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703: How I Lost More Than a Quarter Ton and Gained a Life Hardcover – April 15, 2010

45 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Makin lost an enormous amount of weight slowly, carefully, and without fanfare. She now tells her deeply personal story, describing her traditional Catholic middle-class upbringing that was intensified when her family landed in an austere Canadian monastery. Separated from her parents and siblings in an environment commanding submission, Makin rebelled by stealing food. After they returned to “regular life,” her weight fluctuated under stress. Teen pregnancy and marriage found her in the habit of trying to make things better via gourmet meals. Her divorce and subsequent downward spiral in finances and health increased feelings of crushing bewilderment. Curiously, a computer provided the unforeseen turning point that brought connection and hope, and, oddly enough, pushed Makin out the door. She started eating right and losing weight while working as a house cleaner. By the time she appeared on Oprah in 2007, she had turned a corner no one expected she would reach. To say that this title is uplifting would be an understatement. Makin offers no plan or formula, just an irresistible story of great personal achievement. --Colleen Mondor

From the Author

I hope my story can help any number of people suffering from what they now perceive as overwhelming odds, tremendously high hurdles.  I am nothing more or less than anyone you'd see walking down the street anywhere in the world.  But I did discover something along this crazy, zig-zagging path of life that turned all I was sure I knew, all that was set in stone, from an existence of surrender and complete resignation, to one of self-belief and wondrous hope for a better future.  That key is there for anyone searching for a different tack upon which to set their sails...

Good Lord... If I can find my way out into the sunlight, anyone can! 

I hope you enjoy my story... It's from my heart to yours.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (April 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951377
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,984,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Makin's life began as a lot of people's do; in living a rather normal, middle-class life amongst a large, all-girl family in Seattle, Washington. She loved to insert a nickel and peer through the telescope stationed atop Kerry Park, out onto the waters of Puget Sound and its heavy boat traffic, or go fishing with her father and grandfather out on Neah Bay. She was a carefree, curious and happy child, happiest of all when playing outside shoeless, searching for slugs under rocks or for bumblebees that congregated on her mom's lilac bushes in their large yard on Queen Anne Hill. She'd capture them in old baby food jars, releasing them after careful examination. Each day brought a new adventure... all was a playground for her.
But at the age of nine, all childhood play was put away when the decision was made to uproot the family and move into the stifling fold of a religious cult in far-off Quebec. None of their lives would ever be the same.
From Nancy's early marriage at age 15, to motherhood soon thereafter as a sixteen year old, with her increasing dependency and misuse of food, her weight gain was at first only an uncomfortable, frustrating issue. But over many, many years of "stuffing" her feelings with food, those poor choices led her into a life of near-total isolation and a very grave, debilitating physical condition. She didn't have hope for her future, better or otherwise. She had resigned herself to a life shortened by her choices, her inability to control her behavior... or so she thought.
Nancy has told her unlikely story of rebirth, of recapturing her long forgotten self-worth and that discovery's resultant 530 pound weight loss with joy, humor and with the rare perspective that can only come from one who's lived it.

She has appeared on Oprah and Good Morning America.
Makin is a writer and lecturer: Rediscover the value within!
She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Jessabean on April 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What's probably going to get lost in all the hype that always comes with the subject of weight in this country is just how well written, how well organized, and how engrossing this book is. I went to bed the other night at 10, thinking I would read the first chapter. Well, the first time I even thought to look at the clock, I was 150 pages in and it was 1am! The last book to do that to me was some vampire teen book who-shall-not-be-named-because-I'm-holding-on-to-my-dignity-till-the-end. I never thought a book of this description would be so hard to put down.

Nancy is funny, clear, direct, and always honest. She doesn't beg for sympathy or, for one second, pretend that she isn't responsible for her life. She lays it all out on the table and the result is surprisingly fascinating. This is neither a maudlin tale of woe that will have you rolling your eyes nor a bunch of cheerleading, "motivational" drivel encouraging you to walk off those pounds!

You will probably hear that it's inspirational and it is. I would like to point out that it is so because it's so honest and so clear. Nancy doesn't veer off into cheap sentimentality or melodrama, even though her life story is very emotional and dramatic. It didn't make me cry so much as help me understand and that's what sets it apart.

Nancy seems surprised by what she learned in her descent into darkness and her climb out of it. She offers that information to the world in this book with clear eyes and a fresh perspective. I was surprised myself. I hope you are too.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Savy Shopper on June 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The book is a memoir entitled "703: How I lost more than a quarter ton and gained a life" So I thought it was going to be a detailed account of how she lost her weight. It was not. It was her life story starting from childhood through her writing the book. The only details she gave about "How" she lost the weight was "it just started coming off".

Nancy is a great writer and if you are looking to learn more about her life then you will enjoy the book. If you are looking for the weight loss it was put on and how it was lost....don't bother reading the book.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Kindle Customer VINE VOICE on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I admit that I picked this book up with a bit of voyeuristic guilt, wanting to know what causes a person to let herself weigh 703 pounds. The answer is complex, but also as simple as it just happened, and many of us can relate to that even if our weight is not as extreme.
The book is written in a basic, no frills , chronological fashion, with the prose style veering from style -free toward the cute and flippant at times. A little better editing would have helped tighten up some of the weaker segments of the book.
The author's recounting of her family's involvement with a religious cult is really fascinating, one of the most intertesting parts of the book. It would be tempting to draw a straight line between that traumatic experience and weighing 703 pounds, but the author does not insult us by making it so simplistic. Her weight gain cannot be blamed on any one thing, nor can her weight loss be attributed to any one thing.
Happily, this is not a how to book that advises a particular course of action- it is light on that kind of detail, which may frustrate some readers. Again, the point is that this is a complex problem with many causes and many solutions.
While very few people will ever gain or lose this much weight, there are many situations in this book that the average person can relate to. You don't have to weigh 703 pounds to have your life ruled by your weight.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By S. Cwayna on April 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book and was blown away by it. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone looking for motivation....not only to lose weight, but to get any part of their life back on track. Nancy's tale is a about her life and experiences, some of which are horrible, but in the end it's about being human and learning to love yourself for who you are on the inside - a lesson many people could stand to learn. It is not a book about "I only ate fruit and walked 5 miles a day", because there is so much more to her journey than that.

All in all, I give it 5 stars.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. Drake on May 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is the interesting story of a woman's strange and unstable childhood, her years as a young wife and mother, and subsequent descent into a life of illness and isolation. The book needed a much firmer editorial hand, though; the author, quick-witted and humorous, isn't quite as hilarious as she thinks; her self-help philosophies are poorly conceptualized and even more poorly expressed in the last few chapters of the book - it's hard to grasp what her actual point *is*. (It would also have helped to have an editor who understood the subjective mood.)

I finished the book with many questions unanswered. Did her sister Francesca remain a nun? How did the rest of her family rebound from their Quebec experience? And not for nothin', with a lucrative book contract, does she still live in subsidized housing?
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Brooks on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was an awesome book. This is one book I couldn't sit aside for a few days until the next reading. I had to finish reading the entire book well into the night, It certainly shed light on these issues of overeating and how this dysfunction can begin during childhood. It was so sad the course she had to take in life, but met wonderful people as she progressed. And, what a supportive son, who stuck beside his mother. I must commend her for a well-written book. It certainly helped me.

This book had my undivided attention.
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