Bethenny Frankel’s Skinnygirl diet book: a review
Books can amuse, provoke, and heal. They can inspire art. They can also inspire one to be fit and healthy. From Dr. Atkins to the Paleo diet, a plethora of information is easily afforded to everyone who seeks enlightenment. Because accessing most types of information is pretty straightforward nowadays, the battle has now shifted to whom to listen to.
I browse bookstores occasionally, and every now and then I come across books that deserve a second glance. One of these books is “Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting” by Bethenny Frankel with Eve Adamson (Simon & Schuster, 2009). Bethenny Frankel is a celebrity chef and is chiefly known for her role in Bravo TV’s The Real Housewives of New York City. Her book comes with ten rules that promises to free people from a lifetime of dieting while still being able to indulge in gastronomic treats. Have your cake and eat it too? Why not?
Paying attention is always a great way to control portions. Being in the present also allows you to enjoy your food thoroughly because you’re really tasting the food you are eating. According to Dr. Lisa Firestone in her Psychology Today blog, mindfulness is a fantastic tool to help people deal with their emotions in healthy ways. It allows us to “better able to labels the thoughts and feelings we are having, instead of allowing them to overpower us and dictate our behavior.” If this means that mindfulness can help one combat emotional eating, then that’s even more incentive to practice it.
Food noise vs. food voice
Frankel talks about two conflicting voices in our heads, our food noise versus our food voice. The former is obssessive. It tells you to not eat a particular food, or to always give in to your sugar cravings. It’s deeply rooted I stress and self-disparagement. It sounds like the voice people with eating disorders listen to. The latter, meanwhile, knows what you need. It also tells you when you’ve had enough. Needless to say, she advises the reader to drown out one’s food noise and just focus on one’s food voice.
Downsizing portion sizes is also a useful and practical tip. Use smaller plates whenever possible because it tricks your mind into thinking that you’re getting more. Also, know when a serving can feed more than one. Especially in the States, they have servings that are the equivalent of the upsize options in our restaurants. When faced with such a dish, do share or at least have half of it
Utilize fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Purchase the ones in season because they’re fresher and cheaper. Each chapter of the book comes with easy to intermediate level recipes that incorporate the use of vegetables and other healthy ingredients.
Good for you
Essentially, this means choose what’s good for you, and this also includes your fitness choices. The author says to pick a sport that you love and do it regularly, and this is something I wholeheartedly agree with. If you love it, you’ll stick with it. So even if fun runs are incredibly popular nowadays, if running isn’t your thing, then don’t do it. Do yourself a favor and look for something you enjoy.
Canceling your membership in the Clean Plate Club
Maybe it’s because I live in a country where a part of the population live in poverty. Maybe the concept of a clean plate has been ingrained to me for too long. Either way, I find it hard to just eat three bites of something and then walk away (more on that soon). Frankel firmly believes in not finishing everything on your plate. Instead, you can either taste your order and then simply leave the rest or have it wrapped to go.
The Point of Diminishing Returns
According to the author, you may eat absolutely everything you like, but if after a few bites the food you’re eating starts to taste less than heavenly, then you should stop eating already. It’s a great concept theoretically, but perusing a sample of her three-week menu gave me a better idea of how and what she typically eats. She generally orders sides and appetizers to control her portions and doesn’t ever seem to finish those. As mentioned earlier, to be “naturally thin” it is okay to eat everything in moderation. Her idea of moderation, however, is at most half a serving of everything: half a bagel with the contents scooped out, half a cup of iced coffee with vanilla soy creamer, three bites of decadent chocolate cake, or one bite each of lasagna and crispy chicken with skin. She also dilutes fruit juice with water.
I’m not quite sure if this part is advisable. If a dish is reasonably-sized, and if you do keep a reasonably active lifestyle, then why not consume the entire thing? At the end of the day, go with food that keeps you healthy, happy, and satisfied. I know it’s easier said than done, but nourish yourself without going overboard.
Overall, I appreciate Frankel’s go-getter and positive attitude. It is this attitude and mindset that has allowed her to be the success that she is now. I have misgivings about her food portions, though. You somehow get the feeling that she just takes portioning to the extreme. Some of her food choices aren’t as healthy as could be as well. I’m not sure how many nutritionists would happily advise their clients to eat the way Frankel eats.
Naturally Thin is available at Amazon.
What about you? Have you read her book? What are your thoughts about it? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
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Image from amazon.com.