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Food: The Good Girl's Drug: How To Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings

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Sunny Sea Gold started fighting a binge eating disorder in her teens. But most books on the topic were aimed at older women, women she had a hard time relating to. Calling on top psychiatrists, nutritionists, and fitness experts, Sunny offers real advice to a new generation fighting an age-old war. With humor and compassion from someone who's seen it all, Food: The Good Gi Sunny Sea Gold started fighting a binge eating disorder in her teens. But most books on the topic were aimed at older women, women she had a hard time relating to. Calling on top psychiatrists, nutritionists, and fitness experts, Sunny offers real advice to a new generation fighting an age-old war. With humor and compassion from someone who's seen it all, Food: The Good Girl's Drug is about experiences shared by many women-whether they've been struggling with compulsive overeating their whole lives, or have just admitted to themselves, that yes, it's more than just a bad habit.


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Sunny Sea Gold started fighting a binge eating disorder in her teens. But most books on the topic were aimed at older women, women she had a hard time relating to. Calling on top psychiatrists, nutritionists, and fitness experts, Sunny offers real advice to a new generation fighting an age-old war. With humor and compassion from someone who's seen it all, Food: The Good Gi Sunny Sea Gold started fighting a binge eating disorder in her teens. But most books on the topic were aimed at older women, women she had a hard time relating to. Calling on top psychiatrists, nutritionists, and fitness experts, Sunny offers real advice to a new generation fighting an age-old war. With humor and compassion from someone who's seen it all, Food: The Good Girl's Drug is about experiences shared by many women-whether they've been struggling with compulsive overeating their whole lives, or have just admitted to themselves, that yes, it's more than just a bad habit.

30 review for Food: The Good Girl's Drug: How To Stop Using Food to Control Your Feelings

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    I don't think the other negative reviews I've seen give the book justice, or gave it a chance. As someone who struggles with the issues discussed in this book, I felt it was very helpful. When I got through the first chapter I was in tears because I knew for the first time that there were others out there like me and I wasn't some lunatic with food issues. Sunny was great at taking you through the process of healing. It doesn't just jump-in to the therapy. First you have to accept what's happeni I don't think the other negative reviews I've seen give the book justice, or gave it a chance. As someone who struggles with the issues discussed in this book, I felt it was very helpful. When I got through the first chapter I was in tears because I knew for the first time that there were others out there like me and I wasn't some lunatic with food issues. Sunny was great at taking you through the process of healing. It doesn't just jump-in to the therapy. First you have to accept what's happening, learn about it, learn WHY you do what you do. Then she gives countless types of therapy; actual therapists, meditation, spirituality, things to do when you feel a binge coming on... there are so many things that can help. I didn't mind or even notice the verbage she used like others pointed out, what I got out of this book weighed more than her calling us "girls" instead of "women". I am a girl, I'm okay with that. I'd highly recommend this if you KNOW you have BED. My world gets to have a reset button and I'm grateful for that.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Piedmont Peach

    I picked up this book based on a recommendation on a unhealthy eating habit forum and this book has not disappointed me. Gold has included examples of relatable women throughout the book and, personally, she has covered any and all topics related to eating disorders. At the end of every chapter a section titled ‘Your Turn’ is included where she asks questions so the readers can dive as deep as they want into their own psyche. I highly appreciated these questions. I love journaling and have felt I picked up this book based on a recommendation on a unhealthy eating habit forum and this book has not disappointed me. Gold has included examples of relatable women throughout the book and, personally, she has covered any and all topics related to eating disorders. At the end of every chapter a section titled ‘Your Turn’ is included where she asks questions so the readers can dive as deep as they want into their own psyche. I highly appreciated these questions. I love journaling and have felt that it has greatly benefited my mental health. I am interested in purchasing this book and I would go as far as saying this book is equivalent to a thousand therapy sessions.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Renata

    Food: A Good Girl’s Drug, written by Sunny Sea Gold is a novel about the unrecognized importance and escalation of binge eating disorders or ‘BED’. The importance of this disorder is often overlooked because it’s “not as glamorous as anorexia or bulimia.” By reading this book, I learned a lot of eye opening information on the severity of this disorder and those like it as well. There was not only a lot of information in this book, but there were also many helpful tips and ‘solutions’ to problems Food: A Good Girl’s Drug, written by Sunny Sea Gold is a novel about the unrecognized importance and escalation of binge eating disorders or ‘BED’. The importance of this disorder is often overlooked because it’s “not as glamorous as anorexia or bulimia.” By reading this book, I learned a lot of eye opening information on the severity of this disorder and those like it as well. There was not only a lot of information in this book, but there were also many helpful tips and ‘solutions’ to problems and emotions that people with BED may experience. For example: at the end of every chapter there would be a page of questions that you could answer regarding the topics that were covered in the given chapter. Although there were many things that I liked about this book, there were also a few that I didn’t enjoy as much. One thing that I liked about this book was that Gold used real life stories and profiles in this book. This made the book seem much more relatable and it also created many different points of view on the one topic, therefore resulting in more ‘in depth’ facts. For example, In chapter 2, Gold documents: “When I (Amanda) was in college, I often hid the fast food bags from my boyfriend because I was so ashamed of my situation.” This gives another perspective into the problem as well as gives more examples as to how people with BED feel. Something I enjoyed was the way Gold worded this book. It felt natural. The facts didn’t seem forced or exaggerated as they often are in many non fiction books. I was never a fan of non fiction simply because when I read non-fiction books, it felt like i was reading a list of facts and it would drone on and on. This book changed my view on non fiction because it felt more like a novel. The author was actually trying to be personable, which made this book so much more interesting to read. One thing that I however did not like about this book was that some of the chapters seemed far too similar to those that came before. I found myself going back because I was convinced I had already read the exact same thing 2 chapters ago. Given that this book was quite long and very factual, I learned a lot about this topic. The author clearly believes that binge eating disorder is causing girls to feel ashamed about themselves and is leading to many health problems. Before reading this book, I honestly hadn’t pondered on this certain disorder as much as others that are more frequently discussed such as anorexia or bulimia. This seemed ridiculous to me as I got farther into the book. So many more people are dealing with this disorder than any other. You would think that binge eating would be more commonly talked about because of it’s bluntness, but this is not the case at all. While reading this book, I began to question how people in our society view this issue, how many people it actually impacts and in what ways. I would recommend this book to anyone who is 12 years or older. Although the vocabulary is fairly simple to understand, some of the concepts portrayed in this book may be confusing to younger children. However, I think this book is suitable for anyone that is interested in learning more on this topic because its a very interesting, eye opening read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amraj Lally

    Powerful and healing. So much we have been experiencing — clearly not alone — in silence. The book is a short accessible text speaking out about a range of eating behaviours rooted in diet culture and emotional eating. I had to skip through parts because it is generally oriented towards women and girls with eating disorders. But I found the content resonating as a queer man who does not have an eating disorder but with some history of eating issues. Although we often compare ourselves to others, Powerful and healing. So much we have been experiencing — clearly not alone — in silence. The book is a short accessible text speaking out about a range of eating behaviours rooted in diet culture and emotional eating. I had to skip through parts because it is generally oriented towards women and girls with eating disorders. But I found the content resonating as a queer man who does not have an eating disorder but with some history of eating issues. Although we often compare ourselves to others, "you can't compare the way you feel on the inside to the way someone appears on the outside.” 
The author sprinkles short anecdotes and case studies throughout the text. I liked the fact that these were concise, especially because it can be upsetting to read serious cases of disordered eating. As well as this, the author also provides advice that is genuinely practical and useful, right from the start. Everyone has a different experience and this book does not assume that we will all follow the same path to recovery. And even though the author recommends ‘spirituality’ as part of this journey, the author is not referring to an exclusively religious outlook: it is about being vulnerable and present. Overall, in my opinion the book was heartfelt and authentic, and it was written by exactly the right person to do the issue justice. 

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    Reading someone else's experience of binge eating Reese's peanut butter cups and a 20 box of McNuggets... or making makeshift nachos in the microwave definitely landed closer to home than I had anticipated when I picked this book up. For me, I really resonated with the author's experiences and anecdotes (although I do not have an eating disorder myself, but definitely guilty of emotional eating!). Unlike some other self-help books, the advice begins quite early on after an initial outline of the v Reading someone else's experience of binge eating Reese's peanut butter cups and a 20 box of McNuggets... or making makeshift nachos in the microwave definitely landed closer to home than I had anticipated when I picked this book up. For me, I really resonated with the author's experiences and anecdotes (although I do not have an eating disorder myself, but definitely guilty of emotional eating!). Unlike some other self-help books, the advice begins quite early on after an initial outline of the various ways people may be relying on food. The advice for me was really practical and actionable - she took her time to provide a lot of depth and consideration in that advice which helps to be able to take away something tangible from the book. In particular, I thought her list of alternative activities (when you're feeling like eating to deal with your feelings) was a real winner, and I love that she associated them with different feelings. Overall, the book was quite short (the right length!), super easy to read and had some real gems of advice. A definite recommendation!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Easy to read, I knew much of what the author wrote about beforehand, I know where my negative relationship with food and self-image stem from, but it was good to refresh my memory of tools I can use to regain control and try to maintain a healthy body image and relationship with food.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Hurney

    Good book for people suffering eating disorders/ binge eating, would recommend if you have a bad relationship with food. Also very good insights and very informative.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    3.5 stars I accept that BED is real. I accept that ED treatment should be uncoupled from weight loss. What I'm looking for is a book to recommend to friends and family who are willing to learn more, but are currently still heavily invested in diet culture. What I want from such a book (followed by a note identifying whether I feel this book met that criterion): -an appeal to basic respect for all people, regardless of their body shape (maybe sorta kinda?) -an acknowledgement that not all people ar 3.5 stars I accept that BED is real. I accept that ED treatment should be uncoupled from weight loss. What I'm looking for is a book to recommend to friends and family who are willing to learn more, but are currently still heavily invested in diet culture. What I want from such a book (followed by a note identifying whether I feel this book met that criterion): -an appeal to basic respect for all people, regardless of their body shape (maybe sorta kinda?) -an acknowledgement that not all people are currently at their optimal weight (yes) -an acknowledgement that not being at our optimal weight can contribute to negative health outcomes (yes) -a convincing argument that intentionally attempting to achieve our optimal weight through behavior change is not just futile, but actively harmful to our health (no - the author specifically discusses her own intentional weight loss success story post ED recovery, though she acknowledges that it took 10 years from starting to address her ED and to her final weight - which is basically her settled weight with consistent intuitive eating, but she doesn't discuss it in those terms) -a comprehensive summary of peer-reviewed research showing that, since 1969, studies consistently find that 90-95% of people who intentionally lose weight by dieting regain it within 6-24 months, that 24 months is not "long-term" when examining weight maintenance, and that a truly long-term study of 5 to 10 years would show even higher rates of weight regain (the fact is acknowledged but not discussed in any detail) -a discussion of "cognitive restriction" and its negative health consequences (no - in fact she discusses her own intentional restriction in detail and talks about why it was valuable TO HER that she was able to achieve that without a relapse) -a definition of "diet", including an explanation for why Weight Watchers IS a diet, even in its current formulation (no) -an acknowledgement that the fundamental difference between intuitive eating/eating disorder treatment and prescriptive diets is the goal/philosophy/motivators for behavior change (weight-neutral self-care vs. weight loss), NOT in the lifestyle recommendations (eat a "varied" / "balanced" diet, get more exercise/movement) (no) -an acknowledgement of the tension between HAES's recognition that lifestyle choices play only a small role in our overall health outcomes and simultaneous expectation that people to work toward lifestyle changes (sort of - this book is not explicitly HAES; and it does advocate for lifestyle changes to improve overall health status; but she also talks in some depth about factors that contribute to BED, from genetics to family environment to trauma to social inequity) -an acknowledgement that in our society as it exists, complete with fatphobia and diet culture, profound social inequality, inaccessible child care options, oppression and marginalization of essentially every social group except rich cis/het white men, and a pathological obsession with the virtue of work, asking people to do the work of body acceptance and intuitive eating takes time and energy that many, many people simply don't have, and will not have without widespread social change (no) I think if I weren't looking so specifically for particular book with a particular message, if I were a person with BED and I was looking for some support to figure out what was happening with my body and my brain, I would have liked this more. One thing I did *not* like was that she frequently refers to all female-aligned people as "girls", not "women", which feels infantilizing -- even if her target audience is teens/young adults, I feel like "women" is the preferred term here.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trevinia

    I loved the first two chapters but the rest were not helpful and I couldnt relate to any of it. My binge eating is not because of emotional reasons. I dont have past traumas or stress that causes me to binge, its more of me needing to ignore the little voice in head thats telling me to binge. I think brain over binge will help me more because in that book, its more so about ignoring the "animal brain" that tells me to binge because my "human brain" or frontal brain has all of the power to grab t I loved the first two chapters but the rest were not helpful and I couldnt relate to any of it. My binge eating is not because of emotional reasons. I dont have past traumas or stress that causes me to binge, its more of me needing to ignore the little voice in head thats telling me to binge. I think brain over binge will help me more because in that book, its more so about ignoring the "animal brain" that tells me to binge because my "human brain" or frontal brain has all of the power to grab the food or not. After reading this book, I feel like I have not learned anything new and I still have the same perspectives as before. Also, this book puts too much of the responsibility on the eating disorder instead of myself. For instance, the author says binge eaters are not weak because we have a strong compulsion for food that makes us feel like we must have it but thats exactly what a rapist, murderer, etc. could say. Just because you have a very strong urge to do something doesnt mean that your not "weak" or that your not responsible for that action.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    As someone who has grown up with a problematic relationship with food, I found this book refreshing and actually quite kind in its approach to eating disorders. I liked the fact that the book made many recommendations to sites like HealthyGirl.org (Sunny Sea Gold's website) and other safe spaces online for people to find others who can help them. Personally, this book has helped me a lot with how I see food and my health. In other words, great book! As someone who has grown up with a problematic relationship with food, I found this book refreshing and actually quite kind in its approach to eating disorders. I liked the fact that the book made many recommendations to sites like HealthyGirl.org (Sunny Sea Gold's website) and other safe spaces online for people to find others who can help them. Personally, this book has helped me a lot with how I see food and my health. In other words, great book!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    I have never felt so understood by a book in my life. Sunny, thank you for writing such a provocative read. I no longer feel alone in my struggles, and this book served as a beacon of hope for recovery.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kali

    Sunny did a terrific job throughout this book. Very helpful read. Thank you.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Definitely good insight to how food addiction and past experiences and can trigger those instances! I definitely learned a lot about myself! Felt it was informative!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Julianne

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I thought this book held a good perspective of recovery from an eating disorder. What I learned the most from it was celebrating small victories, and I have made progress and it is a slow process.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Leticia

    1st book I've read on this subject that helped so far. 1st book I've read on this subject that helped so far.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    For anyone struggling with their relationship with food, this is a must read. Especially for girls and young women.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sara Glotzbach

    Good information. Really liked the Your Turn sections at the end of the chapters. I plan to go back and use those as journaling prompts.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aimee

    This book was super helpful!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Rating: 3 stars.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    While this struck a cord with me as far as really seeing myself within these pages, this book was ultimately lacking in depth. This is a great introduction to the topic of binge eating disorder and I think it would be amazing for a young adult audience (teens/20's) but it felt too simplistic and basic for me and where I'm at, at this point in my life. While this struck a cord with me as far as really seeing myself within these pages, this book was ultimately lacking in depth. This is a great introduction to the topic of binge eating disorder and I think it would be amazing for a young adult audience (teens/20's) but it felt too simplistic and basic for me and where I'm at, at this point in my life.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Fischler

    A bit simplistic, but stories were helpful Nice to hear other people's stories. It wasn't anything new or astounding, just comforting to read. Writing style was simplistic, but did it's duty. A bit simplistic, but stories were helpful Nice to hear other people's stories. It wasn't anything new or astounding, just comforting to read. Writing style was simplistic, but did it's duty.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I initially gave this book 3 stars but decided to raise it to 4 after reading (or rather, starting) another book on the same topic. After thinking about the approach this book takes in contrast with the more rigid and structured methodology of the other book's "detox" approach, I can really appreciate the benefits of the more introspective and nurturing approach taken by this author. The anecdotes really bring to life the various manifestations of a food addiction/binge syndrome. And the emphasis I initially gave this book 3 stars but decided to raise it to 4 after reading (or rather, starting) another book on the same topic. After thinking about the approach this book takes in contrast with the more rigid and structured methodology of the other book's "detox" approach, I can really appreciate the benefits of the more introspective and nurturing approach taken by this author. The anecdotes really bring to life the various manifestations of a food addiction/binge syndrome. And the emphasis on journaling and becoming more mindful, and even more important, FORGIVING setbacks as you work to change your relationship with food, seem to promote much more sustainable life changes. While the book is light on the science behind eating disorders (my husband pooh-poohs these experiments as non-reproducible "soft science" but I still like to read about dopamine and PFC changes, etc), I think the true stories are much more valuable and inspirational. It's a quick, easy read, and very important in shedding light on a problem that hasn't had much attention.

  23. 4 out of 5

    eb

    I wouldn't say I'm "done" reading this, but I did read it all. Despite the tone of the writing, which at times is almost fluffy (I gave the author some leeway as a writer for Glamour for many years-- I'm sure that magazine copy style is hard to shake), this book has real practical advice in it along with real stories from people with binge eating disorder. As a person whose entire family struggles with disordered eating and actual full blown eating disorders, this book's easy approach to getting I wouldn't say I'm "done" reading this, but I did read it all. Despite the tone of the writing, which at times is almost fluffy (I gave the author some leeway as a writer for Glamour for many years-- I'm sure that magazine copy style is hard to shake), this book has real practical advice in it along with real stories from people with binge eating disorder. As a person whose entire family struggles with disordered eating and actual full blown eating disorders, this book's easy approach to getting help and getting perspective was comforting to me in its way. I imagine it being more helpful for people who haven't already done a ton of work in therapy-- and maybe that's the point of the light tone. The exercises are definitely helpful, and probably something I'll return to, since living with / through disordered eating is something you always have to do, even after you're "recovered"

  24. 4 out of 5

    Reeny

    I did not pick up this book expecting to be cured of my tendency to over eat, binge eat, or diet. I picked up this book because it did not promise a cure. It was helpful (for me) that other people shared their feelings and thoughts throughout the book. I found myself relating to some topics and feeling a sense of relief when I couldn't relate to some. It was also a reminder that we are very impressionable when we are young and not always taught to respect our bodies or the food (fuel) it needs. I did not pick up this book expecting to be cured of my tendency to over eat, binge eat, or diet. I picked up this book because it did not promise a cure. It was helpful (for me) that other people shared their feelings and thoughts throughout the book. I found myself relating to some topics and feeling a sense of relief when I couldn't relate to some. It was also a reminder that we are very impressionable when we are young and not always taught to respect our bodies or the food (fuel) it needs. The lessons we are taught at a young age and the self image we develop is affected greatly by our parents, and peers, and their relationship to food. This is a good read for someone who is or has struggled with weight issues, binge eating, etc.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    This was a very useful self-help book. The book is directed mostly towards binge eating, but I feel like it covered everything from strange food rules, food obsessions, overeating, under-eating, over-exercising, and so much more. Girl's get so many mixed messages about food and whats good and bad and acceptable that it is very easy to form rules and unrealistic expectations. This book did an amazing job at going through how you got to the point you are at and it gave ideas on how you can get thr This was a very useful self-help book. The book is directed mostly towards binge eating, but I feel like it covered everything from strange food rules, food obsessions, overeating, under-eating, over-exercising, and so much more. Girl's get so many mixed messages about food and whats good and bad and acceptable that it is very easy to form rules and unrealistic expectations. This book did an amazing job at going through how you got to the point you are at and it gave ideas on how you can get through and what it will be like once you get past what your going through. I am very glad I read this book and would recommend it to any girl/women who have ever felt they couldnt eat something they wanted to eat because it was "bad".

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dani Baxter

    I thought this book was helpful, but not life changing. I think the author spends too much time letting the reader wallow in her binges, feeling the same shame and disgust that she felt at the time, which is NOT the point of the book. Eventually the book moves on into what you can do to help yourself. I like the toolbox idea, and the chapters following. The end was basically, "look at me I'm healed". I get where she was going with this book, but I don't think it's the most helpful thing out ther I thought this book was helpful, but not life changing. I think the author spends too much time letting the reader wallow in her binges, feeling the same shame and disgust that she felt at the time, which is NOT the point of the book. Eventually the book moves on into what you can do to help yourself. I like the toolbox idea, and the chapters following. The end was basically, "look at me I'm healed". I get where she was going with this book, but I don't think it's the most helpful thing out there. I think it causes the reader to feel many unwanted emotions. But it is helpful. I would just probably recommend another book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra Lee

    I really enjoyed the pace and flow of this book. While it may be more geared towards a younger set, that makes sense as binge eating disorder has only recently become more recognized within the addictions and psychological community and mostly younger woman are being diagnosed, though I'm sure there are plenty of older woman who have had these same experiences and are attempting to work on these same food issues. I loved some of the exercises given and will enjoy going back to this book when I'm I really enjoyed the pace and flow of this book. While it may be more geared towards a younger set, that makes sense as binge eating disorder has only recently become more recognized within the addictions and psychological community and mostly younger woman are being diagnosed, though I'm sure there are plenty of older woman who have had these same experiences and are attempting to work on these same food issues. I loved some of the exercises given and will enjoy going back to this book when I'm having difficulty with my own binges as I feel it will help me to find ways to identify why I am doing what I'm doing and how I feel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    C

    A practical book with good straight common sense. It is also a quick read. I really enjoyed it and took a few things from it that'll help me think more clearly about food and eating habits (sugar...my kryptonite!). It gave me some insight into my past - in particular my teens - and encouraged a bit more in-depth thinking about the motivations behind behaviors. Great references in the back and her "toolkit" could be applied to any addiction. A practical book with good straight common sense. It is also a quick read. I really enjoyed it and took a few things from it that'll help me think more clearly about food and eating habits (sugar...my kryptonite!). It gave me some insight into my past - in particular my teens - and encouraged a bit more in-depth thinking about the motivations behind behaviors. Great references in the back and her "toolkit" could be applied to any addiction.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Felicia

    This book is nice, and for people who have emotional eating or binge eating should definitely read this! OMG, this author also read before Geneen Roth's books, like i do. Overall, it's a nice read and some points worth taking notes and many examples of binge eating patients and their short stories. It also include ways and methods to stop or reduce binge. But i feel that accepting yourself is really very important and feeling your feeling, to cure and stop emotional eating. This book is nice, and for people who have emotional eating or binge eating should definitely read this! OMG, this author also read before Geneen Roth's books, like i do. Overall, it's a nice read and some points worth taking notes and many examples of binge eating patients and their short stories. It also include ways and methods to stop or reduce binge. But i feel that accepting yourself is really very important and feeling your feeling, to cure and stop emotional eating.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    As someone who just entered treatment for binge eating disorder, I really like this book. It offered a peak into a problem I have lived with for a long time. It allowed me to see things in myself that I did not see normally and connect it together. I recommend this book to anyone with binge eating disorder.

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