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Showing 1-10 of 133 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 166 reviews
on February 4, 2013
Full disclosure; I know Jen Larsen personally(Lucky me!). I am not a writer, but I enjoy sharing what I love. I loved this book. I met Jen Larsen a few years post surgery, through mutual friends- and I was immediately taken by this charming human being with what seemed like fountains of confidence, a smile that could win over a troll, and an amazing personality to top it all off. You think, when you meet her that she is one of those people who truly have it all. You would never guess she had lost half her body weight, neither from her attitude nor her appearance.

As I got to know Jen better, she shared with me tidbits about weight loss surgery, and her life post op... But reading this book was a deep, raw, and vivid window into that journey. Jen Larsen is not shy about the pains, downfalls, and struggles it took to reach her goal, nor the daily battle to maintain it. Unflinchingly honest- you follow her from planning to execution, and every painful and humorous pound lost to her goal. This book shouldn't just be read by someone who is considering weight loss surgery, someone who has had it, or even someone who has struggled with weight issues. Anyone who enjoys good story telling will enjoy this book. Anyone who has had to overcome that voice inside that says "you cant" will enjoy this book. Anyone who has won, or triumphed, and then figures out the finish line isn't the end of the race will love this book. When I reached the end, all I could think was "I want to know more!" I wont give anything away, but there are more stories to be told and journeys to be written about, so I am looking forward to book #2.
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on August 31, 2014
I had weight loss surgery in 2013 and this really hit home. I'm 64 years old and had the surgery over a year ago at 63, one of the oldest to have it. I had many,many, many medical problems. Couldn't walk, wash my hair, wash myself! This surgery saved my life and your book helped with understanding a lot. I would love to write a book of what it did for me. I use to care about looking great all the time and trying to hide with clothing covering my body as it grew larger and larger. I now am just happy to be alive and to be able to walk again!! I now only care about how great I feel! I went thru much more than most to get this surgery, and in fact, I was told I may not be a candidate. I was discouraged at every turn, but I kept pushing forward because I knew the outcome would be death. Reading this book, after having this surgery, it brought back a lot of memories of what you go thru after the surgery. So many of the same feelings and thoughts-thanks for writing.
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on March 14, 2013
Jen Larsen weighed over 300 pounds when she underwent the duodenal switch weight loss surgical procedure. Like many people who use an extreme method to solve a serious issue, Jen admits that she thought that the surgery in and of itself would magically transform her life. She bought into the idea, as many women have, that once you're thin, everything else in your life will fall perfectly into place. What Jen discovered is once her fat was gone, she was still left with many of her problems.

Jen's writing style is light and easy to digest (ha) and feels familiar, conversational. She doesn't hesitate to speak with brutal honesty about some very personal situations: her long-term boyfriend who wouldn't have sex with her, some of the physically humiliating side- and after-effects of the surgery, how she definitely is not a paragon of moderation. But ultimately, you want her to win her battles. As Jen detailed her incredible shrinking journey, I cheered her on and hoped that she would find the happiness and peace she had struggled so long to find. I stayed up way past a sensible bedtime on several nights reading this book, and it's prompted a number on conversations about women, weight, self-esteem. I highly recommend it, and look forward to reading her next book, whatever the topic.
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on May 10, 2013
Enjoyed the story very much. I have lost 148 lbs (thru diet and exercise, not surgery) so many of the things the author desribes and experiences really resonated with me. I believe there are definitely common threads all people experience when they undergo such a massive change, irregardless of how it comes about. You are dealing with so much physically, mentally/emotionally...but...the added "fun" is dealing also, with the reactions/opinions/praise of everyone you know (friends/family/co workers) even strangers on the street you've never spoken to come and up say the most outrageous things. (They believe it's a compliment but sometimes it's the LAST thing you want to hear and yet you're expected to nod and smile, when sometimes you want to either burst into tears, run off or throttle them) So..thank you Jen Larsen for your book and laying bare so much of yourself...while I dont align with you 100% on everything, I really appreciated reading about you and your experiences! I would recommend it to anyone...but especially someone who is battling with their weight, considering their options or someone who has had the surgery or just lost a great deal of weight and re-learning to live in their own body again! When is the next book coming out? (~_~) Cheers!
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on April 14, 2013
I've always enjoyed Jen's writing style on her blog, from her funny haiku about video-game addicted boyfriends to her more serious and insightful stories about family and friends. I was quite surprised to learn that she'd opted for surgery and I wanted to read about how she came to that decision. She's very honest about the degree of impulsiveness behind this choice and about how nothing can prepare you for how it feels to find yourself in a "foreign body" after a few months. The only thing that made me a bit uncomfortable is how she related or, I should say, didn't relate to fellow bariatric patients. I understand that their evangelical cheer leading might have been off-putting, but it seemed she couldn't get away from them fast enough. She seemed judgmental of their food choices, perhaps snacks of low-nutritional value versus healthier higher quality choices and turned off by their sometimes 24/7 obsession with following the post-op guidelines to a T. But then she's quite honest about her binges and booze and lack of compliance with the program. It seemed like she wanted the surgery but didn't want to be one of those people who had the surgery. It's like wanting tattoos but not wanting people to think you're one of those tattooed people. Except, as Jen points out, with the surgery, soon you get to go through the world as a normal weight person and no one knows that you were ever fat. This is where Jen's account comes full circle and where everyone can find some meaning. Ultimately she realizes that while it's easier to go through the world as a thin person, you still struggle with the same issues that made you turn to food in the first place. Until you go back and tackle that you won't achieve lasting results.
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on April 22, 2013
First off, Jen Larsen is a terrific writer. If I was solely basing my review on her writing ability it would be five stars. I like her style. Very observant, raw, honest, exposed. Here's the thing though......SO many things are never discussed. Why on earth was she so blatently defiantly against following the guidelines set by her medical team and dietitians? I don't discount for one minute that the medical world can be callous and unfeeling. But she basically painted them as foolish to even suggest she try losing weight before surgery or doing exercise. She states quite plainly she ate chinese food and gained thirteen more pounds before ger surgery date. I know people who have gotten this surgery and their surgeons sometimes delayed their surgical dates until they got some therapy for obvious food addiction/disordered eating. Jen herself states she has a disordered relationship with food. Why did she never seek out therapy? Her alcohol use is addressed in a very casual tone. Haha....here I am having Manhattans! Did you know alcohol abuse is sky high in this population?? It's niether heartwarming nor inspiring to hear about her staggering home or waking up hungover. Isnt she concerned? You would never know. So I hope to hear more from Jen Larsen. I hope she writes a follow up book. It seems she is only at the start of her journey.
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*****
Jen Larsen writes in a raw, authentic way about what it's like to be a fat young adult--she nails how it feels. This book is about her journey to lose weight with weight loss surgery (the duodenal switch) but so much more than that. It's about what changed (her weight and her lack of digestive issues) and what didn't (everything else) after the surgery and how she coped. She writes about what the actual journey felt like and how she ended up coming to accept herself and building a new identity.

I have not had weight loss surgery, now will I ever have it, but I help others (and myself) lose weight, and I found this book very helpful, well-written and entertaining. I think that any reader with an interest in body image or anyone who just wonders about the non-clinical effects of having surgery will enjoy this book a lot.

Recommended.
*****
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on May 17, 2017
This book is so well written - I wish the author had more books because I would definitely buy one. It is both funny and sad - I wanted to it to last longer.

Jen Larsen, if you read this, please continue to write!
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Jen Larsen echoes what many folks think: If I lose the weight, my life will be (fill in the blank.) We blame the weight for the issues we have, yet the weight is actually a physical manifestation of a problem. The weight is the evidence of an emotional, medical or physical (or combination) issue.

People are not overweight because they think it's fun. People are overweight because:

1. An emotional issue needs to be resolved.
2. A medical issue is causing weight gain (some medications cause weight gain)
3. A physical issue needs to be resolved (i.e. sedentary lifestyle.)

I would tell you more about how great this book is, but I will let Jen speak for herself through some favorite moments:

*When you lie, you are reshaping the world in the image that burns bright in your head. When you lie to people, when you tell them exactly what they want to hear, you are making the world a better place for them. You are smoothing down a red carpet and ushering them forward into a brighter reality, a happier one in which you are the person they expect you to be. In which you are exactly as cool as they think you are, before they know any better. Before they catch you in a lie.
*What you need to know about is the feeling of failure, radiating from the outside and filling up the entire inside, because so many people manage to either be thin, or get thin and stay thin. So many people manage to be happy - which is the same thing as thin. So many people manage it, but I have failed over and over.
*My body felt like a lie - I was the not the person that my body insisted I was. In my head, I wasn't fat. In my head, I was lovely and bright and sprightly and confident and I could be a happy person. In my body I felt like I was trapped by gravity, earthbound, sure that anyone who saw me believed in all the cliches about fat people - that they thought I was slovenly, lonely, bad-smelling, alone.
*In seventh grade, I met the boys in my homeroom who felt they needed to explain to me that I should have been ashamed to go around looking the way I did and thinking it was okay. At first, the knowledge that being fat calls for embarrassment confused me, bewildered me, set me off balance. Years of high school and experiments in trying to hide, in trying to fit in, in trying to stand out, taught me that when you are fat, that is one strike against you. It is a vulnerability that attracts enemies. It is the target toward which anyone can aim confidently and score a direct and palpable hit. A statement of fact was enough to brutalize me: "You're fat," spit with a helping of scorn, of disgust, was weapon enough to end any argument, to destroy me.
*I thought being skinny meant that the worry and stress and anxiety my body had caused me would be over. I wanted to punch my clock, step through the exit door, and be free and clear and with no obligations, in the Land of Eternal Slimness where problems did not exist.
*Getting weight loss surgery was like setting off i9n a full-out sprint, away from all the terribleness inside me that had clearly developed as a result of my weight. But in my flight, I also carried away all the good things, the things that had been untouched by my size, that had nothing to do with my weight or my self-image. you see, I wouldn't so much be changing as revealing these things that had been obscured for so long.
*I was supposed to be done with my body, but my body wouldn't go away. It changed under my hands in the shower, my topography shifting and moving like an earthquake was rumbling. It kept demanding food, and as I recovered from surgery, I felt my old urges, my hungriness reemerge, that sense of need, that sense if I did not eat now, right this second, I would be missing something, losing something that could never be recovered.
*You lose weight with no sense of personal responsibility, without having to develop self-awareness, self-control, a sense of self. In fact, you go ahead and you lose your sense of self and your sense of stability and your way, along with two or three or four pounds a week.
*I thought I finally understood it - why some thin people were so angry at fat people for being fat. They thought fat people were breaking the rules. They assumed fat people got to eat the cake. They assumed that fat people never turned down anything. They assumed that fat people slept in a be of ham with a pillow of bacon and never said no to seconds or shared their dessert, and they thought, that's not fair, and they were probably as angry at fat people for being able to eat as fat people were angry at skinny people for being able to be thin.
*How long had I spent thinking that I couldn't do things until I was skinny? How much of my life had I wasted, how much of this kind of soaring joy, flying down a hill recklessly with all my worries streaming behind me, had I missed? Why had a spent so long hating myself, and why had I spent so long waiting?
*I don't think I gained weight in order to hide from the world - I think that weight and size are much more complex issues than that. But I think it was comfortable and easy to let fat be my whole problem. And when I was left with no fat but plenty of problems, I was the only one left to blame. It's like I had cleaned out the flooded basement, which is great and all, but now I had to actually address the cause of the flooding, and it was harder than you think. It's so much harder than I was led to believe.

And that is where I am in my journey - still trying to address the cause of the flooding. Some of it was addressed by WLS. Some of it is being addressed with my recent diagnosis and treatment of ADD. I am a work in progress and I always will be. And that's okay.

Highly recommend.
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on July 12, 2014
This is an extraordinary book, very well written, fluid, insightful. Larsen has a unique gift -- her writing is compelling (you can't wait to read what comes next) but she also writes in such a way that you know her and can relate to her struggles. Part of me was amazed at what a train wreck she was -- pre and post weight-loss surgery -- but at the same time I was amazed at how genuinely and pointedly she could describe what she was going through. The title, though, is a bit misleading -- her head was messed up well before weight loss surgery. I couldn't help rally for her (and wished a bit that she went to therapy throughout the whole process). My only wish, the only thing I think was lacking in this story, is a bit more description of the why's of her relationship with Andy. Did she ever really talk to him about why he was so withholding? Why did he stay with her if it seemed he couldn't commit to her? I'm not saying it wasn't real, and Andy seemed like a prince in so many ways, but I wondered about him. But, the book is very well done, a terrific read.
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