The Hungry Years: Confessions of a Food Addict

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Doubleday Canada, Aug 20, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 304 pages
“Hunger is the loudest voice in my head. I’m hungry most of the time.”

William Leith began the eighties slim; by the end of that decade he had packed on an uncomfortable amount of weight. In the early nineties, he was slim again, but his weight began to creep up once more. On January 20th, 2003, he woke up on the fattest day of his life. That same day he left London for New York to interview controversial diet guru Dr. Robert Atkins. But what was meant to be a routine journalistic assignment set Leith on an intensely personal and illuminating journey into the mysteries of hunger and addiction.

From his many years as a journalist, Leith knows that being fat is something people find more difficult to talk about than nearly anything else. But in The Hungry Years he does precisely that. Leith uses his own pathological relationship with food as a starting point and reveals himself, driven to the kitchen first thing in the morning to inhale slice after slice of buttered toast, wracked by a physical and emotional need that only food can satisfy. He travels through fast food-scented airports and coffee shops as he explores the all-encompassing power of advertising and the unattainable notions of physical perfection that feed the multibillion dollar diet industry.

Fat has been called a feminist issue: William Leith’s unblinking look at the physical consequences and psychological pain of being an overweight man charts fascinating new territory for everyone who has ever had a craving or counted a calorie. The Hungry Years is a story of food, fat, and addiction that is both funny and heartwrenching.

I was sitting in a café on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 24th Street in Manhattan, holding a menu. I was overweight. In fact, I was fat. Like millions of other people, I had entered into a pathological relationship with food, and with my own body. For years I had desperately wanted to write about why this had happened — not just to me, but to all those other people as well. I knew it had a lot to do with food. But I also knew it was connected to all sorts of outside forces. If I could understand what had happened to me, I could tell people what had happened to them, too. Right there and then, I decided that I would do everything to discover why I had got fat. I would look at every angle. And then I would lose weight, and report back from the slim world.
—Excerpt from The Hungry Years
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - REINADECOPIAYPEGA - LibraryThing

I loved this book ! I enjoyed his writing so much that I went out and bought his two other books. I can understand how this would not be a 5 star book to some, but to me it was as it is was so ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ediedoll - LibraryThing

A compulsively (I couldn't resist, sorry) readable memoir that I finished in just two days. Leith chronicles his struggles with food, as well as drinking and drugs, and the slow process of recovery ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
7
Section 2
9
Section 3
12
Section 4
17
Section 5
27
Section 6
30
Section 7
38
Section 8
44
Section 24
125
Section 25
136
Section 26
142
Section 27
144
Section 28
172
Section 29
175
Section 30
186
Section 31
190

Section 9
45
Section 10
50
Section 11
54
Section 12
57
Section 13
59
Section 14
61
Section 15
68
Section 16
73
Section 17
94
Section 18
95
Section 19
105
Section 20
107
Section 21
110
Section 22
118
Section 23
122
Section 32
200
Section 33
203
Section 34
214
Section 35
239
Section 36
247
Section 37
249
Section 38
251
Section 39
268
Section 40
277
Section 41
279
Section 42
289
Section 43
290
Section 44
293
Section 45
297
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

William Leith is one of Britain’s best-known journalists. He has written about subjects as divergent as cosmetic surgery, Palestine, Hollywood directors, and drugs. He writes regularly for the Guardian, the Observer, and the Daily Telegraph.

Bibliographic information