Friday, February 15, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid

As promised, I'm back with a review of The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl by Shauna Reid.  I'd begun the book during that 30+ hour journey from JFK to Manila and the book helped keep me entertained and on track throughout the unending trip.

The blurb:
At just twenty-three years old, Shauna Reid weighed 351 pounds. Spurred into action by the sight of her enormous white knickers billowing on the clothesline, she created the hugely successful blog “The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl.” Hiding behind her Lycra-clad, roly-poly alter-ego, her transformation from couch potato to svelte goddess began.

Today, eight thousand miles, seven years, and 175 pounds later, the gloriously gorgeous Shauna is literally half the woman she used to be. Hysterically funny and heart-wrenchingly honest, The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl includes travel tales from Australia to Paris to Red Square, plus romance when she meets the man of her dreams in a Scottish pub. This is the uplifting true story of a young woman who defeated her demons and conquered her cravings to become a real-life superhero to inspire us all.

 The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl is part memoir and part chicklit and heavily weighted towards the ups and downs of dieting.  It's not a book for everyone, but I think it'll speak to any woman whose had to struggle to lose weight. It's not a diet book really but as Dietgirl shares her experiences, you feel like you're living through it with her.  As I'm balancing Weight Watchers and the Cohen diet, I felt the book could have been written for me. 

Dietgirl holds little back.  We meet her when she's 351 lbs, stocking her snack drawer at work with bags of chocolates, having to buy larger and larger sizes, avoiding most social engagements, rotating the fast food joints so that folks don't comment on how often or how much she eats.  Rock bottom? Shauna's mother was a Weight Watchers leaders, so she'd grown up knowing about the system though it takes one of those awful moments to get her to the point where she's ready to sign up.

It's pretty tough. She's the biggest one there - so much so that they can't weigh her on their regular scale.  She'd signed up with her sister and the two of them together dive into the world of Weight Watcher point counting, recipes, and new habits.  It's wonderful to read how her body slowly adjusts - to portions, to tastes, to healthier choices - and how even Dietgirl's path to weightloss doesn't run smooth.

Most of us have gone through the ups and downs of successful dieting.  The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl holds little back and yet remains entertaining. Somehow the tedious details that come with dieting aren't boring when shared in Dietgirl's voice and the experiences do come across as adventures to savor - at least as a narrative to read (not to live!).

When Shauna and her sister take the plunge of leaving Australia for the 2 year work experience in Scotland, they  to cobble together another system with less resources (lower paying job, more expensive cost of living and costlier healthy food).  But it's also a chance for Shauna start over completely with people who never knew her at her heaviest.  Dieting, dating, and falling in love - Shauna lives a regular life with her past as a small secret.  The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl is such a fun and inspiring read that I plan to mention it at my next Weight Watcher's meeting and to share it with my women friends.  I'm a bit sad to hear that Shauna's stopped blogging at Dietgirl, but it's also great to learn that she's moved on to host a Health and Wellness site called Up and Running. 

ISBN-10: 0061657700 - Paperback $13.99
Publisher: Avon (December 30, 2008), 407 pages.
Review copy courtesy of the New York Public Library.

About the Author:
Shauna Reid began her  Dietgirl blog  in Canberra in January 2001 when she weighed in at 351 pounds (almost 160 kilos). Six years later, on the other side of the planet, she’d lost exactly half her body weight, fell in love, and crossed off most of the items on her "Things to Do When I'm Skinny" list.  Her enormously popular blog and articles led to the publication of Shauna's first book - The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl. 

While she's recently moved on from her Dietgirl blog, but the archives are remaining for anyone who’d like to have a stickybeak at twelve years of ups and downs, ins and outs and adventures.  Shauna can be found at - Up and Running

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