Sunday, Aug. 14, 2005 | 12:20 p.m.



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Still More Coolness

I'm Not the New Me

Finished I'm Not the New Me last night. It was a breeze of a read, maybe not a little because I felt like I was reading my own journal, except it was written by a wittier, more talented me.

This is not a "self-help" book or even a book that necessarily has a "happy" ending, at least not in the traditional sense. It is a book that is unfailingly honest, sometimes in ways that recalled Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone for me. Wendy McClure's experience with Weight Watchers eerily echoes my own -- going like gangbusters with a program that is easy, that works, albeit with some annoying aspects (like the candy cardboard meetings that yes, to quote a good friend, are something like SNL skits), then slowing down on the loss... obsessing over the silly magnets and bookmarks and ultimately, going off program for reasons that are hard to pin down.

McClure says early on that "losing weight has gotten harder after the first round of compliments because going on feels vaguely improper, like staying at a party too long." Oh man, could I relate to that. The first time I was on WW, I lost almost 50 lbs. and then returned to Arizona, where I had lived prior to the loss. People were bowled over, they were effusive in praise, so much so that I wondered just how bad I had looked before, when people were still telling me I was "beautiful." Soon after this trip, I stopped going to WW, stopped following the program. No particular reason that I can nail down, though McClure comes close. The same thing happened this year, after I dropped the twenty pounds from January to May. I posted about it, got rounds of compliments... and soon after, quit the program I had devised for myself.

I also love the side stories about having an online "diary" in which you discuss the details of your life, how it was intertwined with everything happening for her... the ups and downs of having a comments section and posted email address. She writes in one particular chapter about people sending emails that she doesn't respond to for fear of saying the wrong thing. I can relate to that.

I totally shared her joy at being able to find a non-fat-chick clothing store (Old Navy) where I could have an approximation of what it's like to buy clothes in a "normal" store. I literally have had that same experience... only to stop and realize that, well, so now I have two choices instead of one. Woo. Her stories of clothing in general really felt familiar -- the miles of black, the fashions that may have been the right size, but that were fashioned for smaller bodies and so on.

Mostly I appreciated that it was clear that this was Wendy's journey and not one that anyone else should take -- back to the not-a-self-help book thing -- but that in that honesty, I found more reflection and acceptance of my own journey.

Buy it!

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Recent Entries ...
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