Novelist and self-help journalist Frankel (I Take This Man, 2007, etc.) chronicles her 30-year addiction to dieting and subsequent “journey out of the waistland.”
After trying 150 different diets, the author made a pact with herself to go on a “Not Diet,” a decidedly forgiving approach to eating based on the theory that she would achieve her goals via moderation and exercise, as long as it involved getting rid of the negative emotions and self-flagellation that characterized her relationship to food. With the aid of a stopwatch, she spent a day counting 263 specific instances of negative thoughts. These thoughts far exceeded those about family, sex or money (which she also tallied), which convinced her of the need for a complete overhaul. Before the Not Diet could work, however, she had to confront the sources of her negative emotions. She started with her “fatphobic” mother, followed by her bully tormentors in junior high school. She explored how a weight-obsessed culture at Mademoiselle, where she worked for years, validated and enhanced her own preoccupations. As part of her self-acceptance process, she posed nude for Self magazine and got a wardrobe makeover from friend Stacy London (of What Not to Wear fame), who helped the author make the connection between looking good and feeling good. Frankel’s attempts to shift her focus toward love, personal success and even the pleasure of food prove galvanizing, and the journey is relevant and even inspiring. Infused with humor and refreshing candor, the book will resonate with anyone who’s counted carbs or tried to subsist on rice cakes and grapefruit.
A self-aware, witty exploration of a woman’s body issues.