Monday, September 29, 2008

Book Review: Thin is the New Happy by Val Frankel

I recently finished reading Val Frankel's "Thin is the New Happy." I loved her writing style and could certainly relate to her distorted body image view and struggle with her weight. Val was a lifelong dieter who was never able to get her weight under control until she stopped dieting.

While writing the book Val worked hard to deal with her issues with her mother who put her on her first diet at the age of 11 so she [her mother] wouldn't be embarrassed to see her [Val] in a bathing suit on their upcoming vacation. In her twenties, Val received some "magical" advice regarding her mother issues from a therapist. The shrink told her "Your mother is not going to change. You can either fight her to the death, or accept her for who she is and just deal with it." I think I have to learn how to deal with my own mother for different reasons but it is great advice for any of us that have a mother.

At her heaviest weight (I think after having a baby) I don't think she was ever more than 40 pounds overweight but we all know it doesn't matter if you are 5, 50 or 100+ overweight, we all seem to struggle with what we see in the mirror.

This book is funny, sad and inspiring. I laughed and cried and laughed some more. I hope I can achieve the same success by getting on the NON-diet bandwagon. I want to believe if we(I) just worried about taking better care of ourselves and not about the numbers on the scale we would get to the weight we are supposed to be at and not struggle with binging, starving, dieting, and feeling the weight every single day. I'm guilty of always thinking about the last diet, the current diet, the next diet, what I ate or didn't eat today, how to get through the next birthday, wedding, special occasion, meeting, free bagel Thursdays, and each and every food platter where there will be temptations such as cake, cookies, chocolate, bread, etc., etc. It is time to stop.

I think Val was spurned on to deal with her body image issues because she didn't want her daughters to live the life of a dieter. She wanted her daughters to have a positive body image whether they carried a few extra pounds or not. She ultimately made a vow "There would be no dieting for specific events. No dieting on deadline. No dieting at all."

Frankel had some help from a famous friend who forced her to really look at herself and "teach her techniques for dressing [her] frame - not Giselle's frame..." She told her "You have fifteen pounds of guilt and shame for not being who you think you're supposed to be. Those fifteen pounds are an anvil around your neck. You wake up in the morning and feel the heaviness before you get out of bed. It affects your day and your life."

I could go on and on quoting the wisdom written in the pages of this book. When I read a book I tend to dog-ear pages that have something particularly interesting or worthy of reading again and almost every page towards the end of the book is dog-eared. I felt her struggle and truly believe she found a way out of the crazy cycle of dieting. She said "Thinness was a dream, a goal. I'd chased the dream of being a size eight, and had caught it many times, only to watch it slip away." I've caught that same dream and allowed it to slip away too. How many times can I do it without learning the lesson? If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got, right?

I laughed out loud when I read "... repeating the same success/failure cycle was downright Sisyphian. And I'd been pushing the boulder up the hill, only to stand aside and let it roll back down intentionally!?! It was worse than Sisyphian. It was Assholian ... God as my witness, I would never be Assholian again!" I don't want to be Assholian anymore either.

It sounds like Frankel finally figured out how any woman "could melt down to her genetically predetermined true weight." I recommend you read the book and find out the four things you need to do to get there.

This book is worth its weight. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I ain't missing you ...

We were together so long, I thought I would love you forever. I didn't think I could get through a day without you. I thought I would never be able to give you up but things change, people change, and I think I'm happy to get you out of my system. I see you and think I want to bring you back in my life but then I think about how you really don't do anything for me and I get over my need/want to have you back in my life again.

I don't know if I believe the hype about diet soda making people fat. I know most of my skinny friends drink the full sugar versions if they drink soda at all and I know my dentist will be happy I quit drinking the stuff. The caramel coloring and acid stuff is really bad for your teeth.

I have to admit I'm a bit shocked I don't miss my daily dose. I would share at least 3-4 glasses on weeknights, would start my weekend days by having one with breakfast along with my coffee and would drink almost a liter or 3-4 cans a day on the weekends. I didn't consciously decide to give it up but when B was in the hospital I didn't buy any and just started drinking more water. I still have a few lone cans in the back of my fridge but they don't call me as loud and forcefully as they once did.

I was hooked after my very first taste. It was like a drug addiction. I think I started drinking it in 1982 or 1983 when it first hit the shelves. It was so much better than regular Coke or Pepsi and I honestly drank it just for the taste of it. When ordering in a restaurant I would always ask if it was Coke or Pepsi products and would end up drinking water if they didn't have my sweet Diet Coke. Some even say there is a Diet Coke Cult.

What could be wrong with quenching my thirst with a zero calorie beverage? Were the ingredients really that bad for me? What could be wrong with a little Carbonated Water, Caramel Color, Aspartame, Phosphoric Acid, Potassium Benzoate (to protect taste), Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Zero Calories, 0g Fat, 40mg Sodium, 0g Carbs and 0g protein. I don't know if it ever did me any harm but it probably didn't do much good and I'll certainly be cutting out a lot of my daily sodium intake.

Was it just a superficial relationship? If I got out of the habit of my daily dose of Diet Coke, shouldn't I be able to get off the rest of the sugar and bad carbs I continue to eat. I know the sugar and white starchy carbs are even worse for me than a little zero calorie, sweet, bubbly, just for the taste of it, Diet Coke.

I don't know if I'm ready to say I'll never have another Diet Coke again (never is a very long time) but, for right now, I'm going to try to stay off the stuff and see what happens. That can't be bad for me, right?
(Necklace and other repurposed jewelry products can be found here)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memory of 9/11/01

A day to remember, a day we will never forget, a day of tears and prayers.

It seems hard to believe it has been seven years since the world we live in changed forever.

Be safe. God bless America!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Summer .... What Summer?

I can't believe the summer is over and I hardly got out to enjoy it. We did get up north this weekend but couldn't even go to all the Labor Day parties. B's recovery is slow and he gets tired easily. The doctor told us that B will not feel 100% for 3-6 months.

Even though I'm disappointed to have missed out on all the summer fun, I'm always happy to see the leaves change and know that the snow is not too far off. I'll be glad when 2008 is over. It hasn't been a very good year.