When Hungry, Eat

A celebration of unexpected spiritual wisdom, small portions and the gifts of hunger.
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‘Someone should canonize this book. ‘The perfect combination of health advice and spirituality’ is still a pathetically inadequate description of this offering by Joanne Fedler, author of Secret Mothers’ Business. It is a golden nugget of autobiography, spiritual wisdom and health. Think Eat, Pray, Love but less self-centred. For the reader, the story begins when Fedler visits the Food Fascist, a personal weight loss manager who kickstarts her journey to lose the kilos acquired during her life as a South African human rights lawyer and mother of two children. For Fedler, the story begins when she is eight years old, pleading with God to bring her parents home safely in a storm. As the author leads the reader back and forth through moments of enlightenment, burden, devastating terror, genuine humour and everyday life, we being to see that weight loss – and spiritual enlightenment – has more to do with letting go of a life of accumulated hurt and untruth than detox diets. This book will appeal to women of all ages – and body-conscious young women should take it to heart. If Fedler’s wisdom doesn’t sell this book, her humour and charm will.’

Rebecca Butterworth

Australian Bookseller and Publisher

The story of one woman’s journey through the emotional minefield that is women’s relationship to food – a celebration of small portions, unexpected spiritual wisdom and the gifts of hunger.

By the time Joanne Fedler’s fortieth birthday loomed, she’d had it with several trouble-makers who’d been wreaking havoc in the kingdom of her heart for too long. It was time to deport them. In what she initially took to be an unrelated impulse, she figured she could also start to care again about how she looked before the fatty deposits on her rear-end fossilized.

And that’s where the idea behind When Hungry, Eat began. Or so she thought.

She started a new eating plan (‘a ridiculous euphemism for self-imposed starvation’) which took her on a route to a much Greater Hunger – as Lauren van der Post calls it – which had nothing to do with food. What began as a mission to get back into a bikini became a pilgrimage back to faith, which had not been on either her food list or her itinerary.

When Hungry, Eat is a celebration of unexpected spiritual wisdom, small portions and the gifts of hunger.

By the time my fortieth birthday loomed, I’d married, had two kids, left the country of my birth for another and picked up plenty of baggage along the path.

I was long overdue for a spiritual spring-clean. But I couldn’t very well take a year off to meditate in an ashram. Who was going to make the lunch boxes?

So instead, I opted for doing something about the fatty deposits on my rear end before they fossilised.

And that’s where this story begins. Or so I thought.

A photo of herself in a bikini on her son’s fifth birthday led Joanne Fedler to take stock of her life. How had she reached a point where she could barely look at her own body without cringing?

Armed only with the certainty that she did not want to be ‘fat and forty’, Joanne decided it was time to get rid of the excess weight she’d been carrying for far too long.

While on a strict new eating plan in which she radically changed her relationship with food, Joanne began to see it wasn’t only kilos she needed to lose, but the weight of the fear, guilt and anxiety she was lugging around in her heart.

In making friends with hunger and dropping a few dress sizes, Joanne found greater peace not only with her body, but with herself, her life and her adopted country. What began as a msision to get back into a bikini became a journey towards acceptance.

When Hungry, Eat is a celebration of unexpected spiritual insight, small portions and the gifts of hunger.

“Having fought her way out of painful and plainly very tough circumstances in her own beloved country, I am overjoyed to hear a story such as Joanne’s struggle then eventual triumph. That a woman of such obvious character has embraced the wide brown land that daily nurtures my own soul is doubly satisfying.” 

Bryce Courtenay

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