The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude


Here’s the skinny: After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting with pills, hypnosis, and ill-informed half-measures, Carol Lay finally shed her excess pounds and kept them off. Now this California cartoonist shares her experiences in a funny, genuine, and eye-popping graphic memoir that tells Carol’s story and shows you how you can do it, too.

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The Big Skinny

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Here’s the skinny: After a lifetime of yo-yo dieting with pills, hypnosis, and ill-informed half-measures, Carol Lay finally shed her excess pounds and kept them off. Now this California cartoonist shares her experiences in a funny, genuine, and eye-popping graphic memoir that tells Carol’s story and shows you how you can do it, too.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Lay’s] wicked sense of humor brings laughs to her dieting struggles...The Big Skinny is a first.”—Publishers Weekly, cover story“As weight-loss self-help and well-formed sequential-art narrative, The Big Skinny demonstrates that direct and simple can be satisfying approaches that yield admirable results.”—Booklist“It’s one thing to read about a weight loss journey; it’s another thing altogether to see it. Read Carol Lay’s The Big Skinny. You’ll carry in your head the pictures of the sepia junk-food and the Carmen Miranda whole-food bodies every time you think about eating. Ms. Lay brings a potent, funny, step-by-brutally-honest-step to the canon of weight loss sagas.”—Frances Kuffel, author of Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding Myself"The Big Skinny is the ultimate anti-diet book. With wit and artistic talent Lay delivers rational reasons why diets never last and offers healthy solutions to the all-too-common problem of obesity."—Stephanie Klein, author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp"Exploding with courage, kindness, and hilarity, The Big Skinny just might reveal a new law of physics: an ever-expanding mind can equal a shrinking waistline."—Marian Henley, author of The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story"The Big Skinny is wonderfully appealing and always entertaining. Carol Lay really gets to the heart of things."—Kim Deitch, author of The Boulevard of Broken Dreams“The world’s first graphic memoir-cum-diet book…[Lay’s] plainspoken commitment to the hard work of weight loss and ending the self-delusion that is, for her, at the heart of “fattitude” is refreshing amid a raft of newfangled diet fads that promise effortless, overnight results.”— “The conversational tone and comfortable, engaging humor make the whole book read like a conversation with a dear friend… It’s fun and funny, it’s intelligent and helpful, and it’s tremendously well drawn… The Big Skinny [is] a rewarding experience for those who need its expertise and even for those of us who just love great comics.” —Newsarama “Lay uses imaginative story lines to show it ain’t easy… [she] looks weight in the eye with a sense of humor but that doesn’t discount the poignant struggle.” — “A lively graphic memoir about one California cartoonist’s battle against the bulge—and how she emerged victorious.” —People “You can go to any bookstore and find a book by some bleach-toothed yahoo trying to sell you their faddy diet that can make you lose tons of weight in two weeks (provided you live on a diet of only grapefruit and sacrifice your firstborn child to Satan)…this is not practical, and will more than likely not produce good results… Lay advises to simply watch what you eat and exercise regularly, which is what any doctor or dietitian will tell you… Seeing [serving sizes] illustrated makes everything so much clearer than reading a description.”— "More like your favorite comic strip than another diet book, The Big Skinny offers a big serving of helpful, hilarious advice ... Her sharp wit and unflinching honesty ... just might inspire you to lose those extra 10 pounds and keep them off for good."—Parade Magazine “The great Carol Lay’s turn at graphic autobiography results in a diet and nutrition book… She employs her sharp eye and sharper pen to recount the metamorphosis in an entertaining, enlightening and heartfelt story.” —Miami Herald"A charming graphic memoir. After failing with diets, Lay finds a solution - it's simpler than you think."—OK Magazine “This book doubles as a personal story and a guide to weight loss, complete with recipes, sample daily menus, tips, calorie charts, and more…As entertaining, approachable, and practical a guide to weight loss as any, and Lay’s personal story keeps it lively.”—A.V. Club, The Onion “Meeting with author-artist Carol Lay in the flesh is wonderfully disconcerting. So closely does she resemble the cartoon version of herself in her whimsical cartoon memoir about dieting, The Big Skinny: How I Changed My Fattitude—tall, brunette, with black horn-rimmed glasses and, yes, a slender figure—that shaking Lay’s hand becomes an almost metaphysical experience.… [Lay’s] wicked sense of humor brings laughs to her dieting struggles.… The Big Skinny is a first.”—Publishers Weekly, cover story “As weight-loss self-help and well-formed sequential-art narrative, The Big Skinny demonstrates that direct and simple can be satisfying approaches that yield admirable results.”—Booklist “Appealing on every level. It's wonderfully written and illustrated. It's funny and easy-to-read… It's honest, revealing and refreshing… But here's the real deal; it also makes her diet a lot more reasonable than anything else I've almost ever seen; this offered with the proviso that I generally avoid such books because they might give me cooties. The Big Skinny may or may not change your life, but it will certainly liven up your perception of diet books— and yourself. Pretty much step one, right there. You may or may not lose weight, but you certainly won't feel as if you've lost time.” —The Agony Column "Bravo to cartoonist Carol Lay ... she has a real sense of humor about it that makes her 100 percent amiable. You can’t help but love her whether she’s failing or succeeding." — “Wonderfully clear, crisp, and colorful…The Big Skinny is a fine effort, well drawn and charmingly presented. And if you know someone making a New Year’s resolution (or you are), it might be a perfect gift… to them or to you.” —Comics Waiting Room "Cartoonist Lay’s hilarious graphic memoir reveals how she finally purged the excess pounds and found her sleek, chic self. Tartly poking fun at yo-yo diets and food obsessions ... Lay promotes a you-can-do-it brand of exercise and healthy eating with wit and sass.” —DAME Magazine
Library Journal

Counting calories and exercising: sooo boring-until transformed into comics. At age 50, cartoonist Lay (Way Lay; Good Night, Irene) decided she'd had it with her yo-yo weight and decided to downsize her foodstyle. There's nothing radical here: the fat-and-introverted adolescent, the ineffective quick fixes like diet pills and hypnosis, the junk-food binges-and salvation via healthy foods, counting calories, and exercising regularly. But Lay's lively, amusing drawings keep the message fresh and compelling. First comes her life history as "fattie," plus her daily routine for eating and exercising. Then follows a fat-prevention smorgasbord, including tips for outwitting emotional triggers to eat, reasons why you don't see fat people in cave paintings, ways to handle workplace food pushers, and sample workouts for both gym goers and the gymless. She ends with calorie charts, menu plans, and recipes. By rendering her diet dilemmas in memorable, colorful visuals-she talks turkey to a wind-up toy of herself and pictures fatty food as a greaser boyfriend-she encourages readers to use visualization themselves to solve their own weight issues. While Lay does mention a few resources, a short bibliography of print and web resources would have been useful. Recommended for teen and adult collections. (See also Jude Milner's Fat Free: The Amazing All-True Adventures of Supersize Woman!, LJ1/07.)
—Martha Cornog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345504043
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/30/2008
  • Pages: 195
  • Sales rank: 1,336,461
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 31, 2009

    Must read this refreshing diet book!!

    Cartoonist/Writer Carol Lay has beautifully created a very ingenious guidebook to losing weight and keeping it off. Part memoir, Ms. Lay shares her own journey to weight loss, explaining and elaborating on her key components to success...counting calories, healthy foods and exercising regularly. Also examined are the emotional reasons she compulsively overate and how to address these types of problem. This delightfully cartooned book also features inspirational stories, helpful tips, key steps, exercises, calorie charts, visual equivalents, menu plans and delicious recipes! Other valuable information included is how to survive at work and on vacation. I really, truly loved this book because it provides important information in a refreshing, entertaining format. Ms. Lay is a marvelously gifted artist, whose amazing pictures completely captivated me from page 1. Especially beneficial to me was the page on how to 'measure' food portions using visual equivalents. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS informative, inspiring book!!

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Amusing and motivating

    I saw this book in-store and it caught my eye. Thought I'd buy it the "next time" I was there. Of course, the display had changed and I could not remember the title or author. That made it difficult for the lady at the information desk to help. Looked on-line under "diet" and "weight loss" and "graphic novel" and combinations but could not find it. Then thought to look under "comics" and voila!

    It is amusing and entertaining and educational and motivating and incredibly helpful. I especially like the way it addresses "attitude" since that is my major struggle: losing weight is not something you "have to do"; it is something you "get to do". What an empowering message to hear when feeling stuck or in the throes of feeling sorry for yourself.

    A must-read for anyone who needs a jump-start and a great resource for once you get started!

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  • Posted January 10, 2009


    Everyone looking to lose a few extra pounds this year should read this book!! It teaches you how to lose weight in a guaranteed way! It's also very funny, very entertaining, and very easy to read. It also has some pretty good, healthy, low-calorie recipes at the end. (By the way, it reads like a COMIC book :) ). Also, it's very educational. The author talks about chips, fast food, even spray butter. The author started this diet in her 50's. If she can do it, so can you!! I LOVED IT!! Then I gave it to my mom so she could read it too!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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