Little Steps


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Surviving Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa

By Katharine Wealthall


ISBN: 978-1-904697-07-7
Published: 2005
Pages: 100
Key Themes: eating disorders, bulimia, anorexia, treatment, therapy, recovery


Katharine’s book is an eloquently written pathos-filled insight into the taboo and rarely talked about world of eating disorders. She describes how she lived with anorexia; she describes the fear, torment, horror and frustration that this sometimes tragically fatal disorder caused.. Over the course of the book Katharine goes through a personal transformation and the overwhelming message of this book is one of hope. Katharine is able to articulate herself and learn from her experiences. You can see that the self realisation leads her towards a cure. Katharine’s book is an inspiration to anyone who has been or may be in a similar situation in the future.

About the Author

Katharine was born in Harrogate, North Yorkshire and now lives in King’s Lynn, Norfolk with her husband. Katharine’s interests include animals, in particular dogs and horses, sport, writing, film and theatre. She previously worked as a drama teacher for 5 years before completing a year’s acting training and starting her professional career as an actress. She wrote ‘Little Steps’ because experience had taught her that there is huge ignorance and lack of understanding surrounding eating disorders. She felt that she needed to express the reality of eating disorders in order to improve the situation for other sufferers

Book Extract

‘Homesickness may feel terrible now, but if you go home with the illness – you will never truly be home’.

These were some of the most valuable words ever spoken to me; it is hard to believe the difference one sentence made. I was in my second month of a 10 month hospital treatment programme for Anorexia and had announced to one of the nurses that I had to go home, couldn’t bear to be away any longer. The nurse (one of the many people to which I owe my life ‘in recovery’) convinced me to stay in treatment with just those few words. Although I have thanked him since, I doubt he can ever know the impact he made.

Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa rob sufferers of themselves; the real person becomes masked by the intensity of an illness that is both terrifying to suffer from and to witness. During the early stages of my admission, I vowed that once I was in recovery I would have nothing more to do with the illness. I thought it admirable that sufferers who had reached recovery wrote books, set up counselling groups and spent huge amounts of time and energy on helping others, but I felt that I had to leave it behind me – forever.

To a certain extent the naïve belief that I would recover in a way that was complete and forever fuelled this opinion. I wanted to somehow erase the illness and all the pain that had been caused through it (both to myself and those who are close to me). This was when I had little, or no, real understanding of the illness. Through the course of my therapy, however, I became aware that I had been ill all my life (well before the obvious physical symptoms), so how did I expect to blank 25 years?

Also, as I progressed through the treatment programme and towards life in recovery I realised that the illness is a very real part of me, and blanking it would be impossible. As I began to accept this, I felt the desperate need for something good to come out of my horror, out of all the years I had battled to survive.

I also felt increasingly angry at the way the media portray eating disorders and felt the almost overwhelming need to express the reality of the illness, I needed people to understand. One of my worst fears is being seen as someone who chose to be ill; someone who is vain and selfish and just wants to look like a super model, someone who through choice very nearly destroyed her life and the lives of those around her. I cannot bear the possibility that there is anyone who believes that I wanted to be this way. I get so angry when I hear those who are ignorant talking about eating disorders, although I know that it is just that, ignorance, I so want them to understand.

I also felt the need to try and alert people to the difficulties regarding real treatment for eating disorders, and the difficulty in being admitted to one of the few centres that do help sufferers of the illness successfully. I was lucky in that I received excellent treatment, but it was after over a year of ‘help’ during which I actually deteriorated greatly. It is so important that people know what sort of treatment is needed. Also, although I will be the first to admit that the treatment I finally received was excellent, it had to be hundreds of miles from home (funding wasn’t provided for the centre 40 miles from home!), I think this fact was most detrimental to the early stages of my treatment.


3 reviews for Little Steps

  1. Wren Thomas (verified owner)

    There are some books that just have to be read, and I would like to suggest that this is one of them. There are so many pre-conceptions about anorexia and eating disorders in general, it is refreshing to find a book that breaks through the myths and really brings us back to reality. Well written, in a style that is honest, clear and concise, this book is for those who want to try and understand.
    The content is excellent. Katharine brings us into the book by sharing her own story. She has herself battled with eating disorders throughout her life. Katharine’s story is at times painful but the overall message is one of survival, of the good times and the bad, and of how as a survivor she takes one day at a time in what is now a life in recovery. The book continues by looking at a number of case studies, and how various ‘solutions’ have succeeded or failed in helping others to survive. It concludes with some thoughts and comments on the current approach to helping those with eating disorders.

    I would recommend this to a wide range of readers, from those who know someone who is suffering to those who are simply taking an interest. It is not a long book, but it’s one that sticks in your mind, one that you’ll remember.

  2. Karen La Borde (verified owner)

    In Little Steps, Katharine’s mission is to dispel widely held myths and misconceptions about the debilitating and devastating nature of eating disorders.
    Some view the disease as the sufferer’s vain method to lose weight, seek attention, or to punish loved ones.
    The anorexic is regarded as having no self control and can simply snap out of it.
    This insensitivity by members of the public, and even those in the medical field, harm and alienate the sufferer, who is powerless to the invisible force of destruction the disease creates.
    Katharine painfully exposes her daily battle with the disorder, knowing that life in recovery is management of the illness.
    “There are times when allowing the illness to take over seems so appealing because the fight would be finished”, she said.
    With love and support from family and friends, Katharine is finally pursuing her life-long dream of an acting career.

  3. Jason Hollywood (verified owner)

    Katharine’s book is eloquently written and full of pathos. She describes how she lived with a life of anorexia. She describes the fear, torment, horror and frustration. During the book Katharine goes through a personal transformation and the overwhelming message is one of help. Katharine is able to articulate herself and learn from her experience. You can see that the self realisation leads her towards a cure. This is an inspiration to anyone who has been or may be in a similar situation to Katharine in the future. Thank you Katharine for writing your story and thank you too Katharine for helping Chipmunkapublishing to help more people. You are a wonderful giving and loving person and i feel priviledged to have read your book, published it and enabled other people to read it.

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