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Posts Tagged ‘dieting’

In this fun little book (easily read in one sitting if you feel like it), New York journalist Rebecca Harrington tries out the diets of the rich and famous to see if they are really sustainable and if they actually work. The full list of celebrity diets she follows is:

Gwyneth Paltrow; Liz Taylor; Karl Lagerfeld; Marilyn Monroe; Cameron Diaz; Madonna; Greta Garbo; Victoria Beckham; Beyonce; Jackie Kennedy; Sophia Loren; Pippa Middleton; Carmelo Anthony; Dolly Parton; Miranda Kerr; Elizabeth Hurley.

Make no mistake – this is not intended to be a serious examination of how dieting works. Most diets are tried for only a few days (some of which I don’t know how anyone could actually do for more than a couple of days without passing out anyway). Each chapter focuses on a new celebrity diet, and they are choppy and short chapters, which make for a quick read.

I really enjoyed this book actually. Harrington is self-deprecating, witty and engaging. The book had me giggling to myself several times and I would certainly read more by this author.

However, it did make me think about celebrity diets and how they are sold to the gullible public – if I thought about it very deeply I would actually get quite angry. Most of the diets feature famous faces with no qualifications in nutrition whatsoever, peddling their wares to their fans and making money off people’s desire to be thinner. Miranda Kerr might be a lovely person but my goodness her lifestyle regime sounds utterly pretentious and completely unrealistic for those of us with actual jobs, budgets and time constraints. Victoria Beckham’s diet was inspired by the diet Tom Hanks followed to lose a ton of weight when filming Cast Away. In other words, she followed the diet that he used to make himself look starved! What kind of messed up is this?!

However, as mentioned above this book is not a commentary on the morality or otherwise of celebrities making money from their diets, but basically an undemanding fun read and a nice way to round off my reading for 2022.

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Registered dietician Laura Thomas has written this book to help anyone who has ever had issues surrounding food, body image, dieting etc. and to help them adopt intuitive eating (IE). IE is NOT another diet in disguise as a healthy eating plan, and not another way to restrict what we eat – Thomas makes it clear that that is the polar opposite of what she wants to achieve.

This book resonated strongly with me, as someone who has had a mixed up relationship with food and body image for something like 30 years. It actually made me cry at certain times as I recognised the symptoms of disordered eating which she writes about. Crucially though, for the first time, I felt like there is light at the end of the tunnel and that there IS a way to get out of this cycle, and to have a healthy relationship with food.

Written in an engaging, entertaining and accessible way (Thomas is quite sweary and so am I, so this didn’t bother me, but may be worth pointing out to some readers), there are exercises for the reader to complete and each chapter focuses on different aspects of the issues being discussed.

This is an important book, and one which I highly recommend to anyone who has ever felt bad for eating too much, gone on yet another restrictive diet to lose weight, judged foods as good as bad, and or let a number on the scales dictate how good a day they are going to have.

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This book revolves around Greg and Zoe Milton, a once-gorgeous couple who are upset with the way they have let their weight creep up through the years, to the point where they are both severely overweight. (Bear with me here, this is NOT a fat-shaming book, and if it were, I wouldn’t be giving it the time of day!) When they enter a radio competition to lose weight – named Fat Chance – they embark on all manner of diets and fitness regimes in their attempts to shift the pounds. This book is their diaries, with each chapter a new diary entry, and the narration alternates between Zoe and Greg.

There’s no doubt that there was a lot of humour in this story, and also a lot of poignancy – both diaries touch upon the fact that even though they are heavier than they used to be, they are still the same people, but yes – society does treat big people differently. Cruelly sometimes, thoughtlessly often, and sometimes downright patronisingly. Overall though, this is a comedy, and the descriptions of Nick’s unfortunate exercise attempts (wait until you get to the treadmill scene!!) and Zoe’s increasingly bizarre diets (I’d never attempt the cabbage soup diet in the first place, but if I had ever been contemplating it, this book would have put me right off!) are indeed funny.

Where I felt let down, was in the one area that wouldn’t have mattered if I had actually read the physical book of this, rather than listened to an audiobook version. The narration didn’t quite click for me. Napoleon Ryan was fine as Nick, but Heather Wilds as Zoe seemed to constantly place emphasis on odd words, and would randomly pause in the middle of a sentence. I did unfortunately find this somewhat off-putting and I think that some of the humour got lost in narration.

Overall though, it’s an enjoyable book and I would probably listen to more by Nick Spalding (or physically pick up one of his books).

 

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