Customer Review

13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps should be titled "Do as I say, not as I do.", June 17, 2009
This review is from: Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting (Paperback)
This book is an odd combination of some excellent advice, and descriptions of painfully constrained and obsessive eating habits.

For context, it's important to note that (in my opinion) the author is a good 20 pounds underweight, and you don't get that way by eating normally. The cover picture doesn't really show it, but you can see how thin she is in unretouched photos like these:

[...]

Frankel's 10 rules are basically sound, but she takes them too far. For example, "Taste everything, eat nothing." This is essentially good advice, but it's overstated. I'd put it this way, "Taste everything, feel obliged to finish nothing." That's a principle I've found very helpful and freeing in my own life, especially at parties and buffets. But Frankel really does mean the "eat nothing" part - in spirit, if not literally. She recommends spoiling your appetite before going out, then filling up on raw vegetables and ordering appetizers rather than an entree. That's not a recipe for enjoying your food!

The weakest part of the book is the chapter on emotional eating and bingeing. She describes it as a "habit" to break (emotional eating involves much more than habit), and her advice is, "You have to decide to stop doing this." If it were that easy, there would be no emotional eaters! (A step-by-step method to stop emotional eating is the subject of my own book, "Normal Eating for Normal Weight".)

I liked the first half of the book with the rules better than the second half with the 7-day eating program. I recoil against tips on how to fill up on minimal calories versus how to nourish yourself with healthy delicious food. Healthy eating lets you achieve a normal weight as a side effect, rather than by obsessing on calories. She *says* this book is about healthy eating, but really it's about minimizing calories.

Here's a bizarre piece of advice from the "Day Four" chapter (context - she advises never to eat a whole muffin or bagel): "Every time I eat a bagel or a sprouted grain English muffin ... I *scoop* it. That's my word for pulling out all that extra bread from the middle of my half bagel or English muffin. I don't need it, and you don't, either. Don't think this sounds obsessive. it's not; it's just sensible, and a perfectly reasonable way to enjoy a bagel while cutting out a lot of the calories."

That's not "obsessive"? Oh yes, it is! If you ask me, the "right" way to eat a bagel is to prepare it for maximum deliciousness, mindfully savor each bite, and then stop when you've had enough - which will be sooner than you think if you're paying attention. Your body can be totally trusted to tell you when that is. You don't need all these tricks unless you're trying to undereat - which in fact is what she's doing.

Frankel spends an awful lot of time thinking about the calorie content of everything she eats. It's not necessary. You can trust your body wisdom to tell you what and how much to eat. The only obstacle is emotional eating, which you *can* overcome.

Supposedly this is not a diet book, but in the end it is because it's about eating to minimize calories and lose weight rather than eating to be healthy. The true non-diet approach is to eat for health, and let normal weight follow naturally from that. Still, the book does contain nuggets of good advice, along with a sprinkling of healthy-looking recipes.
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