Cover image for Distorted : how a mother and daughter unraveled the truth, the lies, and the realities of an eating disorder
Distorted : how a mother and daughter unraveled the truth, the lies, and the realities of an eating disorder
Publication Information:
Deerfield Beach, Fla. : Health Communications, c2008.
Physical Description:
ix, 230 p. ; 22 cm.
Once upon a time -- A natural disaster -- False hopes -- Off with the mask -- Blind exposure -- Full immersion -- A world apart -- Family matters -- True lies -- The belly of the beast -- God grant me the serenity -- A line in the sand -- The teacup -- The first light -- Off to whenever -- I hope your dreams come true.
Added Author:


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 616.8526 BEN 1 1

On Order



Mom saw a popular, happy teen, poised to revel in her high school years; her daughter saw a fat, ugly loser, and vowed to take action. One saw glimmers of hope and researched to find the best care; the other had no intentions of getting better and researched new and clever ways to hide her compulsion. Such is the distorted reality in this riveting true account of a teen caught in the grips of an eating disorder and the mother who struggled to help her break free.

Through their gripping dual narrative, Lorri and Taryn Benson take turns chronicling their unique perceptions of events once Taryn was caught in the act of her first purge. With unflinching frankness, they reveal the deceit, the guilt, the shame, and the manipulations that are inherent in this enigmatic disease, unveiling the true picture of what happens to the family dynamic once an eating disorder takes hold. Much more than a cautionary tale, Distorted illustrates the psychological factors that underline the beginning and spread of the disease, the successful and unsuccessful therapies, and the consequences the disease had on themselves and their family.

Triumphantly, the two women share what was ultimately needed to bring the truth to light, providing guidance for anyone struggling with or affected by an eating disorder. Their two stories--woven together as one powerful beacon of hope--will offer insight and comfort to families, spouses, and loved ones who feel helpless and alone.

Author Notes

Lorri Antosz Benson is a former talk-show producer and syndicated columnist. She is a family advocate who speaks on issues surrounding disordered eating and body image



Chapter One Once Upon a Time You know the story. We were the lucky ones, the happy family: two parents crazy about each other, three great kids, a blessed life. We had just built a lovely home in a terrific neighborhood in a gorgeous Florida coastline city nothing wrong with this picture.I often told myself that if we just did everything right, if we gave our girls the right balance of love, respect, and discipline, we might get through the tough teen years without incident. Even so, there was a part of me deep inside that was waiting for the shoe to drop; a part that knew, someday, we'd have some big obstacle to face. After all, life is never perfect. I remember worrying something might happen to my husband, Steve, or one of the girls might have a terrible accident. Every now and then, I'd think, It can't always be this great . . . something will happen . . . what will it be for us? We can't be this happy, this fortunate.I was right.Until the moment of truth in the bathroom, I was completely blind to the seriousness of my daughter's outlook on life, and I had no clue that our challenges were already in progress. Up until that shocking February night, life with our family was better than we could ever have expected. Sure, there were the bouts of sibling rivalry, the messy bedrooms, the homework nagging, but nothing unique to us, and nothing to indicate that anything was out of the ordinary.When people would roll their eyes and laughingly wish me luck when they heard I had three of the fairer sex, I didn't get nervous. I grew up as the middle child in a family of three girls, so having girls was very familiar. Plus, I don't scare that easily. At least, I didn't then.Taryn was our oldest and a golden child in every way. She always wanted to do the right thing and was never any trouble. Looking back, there are moments that might have shed light on the problems she would later develop, but at the time, everything we experienced with Taryn, the baby and the growing child, seemed perfectly normal.Monday-morning quarterbacking just doesn't really help, because at each step along the way, there was someone telling us we were in a normal phase. Later, when we were told of studies researching a possible connection between colic, tantrums, and similar behaviors to the development of eating disorders, we remembered moments from Taryn's childhood. But at the time, her doctor and my friends would just laugh, shake their heads and tell us the colic, the tantrums . . . this, too, would pass. And there's just as good a chance that they were right, and these incidents really were just a part of growing up.My husband and I traded our high-powered New York jobs to move to Florida so that we could spend more time with our girls. He stepped down from his position on the Wall Street trading floor, and I left my job as senior producer of the long-running talk show DONAHUE. Taryn had just turned eight, Taylor was five and a half, and Halli was eighteen Excerpted from Distorted: How a Mother and Daughter Unraveled the Truth, the Lies, and the Realities of an Eating Disorder by Lorri Antosz Benson, Taryn Leigh Benson All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Prologuep. vii
1 Once Upon a Timep. 1
2 A Natural Disasterp. 13
3 False Hopesp. 19
4 Off with the Maskp. 27
5 Blind Exposurep. 35
6 Full Immersionp. 47
7 A World Apartp. 61
8 Family Mattersp. 78
9 True Liesp. 94
10 The Belly of the Beastp. 112
11 God Grant Me the Serenityp. 133
12 A Line in the Sandp. 144
13 Amazing Gracep. 167
14 The Teacupp. 179
15 The First Lightp. 201
Epilogue, Part 1: Off to Whereverp. 213
Epilogue, Part 2: I Hope Your Dreams Come Truep. 216
Resourcesp. 225