When I released Diet Recovery 2 (99 cents until midnight tonight on Amazon), I had no idea that Jillian Michaels, the devil diet diva herself, would be releasing a book on the exact same day – her new testament of health holiness, Slim for Life. As you can go ahead and assume, it indeed brought me great joy to see my book edge ahead of hers in the rankings.
But I thought taking the time to read (skim) her new book and write a short review here would bring me, and you, even more joy.
In the beginning of Slim for Life I remained optimistic. She reminded me much of myself in the beginning of my health exploits, going on and on about eating unprocessed foods and abusing the word “crap” as an adjectified noun to describe anything that wasn’t a whole grain, vegetable, fruit, or meat.
She dazzled me with lots of acronyms. PCB, HFCS, BPA, and MSG oh my! But as I continued to read my heart sank lower and lower and lower and lower, until I found it wedged between my toes.
It couldn’t be more appropriate for me to review this book, because Slim for Life and Diet Recovery 2 are almost the exact opposite book. And it’s all too fitting that the two books have had a chance to square off against one another, at least for a little while (I obviously don’t have the kind of notoriety and fame of Jillian to keep my book hovering up around the Dr. Phils and Bill O’Reilly’s of Amazon’s nonfiction category where it has been the last 2 days - especially not at a price higher than 99 cents).
In this book, Jillian shows just how polluted her mind has become with health mindfulness. It was a painful, very painful, reminder of just how disordered our society has become around our health and fitness practices. Jillian makes a huge mistake in presenting literally EVERY little neurotic thing one could ever build up around his or her diet, and then allows the reader to choose what seems most realistic and doable. It’s this that I found so disheartening.
While it starts out with a strong message that we should eat healthier foods that are unprocessed without a bunch of foreign ingredients, we should eat breakfast and have square meals regularly throughout the day to nourish instead of starve ourselves, don’t eat an extreme low-fat or low-carb diet – sentiments I can swallow in terms of general recommendations, the book quickly devolves into extreme eating disorder territory. I could see anorexics using this as a guidebook. It was shocking some of the things I read in this book…
Shop with a cart and not a basket because walking upright with a tall posture leads to better resistance against tempting junk foods?
Wear tight clothing to shop at the grocery store to remind yourself of how fat you are and thus choose healthier foods?
Blot the fat off of your food after you cook it?
Get an oil spritzer thing to spray your food with a fine mist of fat to cut back on calories?
Work out with your heart rate over 85% of max up to 6 days a week?
Scrape the bread out of your bagel? (I swear to Bob Harper she said that)
Dip your fork in salad dressing before you pick up a piece of lettuce while eating a salad, instead of pouring dressing on it?
Never shop for groceries with your kids, or on an empty stomach – because you might come home with Froot Loops (I thought this was particularly funny because I went shopping with a 7-year old last night and strongarmed her into getting Froot Loops instead of what she wanted – Cinnamon Toast Crunch… Froot Loops was BOGO free, who could resist a sale son!)?
About the only thing that got me excited was the segment titled “Be Like Santa.” I quickly rushed to the kitchen and ate 10 cookies with a tall glass of milk, only to find when I returned that she didn’t mean that at all. She meant I “should make a grocery list and check it twice.”
These were just a few of the things that jumped out at me. The rest of the book was filled with tons of that other stuff about burning more calories and taking in fewer. Lots of that “take the stairs instead of the elevator” and ”bring a healthy dish to a party so you can have something healthy to eat” kind of paranoid calorie micromanagement. While this book, and all books, have some good points, the whole thing taken in all together was like watching king salmon being clubbed to death. My eyes got big and I made noises like most do when a linebacker goes helmet-first on a wide receiver. I enjoyed it but was extremely fortunate the club wasn’t being used on me. It was entertaining but in a sickening, shameful kind of way is what I’m saying.
If the book, and Jillian in general, have any strong points – it is her typical focus on strength, fitness, mobility, agility, balance, outdoor sports, and just being a vital and vibrant, strong, fit, and confident human being. That and keeping calories far above the extreme lows recommended by many diet authors, which puts her a small step above the worst of the worst diet scum. But like I said, you would come away with too much other neurotic and unnecessary, paralyzing information to possibly achieve that. Not to mention place some recklessly unrealistic and unsustainable expectations upon yourself to suddenly plunge into a puritanical life of clean eating and grueling exercise.
Anyway, Diet Recovery 2′s brief success over Jillian provides at least a small glimmer of hope for the future, when being so obsessive over diet and exercise is no longer congratulated, but frowned upon, like masturbating on an airplane. And people whose life revolves around what they eat and their body fat percentage gets them nominated for the title of “Biggest Loser.”
And one more for the clever wordplay tally, Jillian’s book shouldn’t be called Slim for Life. It should be called Life for Slim.
Remember to get DR2 when it’s still less than a buck for another 11 hours or so. And make the investment on a power toothbrush from Oral B while you’re there…