Advance Reader Praise for The Religion of Thinness

“Michelle Lelwica has written a truly transformative book. It represents a call for women to band together to help them finally break free from the cult-like religion of thinness and take back their lives.”

— Marion A. Bilich, PhD, coauthor of Shared Grace: Therapists and Clergy Working Together

“This is an accessible and important book that offers both theory and practice for women who want to free themselves from the pervasive obsession with body projects. The author's voice is mature and acutely critical of the ways in which American culture embraces thinness and its pursuit as a form of religion.”

— Joan Jacobs Brumberg, PhD, author of Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa and The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls

“We have known, on some level, that ‘The Religion of Thinness’ is lurking in our lives but in her book with this title, Michelle Lelwica brilliantly points out its dogma, churches, evangelists, bibles, and hymns. Furthermore, readers are offered ‘a way out’ of the usual indoctrination with suggestions for antidotes, support, and deprogramming. The Religion of Thinness will be an addition to my ‘must read’ list for colleagues and clients.”
— Carolyn Costin, MFT, Clinical Director, Monte Nido, Malibu, CA, and
 author of The Eating Disorder Sourcebook and 100 Questions and Answers about Eating Disorders

“This book should be required reading. We have believed for so long that there is only one kind of beauty, only one ‘perfect’ body, and have similarly come to believe that our disordered attitudes toward food are actually normal. They are not. Lelwica overturns these assumptions, asking us to examine our long-held faith in the tragic Religion of Thinness, and opens the door to a new way of being in our bodies and in the world.”
— Marya Hornbacher, author of Wasted and Madness: A Bipolar Life

“This is a profoundly meaningful, elegantly-written book designed to cultivate a certain cultural and media literacy that can enhance spiritual growth and awaken us to our true hungers. I highly recommend it to women seeking freedom from food issues and dieting—and to all who desire a life that is spiritually rich and fulfilling.”
— Anita Johnston, PhD, Author, Eating in the Light of the Moon

“An important and original contribution to the field. Lelwica expertly shows how our worship of thinness masks a much deeper spiritual need and leaves us starving for meaning and purpose in our lives. By providing a wide variety of practical ways to nourish our bodies and spirits, she offers real hope and inspiration.”
— Jean Kilbourne, EdD, creator of the film series “Killing Us Softly,” author of Can't Buy My Love, and Senior Scholar, Wellesley Centers for Women

“Through a thoughtful, comprehensive critique of the religious, gender-based, and cultural factors that brainwash women to be pro-thin and anti-fat, Lelwica gently guides the reader to question body hatred and the quest for body perfection. Moreover, she provides a way out of women’s obsession with thinness—through body and emotional mindfulness and critical assessment of cultural messages—that will bring them true inner peace and happiness.”

— Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, MEd, author of The Rules of “Normal” Eating

“An inspiring and timely work, The Religion of Thinness illustrates how contemporary women have come to mistake the community of dieting, weight loss, and disordered eating with true, soul-satisfying connections and spiritual salvation. This well-written, thought-provoking book offers a spiritual paradigm that might really save our souls—and our bodies!”
— Margo Maine, PhD, FAED, author of Father Hunger and Body Wars

“Lelwica describes how the culture of ‘more’ can be replaced by a culture of gratitude and care for one’s body. The book examines and criticizes media messages, but it also provides exercises that can reorient mind and body from self-disparaging and destructive attitudes to healthful and life giving ideas and practices. This is a wonderful book, well researched and accessible. The Religion of Thinness will be a godsend to anyone who wants to exchange a ‘religion’ constructed by American media for more life-enhancing values.”
— Margaret R. Miles, PhD, author and former Bussey Professor of Theology at the Harvard University Divinity School

“Michelle Lelwica's reflections are revelatory and her call to mindfulness is inviting and creative. Not only does she reveal why so many thousands of women have abdicated their power to the Religion of Thinness, she lays out a plan for returning to one's authentic spiritual center. This book is truly food for the soul!”
— Jan Phillips, author of The Art of Original Thinking and Divining the Body.

“Stop battling your body, and fill your life with connection, balance, and joy. With a focus on mindfulness and cultural criticism, including real advertisements to analyze the media’s true message, Lelwica teaches the reader to question society’s superficial ideals. Her concept of forming communities to discuss these topics is brilliant! It is a must-read for men and women of all ages!”

— Jenni Schaefer, author of Life Without Ed and Goodbye Ed, Hello Me

“By using the premise that the pursuit of the ‘perfect’ body has become a religion in today’s society, Lelwica is able to delve deeply into the connection between body, health, and spirituality, while also offering ways to combat the superficiality of focusing solely on one’s outer appearance. This thoughtful, well-researched book is a great addition to the literature on eating disorders and related issues.”

— Jess Weiner, Self-Esteem Expert and author of A Very Hungry Girl and Life Doesn’t Begin 5 Pounds from Now

“With the publication of this outstanding new book, Dr. Michelle Lelwica has created a wise, practical, and dynamic resource for all individuals on their journey to recovery from eating and body image problems. Lelwica's grasp of the spiritual issues that perplex human beings in the 21st Century is matched only by her ability to communicate her depth of understanding in a stimulating, clear, and effective manner. I will recommend this remarkable book to patients and family members whose lives have been impacted by an eating disorder and urge other clinicians to do the same.”

— Kathryn Zerbe, MD, author of The Body Betrayed and Integrated Treatment of Eating Disorders

“Lelwica doesn’t want readers to merely observe the parallels between worshipping a deity and worshipping thinness, she wants readers to find personal satisfaction through other means. The myths, rituals, images, and moral codes of the religion of thinness are explored, and readers are encouraged to think critically about these elements and practice more mindful behaviors. Clearly, Lelwica hopes to turn around the statistics with which she begins the book; The Religion of Thinness helps to wake readers to thinness’ false promises, and it pushes them to seek a salvation built on more solid ground.”
— Jessica Higgins, ForeWord Magazine

“In this thought-provoking narrative, Lelwica considers the obsession with thinness in the context of the broader cultural, religious, and historical influences on women's attitudes toward weight and food. She then offers components of healing that can lead to a fuller, more satisfying life.”
— Library Journal



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