on October 4, 2011
There are a lot of negative reviews about this book, throwing out the A Word [anorexia], and full of people making a big stink about how Bethanny advises people take just a few bites of food. But here's the thing: if you want to lose weight, you basically have to decide what you want to sacrifice - quality or quantity.
By that I mean you can either choose to eat lots/large quantities of food, but it has to be low-cal healthy stuff [veggies, air-popped popcorn, fat free dairy, lean protein, nothing fried/sweetened/fatty, etc.]. In this case, you're sacrificing quality - meaning you're limiting (or eliminating) richer, tastier foods in favor of getting to eat more. This plan is great for those who like to consume in bulk.
The other option is to sacrifice quantity [this is the route Bethanny seems to advocate], meaning you can eat whatever you want, but must stick to small portions. I've observed that this is actually how most of my thin friends eat/drink. I used be jealous because they appeared to be able to eat whatever they want (and they do), but the difference is they stop when they're full (what a CRAZY concept, right?) and they're never the ones to have that second piece of pizza/cake/fried chicken.
All that to say, you can moan and complain all you want about Bethanny's portion-minded way of indulging but I guarantee that you will never find a weight loss book that's going to tell you that you can eat whatever you want, as much as you want because it simply can't be done.
Getting back to the book itself . . .
-Encourages you to indulge in the foods you want (in moderation). This is key. Deprevation almost ALWAYS backfires when it comes to weight loss/dieting. As I always say "Woman shall not live on rice cakes alone".
- Requires you to eat mindfully. Years of dieting can cause people to forget how to listen to their bodies. Getting re-familiar with hunger and fullness is important and can help you eat the proper amount of calories for YOUR body, as opposed to how much your friends/husband/kid/neighbor eats.
- Bethanny shows you a sample of what she eats in a given week/weeks. It's a good example of a balance of healthy foods and less healthy ones.
- There is freedom is not being on a "diet" and not having to cut out any food altogether.
- For those of us who have struggled with our weight for years, and especially people like me who battle binge eating, the concept of having say, 3 bites of a brownie is almost laughable. After all, if we had the restraint and discipline to stop at a half a bagel, we probably woulnd't be heavy to begin with. I imagine leaving some (or most!) of your food on the plate is something that would require LOTS of practice.
- She oversimplfies the impact of emotional eating and throws out only one brief sentence about getting professional help if you binge eat. This is CRUCIAL because if you are not in a sound place emotionally and psychologcially, all the other advice in the book becomes a moot point. It's almost impossible to take a balanced approach to eating if you're a wreck on the inside.
- This was the biggie for me, and the main reason [I think] why people cry anorexia over this book: Bethanny's food journal. While it's a good mix of healthier foods and treat foods, she doesn't eat anywhere CLOSE to a healthy amount of calories for a grown woman. My three year old neice quite likely consumes more calories than Bethanny does. Now I'm sure being in the public eye means that Bethanny is under pressure to be a few sizes smaller than the average [healthy] woman because well, thin is in, and the camera adds ten pounds. But the average woman reading this book is likely not an aspiring reality star, model or actress and doesn't need to subsist on merely the amount of food that falls off the table at a small dinner party.
My advice/verdict/summary? Fill up on healthy food, top it off with a few bites of the more indulgent stuff, be active as much as your schedule allows, and seek help if your emotions are getting in the way of making better choices for your body.
on August 1, 2011
I would have given it 5 stars, but this is a very poorly edited book and there are a lot of typos in it which really bug me.
If you can look past that, fundamentally this is an amazing approach to eating. I was surprised because I read a couple of convincing bad reviews and thought this book might promote eating disorders. But it doesn't do that at all. I've also read Skinny Bitch, and worried this was going to be extreme like that, but I was surprised it wasn't.
The great thing about this approach is that no food is off limits. If you want steak, you can have a few bites; if you want fries, have a few bites; if you want a bagel; scoop out some of the bread to lighten it. There's nothing outrageously wrong with this... it's far better than diets that tell you never to eat carbs, or never to eat red meat. And it doesn't mean you can never eat a whole portion of steak, you just have to balance it. This is much easier to incorporate into my life because it allows me to eat out, eat what everyone else is eating, and have less rules to worry about. I don't have to count calories, I don't have to skip carbs, I can go out and order a cocktail.
I've lost 12.5 lbs on this program, while eating what I want, not feeling deprived of things I'm craving. As an example I will share what I had yesterday: Breakfast was a homemade veggie omelet, chicken sausage, coffee with cream. I went out for lunch to a Mexican restaurant, ordered a 2 taco combo and requested salad in place of the rice and beans and ate 1 1/2 of the tacos and most of my salad. I also had a glass of pinot grigio and about 6 chips with salsa, because now I know just because there is a whole basket of chips on the table, doesn't mean I have to go to town on them. Dinner was a baked breaded fish filet and tomato slices. And for dessert, half a slice of fresh homemade brownie and a glass of champagne. To me, this works and just feels like a natural way to eat. Before reading this book, I would think tacos and brownies were off limits, and would consider them a cheat meal and when I cheated I would have the full taco dinner, with the rice and the beans and a full basket of chips and salsa. This program prevents me from overdoing it, but I can still go out to restaurants and eat normal things.
And for those complaining about the suggested portion sizes, unfortunately you can't expect to have a big slab of steak or a giant plate of pasta, and a huge slice of cheesecake whenever you want and still lose weight. It's just not possible. This is like every other diet book in telling you to eat healthful things like lean protein and veggies and good carbs. But where it differs is that it says to eat those things but if you feel like mac n cheese or fries, go ahead and have a few bites of that too. And it works, because your will power isn't tested, and having a few bites of unhealthy things isn't going to derail you.
on June 2, 2013
I've lost 15 pounds since I wrote this review--in less than a month! And that's while eating real food--chocolate, BBQ, steak, ice cream etc.
The trick is to be aware of what you are eating. Take small, slow bites. Enjoy your food. If you are eating mindlessly, you are not paying attention. Don't eat while reading/watching TV/talking--you take bigger bites and eat more than you realize. I have lost this weight never going hungry--because it's all in how we eat. This has completely transformed how I look at what I eat.
Firstly: WOW. This book has given me an entirely new perspective about how and what I eat.
Let me preface this a bit by saying: I haven't read Part II of the book, which apparently helps you put into practice the Frankel's Ten Rules. I might go back and do so, but I wanted to leave a review ASAP for anyone pondering whether or not to get this book. GET IT FOR PART I, IF ANYTHING!
I'm a 41-year old woman who has about 30 extra pounds on her--gained from a still-uncontrolled thyroid issue. As a nationally certified trainer, I used to be very, very fit but, due to hypothyroid-related some heart problems, in the last two years I have not been able to workout to lose the weight I've gained. I ALSO have had, since I was young, a serious love-hate relationship with food. I tend to eat compulsively under stress, or mindlessly when with family, etc. In my "work out" days, my "food issues" caused me to develop anorexia athletica. Sometimes, I would binge. I've read so many other books on fitness and dieting--I have a large bookcase devoted just to these kinds of books.
So when I found this book, I didn't have much hope for it, but I thought, "What the heck." I began to read Part I and couldn't put it down! I've read Part I twice, and even took notes on what really struck a chord with me. This book, in four days, has completely changed the way I look at food. I sincerely never expected this. I've lost 4 pounds in three days--this, with my still-uncontrolled hypothyroid issues, is unheard of!
Some of the Ten Rules she gives are sort of redundant, but here are the ideas, in summary, that have primarily led to a complete revolution in my thinking about food:
1) She talks about "The Law of Diminishing Returns" when eating--especially something not necessarily good for you, but that you enjoy. Anyone familiar with economics understands what diminishing returns means in business, but with eating, it comes down to this: the first bite you eat will be phenomenal. But have you ever noticed after a few bites, much of the enjoyment is gone? THAT is when Frankel recommends you stop eating it. Why waste calories on something of which you aren't getting maximum enjoyment?
I have seen some comments here that state Frankel tells you to "eat only three bites and stop." To put it bluntly, that's not true. She states that for her, usually after three bites she notices she no longer enjoys something enough to finish eating it. She ALSO says that if you really never get to that point, then eat it if you want--you are in control. Just make up for your splurge somewhere else.
2) BALANCE your diet: she gives ideas for what you want to look for in meals if you've already had, say, high-carb or high-sugar items in your meal. She never tells you WHAT to eat, just how to balance your daily intake.
3) You don't have to clean your plate! I never realized how this impacted my thinking until I read this book. This, combined with the Law of Diminishing Returns has given me so much strength in being able to resist foods in quantities I'd otherwise eat them. For example, if hubby makes me a sandwich, I no longer feel like I have to eat the whole thing if I stop enjoying it after eating half. With this in mind, I've noticed I'm eating much less. I just offer the rest to my kids, and if they don't want it, the dogs get it.
4) ENJOY your food. Slow down and taste it. Really pay attention to the flavors. Savor it. Not only is it good for digestion, your body can tell you much sooner when you are full. Also, you'll notice that Law of Diminishing Returns kick in. I've used this law to great success: An example: I LOVE Starbursts. At night, if we have any, I'd probably have twenty of them after dinner before realizing what I'd done. Last night, I decided to bite them into small bites, suck on them and really just enjoy the taste. I had THREE, and shared the rest with my kids. I was so proud of myself!
Let me be clear: THIS IS NOT A DIET BOOK. This is a book about how to break free from your compulsion to eat, your unhealthy relationship with food, your self-sabotaging diet, etc. Frankel NEVER tells you what to eat in Part I (though she offers lots of great ideas in Part II, apparently). She doesn't chastise you for eating things you love--in fact, she encourages it. She just advises you slow down, follow the "rules" for eating,and be good to yourself. With that in mind, you can eat anything and not gain weight. I love that!
There is a lot of great, common sense information in Part I that, despite my fitness and nutrition background, I've never heard offered for those of us who want to change our relationships with food, eat healthier and either lose or maintain weight. I'm going to try it "my way" instead of doing Part II's example (especially since I have food allergies), but I might end up going back to it if my way doesn't work for me.
For me to lose 4 lbs in 3 days with NO exercise and uncontrolled hypothyroid is simply astounding. I haven't been able to do this even when I force myself not to eat. For anyone who wants to completely reform their relationship with food, you cannot go wrong with this book. It's the best $12 I've ever spent. I actually LOOK FORWARD to eating now--and not in that compulsive, binge-then-regret way. I am finally in control, not some obsession with food.
on April 26, 2011
Save your ten dollars. Here is the book in a nutshell. Eat whatever you want as long as you don't go over 800 calories a day...drink water...exercise as much as you can...DO NOT call it dieting. There you go...you are free!!! After all it is only food.
on April 4, 2009
I felt very conflicted by this book. A lot of the advice was the sound advice that you've already read in all those women's magazine and seen on TV. You know, things like "calories in need to equal calories out", and try to eat a balanced diet, etc. Then the rest of the book teaches you neurotic, eating disordered behaviors.
Bethenny talks about how you shouldn't have to settle for a filling, healthy meal, when what you really want is a steak. Go ahead and order the steak, BUT you can only have 3 bites. Yep, 3 bites, she repeats that over and over again through the book. I don't know how you're supposed to live off of 3 bites. I can just imagine how concerned my friends and family would be if they saw me ordering food and then only have 3 bites. So what do you do with the rest of your food? You either A) throw it away B) pawn it off on your dinner companions or C) take it home and make your kids eat it. Frankly, I know a woman like this and I dread being around her whenever food is involved. She's constantly trying to pass off her food on everyone, including drinks (which Bethenny recommends). It's one thing if I'm like, "wow, that looks good", but I've never shown any interest in her meal. If I wanted to eat it, I would have ordered it! Then, if she does try to get some bland healthy meal, she stares at what I ordered, and begs for some. It's rude, annoying, and I hate going out to eat with her.
Next, Bethenny talks alot how when you're on a "diet" you act neurotic about food and obsess. Then she gives tips like, never eat a whole bagel, take half a bagel and then pull the bread out of it and eat only the crust. Same goes for english muffins. It also annoys me that she says repeatedly that she learned these eating habits from living in Italy. I'm a thin Italian woman and I EAT food.
Well, I guess if you ever wondered how these celebrities stay so thin, this book is the harsh reality. She gives a list of what she ate for 3 weeks as an example of how she lives. Here's one of the days: breakfast was 1/2 cup of coffee (couldn't possibly drink a whole cup!) and half of a egg white veggie omelet. Lunch was miso soup, glass of chardonnay, 2 prawns, and arugula salad with mushrooms. Dinner was a medium greek salad, a "skinnygirl" margarita, a couple chips with a small scoop of guacamole and roasted vegetables. Snack was a small handful of blueberry granola and almonds. I added that up to about 778 calories, and it's probably less than that since she never actually finishes food. Keep in mind she also exercises quite a bit.
While some of the advice in this book is solid, like "sit down to eat, eat slowly", the rest is actually quite unhealthy and eating disordered. Maybe Bethenny is confusing "naturally thin girls" with anorexics.
on July 17, 2010
I have lost 80 pounds! The problem is, it is the same 20 pounds that I've lost four different times, with every diet imaginable. It's not terribly difficult to lose the weight, but it creeps right back on, because I can't stay on a DIET regimen, forever. Frankel helped me realize I just need a different mindset; that basically, I haven't learned to adopt a new relationship with food---or to reinvent the one I had when younger, when weight was never an issue. Frankel's book takes me back to the basics---those times when I did not obsess about food, nor did I linger over it, or eat when not truly hungry. And, I almost always left something on my plate. I was on to the next exciting life adventure, not eating myself into a stupor over adult responsibilities and challenges.
After reading Frankel's book, I started interviewing 'naturally thin' friends and family. My findings were consistent, with my 89 year old mother being the best example of Frankel's theory of success. She has consistently weighed 112 pounds (at 5'0") her entire life. I asked her how she managed to stay 'naturally thin.' Her comment: "I eat the best foods available, I never deprive myself of anything I want, but I know when to push away from the table." Yes, this is a woman who really CAN eat ONE cookie for dessert and actually feel privileged, not deprived. Her very simplistic comment summarizes Frankel's theory for becoming 'naturally thin.' It is a common sense approach, and one so important with the growing obesity epidemic. Humans were never meant to be so gluttonous. Early humans were faced with feast, or famine---a natural regulation that we no longer have. They also didn't have drive-throughs, or processed foods, that Frankel feels robs our bodies of their natural balance.
Frankel is NOT a nutritionist and her book is NOT a 'diet' book. It is a book reminding the reader when to do that, 'push away from the table'---when to stop eating at what she calls the, "point of diminishing return." How many times have we all left restaurants feeling we needed to be wheeled out on a stretcher, because we've overeaten so much, berating ourselves all the way home. We can stop this madness!
Frankel admits she loves fatty steak, so she will indulge in a few bites, while enjoying a lot of healthy veggies and salad with it. She doesn't say to throw the leftovers away. She remarks that leftovers are great for sharing, or for making next day's meal. She remarks that thinly sliced steak over a healthy salad is a great lunch. She reinforces to never be ashamed to ask for a doggie-bag---that we NO longer need to be members of the clean-plate-club, particularly when most meals served are of super-sized proportions these days.
There are many great tips, and some interesting healthy recipes to get started, but basically it's a no-brainer. It's more about the psychology of eating, or mindful eating. It's about creating balance. In one week's time, I have already dropped a couple of pounds. I did a calorie count for a few days and I was taking in a sufficient quantity of calories, at not less than 1,200. All with just a little mindfulness, adding more veggies, salads, and soups, and avoiding those 900 calorie fast food burgers. But if I just have to have a burger, I'll get a smaller version, and eat half of it with a garden salad. I will have what I want, but in smaller portions. This results in a natural calorie reduction, without all the counting and weighing, that none of us can continue for life. I'm hoping that with Frankel's tips, that I can finally remove the four letter word, diet, from my life---forever.
I don't think there is any information in Frankel's book that would lead to anorexia, if the reader didn't already have a developing eating disorder. I've never heard of an ED starting from reading a book---an ED involves deep psychological issues. The fact is, that the majority of us have difficulty maintaining our weight loss, with obesity becoming epidemic, while serious EDs remain statistically low by comparison. The majority of us are also content with a reasonable weight, since we are not up for constant public scrutiny, the way TV personalities are, allowing for much more flexibility. As Frankel says repeatedly---'modify the rules for yourself and your lifestyle.'
on March 3, 2012
I would like to preface this review by saying that this is my first amazon review. Usually, reviewing online just isn't my thing, but I feel very strongly about this book and the negative attention it has been getting. So, I decided to add my two cents to the pot. Here it goes...
I love Bethenny's personality and attitude on television, so I was initially very excited to read this book. That is why I was shocked at the amount of negative reviews I saw! People were basically saying that Bethenny is advising others to develop "eating disorder" type habits. Well, I decided to judge for myself and nothing could be further from the truth! Let me just add here that I personally suffered from an eating disorder for many years after having my son at a very young age. I had already mastered one of Bethenny's rules, "check yourself before you wreck yourself," but I still had a long way to go toward getting back to a healthy place with my eating and myself. Food was the enemy for years. Then I began reading Naturally Thin and I feel like I've had the sense slapped back into myself! Bethenny's no nonsense voice and common sense advice reminded me that I am in charge of my destiny. And can I just say, DUH!!! Of course I am, but it took Bethenny's book to remind me. I am in control of my life and pretending that I am not is really just a cop out.
I think that when people accuse Bethenny of advocating "eating disorder" type rules it is for one of two reasons: they are misunderstanding the message or they are not ready to take responsibility for their situation.
The concept of "taste everything, eat nothing" is actually a healthy concept, people!!! We live in a country that serves huge portions of unbalanced, processed food. Why would you need more than a bite or two of mac and cheese, nachos, or any other starchy, high fat food? You can have it, but if you choose to eat the whole plate Bethenny only asks that you recognize and take responsibility for your choice and then balance it accordingly with the rest of your day. How is that unhealthy? Be responsible for your own actions, the nachos didn't make you eat them! Now, if the people who wrote all the negative reviews read the entire book, they understand that you are not going to eat only two bites of your chicken salad, soup, or other healthy choice. Healthful food that nourishes your body is a good investment! Eat and enjoy, all Bethenny is saying is that if you want the dinner salad and the cheesy pasta, have it! Nothing is off limits! Just fill up on the healthy stuff first and then eat the pasta, only having enough to satisfy your craving, then take control of your actions and stop! Hard to understand? I don't think so.
Another concept that seems to terrify people is the idea of listening to your food voice and only eating when you are hungry, not when the clock or society says it is time to eat. I have been living by this rule since before I started reading Bethenny's book, but I honestly felt like I was being unhealthy by doing so. Skipping breakfast is a cardinal sin, right? So every time I did it (because I wasn't hungry) I would guilt myself and convince myself that I was going to over eat at lunch. Ridiculous! Our bodies are made to be listened to! We are completely self sufficient beings that do not need outside indicators to tell us when to eat, sleep, drink or anything else. Think of it this way, if you really had to pee at 10AM, but society said it isn't healthy to pee before noon, are you going to listen? No! That is crazy! Well, so is the idea of eating just because it is "breakfast time." Really, people, this is just common sense.
Anyway, I am not going to justify every one of Bethenny's rules because then you wouldn't need to buy the book. And you do need to buy the book! She has done a wonderful job of sharing all the common sense ideas she uses in her own life. I love food and, thanks to Bethenny, I don't feel guilty about it anymore. I am in charge of my life and my choices. I eat what I want and I feel no guilt! Thank you Bethenny! You rock!
on May 7, 2009
Loving this book! Previous reviewers have said the book is about anorexia...not sure where anyone got this, obviously they did not read the whole chapter, let alone the book. This book is all about, "have your cake and eat it too"! I think some reviews have misrepresented the book in the anorexic accusation, where Bethany writes to not deny yourself of anything, but just have one or two bites. She isn't suggesting this for all foods, just the more decadent and fatty foods. Go ahead have a whole chicken breast, but instead of the whole cheesecake, have only a few bites until you satisfy the craving. This book is not about deprivation, it is about moderation, and what a refreshing book it is! Great common sense concepts, who knew being "naturally thin" could be so simple? We all tend to complicate things, this book gives you the tools to turn your life around. I am already down 4 lbs, and very optimistic that the tools I have learned from this book will be life altering! No more Dieting!
on May 15, 2009
I'm seeing alot of mixed reviews on amazon from loved it to hated it. I think this book clicks for some and not for others but it really did change my life. I think this book is for people who need to normalize their relationship with food. I have never been able to keep sweets in the house before, I binged and then starved myself and while im in the range of a healthy weight I weighed a bit more than I wanted to and spent way too much time obsessing about food/diet/weight. Sure some of the book is common sense but its written in a way that really changed my thinking. I stopped "hurting myself with food" which I had never even ackowledged doing before. I also had never noticed how processed food was affecting me in wanting more sweets but as soon as I started eating "real food" and smaller portions I became much more in tune with what I actually needed to give my body. As an emotional eater it didn't really matter how hungry I was, I would eat until I could not anymore, giving myself tons of digestion problems. I would beat myself up for hating to excercise and feel guilty for things for giving in to my cravings. As soon as I read the book I began to re-tune my body and the weight came off really quickly but I was still enjoying everything I wanted. It was so painless and I lost about 15 pounds. Now I'm a size 6 and I think thats right for me, I don't really worry about being smaller or a different size anymore. I decided I was no longer going to torture myself promising to go to the gym and then not wanting to and skipping it and feeling guilty. I quit working out. And I was not going to torture myself by saying I shouldnt have eaten whatever I just ate. Now I go to yoga when I feel like it and walk everywhere in between. I have chocolate when I feel like it (which is so much less often) or pasta or chicken or whatever I feel like (just not all at once as Bethenny says). I fix dinner at home, or eat out with friends, it doesnt matter because it requires minimal effort, I just pay a little more attention to enjoying my food and making it an experience. This no guilt, no diet really worked for me and I did find my inner skinny girl which I would never have guessed was there. It was worth every penny, I highly recommend it.
on June 5, 2012
First let me say that I am 5'7 and I weigh about 115-120; I am in Bethenny's sense of the word "naturally thin". I bought this book because I wanted healthy recipes I could use when cooking/baking for large groups and for everyday tips when eating out or on the run. What I learned was far greater than a few recipes, it was game changing. I grew up with health first-hippy parents so what we ate as a family was rarely processed and then in my college years I discovered that what I thought I wanted (white bread, soda, cheese from a can or processed cheese slices and basically all things I never had as a child) were not what my body truly wanted. Then when I started in the work force and I lived with my boyfriend, I began to eat what he ate, and sometimes the amounts too. Over the last few years I realized that I was no longer enjoying food; I was just shoveling it in because that was what was around me almost all the time, luckily I stayed around the same weight but I'm also a very active person. I walk my dog twice a day, stretch/yoga and I also hike or such on the weekends. This book helped me get back to common sense. It helped me realize that I eat for me and no one else. I eat the amount that is suited for my body with the foods that my body craves and uses efficiently. Let me be clear that I did not buy this book to lose or gain weight; I bought it for a mental smack of common sense. And that is exactly what it is. I am thankful that Bethenny wrote this book. She realized that there was a lack of common sense in the "diet" world and she took advantage of it. I suggest this book to anyone and everyone. If you are over weight and truly want to be healthy, then this book will most certainly help. And if you are like me, aware and present in what you eat and how you live and just want pep talk and some recipes, then purchase and share with friends and family. Besides the few typos, this book is fabulous.