19-Year-Old South African Writes Important Book About Living With An Eating Disorder!
Photo Cred: Pexels

World-wide eating disorders affect more than 70 million people and account for a staggering 10,200 deaths annually; that’s one death every 52 minutes every year!


Western Cape, South Africa (16 March 2021) – A 19-year-old Capetonian has written a brave, honest account of her struggle with Anorexia and how she deals with this deadly eating disorder.

But the young South African does not just focus on how difficult it is, she leaves the reader with hope!

“Brown. Gooey. Thick. It lay on the table in front of me. I could smell it from where I sat. The scent made my stomach queasy, bubbling with anxiety. My friends surrounded me, smiling and laughing. They weren’t concerned about it. I dared not join in. My hands shook, so I hid them under the table. I tried to smile along but failed miserably. I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying. Only one thing was on my mind. How on earth was I supposed to eat this?

You might be thinking, what the hell was on that table? What disgusting, foul, nauseating thing did I have to consume? You’re probably thinking of something along the lines of what your dog plants on your living room floor when you’ve kept him inside for too long. In my opinion, what lay in front of me was far worse than anything a dog could have produced.

It was a piece of chocolate cake.

You read that correctly. A slice of dark, moist, potent chocolate cake adorned with icing and all. It even had candles on top. Why did it have candles on top? Well, I was turning 18, you see, but that wasn’t important. What was important is that I could absolutely, positively, 100% NOT eat this slice of cake. No ways. I’d rather write every single exam of my life over again, without studying. I’d rather stand in front of the school and sing the national anthem backwards while spinning on one leg. I’d rather — well, you get the point.

Irrationally, this was my biggest fear.”

(Not) A piece of cake! is an e-book recently written and published by 19-year-old Capetonian, Hannah Altmann, giving readers a glimpse into her struggle with Anorexia, an eating disorder, unfortunately, all too common amongst young girls in today’s society.

“Eating disorders are not as superficial as wanting to look a certain way, being more attractive or desirable. They are a coping mechanism for the real stresses and issues in someone’s life. It’s a lot easier to say “I’m fat” or “I’m gaining weight” than it is to say “I might be alive, but I don’t feel like it, I feel lost and alone, so it only feels right for my body to appear that way too,” explains Hannah. “Eating disorders are just physical manifestations of issues that are occurring in someone’s mind. Remember that!”

Through her book, Hannah shares the ins and outs of living with this all-consuming disorder and the devastating impact that is has had on family and friends. Eating disorders are amongst the deadliest mental health illnesses, second only to opioid overdoses! World-wide they affect more than 70 million people and account for a staggering 10,200 deaths annually; that’s one death every 52 minutes every year!

19-Year-Old South African Writes Important Book About Living With An Eating Disorder!
Photo Cred: (Not) A Piece of Cake

In a world where being skinny is glamorised, Hannah hopes to shed some light on the real intricacies of this devastating disease.

“Anorexia, in particular, is not just about not eating. It is about fighting with your family at every meal, refusing to go out for birthdays, crying in your room after eating Christmas dinner, causing your family to cancel their skiing trip because they are too concerned about you. It is being cold all the damn time, hating yourself, wanting to change but being too scared to,” explains Hannah. “There are so many side effects that no one knows about, because they’ve never spoken about. I am hoping this book will change all of that!”

That’s the thing about eating disorders. They don’t only affect the very thin. I can be fully weight restored and still be struggling.

“I can be eating pizza and still be struggling. I can appear to be fine when really, my mind is going crazy,’ says Hannah. “As women – we need to be proud of the space we take up in this world!”

Hannah describes her emotional highs and lows and resulting epiphanies. In one extract from the book, she describes how suddenly, while she was eating, she realized the worst thing that could happen was weight gain. The worst thing that could happen was weight gain!

“My weight was no longer an indication of my worth,” she exclaims. “My mind was officially blown!”

But the book leaves one with hope. Hope that anyone fighting this fight can get through it… perhaps just one day at a time!

“We need to give ourselves the same love and understanding that we give so freely to others. After all, we live with ourselves every single moment of our lives. Instead of making our many years on this planet an awful experience of self-hatred, contempt, guilt, and sadness, we have the power to change our mindsets. Once we accept our bodies for what they are, nourish ourselves in whichever way pleases us and makes us feel good, we will be able to enjoy our time on earth, enjoy life in our bodies and be able to live a more exuberant, fulfilling and confident life.

We are all capable of it. You just have to believe in yourself.”

(Not) A piece of Cake is available on Amazon by clicking here.

Sources: Hannah Altmann 
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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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