Obesity Memoir Recommended Reading, Harvard Says

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Harvard obesity conference recommends a self-published memoir to medical professionals who treat obese patients. My Other Body tells the story of a fatal struggle with obesity and the author's own journey from compulsive eating toward better health.

Can obesity memoirs help not only people who struggle with weight and body image, but their medical providers as well?

Author Ann Pai thinks so. Harvard Medical School agrees, choosing Pai’s book as one of only four titles featured in this summer’s 20th annual Practical Approaches to the Treatment of Obesity conference.

Pai’s self-published book, My Other Body: a memoir of love, fat, life, and death, details her sister’s hospitalization and death at 550 pounds and her own battle with compulsive eating.

“Where how-to books help you plan, narratives help you understand,” Pai says. “Stories about obesity can help medical professionals really see and feel what it’s like to live inside this set of complex issues.”

Harvard conference director Dr. George Blackburn says that Pai’s book teaches the two essential clinical skills of empathy and compassion. “It is recommended reading for anyone involved in the treatment of severely obese patients,” Blackburn says.

“Stories help us learn how to face our daily challenges," Pai says. "While it’s wonderful to hear nurses, doctors, and psychologists say that the book touched them, it's amazing to hear when it’s helped someone face a compulsive eating battle.”

My Other Body is available from Sunspot Press. For more information, go to http://www.sunspotpress.com.

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Ann Pai