Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope


 Hopewell Publications 

(category: Experience)

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Praise for Stable Weight:

“Lisa Whalen’s melodic prose expands and deepens as she excavates her subjects, bringing her readers fresh insight into the connectivity between seemingly unlike things. This is a writer who tells the truth about falling away and sparking back to life again, on a path marked by her love of the tangible stuff of the world.” 

--Barrie Jean Borich, author of the award-winning memoir Apocalypse, Darling and the Lammy Shortlist Finalist Body Geographic, Editor of Slag Glass City Journal, Associate Professor of English and faculty for Master of Arts in Writing and Publishing at DePaul University


Stable Weight shows in vivid detail the ways in which riding horses can help you face your deepest fears and teach you how to live in the moment, tuning out the restrictions of the rest of the world.”

“Lisa Whalen vividly illustrates the way horses mirror our own emotions, helping us to overcome trauma, become more mindful, and live in the present moment.”

--Tom & Liz McCadden, horse trainers, owners and operators of Seventh Farm riding school



Stable Weight is a beautiful description of courage, persistence and hope. [It] weaves a tapestry of hope, light, and healing that inspires and celebrates the spirit of connection – between people and between people and animals. . . . This book is a testament to finding hope in connection and strength in relying on that connection.”

--Jilian Lampert, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., F.A.E.D., Chief Strategy Officer for The Emily Program eating disorder treatment facility

“Shared through the horses Whalen rides in the thrilling yet exacting sport of jumping, this narrative navigates obstacles of another kind: perfectionism, heartbreak, and an eating disorder. This is a moving, lyrical memoir of heart and determination.”

--Gail Folkins, Ph.D., author of the award-winning memoir Light in the Trees, lifelong horse owner and rider

“As well as a compelling narrative of overcoming (eating disorders, bad boyfriends), Stable Weight is a how-to of female self-empowerment. Whalen has a deep understanding of what can paralyze us as women, yet how, with help from the equine fleet of foot, we can soar. 


A lifelong rider, I was impressed by Whalen’s range of knowledge and sensitivity toward her partners-under-saddle. Stable Weight is a humble yet forceful reminder that physical as well as emotional confidence can be expanded at any age, and our lives are exulted when we risk jumping our fences.”

--Leanne Zainer, Ph.D., professor of literature, writing, and humanities at Blackfeet Community College, Browning Montana



Stable Weight is intimate and touching. Lisa Whalen’s voice is lyrical and honest, poetic and poignant. She deftly guides the reader along her unique journey to healing through her relationships with riding and with horses. Women everywhere will relate to the issues Lisa faces, such as body image and low self-esteem. Further, they will be inspired to search for their own path toward healing.”

--Marni Freedman, Co-founder and Programming Director for The San Diego Writers Festival, leader of the San Diego Writers Network, programming director for the San Diego Memoir Association (SDMA), author of the award-winning Permission to Roar



“I don’t like it, I love it. This beautiful book is poetic; it needs to be in the world.”

--Matt Ryan, M.F.A., J.D., author of Read This Or You’re Dead To Me, founder of Lowbrow Press, Director of the M.F.A. in Creative Writing Program at Concordia University--St. Paul 

Book Summary

Stable Weight is a story of resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of the human-animal bond, revealing how even the most sensitive soul can ditch being a good girl for becoming an independent woman. One minute, Lisa Whalen was leaping fences on horseback; the next she was splayed in the sand-mirroring a fall at age sixteen that ended in a psych ward. Whalen chased perfection, in the form of an eating disorder, to the brink of suicide. Treatment helped, but her turnaround came from meeting ten special horses. They challenged her to love her body, live in the moment, and face her fears.