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The Diet Survivor’s Handbook: 60 Lessons in Eating Acceptance and Self-Care

About the Authors

Meet the "Diet Survivor Sisters"

bethechangeWe are clinical social workers and sisters who grew up in the Chicago area. In 2004 we published Beyond a Shadow of a Diet: The Therapists Guide to Treating Compulsive Eating.

After struggling in different ways with food and weight issues, each of us came to the conclusion that diets don't work. While the details of our dieting histories are different, we, like virtually every dieter, believed that if we could only find the right diet, and if only we could muster more determination and willpower, we would be successful and everything else would be wonderful.

We came to understand, from our own experiences, that this was a myth. Diets do not work, and in fact, we realized, diets are physically and emotionally harmful. Separately, we each embarked on a path of attuned eating, where we began trusting our own internal cues to guide us in determining when to eat, what to eat and how much to eat. As we ended dieting, we each found great rewards as our bodies settled at their natural weight, and a newfound freedom as we learned to celebrate ourselves and our place in the world. Those experiences were energized by the non-diet movement of the 1980s, with the pioneering work of people like Susie Orbach, Jane Hirschmann, Carol Munter and Geneen Roth. As the years went on, increasing numbers of researchers, clinicians and activists joined in the cry that diets don't work and are hazardous to your health.

Independently, we went on to receive Masters degrees in Social Work. Judith specialized in treating compulsive eating and Ellen in eating disorders. Combined, we have over 40 years of experience in the field of eating issues. Both from a personal and professional standpoint, we have been on the forefront of the non-diet movement, and have both the personal experience and clinical expertise to help you as you end diets, and become a diet survivor!

Judith is the director of the Chicago Center for Overcoming Overeating, Inc., an organization dedicated to ending the preoccupation with food and weight. She has worked in the area of eating problems and since 1986 and is a frequent speaker at workshops and conferences on the topics of compulsive eating and body image. She has a private practice in Skokie, IL, providing individual therapy and diet survivor groups.

Ellen has worked in the field of eating disorders since 1987 in both outpatient and residential settings. Her book Beyond Measure: A Memoir About Short Stature and Inner Growth was published in 2006. In addition to writing full time, she speaks at conferences and serves as a consultant.

Ellen Frankel

Ellen FrankelMy Story: The Short of It

For years I specialized in the treatment of eating disorders. Working predominately with girls and women of varying ages, we looked at the underlying reasons for starving themselves, for bingeing and purging, and for eating compulsively. We examined the symptoms and discussed the emotional and physical and toll they exacted. I was also active in prevention, and often spoke to schools and universities about the dangers of dieting, and the fact that dieters are eight times more likely than non-dieters to develop an eating disorder. Often, I would use personal examples of my own eating and dieting history.

More About Ellen...

Judith Matz

Hi! I wanted to share this story about myself that I wrote as an article for a magazine. An edited version appeared in North Shore Magazine in January, 2006 with the title "Diet Not, Want Not." Hope you enjoy it!

A Leap of Faith

Judith Matz"You're so thin," my boyfriend said to me when I was a senior at New Trier High School. Strange as it may sound, his comment triggered my first diet. Many of my friends were already dieting, and besides, if thin was good, wasn't thinner better?

More About Judith...