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Roxane Gay & Everand Originals: Built for This: The Quiet Strength of Powerlifting
Roxane Gay & Everand Originals: Built for This: The Quiet Strength of Powerlifting
Roxane Gay & Everand Originals: Built for This: The Quiet Strength of Powerlifting
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Roxane Gay & Everand Originals: Built for This: The Quiet Strength of Powerlifting

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About this ebook

Introducing Roxane Gay & Everand Originals, a new series from Everand and the beloved bestselling author of Hunger, Bad Feminist, and Opinions. For the series launch, renowned cookbook author Julia Turshen writes with moving honesty about her years of disordered eating and exercising and how she freed herself from the poisonous cultural conversations about weight, discipline, and how women should look.

For most of her life, Julia Turshen has been at war with her body. Raised in a family obsessed with counting calories, she measured self-worth by the numbers on her bathroom scale. As the New York Times bestselling author of beloved cookbooks, including Small Victories and Simply Julia, she loved food and celebrated its social and cultural value, yet like so many women, she was convinced her own value would increase if only she lost ten, twenty, or however many pounds she arbitrarily believed kept her from the best version of herself. She worked out obsessively, using exercise as one more way to maintain control over her body and unruly appetites.

Julia’s attitude began to shift during the pandemic when she took a break from writing and book promotion to work on a small local farm in upstate New York. Months spent outdoors, harvesting vegetables and carrying heavy bushels of produce, transformed her body, making it bigger yet stronger. To her surprise, Turshen reveled in her new physique; she reveled in the emotional freedom physical labor gave her to eat without harsh restrictions or self-recrimination. Finally, she was breaking free of the tyranny of unrealistic body image and disordered eating.

But when the farm job ended, Julia felt herself slipping back into destructive thought patterns. Determined not to resume her relentless internal battles, she looked for activities that might replicate the joy and strength building farm work gave her. And that is how she discovered powerlifting.

Through powerlifting — the precise and careful art of hoisting increasingly heavy weights — Turshen learned to listen to her body and what it needed, be it rest, water, another plate on the barbell, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And she found a community of people, women especially, who embraced the unadultered joy of being physically strong. “I lift for my younger self and wear my singlet now to make up for all the times I wore a T-shirt over a swimsuit,” she writes, “I lift to show people what it looks like to opt out of trying to erase oneself. I lift to show that to myself.”

Both a critique of society’s obsession with weight and a beguiling memoir of self-acceptance, Built for This is a timely reminder that all bodies are powerful and deserve celebration.


Editor's Note

An uplifting memoir…

Let cookbook author Julia Turshen lift you up with her memoir about embracing her inner and outer strength. Turshen shares how she learned to appreciate her appetite for food, started powerlifting to marvel at all the things her body could do, and now knows the meat on her bones is “made of the things [she’s] capable of.” This title kicks off the Roxane Gay & series, a celebration of original voices and the human experience.

Release dateJan 24, 2024

Julia Turshen

Julia Turshen, a New York Times bestselling cookbook author and teaches cooking classes most Sunday afternoons. Her latest cookbook, Simply Julia, a national bestseller, is available wherever books are sold. Julia is also the author of Now & Again (named the Best Cookbook of 2018 by Amazon and an NPR ‘Great Read’), Feed the Resistance (named the Best Cookbook of 2017 by Eater), and Small Victories (named one of the Best Cookbooks of 2016 by the New York Times and NPR). She also hosts and produces the IACP-nominated podcast called ‘Keep Calm & Cook On.’ Julia lives in the Hudson Valley with her spouse Grace and their pets.

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