Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Shades of Hope: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living- Book Review and Giveaway

Tennie McCarty Shades of Hope(Picture source)

Shades of Hope: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living, written by Tennie McCarty is a book exploring food addiction and recovery. McCarty, herself a recovered food addict, developed the Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas. In the book, McCarty recounts her own experiences with food addiction as well as those of her clients. She tells the various stories of addiction, recovery and relapse while also offering a plan for the reader to overcome food addiction, whether it be overeating, anorexia, or bulimia.

I have mixed feelings about this book. There were certain sections of the book that I thoroughly enjoyed: sections that caused me to look at my own behaviors and analyze why I act or feel the way that I do, sections that brought tears to my eyes as I read the struggles of others, and sections that gave me motivation and hope.

But I also disagreed with an overwhelming concept of God throughout the book. And since my faith is very important to me, although I do not talk about it much on the blog because it is not the platform for that, I was conflicted on whether I should even write this review or not—strongly disagreeing with McCarty’s concept of God. So instead of not writing the review, I am going to voice my opinion on the matter and leave it at that.

I do not believe that we can shape or morph God into what we believe he should be and what is convenient for ourselves. God is God. God is not like Snoopy, as McCarty relates him to in the book. I believe that there is one God. God is merciful and he is kind. If we truly get to know God, we will realize this and He will help us through our struggles. I, do, however, agree with McCarty’s statement that each of us has a void within in which only God can fill, and without that, we are always left searching for something.

And sometimes we try to fill that void with food, as McCarty writes within the book. McCarty opened my eyes to emotional eating in this book. I know that I have a problem with emotional eating, which took time for me to identify, and which I am still working on fixing. Why do I eat when I am not hungry? Why do I stuff my face with chocolate at times, almost uncontrollably? And I know that I can ALWAYS link it back to an emotion. McCarty explains that when we do this, we are stuffing our emotions inside and choosing not to feel them, trying to seek relief in the food instead. She suggests that we learn to feel our emotions. Truly go through the process and work them out instead of reaching for food to stuff them inside. Our feelings are valid. Everyone experiences emotion and you and I are just as normal as everyone else. What is important, is that we learn to be present in the moment.

Shades of Hope is designed as a recovery program for an addiction, much like alcoholics anonymous. McCarty stresses the notion that food addiction should be treated like any other chemical addiction. Our brains respond to some foods, namely sugar, flours, and fats, much like they would to cocaine and alcohol. The book is designed to reach into the souls of those with food addiction and give him or her the tools that will lead to recovery.

The last section of the book offers a meal plan, that is to be used in conjunction with a doctor’s recommendation for the individual. McCarty believes that for many who are truly addicted to certain foods, that abstinence is the key to recovery, especially within the first year. She does state that while some individuals can work these foods into their diets in moderation, other are not able to do so or they will relapse.

Many people with addictions not only struggle with the substance addicted to, but also in their relationships with others and themselves. The book confronts each of these areas and offers tips on change.

Overall, this was a thought provoking book. It opened my eyes to the pain and suffering that people with food addictions go through. It made me look within to find out what prompts my emotional eating and what I can do to change those habits and behaviors. While I may not have agreed with every word of this book, there is a lot of valuable information that we can all learn from.

Want to read this book?

It goes on sale today and you can find it on Amazon here.

The publisher has offered to send one lucky reader a copy of this book.

How can you win?

Leave me a comment telling me why you feel you could benefit from this book.

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, March 13th. If the winner does not respond within 1 week of contact, he/she forfeits the winnings and a new winner will be chosen.


  1. I love to read, so if I won the book fine. Sounds odd, though.. God vs Snoopy? lol

    Anyway, have you checked out ? Alissa, that woman is MOTIVATING ME! She was 417 and had surgery, so her blog isn't about the food. That is partly taken care of for her, as she can't eat much. But the way she writs about her struggles, OMWord. I cannot get enough of her blog. Last night's post was a down mood for her, but read her other posts. It really opens my eyes, lifts me up, etc. Amazing. :) Wanted to pass along the info to you.

  2. I would love to read this book. I always think I have my food addiction figured out, till it comes back and kicks my butt again, like lately. I'm try to get my focus back.

  3. sounds interesting!! i like the whole idea that this isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change, so I'm sure the book would benefit me!!

    thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Tennie attacks food disorders as addictions. A portion of people who have issues with food are likely addicts. Addiction comes in many forms and not all are widely accepted as addiction. Food seems to come in out and fad within the mental health community as an addiction. For those who have tried everything else and have addiction in their families... this is the way to go. For those who haven't struggled with addiction I know it sounds weird to understand an addict's mind when it comes to spirituality. I have many friends who just accept God as they've been taught and seem to do great with that. As an addict I can't. Many people who pass through Shades and other rehabs have been spiritually abused, told God hates them or that God won't accept them. So the idea of creating your own God concept is a way of finding your way back to your Higher Power. We all have that voice within us that is our sixth sense... God... intution and so forth. Addicts have tried to kill theirs because they were told it was bad, wrong or not needed. It's our soul and connection to God. So however we get it back we have to embrace it.
    Any good addiction program isn't about details of what to eat, drink, ingest, shot up or any of that. It's about finding and embracing your soul and your connection to your Higher Power. Once you achieve that the addictive substances tend to fade and become less captivating. But it's a daily, hourly and minute by minute program. There is no ending. It's the hardest work I've ever done but when I do it I find peace and neutrality over my food, myself, and those around me.



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