Thrive at Any Weight
Eating to Nourish Body, Soul, and Self-Esteem
by Nancy Ellis-Ordway
October 2019, 189pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-7023-1
$45, £35, 40€, A62
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7024-8
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Disordered eating, poor self esteem, and body dissatisfaction improve when we shift the focus from weight loss to making peace with food and our bodies.

A psychotherapist of 30 years, Nancy Ellis-Ordway explains how she helps people get off the weight loss roller coaster, make peace with food and their bodies, and improve their health to find happiness and a better quality of life.

Widespread publicity about “the war on obesity” has led to pervasive anxiety, distress, and shame about eating, says psychotherapist Nancy Ellis-Ordway. Many people feel at war with their bodies rather than at home, in large part because of weight stigma and the unrelenting pursuit of thinness in America.

This book offers a detailed approach for change, with a particular focus on “the message we give ourselves” when we eat, exercise, and interact with other people. This process incorporates operating from an internal locus of control as a way to improve self-esteem.

Elllis-Ordway, in contrast to the “diet mentality” that is full of restrictions, first has clients focus on building self-esteem and growing a desire for self-care. She teaches clients to develop an ability to “listen to their own bodies” for guidance to eat for physical and mental health. The better we listen to and fulfill our body’s needs, she explains, the better our self-esteem and health becomes, and the more we believe we are “worth it” and are able to meet our objectives.


  • Includes client stories reflecting success with this method
  • Explains how to begin by rebuilding self-esteem
  • Details how to listen to your body for signals on what to eat for better health
  • Describes why a focus on weight loss leads to poorer outcomes—physically, mentally, and socially
  • Coaches readers on how to change the messages we give ourselves
  • Aims foremost to help you build a good relationship with food, your body, and yourself
Nancy Ellis-Ordway, PhD, LCSW, is a psychotherapist in Jefferson City, MO, with 30 years of experience specializing in treating eating disorders, body image issues, stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems. In addition to her PhD in health education and promotion from the University of Missouri, Columbia, she holds a certificate in advanced psychodynamic psychotherapy from the St. Louis Psychoanalytic Institute and a master's degree in social work from Washington University. She teaches professional continuing education programs on topics including self care, weight stigma as a social justice issue, and weight science and safety awareness training for social workers.


“As a leader in the Health at Every Size® movement for two decades, I am thrilled to say that this book is a powerful, comprehensive exploration of the damage that is being done to people every day in the name of health, and a well-researched blueprint for how to turn that damage into benefit. Combining the latest research with poignant stories of real people she has worked with over the past three decades, Nancy Ellis-Ordway has written a book that will help move humanity forward to a time when people of all sizes will be able to appreciate and perhaps even love the bodies that we live in – right now! It will also be of great benefit for health professionals truly wanting to help people who struggle with weight, eating, and body image concerns, to make peace with their bodies and their food. Surely a must-read and a major contribution to the field!"—Jon Robinson, PhD,
Co-founder Salveo Partners, co-author, The Spirit and Science of Holistic Health

“Nancy Ellis-Ordway delivers gentle authority, cogent expertise, and good humor to this fresh look at weight, eating, and self-esteem. Her decades of experience challenge myths about dieting, health, and body image. Multiple references encourage you to trust your body, recognize and resist cultural pressures, and seek health over artificial pressures. This book is for everyone who struggles with size acceptance and, especially, self acceptance.”—Jerold J. Kreisman, MD, Co-author, I Hate You, Don’t Leave Me: Understanding the Borderline Personality, Sometimes I Act Crazy, and Talking To A Loved One with Borderline Personality Disorder

"But what about your health?!" This is a question that those who choose to focus on actual health rather than body size are often asked with deep incredulity. This book is groundbreaking in its all-encompassing answer to that question. With important insights into the research and science, as well as the lived experience of people of size, this book is a must-read for anyone who truly cares about the health of people of all sizes."—Ragan Chastian, author, Fat: The Owner's Manual, editor, The Politics of Size
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