Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hungry, by Crystal Renn

One of the things I want this blog to be is a place where I can talk about the struggles of trying to lose weight.  Somehow, I got to be over 100 pounds overweight (that's a story for another time).  I struggled for a long time to accept that I've overweight (actually obese, if you want to put labels on it).  Then it took me a long to accept myself at that weight.  The funny thing is, losing weight actually became easier when I started to actually like my body.  I'm not longer battling myself, battling my body, I'm not losing weight in spite of my body, I'm embracing myself.  I'm able to stay on Weight Watchers because I'm eating nutritious, good food.  I don't feel like I'm depriving myself, I can still live my life.

That's what drew me to the book Hungry, by Crystal Renn.

Front Cover

When she wrote this book, Crystal Renn was the highest paid plus sized model in the world.  She had started her career as a "straight-sized" model, meaning she was about a size zero.  In her book, she describes how the only way she was able to maintain that size was through anorexia and hours at the gym every day.  She hated herself and her life as a size zero.  On top of that, she wasn't a very successful model - she didn't have any spark, nothing unique about her personality, mostly because she was so hungry all the time, all she could thing about was food.

I picked up this book because, even though I struggle with the opposite problem of eating too much, I thought reading about a model's struggle to find a healthy weight and embrace her body would help me work through some of my own food and self esteem issues.

I really, really wanted to like this book.  I really did.  And I commend Crystal for telling her story in such a public way.  I do think the book helps with size acceptance.  But I just couldn't get used to the tone.  It was too cheerful, as though all your problems will be solved if you just learn to love your body.  It's like she was just able to flip a switch and start eating again, as though you can get over an eating disorder through sheer willpower.  

I know this is Crystal's story, not the story of eating disorders.  If I wanted that, I would have found a text book on eating disorders.  But the tone was so cheerful, and that was hard for me to get over.  That may my own problem.  I may be too cynical for this book.

I will give it this - it made me think about how we define beauty.  I know I will never be a size 0.  And I would be thrilled if I could look as good as Crystal looks on the cover of her book.  She's either a size 10 or 12 in that picture.  So the book did help me think realistically about my weight loss goals.

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