LOSING IT: FALSE HOPES AND FAT PROFITS IN THE DIET INDUSTRY; INTERIOR PASSAGES; OBESITY AND TRANSFORMATION
A cartoon I saw recently sums up the ambivalent relationship many women have with their bodies: a woman sits by the roadside, holding a sign that reads, "Will diet for food." Anyone who has bargained with her bulges-"If I lose five pounds, I'll reward myself with an ice cream"-can relate to these love-hate feelings about food.
These books address the conundrum of weight loss and body image, from opposite directions. Losing It author Laura Fraser, with a background in magazine writing, is strong on research. She is so thorough in investigating her subject that the book occasionally gets bogged down in its own surfeit of information. From Weight Watchers to fenphen, every conceivable diet scheme and scam gets its own chapter. She scrutinizes every weight-loss regimen, clinic, drug, exercise plan, food substitute, diet doctor and weight-reduction support group.
The thoroughness of this book makes it a slow slog of a read, unless the reader is highly motivated to learn all the grim details of the diet industry. She sets out to convince you to forgo impossible weight-loss miracles and take the non-diet path to healthy eating and an active lifestyle, including a final chapter on "The Anti-Diet: 10 Steps to a Healthier Body and Attitude." It's all common sense (1. Stop dieting. 2. Get moving....10. Rebel against the diet culture). Fraser does a fine job of convincing the reader, intellectually at least. But a woman's body is more than a resting place for her brain, and a strictly intellectual argument isn't always enough. That's where Interior Passages comes in. Quebec writer and professor Francine Saillant has written an extremely personal book, an impressionistic journal of her experience of being fat in a skinny world, and documenting her struggle …