"Body of Truth"

“Body of Truth”

Your summer clothes don’t fit this year.

You’ll admit that you weren’t paying attention: too many holiday cookies, too little New Years’ resolving. The pounds crept up and you need to lose them before they multiply again. It’s for your health and well-being, right?

Or maybe not. In the new book “Body of Truth” by Harriet Brown, you’ll see that everything you thought you knew about weight may be a big fat lie.

Some twenty-five years ago on a “sticky summer evening,” Harriet Brown sat in a therapist’s chair, sobbing about her weight. Once, she’d been thin but “three pregnancies and a whole lot of living” later, she couldn’t take off the pounds.

She was absolutely stunned when the therapist asked if she could learn to be okay with the body she had. She “couldn’t even consider the possibility” that having a few extra pounds wasn’t such a bad thing.

Even the language we use for weight has changed in the past few years: what was once chubby or husky is now “obese” or “overweight,” words that carry a meaner stigma. Yes, as a society, we’ve gained weight but our eating habits and our sedentary lives are not solely to blame. There are, says Brown, several reasons for weight gain, one of which is that dieting is generally detrimental.

Statistically speaking, just five percent of dieters keep the weight off, long-term; the other 95 percent of calorie-counters usually gain back any weight lost, and then some. We understand that yo-yo dieting is unhealthy, but we may not know that some researchers believe there’s no increased risk of death due to extra weight. Even so, says Brown, physicians sometimes admit to having “weight bias,” and treat (or don’t treat) patients accordingly.

But our obsession with weight goes much deeper than just physical effects.

Negative social pressure can affect our mental health, which suffers when we loathe our bodies and indulge in “fat talk.” What’s worse is that our emphasis on weight adversely affects future generations: some pediatricians recommend that infants be put on diets and one study found three-year-old children who were “unhappy with their bodies.”

Says Brown, “Something is definitely wrong with this picture.”

Food for thought. No pun intended, but that’s what you’ll find in “Body of Truth.” You’ll also find a good amount of controversy.

For readers who struggle with their weight, there’s a certain Ahhhhh-feeling of freedom that comes with author Harriet Brown’s urging for acceptance. It’s hard not to see that our attitudes about being overweight have gone overboard, and it’s equally hard to argue with the experts and research she cites.

Definitely, this could cause weight-watching readers’ heads to spin – but Brown is quick to reassure the flummoxed: “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach…” when it comes to weight or loss thereof.

Overall, I really liked this book – in part, because it provides more balance in a world where new diets come out seemingly every day. If you’ve grown weary of that, then read “Body of Truth.” You may have nothing to lose.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Email her at bookwormsez@gmail.com.

More in Life

Achieving the crispy, flaky layers of golden goodness of a croissant require precision and skill. (Photo by Tresa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Reaching the pinnacle of patisserie

Croissants take precision and skill, but the results can be delightful

This 1940s-era image is one of few early photographs of Cliff House, which once stood near the head of Tustumena Lake. (Photo courtesy of the Secora Collection)
Twists and turns in the history of Cliff House — Part 1

Here, then, is the story of Cliff House, as least as I know it now.

File
Minister’s Message: What’s in a name?

The Scriptures advise, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches.”

Visitors put on personal protective equipment before an artist talk by Dr. Sami Ali' at the Jan. 7, 2022, First Friday opening of her exhibit, "The Mind of a Healthcare Worker During the COVID-19 Pandemic," at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
ER doctor’s paintings follow passage of pandemic

Dr. Sami Ali made 2019 resolution to paint every day — and then the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Almond flour adds a nuttiness to this carrot cake topped with cream cheese frosting. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: A ‘perfect day’ cake

Carrot cake and cream cheese frosting make for a truly delicious day off

File
Minister’s Message: A prayer pulled from the ashes

“In that beleaguered and beautiful land, the prayer endures.”

A copy of “The Year of Magical Thinking” by author Joan Didion is displayed on an e-reader. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Didion’s “Year of Magical Thinking” is a timely study on grief

‘The last week of 2021 felt like a good time to pick up one of her books.’

Megan Pacer / Homer News
Artist Asia Freeman, third from left, speaks to visitors on Nov. 1, 2019, at a First Friday art exhibit opening at Kachemak Bay Campus in Homer.
Freeman wins Governor’s Arts Humanities Award

Bunnell Street Arts Center artistic director is one of nine honored.

Zirrus VanDevere’s pieces are displayed at the Kenai Art Center on Jan. 4, 2022. (Courtesy Alex Rydlinski)
A journey of healing

VanDevere mixes shape, color and dimension in emotional show

Traditional ingredients like kimchi, ramen and tofu are mixed with American comfort food Spam in this hearty Korean stew. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Warm up with army base stew

American soldiers introduced local cooks to some American staple ingredients of the time: Spam and hotdogs.

File
Peninsula Crime: Bad men … and dumb ones — Part 2

Here, in Part Two and gleaned from local newspapers, are a few examples of the dim and the dumb.

File
Minister’s Message: What if Christ had not been born?

It is now time to look at the work and life of Jesus Christ.