WRAL Assignment Editor Pens Moving Story of Battle with Food

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Jennifer Joyner
WRAL-TV’s Jennifer Joyner‘s memoir, Designated Fat Girl, is already getting high praise.

WRAL-TV Assignment Editor Jennifer Joyner isn’t just finding news leads these days, she’s making news.   Joyner has penned a food addiction memoir about her own struggles.  Designated Fat Girl is scheduled for release on September 1, 2010, and it’s already getting attention from none other than Oprah.

Publisher’s Weekly is giving advanced praise of the work as well:  “[I]n her engaging memoir, [Jennifer Joyner] reveals the incredible toll morbid obesity took on her life. Joyner paid dearly during her sixteen-year battle with food. She tallies the costs in ruined friendships, stalled professional advancement, rocky family relationships, and shattered self-esteem. . . . She gamely explores circumstances in her life accounting for her twisted logic surrounding food and happiness.”

O, the Oprah Magazine, chose Designated Fat Girl as one of its “10 Titles to Pick Up Now” for its Sept. 2010 issue.  Based on all the advanced praise, Joyner’s publisher has already made the book available for purchase on Amazon.com, ahead of the original release date.

So what’s all the fuss about?

Jennifer Joyner & Emma
Jennifer Joyner & her daughter, Emma, pose for a picture at the CBC Family Picnic in 2009.
Michael Joyner & Elijah
Joyner’s husband, Michael, is also a WRAL-TV employee. He & their son, Eli, mug for the camera at the same picnic.

“I’ve been trying to write this book for more than 16 years,” explained Joyner.  “It started as a journal, to express my frustrations with my weight and not being able to do anything about it.  I also knew I wanted to help and reach out to others suffering from morbid obesity because even though it is such a public battle, there is nothing lonelier than being a fat woman.  People can take one look at you and figure out what your life struggle is; yet, no one wants to talk about it because the subject is still very taboo.  People are afraid to hurt your feelings, so they don’t say anything.  I never felt so alone.”

Joyner says she realized she was a food addict when she came to the conclusion that only gastric bypass surgery could save her life.

“All of those years I spent trying to pick myself up by the bootstraps and do the work it took to lose the weight were wastes of time because I wasn’t treating the real problem,” she said.  “I wasn’t 336 pounds because I simply liked pizza and ice cream too much.  I was addicted to food, and I was using it to self sabotage my life.  I knew I couldn’t be the only one doing this, and so my journal turned into a narrative designed to bring light to the problem of food addiction.”

Although Joyner’s struggles have been very painful and very personal, she had the courage to share her experience with others.  A journalist by nature, writing became the logical expression of her battle. 

“I have always been a writer–that’s what led me into journalism,” explained Joyner.  “In the 3rd grade, I had my own neighborhood newspaper!  I collected stories on my purple bike and I typed them up and delivered them to my neighbors.”

During high school Joyner worked as a student correspondent for the Durham Morning Herald, now known as the Herald-Sun.  She went to college at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and that’s where she met her husband, Michael.  He came to work for CBC almost 18 years ago; the couple have been married 17 years.  Joyner joined CBC 12 years ago as a part-time news clerk in the Fayetteville Bureau.  She then worked five years full-time in Raleigh.  Since the birth of their daughter, Emma, six years ago, she has worked part-time from home. 

Joyner gathers news for the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville markets for WRAL-TV, anchors morning newscasts for two Fayetteville radio stations, and in August began contributing a blog for WRAL.com’s Go Ask Mom section.

“I definitely couldn’t to what I do without the support of such a wonderful work family!” she said.

The couple now has two children.  Emma is getting ready to enter the first grade, and Eli is still a preschooler.

Joyner is currently working on another non-fiction project and has also written two screenplays.  But for now we hope she’ll bask in the glow of the well-deserved buzz for Designated Fat Girl.  She has two book signings already on tap:

  • Thursday, Sept. 23rd at 7:30pm at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh
  • Friday, Oct. 1st at 7:00pm at the Barnes & Noble in Fayetteville

She has had the courage to write a painfully honest account of her experiences as an obese woman, not fitting in to clothes, and fighting with food.  She shares her shame, her struggles, and her eventual triumph.

This capcom editor can’t wait until her copy arrives in the Amazon mail.

Designated Fat Girl

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