Food Fight Club: A Q&A with Rosalyn Sheehy
**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptom use. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.
In this Q&A, author Rosalyn Sheehy tells us about her latest book, Food Fight Club: Rules to Beat Bulimia. Learn the personal story behind the book and what she hopes readers will take away from it.
Tell us about Food Fight Club!
Food Fight Club is the essential handbook on beating bulimia—I simply had to write and share my tips. I suffered with bulimia for too many years, as a teen and into my 20s. I remember buying a book on bulimia years ago and tearing off the front cover; the B-word offended me, and I didn’t want anyone to know about my struggles. I felt the need to address this shame and secrecy. Back then I was absolutely terrified someone would find out and “report” my behavior. Bulimia is terribly isolating and dangerous. I have to warn people of the dangers too.
Food Fight Club gets its name from the Brad Pitt movie. The first rule of Food Fight Club is we do not talk about Food Fight Club—the whole world and its sister doesn’t need to know you have a problem and you are being brave enough to find a solution!
The intended audience is anyone struggling with bulimia who is afraid to talk about it, as well as family and friends who are simply at a loss for what to do. Food Fight Club breaks the ice. I wanted to put a little humor in the tumor that is bulimia and let people know that if I can beat it, anyone can!
How does this book compare to your first one?
My first book, Loopy Loo, is an autobiographical story poem about my rocky road to recovery. Food Fight Club is a rule book with 20 rules to be adhered to and has useful homework at the back. It is interactive. Sufferers grab the bull by the horns and master their own destinies!
What is the role of humor in your eating disorder recovery and writing work?
I created a new genre for fixing twisted sisters: CBT, or Comic Book Therapy. You might like my nun in habit breaking the binge/purge cycle in yoga with Awkward Pose.
What do you hope readers get from the book?
Readers will get rules to hold on to. One of the most important rules is strapping yourself into a seat after a meal for 20 minutes. This is tough, but it gets easier and the urge to purge gets replaced with healthier habits.
I felt bereft when doctors tried to take my bulimia away from me—it was my coping mechanism for horrible feelings I couldn’t deal with. I felt very raw and sad at first, but I learned to FIND and REPLACE. The book lists myriad ways and resources to give you a huge helping hand when you break the binge/purge cycle and find inner peace. You find new neural pathways, and I can honestly say the day when I couldn’t remember the last time I had puked was the happiest day of my life.
How do you see the book complementing eating disorder treatment?
Food Fight Club is empowering and encouraging. It helps sufferers take the first step (the hardest step!) by reaching out to someone for help. The book urges readers not to shrink to fit but to see a shrink! You will also see rock stars at group meetings in the book. I was always petrified, too scared to go to a group—even the thought of it made me want to get sick—buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut once I went to a couple, I got to love the way I felt walking out of those groups: buttressed, understood, and determined to make myself well and stop making myself sick.
What are some of your favorite recovery books?
I recommend a book called How to be Brave by Emilia Adler. It was written by a 16-year-old in recovery and is a series of her journal entries. Food Fight Club insists, “Right here, right now—write it down.” Journaling and logging mood/food can be helpful in recovery. Food Fight Club helps you keep the Wolf of Walmart from your door. You will feel so wonderful and strong once you can eat three meals without obsessing and get on with your life—you get energy to climb mountains! Bulimia was my metaphorical mountain. And of all my achievements in life, I am most proud of combating bulimia and giving it the two fingers!
What do you wish you knew as a young adult experiencing bulimia?
Every day I wish I never made myself sick. Every day I miss my missing teeth!