Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova (Luxury Reading)

Honest, personal, brave – those are the words I’d use to describe Peach Friedman’s memoir Diary of an Exercise Addict. Peach grew up watching her mother’s unhealthy relationship with food. Whether it was due to this genetic predisposition or the turmoil in her personal life, she began an increasingly obsessive exercise and diet regimen. Peach counted every calorie, often eating as little as 800 calories a day. What she did eat she worked off through three-times-a-day workouts. In a matter of four months, Peach lost 49 pounds and dropped down to a skeleton-like 100-pound frame.

I chose the three words to describe this memoir because writing such a diary must have been difficult at best. It was hard enough to read about what Peach went through, and I can only assume it was even harder to write about. As Peach chronicled her worsening anorexia nervosa and exercise bulimia, her sometimes erratic writing made it easier to understand her state of mind. At the height of her disorder, all she saw was her desire to control her food intake, and to work off the few calories she did take in. She did not deal with her emotions and focused solely on maintaining control over her body. She saw herself as thin and beautiful while others saw her as sickly and in need of help. At one point Peach describes always being cold, and the soft downy hair growing all over her body – not associating either with depriving herself of nourishment.

Recovery rates from eating disorders are low, and Peach spent many years getting better, relapsing, and getting better again. In some respects, her recovery – and dealing with emotions she blocked out for so long – seemed more difficult than the disorder itself. She survived, learned from experience, and chose to help others by becoming a fitness specialist and educator. With her foray into writing, Peach created an account that is an inspiration for those struggling with food and exercise issues, and a poignant and heartfelt story for all readers.

For more information, check out Peach Friedman’s website.