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Thank you to author Rachel Wilshusen for sending me her book, Emancipated Love Junkie, for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
As a blogger, I get many requests to read and review books. I love to read, however I do not have the time currently to enjoy many books, necessitating the turning down of most requests.
Occasionally, though, an author and book comes along that captivates me or touches me, even before I hold the book in my hands. Rachel Wilshusen is such an author who has written such a book.
The subject of eating disorders is not unfamiliar to me. I understand the importance of offering help to those who feel trapped by their thoughts about and perceptions of food. Rachel’s charming email, writing style and her travels intrigued me. Over the last month I have indeed held her book in my hands and carried it around with me as I read her moving memoir and followed her healing journey. I’m grateful for the opportunity.
Check out this book review for Emancipated Love Junkie.
Meet Rachel Wilshusen
Rachel is a vibrant writer with liberal arts degrees from not one but three universities: University of Pennsylvania, University College London and University of Cambridge.
She’s lived on both the east and west coasts of the United States and also in the midwestern state of Oklahoma. As a young adult she traveled, living and working in Canada, England and China.
During her travels, this talented woman worked as an executive assistant, rock musician, teacher, playwright, and cookie company owner.
However, Rachel hid a secret.
For 20 years, she struggled with eating disorders, including bingeing and anorexia. Emancipated Love Junkie is a beautiful, humorous and oft times painfully honest memoir of the journey that ultimately led to her recovery.
From her early childhood in Arizona to her travels around the world, Rachel details her shifting relationship with food. And beyond that, she shares her deteriorating relationship with herself.
Raised with an appreciation for family, homecooked meals and baked goods, Rachel felt she was a star ascending…if only others could see her the way she envisioned herself. She clung to the bright hope for her future that children instinctively possess, until life began to tarnish her vision.
The family moved frequently, due to her father’s work as an Army doctor. Rachel often felt like an outsider in new schools as she tried desperately to fit in. And yet, she experienced the warmth of a close knit family. She found pleasure in running. Beyond a doubt, she knew she was meant for so much more than standing on the fringes.
By high school, Rachel’s love/hate relationship with food began. If she could just control what she ate, and when she ate, things would change. She could be one of the popular girls, one of the “Sylvias” that seemed to have it all together.
The struggles with eating deepened. Times of starvation followed bouts of bingeing. The negative self talk began. That inner critic, which Rachel nicknamed Mal, became a constant companion.
High Highs and Low Lows
As she bounced around the US and the world, Rachel drove herself to achieve, to present herself as the best teacher, executive assistant or cookie maker. And she succeeded. Additionally, the long days and hard work helped silence her inner critic. However, those perfectionist tendencies took a toll on her physically, emotionally and mentally.
After binge eating a whole pizza one night, and feeling the agony of an overly full stomach after a day of starvation, she made a vow. No more bingeing. Ever.
Thereafter, Rachel attempted to maintain what she considered her ideal weight and size by severely limiting food intake. She appeared successful and thin and brilliant…and she was all of those things. Beneath the shiny exterior though lurked dark thoughts of failing, of not being enough, of not being worthy.
This is a healing journey, thankfully. To get to the recovery part, Rachel had to get to the face-pressed-against-the-floorboards, “I can’t do this anymore” part. She did. And when she reached out, she found help available.
My Thoughts About Emancipated Love Junkie
Rachel’s book powerfully captures her journey to recovery and healing. I found her transparency incredibly honest and authentic. Coupled with her conversational and charming writing style, Rachel’s story is easy to read while difficult to put down. She includes Self Love Gems throughout the book that offer helpful suggestions and positive actions.
I hurt for her, as I read about her struggles with food and self worth. I literally became aware of pressing my hand over my heart as I felt compassion for her.
And although I did not dealt with bingeing or anorexia, I had complicated relationships with food and with myself. I understand Rachel’s journey. My health shifted, for the better, when my relationship with food shifted. For most of my life, I ate foods that I knew created discomfort and inflammation in my body. Gluten and dairy products made me sick. I consumed them anyway. When I felt happy, I ate. When I felt sad, I ate. Loneliness? Boredom? The solution was always food.
I’m grateful for a healthy relationship now with food and with myself.
And I’m grateful as well for Rachel and her changed relationships with food and herself.
She has much to offer to the world. To those struggling secretly or openly with eating disorders, Rachel offers hope.
Purchasing Rachel’s Book
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