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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Review: Naturally Thin

Naturally Thin: Unleash Your Skinnygirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting
by Bethenny Frankel

If you're looking for a way to get thin, or stay thin, without dieting; this is the book for you. It is the ultimate "un-diet" book, which is the first thing that grabbed me about this book. It's not a bunch of nutrition mumbo-jumbo and "eat this, don't eat that", blah blah blah. It's the exact opposite. Bethenney teaches the reader how to become in-tune with their "food voice" (i.e. choosing what you REALLY want and like, and what you really don't) and their "food noise", the inner voice we all have pestering us to give in to our vices, or "heavy habits," as she calls them.
Bethenney is a Natural Foods chef, with a love of food and healthy eating, and a past of un-healthy eating, which many of us also identify with. She never claims to be a nutrition expert, in fact at times she emphasizes her lack of nutritional background, which I found impressively modest. She knows she's not an expert, and the advice she gives is not necessarily scientific. It's COMMON SENSE, teaching the reader to tune into themselves and stop obsessing over dieting, or weight. If you eat healthfully, and sometimes unhealthfully, as long as there is balance, you will get, and remain thin. I can relate to many aspects of Bethenny's struggles, such as crazy dieting, unhealthy habits like binge eating, and mindless eating. This connected me with the book, and made me realize: if she can find this balance, so can I.
Bethenny takes the reader through the 10 steps of her Naturally Thin plan, which, again, is not a diet, but a lifestyle change.

As a summary of her steps:
1. Your diet is a bank account ~all about balance
2. You can have it all, just not all at once (I've already mentioned this one on here!)
3. Taste everything, eat nothing ~ she doesn't really mean "eat nothing", this refers to going out, and leaving parts of large portions behind, and only eating small amounts of indulgent items
4. Pay Attention ~something we all struggle with from time to time
5. Downsize now! ~America is out of control with portions, and she knows this. I am guilty of over eating because of large portions as well. She gives some good tips for keeping portions in control
6. Cancel your membership to the clean plate club ~ This is, of course, if you're not eating at home or something very healthful. Another great way to keep portions/calories in check
7. Check yourself before you wreck yourself ~talks about the problem of binge eating, a hard-to-end cycle that she deems the only thing "off limits"
8. Know thyself ~How many times have you finished something you didn't really like, because it was healthier than what you really wanted? SO not worth it! I know I've done that. She advocates knowing what you want, and have a small portion of it. if it's not the healthiest choice, but DO NOT deny yourself. LOVE IT!
9. Get Real ~real food? less processing? more organic, more local foods? Yes, please.
10. Good for you. ~Of course we should do what's good for us. Dieting is not. Eating healthy is. Plain and simple.

After her 10 steps, she walks through seven days of eating "Naturally Thin" and finishes off with an example of three weeks living "Naturally Thin" as Bethenny does. The menus are real, and sometimes her choices are good, sometimes they're not. This real-life aspect, that no one is ever perfect, even Naturally Thin people, is refreshing. I must admit I expected to see something a little more varied than sushi 5 times in 3 weeks and a lot more than Kombucha (yes, she loves Kombucha!) and lattes for breakfast... but that's how she lives, and she lives healthfully, for the most part, staying Naturally Thin.
The book promotes eating healthy, naturally, organically even, not restricting aside from reducing portion sizes on more high-cal items, and overall, has a great healthy philosophy.

What I liked:
-her philosophy in general. the idea of balance, of not depriving yourself, but not bingeing either
-the fact that she goes for real, unprocessed, organic foods
-No bingeing. Seriously this time. STOP. (something I really need to do.)
-sweets are ok, just in small amounts

What I really liked:
- her awesome recipes at the end of each chapter
-the book was real. It's not striving for perfection, or any certain ideal except for listening to yourself, and doing what's best for your body.

What I didn't like so much:
-She advocates not eating breakfast and skipping meals. Ok, if you're not hungry right away, eat something later, but I would never tell anyone to NOT eat, it's no good for the metabolism. Your body needs frequent nourishment!
-the guidelines she provides can seem a little restrictive, for those who aren't completely off the diet train- focusing only 1 or 2 meals on carbs, one only on protein, etc. It's a good way to balance, yes, but there are ways to balance within meals as well.
-she doesn't really encourage physical activity

What I really didn't like:
-she talks about her company, BethennyBakes, a little too frequently, as well as plugs her upcoming book on multiple occasions. If people like the book, they'll find you! Stop trying for MORE publicity!

What I took from it-

This book really made me think. More so than I think any of the nutrition/food-based books I've read over the last year or so (aside from Skinny Bitch, but that made me think in a WHOLE different way). She mentions going to Italy, and I understood exactly what she was talking about when she described the Naturally Thin Italians and their love of food, healthy, natural foods, and non restriction in eating... just balancing. I watched that when I was in Italy, and I should have learned to practice it myself.
I have been searching for a balance, because as you have seen, I have been down in weight, up in weight, weak, strong, and everywhere in between. I need some sort of happy medium. I need to listen to myself, practice balance and moderation and although I am thin, learn to be Naturally Thin.

So here is my "announcement" so to speak.
Next week I am deeming Naturally Thin week. Starting on Monday, when she starts in the book, I will make every effort to live exactly how Bethenny describes in her 10 steps in the book. Each day, I'll talk about how I ate, how I felt, and how it all turned out with the Naturally Thin program. At the end of the week, I'll do a full re-cap, tell you what I learned, how I felt, and hopefully be on my way to living the Naturally Thin way.

If any of you want to join, jot me an email, or send a comment my way!!


HangryPants said...

Cool challenge. I haven't read it yet, but I hope to next week and then maybe I can do the same thing!

Kristin said...

Awesome, I'd love to have someone along with me!

Anonymous said...

Good luck Kristin!!!