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« More Immigration | Main | Puzzle for the Day »

June 01, 2006

Diet Books

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Eager to lose ten pounds, I've recently been spending time with diet books. (It's soooo much more satisfying to read and make plans than it is to take action, don't you think?) I've leafed through a bunch of them, and I've spent serious time with three.

As someone who once followed the book-publishing industry closely, I enjoyed exploring these books as much for their characteristics as books as for their content. My general reaction: What an over-edited, by-the-numbers genre diet books have become! Start with a description of the crisis ... Devote 'way too many pages to the "science" of whatever your angle is ... Keep ringing and then re-ringing the alarm bells ... Finally volunteer the eating advice you've been withholding (it's usually worth about a dozen pages) ... Then finish with a small collection of recipes. Decorate the whole with bullet points, boxes, multiple fonts, quotes from authority figures, and bossy language ...

Hey, isn't it strange how the business memo has become a model for books? In fact, isn't it strange how central the business memo has become as an organizing metaphor in American life? Note to self: Write heavily bullet-pointed blogposting about the business-memo form.

And the length of diet books: Have there been many that really needed more than 100 pages? Yet few clock in at less than 350 pages. Why are books that are meant to guide us into living more elegantly themselves so overstuffed?

Sad fact: Americans are impulse-buyers who love quantity, not quality. In the bookbiz this is widely felt to be the case anyway. Publishing efforts are forever being made to make books (especially pop and/or "bestseller"-style books) look thicker than they really should be. Check out how big the margins of thrillers are, and how very many chapters they're divided into. Publishers want the saps who buy their reading material from bins at discount stores to think, "Wow, for only $11.95 I can have myself a hardcover copy of a novel by someone whose name I've heard of! And it's really long! Now that's getting value for my money!"

Hey, Americans: Grow up! Quit letting yourselves be taken advantage of by cynical big-city media operators who look down on you!

Come to think of it, our preference for quantity over quality might be one of the main reasons we're so fat in the first place ...

Some brief notes on the three books I looked at closely. Here come the bullet points!

  • Although Joel Fuhrman's "Eat to Live" was my least-favorite of these books, I couldn't tear myself away from it. I found it transfixing in a gruesome kind of way. Fuhrman hits the ground running with a "You're gonna die if you don't take action now!" tone, and then cranks it up to a pitch of pure hysteria. And many of the recipes he supplies are recognizable by even a tyro foodie like me as awful. To be fair, there's probably some substance to this book, which emphasizes "nutrient-dense" foods. But I'd rather get obese and die young than live as Fuhrman wants me to, let alone spend time in the overtense emotional state his writing promotes. One not-bad piece of practical advice: When in doubt about what to eat, have a big salad or a bowl of vegetable soup. But you might find Furhman's book valuable. The key thing, after all, isn't whether the book is a good one, it's whether it helps you lose weight and enjoy life.

  • I found the well-known "Sugarbusters" by H. Leighton Steward, Morrison Bethea, Sam Andrews, and Luis Balart, pleasant and enjoyable in a likably provincial way. The authors are from New Orleans, so deprivation is not something they're peddling -- you're among soulful, amiable people who like food and who like eating. Unlike Atkins (nauseating) and Ornish (depressing), the Sugarbusters gang offer advice that struck me as appealing and do-able. Their book is stupefyingly long-winded, though. Does someone who wants to shed a few pounds really need to examine the insulin system in quite such exhaustive detail? EZ take-away advice: Avoid dumbo carbs such as white rice, white bread, white potatoes, corn, soda, chips, and beer.

  • I loved Michel Montignac's "The French Diet." For one thing, it's a slim and well-turned-out production in its own right. (It was published by the brilliant publisher DK, a company whose work I praised here.) There's no disconnect between the book you're holding and the physique you'd like to have. It's elegant, concise, and informal-yet-organized. It's also likably eccentric. Montignac makes use of science when it suits him; he ignores science when it doesn't suit him. I like a little quirkiness in a diet guru. The main reason I love Montignac's book, though, is for its emphasis on eating as a form of civilized pleasure. This isn't, in fact, a diet book in the usual sense of the term. Instead, it's a celebration of food that recognizes that living well takes a little care and alertness.

Michel Montignac is an interesting figure. A onetime businessguy, he was the first diet guru to formulate the how-to-eat-French, low-GI method. The Sugarbusters authors, who are also peddling low-GI eating, credit Montignac as the originator of the approach. Here's Montignac's most popular book. Note to those who look down on self-publishing: Montignac self-published his first book in 1986, and the original Sugarbusters book was self-published too.

In two weeks of following Montignac's advice I've lost all of two pounds -- not much! Yet I'm surprised by how big a difference losing two pounds makes. I'm pulling my belt in a notch tighter, I have more bounce in my step, and my long-lost jawline is threatening to make a reappearance. Even better, I'm enjoying my food-and-eating life more than usual. Eating a la Montignac is easy, fun, and tasty. And, man-o-man, is it ever great to stop feeling like an impulse-riddled victim and more like a suave gent who's in charge of his fate and who's out for his own pleasure. Americans, eh? Finding a rewarding equilibrium isn't something we excel at. We bang back and forth between being self-indulgent slobs and prissy uptight moralists.

I confess that I also find something pleasant per se in having an eating system, at least one that isn't closed and rigid, and whose general effect is to enhance life. To my mind, following an eating system is a worthwhile small discipline, like doing yoga regularly. It does take a bit of effort ... but it rewards the effort many times over.

Having a loose framework -- and I don't mind some goofiness so long as the system works -- is also an enjoyable and helpful way to negotiate a world of infinite options. After all, when anything is possible, many people can lose their bearings and go a little loco. I'm one such, I guess. My devoted-foodie Wife, on the other hand, isn't. She dislikes frameworks for eating and relies on her appetites and tastebuds alone. But she's able to: She's genetically tall and slim, has strong food preferences, and is gifted with tons of physical energy. She's also willing to put out the kind of exercise effort it takes to make dessert-every-day possible. Yesterday, for example, she took a 1 hour and 45 minute run-walk. That's commitment. Me, I'd rather do Basics yoga, take modest walks, and monitor how I eat a wee bit.

Have I mentioned recently the main reason why I return to obesity as a theme at this blog? It's because of its value as a metaphor. Modern Americans live in conditions of plenty where food goes -- but also where information goes, and where media options go. Instead of knocking ourselves out struggling to achieve the minimum, many Americans wrestle instead with how to manage excess. Evolutionary biology teaches us that managing-excess isn't natural. As organisms, we're optimized to contend with scarcity. Yet few would opt to live under conditions of scarcity rather than plenty. So a question many people wrestle with day to day is: How to prosper -- as in how not to get fat or become intellectually/imaginatively stupefied -- in circumstances that we aren't biologically suited to? We're lucky to have so many options, that's for sure. But we're also stuck wrestling consciously with questions and challenges that humans once managed unconsciously.

Online interviews with Michel Montignac are in surprisingly short supply. I found this and this, and (for those who read French) this. Here's a visit with him.

Here are some characteristic quotes from Montignac:

"People don't get fat because they eat too much but because they eat badly. The best way to get thin isn't to eat less or to work out more, it is to eat better ...

"Eating should be considered one of the supreme values of existence. This is why cuisine is a veritable art, just like music or painting, an art that fits everyone, that symbolizes the quality of life to which we aspire ...

"Conventional low-calorie diets are among the great scientific swindles of the 20th century. We should sweep away scruples and allow our epicurean instincts full rein ..."

A diet guru who talks like that is my kind of diet guru.

Here's Montignac's own website. As long as I'm listing things bookish and French ... I praised Debra Ollivier's wonderful intro to French womanhood here.

DadTalk has written (here and here) about having good luck with the Okinawa diet.

What are you own experiences with dieting, and with diet books?

Best,

Michael

posted by Michael at June 1, 2006




Comments

A few years ago I began my dietary campaign against a bad lipid profile
trying this diet then that diet with nothing working very well. Then I
had great success with a particular approach: the HDL, triglycerides,
and LDL levels in my profile reached a ratio my doctor could live with
and more important a ratio he thought I could literally live with. As
a side effect I lost almost 50 pounds which I came to think was a few
too many so I put a few less than 10 back on and have been at this
weight for about 3 years during which years the diet has become second
nature to me. When people ask what diet I'm on I've found that the
best way to describe it without their concluding that it's the Atkins
Diet or the South Beach Diet or some other one that may be trendy is to
say that it's a low-glycemic approach to dieting and that these other
diets are more or less like mine though none are identical because of
my peculiar tastes and inclinations.

Here's the link to a recent article that provides the basic rationale:

"Effectiveness of a Slow Carb Diet."

And here's a link to some of the writings of an MD whose guidance I've
followed somewhat except I don't seek out any of the less common foods
he recommends such as grass-fed beef and I don't exercise though I'm
beginning to think that for my general health I'd better start
exercising pretty soon:

Al Sears.

His Doctor's Heart Cure book provides good coverage of his dietary approach.

Another MD whose basic approach also guided me even though I didn't and
don't follow a lot of his detailed recommendations has a web site with
a lot of interesting articles:

Joseph Mercola.

Btw his free metabolic type test reinforced my conclusion about the type of diet that's right for me.

I have no idea whether the theories explicated on these and
their related web pages are right but I do know that some though because
I made so many changes almost simultaneously I can't be sure which of
the basic practices I derived from their points of agreement about what
and how to eat have proved helpful in improving my health and in
reducing my weight. I realize that conventional wisdom is that losing
weight occurs when you burn more calories than you consume and
supposedly it doesn't matter what the source of the calories is but in
any event I guess at the very least I'd recommend the low-glycemic
approach as an effective way for some people to limit calories.

Posted by: Dave Lull on June 1, 2006 8:53 PM



When the eye doctor says to you, "I see hemorrhages in your retinas due either to diabetes or high blood pressure. Get to an internist NOW or go blind," that gets rid of all the excuses and rationalizing. I had thought my glasses prescription was bad.

Low glycemic did the trick. I went from 250 to 222, toot sweet as my ex- used to say. I'm still going down. Eyes snapped back. But dieting while keeping blood sugar down is quite a trick, since the fat is converted into glucose before it leaves -- so fasting or too stringent dieting can take your blood sugar UP!! Confusing.

I've dieted a lot over the years but it's quite different to be monitoring blood sugar at the same time. I have a prescription for 4 blood sticks a day, but sometimes end up doing many more as I pursue my own little research projects. Poor finger tips! Maybe pretty soon I can actually reach my toe tips!

My attitude is that undiagnosed diabetes will kill you dead in very bad ways. ("Lose weight or we'll saw your feet off!") BUT diagnosed and treated diabetes will give you back ten years of your life in a hurry. Dave Lull is very generous about sharing research tips and ideas. It really helps.

I begin to see a highly political aspect to all this. For one thing, "diabetes" is practically a marketing trademark and the US industry does NOT like low glycemic strategies. The best info comes out of Australia where the food industry doesn't have it all by the throat. For another, I've stopped Googling for diabetes and have begun looking for "metabolic syndrome." Everything is connected to everything and most often unregulated blood sugar goes along with unregulated lipids, blood pressure, fibromyalgia, bad peripheral circulation, and a host of other hormonal regulatory loops. Some call it old age. Others point to environmental contamination.

Some commentators think that widening diabetes into "everything" is just a way to market more drugs that are really basically the same stuff we've already got.

Also, Michael, I think your yoga is pretty important. On my angry days I can see the difference in the stats. "Happiness" in some sense has got to be part of the feedback loop.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on June 1, 2006 9:19 PM



I have read TONS of info on Body Building and Weight Training, and there is lots of arguments...however, here are some things that they agree on:

- Eat every three hours
- Focus on Good Carbs, Good Fats and Protein
- Good Carbs: Oatmeal, Sweet Potatos, Brown Rice, etc.
- Good Fats: Almonds, Walnuts, Fish (or Fish Oils), Flaxseed Oil, etc.
- Protein: Lean Chicken, Lean Beef, Fish, etc.

Try not to worry too much about the ratios, but you should probably get at least 1/3 of your calories from Protein (it feeds the muscle). And on calories, for a guy it should be around 1800-2400 cals a day (depeding on the amount of Exercise)

Watch the carbs, Atkins might have been crazy, but he had some real insight. They are the fuel for the body, but if not used, they can easily turn to fat.

Also, try Carb-Cycling: 2 or 3 days of normal carbs followed by a day of very low carbs, keeps the metabolism guessing.

Fruits are probably best consumed in the morning, granted, that goes for all carbs.

And, yes, watch the sugar.

oh, and it seems like you cann never get enough green veggies, they sem to be God's gift to our diets.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on June 1, 2006 10:58 PM



Agree with Ian Lewis.

I think the Body For Life (BFL) program is probably the best for amateurs. Then if you want to get really serious, you can go with the "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" ebook.

You must run and lift, though. And you need to do something (run or lift) ideally every day. That's a significant commitment. Eating right (5-6 small meals per day at 3-4 hour intervals) is also very important.

You do those together, and you will find that you have much MORE time -- especially more alert, productive time -- than you have before. It's one of those things where you might think it'd take too much time, but once you get in the habit your brain works faster during the times you aren't exercising. Keeping it well supplied with nutrients throughout the day also significantly reduces the need for caffeine.

I had great results with BFL. I come from possibly the most unathletic subgroup of the most unathletic group on the planet (South Asians win almost no Olympic medals, for ex.). Yet on BFL I got totally jacked and down to less than 10% body fat. I don't want to sound like a commercial, but if you want to get seriously jacked it'll work for you.

That said, I do it at a level which is somewhat more intense than the recommendations -- daily running w/ 3-4 days a week lifting rather than alternating running & lifting. But if you want to get in good shape, BFL is guaranteed to work if you stick to it.

I don't think diets in general are effective without a workout plan behind them. Diet is important, particularly multiple meals per day, but you must run and lift free weights. Not Tae Bo, or manual resistance, or pushups and situps, or any fads like that.

Just run and lift. Different proportions for different body types -- it's surprisingly easy for me to add and keep muscle, but relatively hard to lose fat, which is why I run 6-7 days per week and only lift 3-4 days per week. Someone who was genetically underweight or a real hardgainer might flip that around.

But anyway, if you look at the cover flap on the BFL book, you can't fail to get motivated. Those results are real -- MB if you *really* want I can send you before and after pics, for posting on the blog of course, work safe, etc.

Posted by: blah on June 2, 2006 2:11 AM



Check out the Shangri-La diet. It's fresh, hot, fashionable, cheap, easy to try, and provides immediate feedback (and you don't even need to buy the book to know how to do it).

Posted by: tc on June 2, 2006 2:31 AM



Speaking of evolutionary biology, here's an article by biologist Geoffrey Miller I discovered last night about the same subject .

Here's a great quote relevant here: "The fundamental problem is that any evolved mind must pay attention to indirect cues of biological fitness, rather than tracking fitness itself. We don't seek reproductive success directly; we seek tasty foods that tended to promote survival and luscious mates who tended to produce bright, healthy babies. Modern results: fast food and pornography. Technology is fairly good at controlling external reality to promote our real biological fitness, but it's even better at delivering fake fitness subjective cues of survival and reproduction, without the real-world effects. Fresh organic fruit juice costs so much more than nutrition-free soda. Having real friends is so much more effort than watching Friends on TV. Actually colonizing the galaxy would be so much harder than pretending to have done it when filming Star Wars or Serenity. Fitness-faking technology tends to evolve much faster than our psychological resistance to it. The printing press is invented; people read more novels and have fewer kids; only a few curmudgeons lament this. The Xbox 360 is invented; people would rather play a high-resolution virtual ape in Peter Jackson's King Kong than be a perfect-resolution real human. Teens today must find their way through a carnival of addictively fitness-faking entertainment products: MP3, DVD, TiVo, XM radio, Verizon cellphones, Spice cable, EverQuest online, instant messaging, Ecstasy, BC Bud. The traditional staples of physical, mental, and social development (athletics, homework, dating) are neglected. The few young people with the self-control to pursue the meritocratic path often get distracted at the last minute the MIT graduates apply to do computer game design for Electronics Arts, rather than rocket science for NASA.

Posted by: Robert Nagle on June 2, 2006 3:00 AM



Check out the Shangri-La diet. It's simple to try, costs almost nothing, and lets you know if it's working in a few days. Worked for me, can't speak for anyone else. I have a feeling that this thing is going to explode.

Posted by: tc on June 2, 2006 4:37 AM



Last summer I decided to get back to my ideal weight, which would be 170. At the time I was packing 206. I took a deep breath and began. Here's the trick. YOU HAVE TO GIVE UP SUGAR. It's a real bitch and the sad fact is, most people are sugar addicts. It takes about two weeks to get past it. But once you are, you won't miss it. I took it out of my tea/coffee, stopped all belly wash (Coke, etc.) and made sure it was not in my food to any great extent. The next thing you have to do is stop drinking alcohol. That was actually the easy part. Next, you have to get lots of aerobic exercise. The easiest way to do this, especially if you're 54 like me, is to walk. I walk about 36 miles a week. I also lift weights in between, but walking is what takes the pounds off. In three months I was down to 176...that's 30 pounds, folks. I feel terrific. I've done a slight amount of backsliding but I'm still at 180 and by the end of the summer, I'll be down to 170, my target. As for diet, try this: eat your protein in the morning. In fact, make breakfast your big meal of the day. Eat until you're completely full. The trick is to eat a small lunch and then just a snack for dinner. Go to bed feeling hungry. If you can master that eating technique and combine it with frequent aerobic excercise, you WILL lose weight. Oh, I almost forgot...you'll need discipline and willpower. :-)))

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on June 2, 2006 7:08 AM



"Americans, eh? Finding a rewarding equilibrium isn't something we excel at. We bang back and forth between being self-indulgent slobs and prissy uptight moralists."

This struck me very much when I was at yoga school in India.

A lot of the Americans were very dedicated and had impressive practices, but they tended towards the uptight, over-serious and puritanical. The New Yorkers especially. Interesting contrast with the Londoners. NY and London are both ashtanga yoga hubs: both have large populations of very driven, ambitious people, and first class ashtanga teachers, so a lot of the Londoners had quite impresive-looking practices too. But the Londoners partied! The New Yorkers hardly ever did.

Posted by: Alan Little on June 2, 2006 7:15 AM



I've been trying the "Eating Man's Diet", from a 1969 book by Thomas Sharkey - 86 pages plus charts and recipes. Simple idea - diet one day (less than 900 calories) and eat the next (for me, 2700 calories). No particular mix of foods, just calorie control. Psychologically it's the best diet I've ever been on. If you get down, you can remind yourself that you can eat whatever you're dreaming about tomorrow. It's the only diet book I've ever seen that concentrates on getting you used to eating a maintenance number of calories, so you don't gain when you've lost all you need to. I've lost five pounds in three weeks. And 2700 calories is starting to seem like way too much food. So when I get down to 150, I should be able to stay there.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on June 2, 2006 8:21 AM



Lots of good advice so far, so there's not much I can add except for a couple of tips:
1) Food is not a cure for boredom or depression. Eating because you're bored or depressed will add calories without making the underlying problem any better.
2) Eating should be given your undivided, or at least primary, attention. In other words, snacking away while you're watching TV or using the computer is a guaranteed way to end up eating more than you should.

Posted by: Peter on June 2, 2006 9:08 AM



I'm with Peter, as far as not having anything more specific to add to the excellent diet choices already listed. Peter's 2 points are simple and oh so necessary to have burned into one's skull, if not one's pallet. The only thing I would add to his 2 points would be aimed at folks, like myself, who are cursed with nervous fingers.
To alleviate that situation and to follow Peter's instruction #2, have a large bottle or glass of water with you at all sedentary times and/or have a finger occupying device at the ready. Greek worry beads are a good choice or one of those littel silicone balls used to strenghten your hand muscles. Personally, I've gone through 4-5 of those in the last couple of years and my Sit-'N-Snack is minimal.

Great comments! I'm tatooing Peter's #1 point on my arm shortly.

Posted by: DarkoV on June 2, 2006 10:15 AM



I agree with Charlton Griffin. I would, however, add white flour and products made with white flour to the list. I've basically stopped eating refined sugar and flour foods, and the extra weight I had (15 pounds--I was at 190, now at 175) just melted off. It only took about 3-4 weeks too. I need to buy some new pants.

I eat lots of fruit,vegetables, and meat. For carbs, some legumes and whole wheat/nut breads. It's actually a pretty good diet. I don't really feel like I'm missing much. I still eat the dessert type foods, but infrequently (maybe once a week).

Also, diet is far more important to losing weight than exercise. Exercise will, however, make you feel great. But I only work out 3 times a week. I have too much to do otherwise.

I hope this is helpful.

Posted by: Q on June 2, 2006 10:15 AM



Another approach to weight loss and weight maintenance, one that allows a person not to give up any kind of food completely, is that followed by Calvin Trillin's late friend, Pizzeria owner Larry "Fats" Goldberg. Laurie Meunier Graves writes about it in her essay THE BOOK THAT CHANGED MY LIFE.

Posted by: Dave Lull on June 2, 2006 10:27 AM



"Publishing efforts are forever being made to make books (especially pop and/or "bestseller"-style books) look thicker than they really should be."

A lot of what you say here applies equally well to computer books. A literary agent who only reps computer books told me "they're sold by the pound."

The business memo or Powerpoint paradigm also applies.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on June 2, 2006 4:38 PM



My suggestion is to get a degree in nutrition from a reputable university and skip the paperback diet books altogether.

Posted by: Peggy Nature on June 2, 2006 7:48 PM



Recently, I wanted to drop 15 pounds ...well, actually 20 - isn't this pathetic that I would try to lie in this little comment box about such a thing! Like you, I went to the bookstore - 2 islands of brightly colored diet books! I'm not a novice at dieting, and for me calories have always been the key - but I needed motivation - I bought a little pocket diary where I could enter my breakfast,lunch and dinner (and snack) calories - and there was a space for noting if and how much I exercised. And even a page of little stars to note the days where I followed my diet. It has helped alot.

Posted by: Dreamer on June 2, 2006 10:34 PM



I find it interesting that different approaches work (or don't) so differently for different people. To wit, I would advocate the exact opposite of Q above: I was in the best shape of my life five years ago (then aged 34) when I took a year off to live in Paris with my boyfriend. We ate, literally, whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. I started every morning with a freshly baked pain au chocolate - and ended every evening with a bottle of lovely French wine, cheese, etc. BUT - we walked across the entirety of the city and back (lived on the very western edge of Paris) at least 3-4 times a week, and did 90 minutes of yoga at least 3-4 times a week. I've always been of a "healthy" (although not fat) size (thank my Kansas farmgirl genes) and was surprised to see how effortlessly I dropped weight and became stronger.

Your post caught my eye because I'm in the midst of trying to figure out a weight loss plan myself. After volunteering for a year in the middle of the Cameroonian rainforest, I emerged to find myself weighing 20lbs more than when I went in (few veggies, LOTS of palm oil) and have yet to drop it, almost a year later. I'm still in Africa, but have no excuse now as I live someplace where the well established European and expat community has ensured that there's a market (albeit expensive) for all types of foods - fresh vegetables and fruits are flown in several times weekly from either South Africa or Belgium.

It's becoming clear to me that my issue is one of food-as-comfort -- not in the snacking or sneaking or gorging kind of way, but in the "which will taste/make me feel better/satisfied? an apple or a brownie?" kind of way. The other issue is exercise: for security reasons, we are advised not to walk throughout the city, and that is a real blow for me. I like my exercise to be of the "I don't know I'm exercising" variety and walking has always been perfect for me (going to the gym has not.)

I'm going to check out the Michel Montignac book you referenced - thanks for mentioning it. I too think I need some kind of a system.

Posted by: gg on June 3, 2006 7:12 AM



Ditch all refined carbos: sugar, flour, alcohol, white rice, etc. Walk outside or on a treadmill at least 1/2 an hour a day. An hour is better. That's it. If you get down to the weight you want, allow yourself one day a week (for me, Saturday) where you backslide and eat ice cream and beer and the like.

Posted by: B on June 3, 2006 11:05 PM



The most effective diet book for me was *A River Runs Through It*. I read it eight years ago. I came across a line describing the narrator’s brother, the fishing-meister about whom the plot turns. It went something like ‘He was 32 years old, at and the height of his powers’. I thought, ‘What hey?!? *I’m* 32 years old, and I comprise 235 pounds of flab. My powers suck.’

So that started me off. I just cut out the beer (for a while) and the sugar (still, mostly), generally ate less, and started exercising. I dropped over 50 pounds in nine months, and have stayed within 5-10 pounds of that weight since. I also started lifting weights a few years ago, and that has helped add a bit of muscle, although I seem to be doomed to skinny girlie-arms no matter what I do.

Anyway, my contribution: don’t underestimate the positive powers of shame and self-loathing when it comes to getting fit. I know Oprah would rather I had starting dieting because I’d learned to love myself, but really, how often does it work this way . . . .

Posted by: mr tall on June 5, 2006 2:43 AM






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