Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl (finding inspiration in another's journey)

 The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl isn't the type of book I typically try to review on here since it isn't so much about health and nutrition as it is about an individual's journey to health and weight loss. But there were things about it that I really related to since I am trying my damnedest to stay on the healthy bandwagon.

Here is the basic synopsis -- Girl weights 350 lbs and isn't happy. Decides to make a change and starts to blog about it. Girl starts to lose weight and gain confidence. Girl backslides but gets back on the wagon (Yay!) Girl gains more confidence and moves outside her comfort zone. She starts traveling and enjoying her life instead of hiding from it. Blog becomes way bigger than she ever thought would happen. Blog becomes a book.

So not a super original story but honest and funny. I really enjoyed reading about her adventures, successes and failures. Her failures, in a way, spoke to me the most. She didn't just regain 5 or 10 pounds but 60 pounds (I think....it was quite a bit anyway.) But for her to have the courage and the guts to go after relosing that much weight and continue to lose more spoke volumes to me. I want to throw in the towel if I gain 3 pounds back. I get frustrated and think about the time and effort (and sweat!) I put into losing those 3 (little bitty) pounds and I just want to sit on the couch and eat chocolate. It makes me feel like I will never get there. But reading about her doing it made me feel pathetic and silly, fretting about something like 3 pounds. Yes I have quite a ways to go, but no where near the amount she was aiming to lose. She gave me some inspiration and really made me focus on why I want to lose weight. Why I want to get healthy and in shape. Because the why is what's important. Without a why, getting back on track is so much harder and staying on track is almost impossible.

I think this was one of my favorite moments in the book --

"Weight loss isn't about willpower or motivation. It's just the cumulative effect of tiny actions over time. Putting down the chocoalte bars, putting on the running shoes. you have to keep picking yourself up when you fall, over and over again, for however long it takes."--The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

Because how true is that! So many times I have reached for a "magic" pill or solution, wanting and praying for it to happen overnight. Or I would become obsessed and go crazy working out and eating healthy for a month and see no change on the scale and be so upset I would just quit. (I have learned my lesson on trusting and using the scale though, so there's that.) And it isn't a matter of if you fall, but when you will fall. Life happens and it is in the attitude toward it is what counts. Are you going to get back up, dust yourself off and keep moving forward? Or are you going to hide in the house, watch all six seasons of Gossip Girl on Netflix and eat snacks by yourself?

She also talks about her "magic" number a lot. That number everyone has in their head thad dictates how much we think we should weight. And really where does it come from? What we weighed in high school? What our best friend weighed in high school? And what is the expectation when we get there? I for one would like the heavens to open and the choir to sing and for everyone to approach me and tell me how awesome I look because I finally reached that number. In reality, I will probably receive compliments up until that point and no one will really notice the last 5-7 pounds. Plus I need to come to terms with the fact that I may not ever reach that number. And that is okay---right? I mean I definitely have more muscle than my prepubescent self so there is that. If I feel great and am living my life to the fullest, have energy and am setting a good example for my family, isn't that enough? Shouldn't it be enough? So why do we beat ourselves up and let it not be enough? Having a goal is important but maybe that goal should be less about a number and more about a feeling.

"You know what's funny about losing a stack of weight? Nothing really changes. All that happens is that you lose the thing upon which you used to hang all your neuroses. Fat has a shape and substance; you can poke it with a stick. It's a scapegoat and a handy excuse. Once you start to lose it, you realize you're stuck with the same moronic core." --The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

I think one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much is that is what Shauna ended up learning (*spoiler alert* -- even though this book is more about reading her journey the ups and downs rather than the actual ending.) Through it all it was her learning to love herself that mattered. This is what we should be striving for -- yes health is important and we should relish in what we learn our bodies can do, how much weight we can handle or how hard we can push them -- but in the end if we don't love ourselves we will find reasons other than our weight that makes us feel undeserving.

"You can't compare your aceievements to anyone else's All you can do is compare where you've been and where you are now, and what you chose to do in between." -The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl

I think the lessons I was reminded of when reading this book were really important, especially during a month where everything for me was turned on it's head. I needed to regroup and refocus and decide what I really wanted and recommit myself to that goal.


For more information on Shauna and her journey you can find her at http://www.shaunareid.com/

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