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Cravings

Cover of Cravings

Cravings

How I Conquered Food
A no-holds-barred account of folk legend Judy Collins's harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and of the journey that led her to a solution.
Since childhood Judy Collins has had a tumultuous, fraught relationship with food. Her issues with overeating nearly claimed her career and her life. For decades she thought she simply lacked self-discipline. She tried nearly every diet plan that exists, often turning to alcohol to dull the pain of yet another failed attempt to control her seemingly insatiable "cravings."
Today, Judy knows she suffers from an addiction to sugar and grains, flour and wheat. She adheres to a strict diet of unprocessed foods, consumed in carefully measured portions. This solution has allowed her to maintain a healthy weight for years, to enjoy the glow of good health, and to attain peace of mind.
Alternating between chapters on her life and those of the many diet gurus she has encountered along the way (Atkins, Jean Nidetch of Weight Watchers, Andrew Weil, to name a few), Cravings is the culmination of Judy's genuine desire to share what she's learned—so that no one has follow her heart-rending path to recovery.
A no-holds-barred account of folk legend Judy Collins's harrowing struggle with compulsive overeating and of the journey that led her to a solution.
Since childhood Judy Collins has had a tumultuous, fraught relationship with food. Her issues with overeating nearly claimed her career and her life. For decades she thought she simply lacked self-discipline. She tried nearly every diet plan that exists, often turning to alcohol to dull the pain of yet another failed attempt to control her seemingly insatiable "cravings."
Today, Judy knows she suffers from an addiction to sugar and grains, flour and wheat. She adheres to a strict diet of unprocessed foods, consumed in carefully measured portions. This solution has allowed her to maintain a healthy weight for years, to enjoy the glow of good health, and to attain peace of mind.
Alternating between chapters on her life and those of the many diet gurus she has encountered along the way (Atkins, Jean Nidetch of Weight Watchers, Andrew Weil, to name a few), Cravings is the culmination of Judy's genuine desire to share what she's learned—so that no one has follow her heart-rending path to recovery.
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Excerpts-
  • From the book Chapter 1

    MY JOURNEY

    The First Decade—Running

    We ourselves are the battleground . . . All the power of transcendence is within us. Tap into it and you tap into the divine itself.

    —deng ming-dao

    I was born in Seattle, Washington, on May 1, 1939. That year, Germany invaded Poland. The Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let Marian Anderson sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., so Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest and facilitated Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings's The Yearling won the Pulitzer Prize. Maxwell Perkins, who also edited Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, had given her good advice: He told her to write about her own life.

    My father would read The Yearling to me from his copy in Braille, pausing as he read to tell me, first, that a woman could win the Pulitzer, and, second, that a woman could do anything she set her mind to. He said I should always tell my own story, as she had told hers. Daddy was telling his, on his radio show, to his children, and in his journals.

    Unfortunately, Mother burned Daddy's journals after his death.

    But I always knew what he meant.

    Daddy and Mommy and I lived in a little house on a hill with a lawn that sloped down to the street, and there are pictures of me after a rare snowstorm going down that hill on a sled. And there I am again, in my pigtails in the summer sun, my naked body splashing in the washtub, a huge smile on my face. Even the black-and-white pictures show that I was blond, with curls and a bright pair of eyes.

    As a tiny girl, I knew that my father was blind. I tried to make him see me; I talked and danced and sang. I knew he was fighting some kind of battle. But not because he could not see—he seemed to be perfectly at ease with that, even as he felt my face to know what I looked like. He would sometimes say there were advantages to being blind, like being able to read in the dark. No, it was some other battle.

    I remember running, being excited, moving fast, almost in a blur. I was in a hurry from the start, walking at nine months, trying to catch up before I ever had a clue where I was headed. I knew I had to keep up with my blind, brilliant, talented father and with my mother who was as thin as a whip and always cooking, cleaning, driving my dad to the radio station to do his show, making my bed, braiding my hair, making my clothes on her Singer sewing machine. The Singer caught my imagination and I would hum along with the treadle. It was hurry, hurry, hurry, there was so much to be done, so much to see—I was seeing for my dad and soon I was the eldest of five siblings and running around helping my mother take care of them, changing diapers, cooking, babysitting. I would take a break and then it was back on the track, hurrying to get to somewhere.

    The only time I really stopped hurrying was when I was singing, playing the piano, reading, or acting in a play. As a child, I was trained in the skills that would be required for me to survive, and to thrive. To shine on the stage, entertaining. What was missing in my training was the "rule book"—how to survive, how to get through life when I was not doing that thing that is my passion, when I was not onstage. Finding out how to live out of the spotlight (and in the spotlight, finally) was something I would have to nearly die to learn.

    There are pictures of my grandparents at their golden wedding anniversary in 1943 on their porch in Seattle and the wedding cake that I devoured when no one was looking, making a dent in the back of the pristine white layers—a dent I covered...
About the Author-
  • JUDY COLLINS has recorded more than forty albums over her illustrious career. With several top-ten hits, Grammy nominations, and gold- and platinum-selling albums to her credit, she has also written several books and has her own music label, Wildflower Records.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 28, 2016
    With her lyrical gift, singer Collins intimately invites readers into her struggles with food addiction and eating disorders, which nearly killed her. As a child, Collins shared her father’s passion for music, starting piano at a young age, but she also shared his addiction to sweets: “Sugar raced through my life.” Collins contracted polio at 11, and during her recovery she read voraciously while dipping her fingers into a glass of pineapple juice and sucking the sweet, sticky juice. In her early years as a folk singer, Collins discovered both her passion for performing and her growing addiction to food and alcohol. By the time she was 31 and a successful artist, her eating disorders were taking over; she spent a great deal of time eating and throwing up and weeping in remorse. After struggling to overcome her addiction in many programs, Collins discovered Grey Sheeters Anonymous, attended their meetings, and in December 1982—after 11 years of active bulimia—she embarked on their program, never to return to cravings and her obsession with staying thin. Collins weaves the stories of “diet gurus”—including Gayelord Hauser, an author and nutritionist who advised celebrities in the mid-20th century, and Jean Nidetch of Weight Watchers—into her own journey. Collins’s radiant memoir shines a light on her almost deadly struggles while vividly celebrating her new life free from cravings and sharing hope with everyone who suffers from food addiction.

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    Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
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