It’s time for another birth story. This time it’s a book baby, and while just as much sweat and screaming went into this labor of love as my last one, there were far fewer stitches, thank goodness.

I remember when Coming Clean was published, thinking that I would never be able to do it again, to sit down and bare my soul on paper. I swore that if I were ever to write another book, it wouldn’t be a memoir. While the final product of my first book was a blessing, the actual writing process was something akin to living in my own personal emotional hell for a couple of years. Only a crazy person would subject themselves to reliving their most painful memories on a daily basis.

Which is why when I first conceptualized Beautiful Bodies (fun fact: the originally name for the book was SKINNY) and sold it to my publisher, it wasn’t a memoir. It was historical nonfiction with a few personal anecdotes thrown in for good measure. But, what became abundantly clear after a year plus of writing a book that was basically the history of dieting throughout this human experience we share, is that it was missing something. Me, it was missing me. And so I scrapped the entire first draft of Beautiful Bodies, we pushed my publishing date (it was originally supposed to come out in October 2015) and I started over.

I knew what I had to do; I had to do it the hard way. The way I’m good at, but the way I hate. And so began the long emotional journey of dissecting my relationship with my body, a relationship that has been the most important and tumultuous one of my life. In many ways Coming Clean was easier to write. Hoarding has had such a clear impact on my life that I knew instinctively how to tell that story. But my body, my insecurities, they were a part of everything I did. My body and its lack of perfection was the one thing I could never forgive myself for, and that colored so much of what I did and who I became. And being honest about all that was hard.

I remember a particularly emotional night when I was feeling blocked, ready to give up and write a check to my publisher returning my advance and call the whole thing a big mistake because I just couldn’t get there, I couldn’t summon up the emotional honesty to commit to telling this story. The Fella tried to coax it out of me, asking all the hard questions I refused to, and I hated him. I cried and yelled, threatened divorce and even threw something at him (okay, the last two only in my head, but still). But I answered, and I got there.

And while I poured much of my heart and soul into my story, I didn’t quite give up on my first plan for this book, which is what I think makes Beautiful Bodies most unique—throughout, my story is our story, as people. I didn’t scrap the year of research I did into evolution and diet history, I included the nuggets I found most interesting and most healing, in hopes that they would help others find a sense of purpose and pride in their own bodies.

Writing Beautiful Bodies was so much harder (and took so much longer) than I had ever planned, and while Coming Clean was perhaps the biggest story of my life, I do believe that in many ways Beautiful Bodies is the most relatable.

Beautiful Bodies publishes this Tuesday, July 25th. I am so grateful and humbled by the response it has received so far, being named as a summer must read by Elle magazine, PureWow, PopSugar, Bitch Media, W magazine, InStyle, and earning a starred review from Booklist!

I hope that you will like it, and in honor of its release I’m hosting a giveaway, so follow me on Social Media and leave a comment here with your favorite thing about your own body for chances to win!  I will be announcing a winner on August 1st!