My one-time personal trainer–two sessions came with my gym membership–told me that losing weight is 80% diet changes. That 20% from lifestyle change sounds so minimal it was quite a disincentive for me to go hardcore and hit the gym often. (Yes, I know, physical activity confers bountiful benefits beyond shedding pounds.) I know that something in my brain is wrong that allows me, nay, urges me to eat as much as I can some days. And I’ve never been a dieter or calorie counter: “being on a diet would unduly restrict me when going out to eat” and “how do you count the calories in my Chinese food, like mapo tofu?!”
I do believe in the power of the mind, how if it’s a bad habit (and not a full-on addiction) you can kick yourself out of it. So after seeing a short profile of Bethanny Frankel on a Diets special of Entertainment Tonight–for I was blissfully ignorant of her Real Housewife status before that–I borrowed both her books from the library. I didn’t even get around to the recipes books Skinnygirl Dish and only got through half of Naturally Thin, but I was introduced to all the Rules and merely skipped the second half where you followed her life for a week to see how she lives by her rules. Still, I think I took away enough and have some thoughts.
When you open to the table of contents, you do not get the satisfaction of seeing the ten Rules listed and I will not list them here while, of course, I did jot them all down with my notes.
While I was reading the book, a few times, it really hit home the idea of being naturally thin. I never figured out if I’m a fat person in what many people (who are wrong) call a thin body or am I a thin person trapped in a fat body? People who fall into the former category get really scared one day they will blow up so I really hope I’m the latter. For years, I have had eternal optimism that “later this year” or “next year” I’ll be a new person. In the body image realm, the really thin people I know are my role models and they have internalized self-control that I have not yet–I want to think like them, to have thin thoughts, thin urges (or lack of).
Frankel raised the example of Paris Hilton who–laugh all you want–I admire for being so truly lanky and I’d like to think she’s at least average intelligence and the vapidness is just an image to maintain. If I thought I was inundated with choices, just imagine a socialite’s life with ample food and drink. Given Paris Hilton probably weighs less than I do and is about 10 inches taller, proportionally she also has to exercise self-control or she would lose the awkward toothpick look. I do not have to have everything at once because the opportunity to eat whatever I passed on will come back around. Reading Naturally Thin re-inforced my pretty successful practice of sharing a lot of my food with NPY thus not finishing an entree on my own, and leaving a bite or two left if I am eating my own entrée.
We’ve all heard of Calories In, Calories Out, but when Frankel talked of eating in terms of a bank account, all the decision-making regarding eating something spoke to the accounting geek in me. I had a paradigm shift for a moment and then she went a little too far in her text stretching the metaphor.
A large part of the book is repackaging the tips you’ve all heard before: pay attention to your food by not eating in front of the television of computer, chew slowly, and pause between bites by putting down your fork/chopsticks. The tips that spoke to me more was the more gossipy ones, like being a food snob (you know how annoying those people are) and noticing (mocking in my mind?) when other people are not paying attention to what/how much they are eating.
Naturally Thin reads a bit like Frankel is your chatty ‘nutritionist’ girlfriend–gentle, diplomatic, non-scientific, and sometimes wrong. It was a bit like reading a diary because whenever the rule is worked into a sentence like a phrase, a heart is drawn around it. Frankel is like your personal cheerleader and that she lives by her Rules and seems to sincerely believe that everyone is naturally thin (the better scenario of the above) is surely what made her book hugely successful.