This is probably the last food/body/eating book I’ll review for some time as, honestly, I’m tired of thinking about it!
If you were to go through all of my Goodreads list in the last few years you’d see a sort of accidental autobiography of health and body phases – the “Wellness Diet” phase (Whole 30, keto, various “lifestyle” books, etc), then some disordered eating books, and then acceptance books like Intuitive Eating, Caroline Dooner’s The F It Diet, and finally this one. I’m glad I’m wear I’m at, and at the same time I’m so tired of thinking about food and eating.
So many body positive social media accounts have put out some kind of meme lately about how weird it is we are with food. What if we acted so weird about breathing or pooping or peeing. “How do I know when to pee? Am I peeing because I’m tired or bored? Should I drink more water to not pee?” Stuff like that. It’s true, but it’s also not true because our relationship with food, bodies, morality, etc is all so messed up.
What I like about Christy Harrison’s book is that it provides a single source (albeit with 10 pages of cited studies and literature) to explain how this obsession with thinness and a certain ideal of body types is pretty new in human history. Shrinking one’s body for health and attractiveness is really only like 150 years old (although some Greeks thought being fat was a sign of bad morals, too). It’s also tied to being rich and white, kind of like all of the “lifestyle” experts. She also explains how anxiety around body size and dieting is actually worse for people than being fat. Being fat is often correlated with negative health outcomes, but other things that need to be considered for lifestyle include things like financial situation, stress levels, oppression, etc.
This was an eye-opening book for me as a suburban dad. While I’ve heard or read everything in this book before, I hadn’t seen it all compiled so well in a single place. That being said…I liked Dooner’s voice more in The F It Diet and that book was more fun to read. If this kind of thing is interesting to you, you might want to start with Dooner.
Personally, I’m done with this kind of book for the rest of the year. I get it, and just need to stop thinking about it. As Dooner said, worrying about this kind of thing sucks away so much of our time and energy and creativity. No, thanks. I’d rather have fun!
PS There’s a ton of swearing in this book for some reason. To me it detracted from the professionalism and authority of the author, although I know not everyone shares my personal preference. Just a heads up.