Getting Better Bite by Bite – in English, German, Korean and now, a Polish translation

I’m excited today to hold a copy of a new translation of Getting Better Bite by Bite — this time, in Polish.

Getting Better Bite by Bite is a survival kit/self-help book, written for people experiencing symptoms of binge eating and bulimia eating disorders.

It has been an honour to write the new version of this classic book with two of our world’s leading researchers in the eating disorder field — Professors Ulrike Schmidt and Janet Treasure.

Eating disorders do not discriminate. What is more, they seem to have a universal ‘language’ of their own. It does not matter what country we live in, our culture, or what language we speak, the ‘voice’ of the eating disorder is similar everywhere. In my eating disorder advocacy and mentoring work, connecting with people in many parts of our world, I feel an instant rapport with anyone who has eating disorder experience. Our illness has meant we have travelled a shared path. An instant connection and understanding is apparent. Such a feeling is uplifting and comforting. Knowing others have travelled the same path, and have reach their freedom, is inspiring for those who are more recent travellers on the recovery path. Together, we can help to people to regain their healthy-self and get their life back on track.

This is one of the many reasons why it is gratifying to see evidence-based treatment findings and guidance from our best researchers being translated into more languages. Getting Better Bite by Bite is now available in four languages:  English (2016), German (2016), Korean (2018) and Polish (2022).

There is nothing glamorous or desirable about bulimia or binge eating and Getting Better Bite by Bite doesn’t sugarcoat the illness. Much mystique remains. Misconceptions and misinformation abound about the causes, the health risks and the treatment.

Accessing treatment can be difficult, and friends and relatives often have no idea how to help. Also, some doctors are not sympathetic or understanding. Their comments may leave the person with the illness feeling that their problem is self-inflicted and trivial and thereby compound the illness characteristics of guilt, shame and loneliness.

Getting Better Bite by Bite takes a problem-led approach:
  • It strongly focuses on enhancing the person’s motivation and belief in ability to change
  • Includes strategies for dealing with common accompanying problems and
  • Has an easy-to-read conversational style.

To assist the pursuit of recovery, each chapter targets an area relevant to most or particular subgroups of people with bulimia or binge eating.

If you have bulimia or binge eating disorder, this book is your support crew

You must undertake this journey of change yourself, but the book can be like your support crew, ready to help you plan and prepare and to be beside you 24/7. Getting Better Bite by Bite does this by:

  • Providing maps and pointing out the dangers and pitfalls along your route.
  • Helping you find a way to overcome the inevitable obstacles. No matter how big the obstacle, a solution can be found to enable you to achieve recovery.
  • Sharing stories of people like yourself who have made the journey before you. You may feel nervous about leaving the sense of security that accompanies the familiar territory of bulimia or binge eating. You may have constructed ways of ignoring or suppressing real or perceived dangers and feel frightened about letting go of your bulimia or binge eating behaviours. Hold on to hope. Others are here to travel with you, to keep you company and help to decrease your sense of isolation.
  • Providing clues on how to avoid the traps of self-defeating thought patterns. Self-help tools will help you to replace the short-lived and doomed-to-fail rewards that you get from your illness with safe, reliable, long-lasting alternatives.
  • Recognising you may experience initial discomfort (just like muscles might ache when starting a new exercise or dance routine), but through persevering you will get past this stage and start to enjoy the many benefits of your new skills and newfound strengths.

No overnight fix

Not everyone is successful at first so do not despair if you slip up. The time taken to recover from bulimia or binge eating disorder is three months on average, but differs for each person.

You might as well start now

You may feel ‘I can’t help myself. I have tried. My problem is too severe for this. I need someone else to take over’. However, any form of treatment can work only when you are actively involved. The more you put in, the more you will strengthen and empower your true sense of self.

Don’t wait until tomorrow, until after Christmas or until January 1. You might as well start now. Reading Getting Better Bite by Bite is unlikely to make you suddenly “snap out” of your problem. However, deciding to do what it takes to stop your chaotic eating pattern is the important first step on a journey that leads to increased freedom and self-esteem.

Cautionary words for you

Some people are persuaded by their families or partners to work on their problems. This book can help only if youreally want to get better for yourself.

Getting Better Bite by Bite can’t help if you are not ready to change, or if you just want to change to please somebody else. Chapter One will help you assess your readiness for undertaking the recovery journey.

What this book can and cannot do

Getting Better Bite by Bite can’t cure you but can help you acquire new coping skills, so that the eating disorder no longer rules your life. This book is not aimed primarily at helping you to understand why you developed an eating problem. Understanding the underlying causes is often difficult and happens only gradually, if at all. To know what caused the eating problem is important, but rarely helps to change distressing eating symptoms. Getting Better Bite by Bite aims to help you develop new skills to ease these symptoms and to help you gain control over your life. Once eating symptoms are addressed, underlying causes often become clearer and a decision will be easier regarding whether you need treatment in your own right.

Background

The first edition of Getting Better Bite by Bite was released in 1993. It was originally written for the patients with bulimia attending the Eating Disorder Clinic at the Maudsley Hospital, London.

The first edition went on to help many eating disorder sufferers, not only at the Maudsley but around the world. Many readers felt empowered to tackle their eating problem and, beyond that, to address other difficulties in their lives too.

This new edition maintains the essence of the original book, while updating its content for today’s readers, drawing on the latest knowledge of the biology and psychology of bulimia and its treatment. It provides step-by-step guidance for change based on solid research.

The use of everyday language, stimulating contemporary case study story-telling and evocative illustrations provide encouragement, hope and new perspectives for all readers.

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About June Alexander

As founder of The Diary Healer my prime motivation is to connect with people who have experienced an eating disorder, trauma or other mental health challenge, and provide inspiration through the narrative, to live a full and meaningful life. My nine books about eating disorders focus on learning through story-sharing. Prior to writing books, which include my memoir, I had a long career in print journalism. In 2017, I graduated as a Doctor of Philosophy (Creative Writing), researching the usefulness of journaling and writing when recovering from an eating disorder or other traumatic experience.
Today I combine my writing expertise with life experience to help others self-heal. Clients receive mentoring in narrative techniques and guidance in memoir-writing. I also share my editing expertise with people who are writing their story and wish to prepare it to publication standard. I encourage everyone to write their story. Your story counts!
Contact me: Email june@junealexander.com and on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

All articles by June Alexander

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