I've shrunken down my reasons to a short answer I can use for interviews, but I asked my editor for permission to share the author's note that's at the end of Never Enough that goes into a little more detail, and I just heard back with the OK. One thing that never made it into the author's note was that at the time I met my friend who was struggling (explained below) I was just coming out of a season in my life that I was very involved in the fitness industry. I'd spent months on end dieting on only chicken and salad, and had stood up on stage to get judged on my body. For me, it was a very unhealthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally.
Here's a sneak peak at more of the inspiration for the story... my Author's Note from Never Enough...
Many of us have suffered from a food issue of some kind, whether it’s cutting calories on a regular basis or trying to “make up” for last weekend’s junk food binge. These are simple solutions, ones that don’t seem dangerous or hard to control. I’ve personally struggled with my perception of healthy eating on and off for years. For me, conquering this has only come by way of self-acceptance, but even still, it seems more than possible that I might fall back into destructive patterns at any time.
When it comes to severe eating disorders, often times we can’t understand why some won’t just make better choices when it comes to food. I have known women who have suffered severely from eating disorders, and, yes, it can be easy to judge. But our lack of understanding and compassion is one reason that so many people suffer alone, only letting their disorder become worse. An eating disorder gives a false sense of control, while in reality it's an all-consuming monster that wants to take over every bit of a person’s life.
My first inspiration for writing this book was a close friend of mine who has suffered for many years with a combination of severe eating disorders. I didn’t write this book to show her or teach her anything. I wrote it because I wanted to understand her and connect with her in a way that would be helpful rather than hurtful.
My friend can’t avoid food like she’d avoid cigarettes if she were quitting smoking. She has to face her addiction every day. Sure, it gets easier. But then sometimes it gets harder again. Above all, I’m glad I made a deeper connection with her and with others. Honesty among true friends can be a hard thing to come by, but it’s worth the effort to not have to endure a life-long battle alone. You may be surprised how accepting others can be. And then maybe you’ll start accepting yourself.
It’s estimated that over eight million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, and eating disorders have the highest death rate among mental illnesses. The statistics are scary—don’t try to battle it by yourself. And if you’re not the one suffering and someone comes to you, admitting they have a problem, be a supportive friend. Encourage him or her to seek help, and then walk through it with them. Making the first move to be honest is hard, but I guarantee there’s somebody in your life that really needs you.
And who knows? Maybe you need them too.
For more information on eating disorders, where to get help, or how to be a support to someone with an eating disorder, visit the National Eating Disorders Association at www.nationaleatingdisorders.org