hard knowing where to begin and who to trust?” asks the author, a director of the counselling psychology programme at Towson University in Maryland. She has written extensively about eating disorders and disturbances, leading up to this comprehensive guide aimed at “professionals, students and parents”.

    These professionals should be in the same field as the author, because readers will certainly need informed knowledge of eating disorders - the medical and psychology terms are not easily accessible for someone coming to this subject completely raw. Even so, it will be a valuable support for any addiction counsellor who finds an eating disorder in a client after treatment of a chemical addiction is successfully under way. And this time of year, when festivities centre round food rituals, is particularly hard for eating-disordered clients, The guide will help to demystify eating disorders, and possibly even avert misdiagnoses which can send clients on the wrong track.

    It covers the ground thoroughly, dealing not only with full-blown eating disorders but also with those “not otherwise specified”. It gives valuable guidance to which kind of treatment works best for which eating disorder and explains these from the highly medical and psychological to the very basic, such as “do you know what a binge is (in bulimia)?”. The answer is that a person who is in the middle of a binge feels entirely out of control and is not able to stop eating until no more food is available.

    There is a fascinating chapter on sociocultural influences: the impact of western culture on eating and body-image disturbances. It opens with this powerful quote: “When we talk about the obsession with food, we must also talk about our cultural obsession with the size of women's bodies, and what that obsession does to their minds and hearts. It is almost impossible to be a woman in this culture and feel powerful and gorgeous unless you have no thighs, no belly, no breasts - unless you don't look like a woman” (Roth, 1993, P250).

    Kalodner discusses challenging media messages on what makes an attractive woman, recommending that we learn from About-Face (www.about-face.orq), a medialiteracy organisation which combats negative and distorted images of women in the media and aims to bring home the message. “Stop Starvation Imagery”. Check out the website for truly empowering stuff.

    I specifically mention this chapter and organisation because this is where an individual's eating disorder crosses over into what we as a society can do to help -the bit over which we are not powerless.
  2. This book provides an excellent overview of a complex subject and is written in a highly readable style.

    It takes an easily accessible and comprehensive look at eating disorders from sociological, cultural, psychological and clinical perspectives. It is therefore of interest and value to a wide range of professionals and students as well as to sufferers and their carers.

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