Monday, January 19, 2009

Favorite Lines From Some Funny Diet Books...If You Can Wade Through My Blathering First!

I love to read. I remember spending every recess (and back then we had morning and afternoon recess, plus we could play after lunch!) one year in elementary school in the library, reading all of the biographies of the U.S. Presidents and First Ladies (now that I think about it, it must have been third grade, because we had a group from my fourth grade class that would get together at recess under the pine trees on the field and discuss who liked who and when Jamie was going to marry John - as I recall, we did have a pretend wedding for them...but I digress).

As I got older, I would ride my bicycle to the public library (which must have been a couple of miles each wonder I was thin as a child) and check out as many books as I could fit into my bike basket, go home and devour them, lather, rinse, repeat.

So it would stand to reason that when I started this weight-loss journey, my attention turned to diet books - specifically funny and inspirational books. I wanted to share just a bit from each of the books that I have listed on the right column of this blog...these books - memoirs, actually - have made me laugh and cringe and nod in agreement as I relate to what each author has written, and they've helped to keep me moving toward my weight-loss goals.

In no particular order, here we go:

From Jami Bernard's The Incredible Shrinking Critic: 75 Pounds and Counting comes this on page 136: When I overeat these days, it's a choice. Not a good one. But I'm not saying, "I can't help being fat," only that I have trouble managing my behavior around food. What a light bulb moment I had when I read that! I copied that quote and keep it on my desk - great reminder of who I am.

From Shauna Reid's The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl comes this on page 219: "The Mothership sent me birthday money, so I splashed out on some new workout gear from TK Maxx. Designer gym trousers for only £10! Size XL. I've never been so proud to fit into an overpriced, overhyped garment made by child slaves. I remember how happy I was when I finally fit into an XL - something that normal-sized people would probably shudder at, but we dieters can appreciate!

From Charlie Hills' Why Your Last Diet Failed You And How This Book Won't Help You on Your Next One, he writes on page 201 about taking his daughter trick-or-treating while dieting: Rachel, around seven or eight at the time, went up to a house, got her goods, and gleefully ran back down the driveway where I hovered, wondering what I might steal. "Whadja get?" I called out. "Onion rings!" she shouted back. "Onion rings!?" I repeated in disbelief. Who would give out onion rings for Halloween? "Let me see." I imagined her candy bucket filled with hot, greasy appetizers, fresh out of the fryer. This held promise. As it turned out, it was just a bag of Funyuns (which I seized anyway). I was literally laughing out loud at this tale. Charlie is a great storyteller, and the bonus with this book is that he reviews all the popular diets - and I don't think he'll mind if I reveal that he "highly recommends" them all.

From Jennette Fulda's Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir comes this truism on page 26: I went through old photos recently trying to figure out how fat I had been at different times in my life. I found one from middle school, back when I felt like a human dump truck. I looked so thin. I wanted to invent a time machine for the sole purpose of going back to smack some sense into myself. You are almost never as fat as you think you are. If I could teach the fat girls of the world one thing, that would be it. Yep, that was me in high school. I look at pictures from that time and guess what? My huge thighs are normal. I was thin and cute, but I felt fat and was on a diet for most of high school. So sad when I think of it.

From Valerie Frankel's Thin is the New Happy on page 14 comes this tidbit about dieting while her husband went out of town for three weeks: coincided with the kids' spring break and a major deadline for me. When dinnertime rolled around (every frigging night), I was too tired and stressed to bake the flounder and steam the broccoli. Pizza came to the emotional rescue. She's right; it's tough to cook healthy meals every night! I don't know how my mother did it. And let's face it, pizza, Chinese and Mickey D's are all quick, easy, and best of all, no dishes!

And from my favorite, and first book I read when I started this journey last May, Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat comes this about finally stepping on the scale after she sold her book proposal (page166): The only way I can fix this is by accepting it as reality. I step on Fletch's scale. A different number comes up. It's two pounds more. I'm not sure if I want to throw up or buy a third scale. I can't believe this is true...although it would explain a lot. Possibly this is why I sweat when I eat. Perhaps this is why I don't care to bend. Maybe this is why I can't climb a flight of stairs without sucking wind and why I peter out so easily at the gym. Conceivably this is why my mother clucks about my health whenever she sees me. Is it possible my raging self-esteem has kept me from confronting the truth? I guess I'll find out in the next six months. The worst thing is that if this number is accurate - and I'm grudgingly beginning to believe it may be - even when I lost fifty pounds, I will still be fat. Shit. It's like she was inside my head...and that fifty pound thing. Yep. Right here. If you haven't read Jen's book, RUN, don't walk, and get it - and while you're at it, read her other two books as well. She is one funny woman.

OK, if you made it this far, congratulations - you've got more stamina than you probably realize! Thanks for indulging me by reading something that I have been wanting to post for quite a while now. One more thing - I linked all of the books to so you could see their pretty covers, but if you are planning on purchasing any of them, please support your local independent bookseller (if you have one in your town - I don't).


  1. Thanks for the giggles :o)

    I love to read but I just can't get too excited about biographies. I like the escape type books. But I do have Pasta Queens book and have ordered Charlie Hills' book.

  2. I'm reading The Adventures of Diet Girl now, and I read all of Jen Lancaster's books over the summer- I love the humor these women use when talking about their weight loss.

    Thanks for the quotes! :)

  3. I totally love to read as well. I haven't gotten to any of these yet and thanks for plugging in indy booksellers. Thanks also for all the quotes, it's a nice reminder.

  4. Thanks for suggesting my brother Charlie's book! I haven't read the others, but will put them on my list!

    Happy Hump Day!

  5. Such a Pretty Fat was hysterically funny...thanks to your comments, I will likely be reading some more of these.


  6. I enjoyed reading the quotes/reviews. I loved the onion ring story!! LOL :)

  7. Ive missed Jamis book somehow and shall heed your words. buy and buy local!

  8. I'm so glad y'all liked this post and have/will enjoyed the books!

  9. Boy did that quote from "Half-assed..." ring true for me! I remember wishing in high school that I was thin (I was 5'3" and weighed 125). Then I had my first baby and wished that I looked as good as I did in H.S. Then I had my second baby and wished that if I couldn't look as good as I did in HS, then at least I could look as good as I did after the first baby. Then I had the third baby, and thought that if I couldn't look as good as I did in HS, or as good as I did after the 1st baby, at least I could look as good as I did after the second baby.
    Then I realized, finally, that I was thinking stupidly, it was never going to get any better than this, right now, and I bought clothes that fit.
    I know that sounds defeatist, but it was a life-changer for me. I stopped being angry at my body for not obeying the rules of weight loss, and punishing it by doing nothing good. I started fixing my hair and doing makeup. I ate healthier. I started exercising. Because even if my exercise didn't have the desired result, it still benefitted me, and I still exercise regularly. Even when I was sick with mono (well, I took a couple of months off), even when I had a vitamin D deficiency and I couldn't keep up with my even-fatter friends (who now no longer exercise with me).
    I know another woman my age with PCOS, and she is much heavier and less healthy than I. She just had her first heart attack and stroke. She was taken to the hospital today in a state of extreme disorientation, and her two girls, ages 14 and 12 are home alone. She could die and leave those little girls alone permanently.
    But because I 'gave up' on the futile effort of being thinner, I now do good things for me just because I deserve them. Just because I want to treat the woman who will live in my body in 20 years to the best I have to offer.

  10. I am also a bookaholic and thanks for the great list- I am definitely going to check these out.


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