Summer Reading: Thin is the New Happy ~By Valerie Frankel
This book is our book group’s read for May 2009. Everyone gets to pick their own books for the group to read and discuss. I never would have picked this book myself, and am glad that I was given the opportunity to read it.
This is a personal story about a woman’s journey to finding a happy body image. Her body image woes began long before she began as an editor at Mademoiselle Magazine. Her Pediatrician suggested to her parents that this daughter would have to be watched because she would have a problem managing her weight.
This is the most major similarity to me in the whole book; my pediatrician told my Mother that I would always have a weight problem. This my Mother found hard to believe because everyone in her family was complaining about how skinny I was and what “bird legs” I had.
My Mother had tried several diets along her path, but discovered that people just thought she was heavy because of her well endowed chest. She went on three major diets in her life and was successful each time and kept it off for years. Her mother sent her tons of ads and stories about dieting so she vowed not to do that.
Frankel writes the book as a look into what she had to do to make peace with herself and find a body image that she enjoyed and felt good about. She did not wish to pass on her body image problems to her two daughters.
I was a chronic dieter simply out of habit. Diet was what I did. It was all I knew. In fact, dieting know-how had been hardwired into my brain since preadolescence. Thanks to recent advances in MRI technology, we now understand that the brain takes shape according to the stimuli it receives. This was a good argument for forcing a kid to take piano lessons. If she learned to play young, her brain’s nerve and synapses would retain musical affinity forever. I didn’t play piano. Or chess. My teenage brain was honed, forged, and wrinkled for dieting. Reducing was my chief adolescent pastime. I made charts. I logged calorie input and output. I kept food journals. I read diet articles in magazines, ripped through weight loss books.
Frankel has put her years of weight loss, study and magazine work to good use in this book. It is quite entertaining and she details many of the subtle media inputs that many people do not know about.
Her clicker trials on her own thinking are very informative, just how many times in the course of a day she thought about her body image and that these thoughts were negative was astounding. Frankel’s self studies informed her as to what she needed to do to find peace of mind.
I would not want to read this book without a discussion group to follow, I think each individuals insights into their own body image, stimulated by this book would be profoundly informative.
An important read for nearly every woman I know – there is benefit on many levels.
What do you think? Do you have a body image problem?
Other interesting posts you might enjoy:
From Mom Grind:
You Read Women’s Magazines, Ill Give You Ten Reasons to Stop
Magazine Covers: Powerful Men, Half Naked Women
Children Self Image
Due Date for Writing Contest THE DIVORCE coming up June 1, 2009. Check it out.