So I’m just about finished with How to Become Naturally Thin By Eating More, and confusion has set in.
First of all, the author starts out great guns about how we can trust our bodies to know what they want and need; then she proceeds to fill the rest of the book with hints, nudges and outright insistence that we don’t actually know.
How do you know? Well, you ask yourself continuous questions that lead you away from trusting yourself. (Paraphrasing alert…) “What do you REALLY want? Are you SURE you want that candy bar? Huh huh huh? No normal body could possibly really want a candy bar. Don’t you want a roast beef sandwich?” No, I want a fucking candy bar, so NOW what do I do?
Enter (Grim_Music_Here) “Pleasure Foods”
Well, the author’s answer to that is to go ahead and have the candy bar, which is just a PLEASURE food (this phrase will take on the emotional tones of “kitten-killing Nazi” by the time you finish the book, I promise you) if you really, really must have it. But no more than once a month at most, she later says (on p. 184)…after having made damned sure you’re going to feel like the shit on a rhino’s heel for doing so.
But go ahead and eat it. No, really. You’ll never become naturally thin that way and you’ll remain eating disordered and just generally fucked up on top of being fat and you’ll definitely be lying to yourself because there can be no other possibility, but…sure. You can. I know because Antonello said so.
What Happened to the Trusting My Own Body Part?
How exactly is this “trusting your own body” or “owning your own diet”? “My body says I should grab X…but no, that couldn’t possibly be it because it isn’t on Jean Antonello’s Real Foods list, so what do I REALLY want? No…couldn’t be Y either because Y has peanut butter, a ‘perfect food,’ but it does have some sugar in it…could it be Z? Even though it has no protein? BINGO, I must REALLY want a bagel loaded with butter!”
Whew! You narrowly missed eating something unhealthy like sweetened yogurt instead. (/wiping brow with relief)
And Let’s Pass All This On to the Children While We’re At It
She even does this to her own child. She gives a description of the little boy being tired and crying for candy. Okay, so she has a point there, and every parent knows it. But immediately she starts jerking the boy around. Why? Because deep inside, it’s obvious Ms. Antonello does not believe in her own eating plan and the body’s naturally good choices. Therefore, she does exactly what she claims she’s shocked by most parents doing: she manipulates the hell out of the boy around to the choices she has already made for him (in this case, a banana and orange juice)…but she does it in a psych-enough type way that she doesn’t think she’s doing it.
She doesn’t trust her son to do well with intuitive eating without her extreme interference.
And she doesn’t trust me to do so, either. Or you.
I did get some great tips out of Naturally Thin, but overall I felt pushed, manipulated and jerked one way and another constantly by this author’s insinuations about how I am “totally allowed to own” my own diet…well, unless it’s pure crap, as judged by Antonello’s very questionable “nutritional” standards.
So what are “Real Foods”? Hold onto your hat: the author describes peanut butter and jelly as the perfect “Real Foods” meal. White rice is there and so is white bread.
Yogurt is NOT a “Real Food” if it contains sweetener. It’s apparently less healthy than the peanut butter and jelly sandwich on WHITE BREAD. Huh?
But, oh, wait. Cereal is a “real food” too…well, until later in the book when, if it’s sweetened with anything (for the love of God have you ever eaten no-sugar-added oatmeal? It’s like wallpaper paste) it becomes a “Pleasure Food.”
The rules keep changing with this author, but no matter what they change to, that’s where you’re supposed to follow – making the whole thing creepily reminiscent of the common brainwashing technique of constantly changing the rules until the victim begins to follow them no matter how nonsensical or counterintuitive they become. She peppers in plenty of veiled threats about what a huge ugly old donkey you’ll become if you don’t do what she’s saying in a given chapter. Voila – you’re following something. But what? And is any of it actually making you healthier?
Sorry…Wouldn’t Recommend It
Despite what I did get from this book, I would not advise it as a starting-point to Intuitive Eating.
We’ll see what Geneen Roth has to say next; I have a book of hers on order. Meanwhile I’m still eating and feeling good. I’ll have a weight update this Friday.