• About The Book

    With more than half of Americans now overweight, this country is in the throes of an epidemic.  But addiction expert Tennie McCarty says the problem isn’t what we’re eating, it’s what’s eating us.  This epidemic isn’t simply about calories or food choices or portion control.  It’s about having a tortured relationship with food and weight, and it’s all rooted in the unprocessed emotions of an unexamined life.

    McCarty ought to know.  She has spent a lifetime of dealing with addictions: her parents’, her husband’s, her daughter’s and her own, including a battle with bulimia that nearly killed her.   In the bruising aftermath, she tackled a forty-year food addiction, lost 150 pounds, and has kept it off for more than fifteen years.

    Today she runs the Shades of Hope Treatment Center in Buffalo Gap, Texas — the country’s premier center for multiple addictions, a facility she co-founded twenty-five years ago to fill a desperate need.

    Thousands have benefited from her innovative in-patient programs, but for anyone who can’t get to the Texas center, McCarty now offers SHADES OF HOPE: A Program to Stop Dieting and Start Living (Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam’s Sons; On Sale: March 6, 2012), an essential guide to taking back your life.

    SHADES OF HOPE is not a diet book, nor does it offer a magic bullet for controlling impulses.  Instead it delivers a riveting and moving look at the journey from addiction to serenity drawn from McCarty’s own story as well as those of her patients. With humor and compassion, it explores what it takes to heal our bodies and free our souls from forces that keep us chained to addictions.  Part guidebook, part inspirational memoir, it zeros in on emotional eating, offering real-life solutions and a step-by-step program to help food addicts stop the endless destructive cycle of dieting, bingeing, self-abuse, and broken promises.

    What McCarty has learned in more than four decades of battling these issues, both personally and professionally, is that our relationship to food mirrors all of the other relationships in our lives—the way we love, the way we shop, the way we consume, and the way we think we control the world around us.  It all comes back to the search for fulfillment, and McCarty is on a mission to help us face those feelings, rather than avoid them through eating.  This maverick’s goal is to help us see food as sustenance and as a means of survival, not as a substitute for living.

    At her rigorous treatment center, clients typically arrive for a six-day intensive or a 42-day residential treatment program where McCarty’s unconventional techniques teach people to confront their demons and reject addictive behavior in every form imaginable, from eating disorders and chemical dependency to compulsive shopping, alcoholism, and codependency.  In SHADES OF HOPE, McCarty re-invents her proven program as a self-help handbook, infusing it with her signature blend of toughness, Southern charm, and deep love.  She supplies a program of action, including a meal plan, life inventory exercises, and the “four secrets to eating sober,” along with twelve-step principles minus the actual steps.  The result is a tough-talking approach that offers new hope for anyone seeking recovery.