When Ali Valenzuela was 14, she started to exercise obsessively and limit her food intake - all following an incident which completely undermined her self-confidence. By the time she was 18 - and sitting A-level exams - her weight had fallen below 40kg (less than 6 stone) and was on the brink of death. Ali has written this book, based on her own diaries, because: 'I want people to understand that there is more to anorexia than looking thin; this is an illness that will destroy the lives of the sufferer and all who care for the sufferer, and the thin appearance is only a physical outcome of the pain and torment that goes on inside.' Unlike a lot of sufferers, I feel open to talk about my experience, as I feel it may help other people and I feel it helps me if I'm honest with myself about what I went through. I believe everything happens for a reason, and just because I went through a difficult experience, doesn't mean that something positive cannot come of it.'
This is a frank and compelling account of the author's struggle to overcome anorexia. Ali's story is both honest and deeply personal. Her account of her emotional state and thought processes provides an invaluable insight into the world of the anorexic, and brings hope for those (including friends and family of anorexics) who are also suffering from the pain of this disorder. Ali will take you from the brink of her death to how she is now supporting other sufferers of eating disorders. Painful but life enhancing reading. A message from the author: 'I want people to understand that there is more to anorexia than looking thin: the thin appearance is only a physical outcome of the pain and torment that goes on inside. I feel open to talking about my experience as it may help other people. Just because I went through a difficult struggle doesn't mean that something positive cannot come of it.' From Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive, Beat. (Beat is the leading UK charity for people with eating disorders and their families): 'Ali is truly remarkable. She reminds us that young people can and do beat their eating disorder. This forthright and impressive book will inspire many other young people to start beating their eating disorder too.' Eating Disorders Awareness Week is 23rd Feb to 28th Feb 2009.