An upbeat woman’s astonishingly frank weight-loss-journal-cum-how-to-manual replete with binges and guilt, personal victories and discouraging setbacks, embarrassing moments, and ultimate success. With her 50th birthday on the horizon, freelance writer Dalka-Prysby, eager to slim down from an unhealthy 310 pounds (her all-time high had been 325), enlisted the aid of Family Circle editors in her campaign to shed her “mountain of fat.” They not only featured her story in a series of articles beginning with the January 1994 issue, but also arranged television appearances on the Maury Povich Show and the QVC shopping network. For her part, Dalka-Prysby hired a nutritionist to help her with an eating plan and a stop-smoking campaign. A local health club gave her a free membership and a trainer to oversee her exercise program, plus her own exercise class for overweight women (WOWS, for Work Out With Sandra). With this kind of support (and pressure), success might seem assured, but Dalka-Prysby’s tale is one of hard work and determination. She recorded her progress or sometimes her lack of it in a diary, excerpts of which make up a large portion of the present work. Her shame after scarfing down an entire Sara Lee cake and her joy when finally able to cross her legs or bend over and tie her own shoes will resonate with readers who’ve been there. Interspersed among the journal entries are straightforward how-to advice, the author’s thoughts on such issues as sabotage and self-esteem, and a few letters between her and the cloying Richard Simmons, who was brought in to jump-start her progress when it stalled after the first two years. Countering quick-weight-loss schemes and fad-diet promotions, Dalka-Prysby’s message is a sane one: slow and steady wins the race. A motivational read, full of good advice, yet funny too.