People who meet me as a food writer invariably say, "But you're skinny!" It may be my greatest accomplishment ("She ate a ton and never got fat"). But even at my thinnest postcollege depressive self, a knife blade in skinny jeans, I never lost track of the two or three pounds that would have flattened an imaginary bulge in my stomach.

As a food writer and middle-aged woman, I have rounded up a bit. (When I started reviewing restaurants, it was: "But you're so skinny!" Mostly I don't hear "so" anymore.) I exercise a lot, and I kick myself for all the mental energy I put into my weight and body parts I'd like to trade in, when I could be caring about something important. How did my body issues and my job as a food writer contribute to my daughter's anorexia? Lisa and I retreat to our own corners on this one. She sees a lot to blame on me, my job, our family's food obsession. And you know, so do I. But I wonder how much can be attributed to my career choice, my personality, or just being Mom. Hungry is not about piling on the blame. There's a lot more at work. Like mothers and daughters everywhere, when Lisa and I build up muscles of self-righteous anger and hurt, it's hard to break through. Our book is about the hungers that put us back in the ring.

Excerpted from Hungry by Sheila and Lisa Himmel. Copyright © 2009 by Sheila Himmel. Excerpted by permission of The Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


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