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.


  1. Thanks for the review, I've been curious about this one!

  2. I LOVE VAL!

    so, when's the give away of your used copy?!



  3. Crabby - This is definitely worth the read.

    Mizfit - Great idea. I lent it to a friend but when she returns it I'm going to do a give away. The best part is you have a very good odds of getting it because I only have about 6+- readers. :)


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