Book Reviews: Health at Every Size
Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD
If you've been following for some time you'll know that I struggle a ton with food. When I wrote my welcome to my breakfast post back in 2016, I was seeking ways of building a good relationship with food. I have a whole category dedicated to Baking Because... Insert Emotion here. Linda Bacon's book has been in my amazon cart for a couple of years now. I didn't want to purchase it because it would mean facing the problem. The problem being that a lot of societies thoughts or the myths around health and fat are wrong and diving into this book would be poking holes into another subject where I was safer in denial. But once you've made a realization you can't stop yourself from seeking out sources and I have.
In seeking information out, I just could no longer avoid my thoughts on the subject of food and I'd rather be informed, at least a little. Health at Ever Size is a book I wish I could give to many women and yet as a woman who hasn't been ready for this book until now, I am aware that not everyone is ready to hear, believe, and see the science behind it, that dieting doesn't work. That dieting is not healthy for you and can have long term consequences. That there is such a thing as a happy weight that your body will maintain by itself, if you just eat intuitively, however that number might not be what you want.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is pretty far into the journey of body acceptance and just looking for a little science to back them up, vs what almost every other book focuses on which is the emotional aspects.
As you can tell from the picture I have a lot of pages marked up as things to review in the future. Chapter 4 - has 4 pages bookmarked, chapter 5 - 6, chapter 8 - 5, chapter 9 - 2, chapter 10 - 1, and chapter 11 - 1. The book is divided into 2 parts totaling 12 chapters.
Part 1: Deconstructing Weight
These six chapters were the introduction and the science behind Health at Every Size. These chapters were heavily loaded with information and I was constantly going back and forth between the chapters and the appendix/references. Anything that semi caught my interest led me to googling the study and looking it up. I did this for a two reason. One I was curious to see if the studies were as she presented them to be and in all the ones I checked they were. Two because it's kinda amazing how much politics controls our lives and yet we or at least in terms of myself, know very little about it.
I found many pages helpful, particularly the fiber information. I have been aware of fiber but not really of it's purpose and it actually explained a lot to me about bowel movements, that I was unaware of. Further googling was needed in this case and I look forward to experiment with fiber in my diet more. I also found a few things unhelpful. The restrained vs unrestrained eater and the intuitive eating scale. I fall almost perfectly in the middle. One side of me is happy about this because I think it means that I am getting better in my decisions when it comes to food. Another part was frustrated because falling in the middle wasn't really talked about, nor was the yo-yo of day to day life, where one month you're one and the next you're the other. I understand why that wasn't covered but it was definitely something I wanted out of the book.
Part 2: Heath at Every Size
The last six chapters explain the program, the "rules", and was definitely more the emotional part of the book. I enjoyed this more as it was more of what I was expected and is definitely easier for me to read. She had a lot of questions that I hadn't really thought to ever ask myself, specifically on page 202 - analyzing your eating journal and 249 - is your sugar/fat habit causing you harm. I like how she broke down the eating journal, it's very different from anything I've seen in the past. I have kept many food journals over my life and have found them all to be frustrating. But one based on my emotions around food is fascinating. As an emotional being I like identifying what's causing certain emotions to come to life (specifically anger), doing that around food I think would be interesting. I have not yet committed to doing the journal yet but it's definitely something I am considering.
The sugar/fat habit questions I found most interesting following the eating journal. Specifically because I tend to be a junk food binger when emotions run high and in the last six months the sugar being consumed has not helped in the least. Paying attention to that has been frustrating because I miss the feeling of problem solved with the consumption of sugar. Examining my emotions and having specific questions to ask myself I think will help.
Overall I am glad to have read this book and I look forward to reread aspects of it again. I think in the future I will probably only fully read part 2 and just skim some of my highlights from part 1.
What are your thoughts on Health at Every Size? Are you aware of your relationship with food and is it a positive or negative one?
Other books read this week:
1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Library) ★★★★ - very predictable, though still a good tale.
Books attempted but unfinished:
1. Gardens of the moon by Steven Erikson - recommended by a friend but I could not get into it. After 150 pages, I gave up. Interestingly the reviews show people loving it and five star ratings or giving up like I did. Steven Erikson definitely builds an amazing world, there just wasn't enough character to keep me going.
2. Large Animals by Jess Arndt - odd format, just couldn't get into it. Which is a shame because there are definitely good topics covered in here.
3. Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado - I want to like short stories, but I just can't get into them. I always want more. For example the invisible women, I want more, it's an interesting story idea and I think it would be fasinating book.