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Publisher's Summary

Imagine waking in a hospital bed to find your frail pale arm punctured by an IV transferring fluids and nutrients into your weak, stiff body. What happened? You're an adult, age 26, 67 pounds, and you just had a seizure precipitated by your chronic secretive decades-long struggle with unacknowledged eating disorders (ED). You have no friends and no normal young adult experiences. Living Full is author Danielle Sherman-Lazar's story.

A groundbreaking 2012 study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that about 13 percent of women over age 50 exhibit ED symptoms. To put that in perspective, breast cancer afflicts about 12 percent of women. Everyone knows about breast cancer and how dangerous it is, yet eating disorders are kept hidden out of shame.

Filled with pop culture references, humor, and delivered with raw honesty about the escalating and increasingly dangerous behaviors of a person acting out the mental illness of ED, Living Full chronicles Danielle Sherman-Lazar's step-by-step descent into the nightmare that is full-blown ED. Recovery comes using the Maudsley Approach, a treatment that is rarely tried on adults. In a grueling battle, sometimes reminiscent of Helen Keller's fight with Anne Sullivan, the Maudsley Approach is a regimen of supervised controlled eating or refeeding by outpatient helpers that can eventually result in recovery.

Written by a woman who has passed through the crucible of ED to recovery, Living Full exposes the rarely talked about behind-the-scenes triggers and treatments, shame and guilt, and even coexisting addictions that go undetected in adult women today.

©2019 Danielle Sherman-Lazar (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Living Full

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Misleading title and summary

If you have or had eating disorders and are looking for a way out or inspiration, I do not recommend this book. The only reason I gave it 3 stars is I actually listened to the entire thing. I do admire Danielle for getting past her horrible ED and if I were her friend, family member or someone who knew her, I would give this 5 stars because she has overcome the seemingly impossible.

As a recovering bulimic, anorexic, over eater and binge eater who still struggles with some of them still a bit, this story was really hard to read. Her story of her disorders lasted 10 chapters too long. If you want to know how lonely, sick, untruthful and horrible ED can be, then you may enjoy this more than I did. Or if you want to know what it’s like for someone in your life who has an ED, this book will show you.

I was originally looking for a book that would inspire or help me with tricks, tips or a path that someone had taken to get them out of this horrible disease. This was not it. I kept reading it because I thought she would get to the solution sooner and have good information I could take from her.

I felt there was way too many details about things that could have easily been summarized in one or two chapters. But it was 10 or 11 chapters that just kept going and going. I felt sad and depressed reading this book and just wanted it to get better or finish already. I did like the last chapter though. The rest of it was depressing. I ended up drinking a bottle of wine, bingeing and purging last night after I was half way, or more, through the book. Not Danielle’s fault I did that, it was fully my choice. It put me right back into how seemingly hopeless this disease is, and the lonely, sad and secretive life we face as people struggling with ED. It just was not positive, uplifting or showing a light of any tunnel.

Danielle said a lot of things I think were supposed to be funny, but this story was so far from funny that the remarks, jokes and supposedly witty comments fell short for me and were awkward and out of place. She may be funny an full of jokes as a person, but I felt it was weird in this story with the content and tone of the book.

I also think she was a bit contradictory with some of the things she said. She mentioned that people with anorexia don’t see themselves as fat, or they do see how skinny they are (or something similar to that). When I was anorexic I did see myself as fat, as many others have told me the same about themselves. She said she didn’t think she was fat, but then not too long after she mentions her ‘fat ass.’

I felt she was absolutely and completely selfish about her decisions when she went to get help and sought treatment. I went to treatment for my ED and would never have put the burden of being my caretaker on anyone who wasn’t trained and currently working and getting paid to do it. I feel it is so selfish and unfair for anyone to ask someone, especially your parents to take on that roll. First of all, they have watched your downhill spiral and they love you more than anyone so they are going to be so sensitive to everything you are going through, they are going to feel responsible and you are going to be an ass hole to them and get mad at them for trying to control you and make you do or not do things you want or don’t want to do. Anyone going through any type of detox is going to be difficult. It is so not fair to ask your parents or loved ones to deal with you in that state. I was so mad at her for that. And she did that because she didn’t want to go to a hospital?! WTF? Who of us trying to deal with any addiction for he first time actually wants to go into an inpatient program? I sure didn’t. I was so scared and I hated it for the first few weeks, but I did it.

If you or someone you know needs help for any addiction, please seek professional help outside of your family and/or house. Missing work, your family, responsibilities and friends is hard, but we all struggle with that. Hospitals and addiction centers know what they are doing and they also get you away from a lot of your triggers. You are not different from the rest of us addicts. We are all individuals, but we are all the same in so many ways.

Danielle has been through a lot and has come through a lot. It takes courage to share with others our deepest secrets and the parts of us we think are ugly or despise. For that, I applaud her. Personally, I just did not love this book.

6 people found this helpful

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This book helped me save my daughters life

The ED monster is an enemy trying to kill my daughter. As a former Marine, one key to battle is to know your enemy. This book did that, thus instrumental in helping me - help my teenage daughter into recovery. I did audible over 4 days (a few f bombs. ~ loosen up, it’s worth it)...

Good luck and God Bless

2 people found this helpful

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great recent story

narrator did a beautiful job! loved listening to this, I was always rooting for Danny! it's amazing how different our lives are but how eating disorders can give us a lot of the same experiences. thank you to the author for writing this. a lot of other memoirs don't take place so recently, and it's relieving to know that people are still going through things like this even in 2013. it's hard to relate to someone with an ed when at the time you were just a baby. I enjoyed the societal context

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Soooo helpful

This book gives me hope that disordered eating can be transformed to a more orderly way of life.

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Insightful introspective story

I loved it and didn't want to stop reading. Six more words are apparently needed.

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What is the hardest thing you have done so far?

Loved the insights and the raw emotion expressed by the author, there is no fear in sharing her thoughts at each stage of her life.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Thanks to Danielle for letting me know i am not alone

I am also dealing with an ED and i think there are more people in this world who are also dealing with it than those who are free from it. Everyone who has ever felt fat or tried dieting is one of us. And there are plenty, which is not right, which should not be the case. This is crazy that little schoolgirls already think they are fat and try dieting. Such world where this happens, will not last long and is a miserable place. When i talk about the affected crowd, I mean the people of my generation and similar origin, not the whole world. These psycho illnesses seem to be hitting certain population groups, surely not everyone. This stems from the futility and decadence of our society. We are truly aimless and worthless, but we are alive. Our lives are not struggles for survival and are not something to be proud of. We live just because we are alive and nothing more. And we have to deal with it somehow. Eating disorders are devastating. My disorder made me hate plans, arrangements and the like, but i have to spend my days somehow. I have come to abandon all the hobbies i tried to take up. I have come to feel my old tricks of food avoidance do not work. I have always been an obedient child and cannot understand how this has turned out this bad. People like my parents explain such disorders by “shit in the head”, “being a lazy ungrateful bastard” and “being a shitty bitch and not socially responsible, not having children”. Such point is understandable because I know that once I give in to the call of nature and resign myself to making a baby, there will be no more spare time to make plans for or to waste, and no more spare time to food binge and be a lazy shithead, no more time to assess how ugly I have become. And this might seem to be solution, but this only perpetrates my life and passes on part of the suffering to someone else- to the child. It makes you a little happier for a while, it satisfies your instincts, but it does not solve the problem of existing. Eating disorder is inalienable part of suffering from being alive here and now in this civilized world we built. This world is beautiful and ugly at the same time. Eating disorders are the results of abundance and the victory of human over hunger and over the natural wilderness and hazards. Eating disorders are a way of paying the price to nature for defeating it. And also, as there is no justice and no mercy, just the void filled by our thoughts and emotions, then this is not even “paying the price” or “reaping what you saw”. This is just the absurdity that exists and nothing else. This is a little like a cruel joke in a way that: humans mostly do not suffer from hunger anymore, but humans do suffer from the abundance they have created. Therry Pratchett said in “Good omens” that never has there been so many hungry people in positions of power as now. And in this way we return to that same primal craziness, lack of mindfulness, instinctive and impulsive behaviour, same careening and rampage, fear and disorder.
Good looks are not what defines a truly good human, though this is almost everything we crave: we need the beauty because it is a promise of happiness, it gives us hope for a better life and craving beauty is instinctive: beauty promises health. The beauty we can see on the screen is a pleasant bubblegum for conscience that lets us think we are able to find someone we will love one day. But the truth is that we hate ourselves and hate the like of ours - other humans. The glamorous versions of humans from the screen are made to deceive us into believing that we love ourselves and that life is beautiful and finding love is possible. The glamorous pictures only help us endure and postpone the pain and promote life to us. This is to the benefit of corporatocracy, not to ours. We humans are mostly more physiological than we would love to be. My stomach is essentially a food pocket, not a seamless delicate flat part of a Disney fairy’s precious fragile little body.
I find that being our true selves , the survival ninjas, as Danielle puts it, is one little bright light at the end of the tunnel. I recall being happy and feeling life is worth living when i was outside of the glamorous world created by corporatocracy. i was with my own alien folks and we were just sitting around the fire stoking the pot of tea for our little company. The tea with condensed milk, the sea bustling by our side and the Strizh planes in the sky above us: the pilots were flying that day in that place just for their fun or work routine, this was not a staged performance.

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Excellent!

As my 12 year old struggles with newly diagnosed AN, this book was of great benefit to me as I learn to battle this dreadful illness with her. It provides an excellent perspective of the distorted thoughts that plague those afflicted with this disease. Some criticized her for advertising her blog but for those suffering with eating disorders, her blog is a godsend. Thank you Danielle for sharing your story and giving hope to those with this illness and for the family members, like me, that are mystified by this strange affliction. AN causes an incredible mixture of emotions for family members and this book gave me greater empathy for my daughter!!

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Really Good

I've read a few books based on eating disorders and found this one to be one of the better ones all around.

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Another recovering ED victim

After going through my own journey, this book gave me the stamina and strength to continue fighting. I hope I get to witness pigs flying in the sky one day too. Thank you!