Diet Special #3: The Skinnygirl Way

Naturally Thin Bethenny FrankelLast time I blogged, my waistline was getting ugly but my attitude to dieting was getting uglier.

I’d spent a month following Weightwatchers religiously, only to find when I gave up and ate normally my weight remained as vigilantly the same as it did when I was constantly hungry. Put simply, Weightwatchers does not work for me. 

You were ever so lovely in the comments: giving me good advice, and not pointing and laughing at my wobbly bits or anything. Best of all, however, was Stefanie Grace‘s recommendation that I check out a book by Bethenny Frankel.

This book stuck in my mind, and after a day or so I plonked it on my Amazon wishlist. On my birthday – a day of eating cake and steak and pancakes – I unwrapped one of my delightful Grandpa and Grandma’s gifts to me, and there it was: Naturally Thin: Release Your Inner Skinnygirl and Unleash Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting.

I devoured it in just over a day, and here is my review:

Book Review: Bethenny Frankel’s Naturally Thin: Release Your Inner Skinnygirl and Unleash Yourself From a Lifetime of Dieting (£12 at Amazon).

Bethenny Frankel doesn’t want us to diet, EVER AGAIN. Have you got that? Okay, now stop laughing and actually read what she has to say. It makes sense.

Because ladies: we spend our lives dieting. We’ve forgotten what it’s like to take responsibility for what we shove in our face holes. We’ve become terrified of eating, lest we “slip” and eat ALL OF THE BACON.

We need to start taking control of our diet like actual adult human beings. Living life according to others is silly – even if you’re copying your Mum or your best friend rather than what Mr. Atkins tells you – not least because everyone is different anyway, so you need to start listening to yourself.

This is the basic premise of Frankel’s book, and is it a bit brilliant or what? Yes, yes it is. Even though it’s common sense, sometimes we need to re-educate ourselves to break the habit of freaking out every time your stomach rumbles and wondering what you’re “allowed” to eat.

So Frankel gives us this education in a handy set of 10 lessons, each building on the last. For example:

Lesson #1. Balancing your diet like a bank account – you wouldn’t spend your monthly salary each day and not care about the consequences, so don’t eat cake and pie and cheese every day if you “haven’t got the funds”, shall we say. But if you’ve been frugal all week, you can afford to splash out a bit on a Saturday night.

Lesson #5: Downsize. You don’t have to cut your favourite foods out of your life, but you’re not daft: you know how much is too much. So why not drink wine out of a smaller glass, or put your maltesers in a smaller bowl? That way, you don’t even notice.

Lesson #8: Know Thyself. Do what will actually suit you in the longrun. Exercise is great, but if you can’t make a thrice-weekly session stick, don’t smash yourself in the face over it. Find something else. Some people can do without cream in their coffee – if you can’t, just do without something else. If you can have chocolates in the house without scoffing the lot, have them. If you can’t, stop buying them until you can.

It’s not a long book, but it can be slightly repetitive and the American “HECK YEAH!” attitude became a little wearing at times (forgive me, I’m British, I get grumpy a lot) but all in all it’s a bloody good read. Especially redeeming is the way she repeatedly warns us not to freak out if you go wrong: there’s a lot of days left in your life to get it right, so just try again.

Throughout, Frankel is firm but fair: she’s not afraid to say “You’re not stupid – you know how much ice cream is too much” but then she also spends a rather touching chapter reassuring us that if you binge, you need to forgive yourself and move on – that way, you stop the vicious cycle of comfort-eating.

It’s not perfect – there are times when the ingredients and foods Frankel suggests are a bit too ‘health-freak’ for me, and she doesn’t really cover situations like visiting friends or young adults living in houses where they don’t get much say in the weekly food shop. But as she keeps saying, if you’re different, you just have to find another way to do things.

Literally packed full of advice that is realistic and easy to follow, after reading the Skinnygirl book I already feel good about myself again. I’ve been following it for a week and I’ve lost a pound, and it feels like I’m not even trying. Whether that continues is up for debate, but I’ll let you know.

Bethenny Frankel’s “Naturally Thin” is available from Amazon in paperback for £12.

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