May 11, 2011 at 7:26 am
Disclosure: I received an advanced copy of this book to review for free. I also have the same literary agent as the author, whose name I will guard with the ferocity of a mother lioness. ROAR! So don’t ask. I ain’t telling.
I related a lot to author Kim Brittingham as I read her new book, Read My Hips: How I Learned to Love My Body, Ditch Dieting, and Live Large. We both moved a lot as kids. We both had frizzy unmanageable hair that I have only recently learned how to tame. We both thought we might be having a heart attack at 23. We both have old “fat” photos from our teen years in which we don’t appear fat at all. And after weight loss and weight gain we’re both at places where we’re basically cool with our bodies. (Well, cool with the weight thing, anyway. I have numerous complaints about the chronic headache, crooked teeth, bad vision, flat fleet, five wisdom teeth, etc., etc.)
You might have heard of Kim after she got [...]
May 6, 2011 at 8:31 am
Possible FitBloggin’ sponsor? Um, not:
Photo by Chuck Coker / by CC BY-ND 2.0
There is a part of me that wishes I could lose 50 pounds before the FitBloggin’ conference in two weeks. I can’t deny that. I’m not as thin as I used to be, but I’m not as fat as I used to be either. I could get into all the reasons for that, blah, blah, blah, excuses, defensiveness, marshmallows. But that’s not really important. What’s important is that I’m going anyway.
One of the things I learned from my weight loss is that your body isn’t holding you back in all the ways you think it is. Most of the problems you had before you lose weight will still be there after you lose weight unless you do work on your inner self as well as your outer self. And while the fat me from 6 years ago (dear me, has it been 6 years?) probably would have been too self-conscious to attend a conference all about health and fitness, the less-fat-but-still-undeniably-fat me of [...]
November 10, 2010 at 7:59 am
Photo by melliegrunt / by NCND 2.0 CC
I’ve been reading The Pain Chronicles by Melanie Thernstrom, a well-researched and fascinating book about pain viewed through the filters of history, literature, science, religion and the author’s personal experiences. Of particular interest to me was the idea that disease is sometimes seen as metaphor. For example, a common 19th century belief about consumption (a.k.a. tuberculosis) was that it was a “spiritualizing struggle between the body and the soul, in which mortal flesh was slowly consumed in a way that heightened both beauty and creativity.” This view seems sort of silly now that we know tuberculosis is caused by mycobacterium tuberculosis. Similarly, cancer was once seen as a sign of repression, and HIV was originally viewed as punishment for homosexuality, both of which have similarly been proven false after the mechanisms of the disease were discovered.
This is when it occurred to me that obesity is still seen as a disease of metaphor.
Obese people have been assigned many traits by mainstream culture. They’re weak-willed. They’re lazy. They don’t [...]
November 5, 2010 at 8:21 am
A few weeks ago I had lunch with Jennifer Joyner, author of the recently released Designated Fat Girl: A Memoir. It turns out she lives in Fayetteville and I live in Chapel Hill, which means we’re only ninety-something miles apart, or 1 hour and 36 minutes according to Google Maps.
We had a good chat about the publishing industry, weight, and incompetent medical workers. (While I related to many of the fat-girl experiences she writes about in the book, it was her encounter with bumbling Nurse Bob before surgery that really hit home for me. He must be the same guy who assisted with a CT scan I had last year that I’m amazed didn’t turn me into a mutant superhero.)
Joyner’s book is a memoir about her life as a food addict. After years of morbid obesity, encroaching health problems like gestational diabetes, and lack of success with other weight-loss options, she decides to go through with gastric bypass surgery. This comes with its own complications and leads to a battle with dependence on painkillers [...]
April 12, 2010 at 7:51 am
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review.
Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life is a Buddhist guide to healthy living and weight loss co-authored by Thich Nhat Hanh and Dr. Lilian Cheung. The former is a Zen master whose name looks like a word scramble of the phrase “Ninth hatch, hah!” Odd name aside, it must be pretty bad-ass to put the words “Zen Master” on your business cards, assuming Zen masters have business cards. Dr. Cheung is a lecturer and director of health promotion at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. It must be pretty bad-ass to put the word “Harvard” on your business card too. Dr. Cheung is also a student of Hanh, who is a well-respected Buddhist monk.
I’m always slightly hesitant to read diet books because many of them retread the same ground. If you’re going to write a diet book, you’d better have something new to say or say it in a new way. Savor certainly meets those standards, presenting a plan for healthy living using [...]