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The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size

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Overview

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, offers a revolutionary diet plan: Use writing to take off the pounds!

Over the course of the past twenty-five years, Julia Cameron has taught thousands of artists and aspiring artists how to unblock wellsprings of creativity. And time and again she has noticed an interesting thing: Often when her students uncover their creative selves they also undergo a surprising physical transformation? invigorated by their work, they slim down. In ...

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The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size

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Overview

Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, offers a revolutionary diet plan: Use writing to take off the pounds!

Over the course of the past twenty-five years, Julia Cameron has taught thousands of artists and aspiring artists how to unblock wellsprings of creativity. And time and again she has noticed an interesting thing: Often when her students uncover their creative selves they also undergo a surprising physical transformation— invigorated by their work, they slim down. In The Writing Diet, Cameron illuminates the relationship between creativity and eating to reveal a crucial equation: Creativity can block overeating.

This inspiring weight-loss program directs readers to count words instead of calories, to substitute their writing’s “food for thought” for actual food. The Writing Diet presents a brilliant plan for using one of the soul’s deepest and most abiding appetites—the desire to be creative—to lose weight and keep it off forever.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher

Praise for THE ARTIST'S WAY...

THE ARTIST’S WAY by Julia Cameron is not exclusively about writing—it is about discovering and developing the artist within whether a painter, poet, screenwriter or musician—but it is a lot about writing. If you have always wanted to pursue a creative dream, have always wanted to play and create with words or paints, this book will gently get you started and help you learn all kinds of paying-attention techniques; and that, after all, is what being an artist is all about. It’s about learning to pay attention.”
--Anne Lamott, Mademoiselle
 
“The premise of the book is that creativity and spirituality are the same thing, they come from the same place. And we were created to use this life to express our individuality, and that over the course of a lifetime that gets beaten out of us. [THE ARTIST’S WAY] helped me put aside my fear and not worry about whether the record would be commercial.”
--Grammy award-winning singer Kathy Mattea
 
“Julia Cameron brings creativity and spirituality together with the same kind of step-by-step wisdom that Edgar Cayce encouraged. The result is spiritual creativity as a consistent and nourishing part of daily life.”
--Venture Inward

“I never knew I was a visual artist until I read Julia Cameron’s THE ARTIST’S WAY.”
--Jannene Behl in Artist’s Magazine
 
“Julia Cameron’s landmark book THE ARTIST’S WAY helped me figure out who I really was as an adult, not so much as an artist but as a person. And award-winning journalist and poet, Cameron’s genius is that she doesn’t tell readers what they should do to achieve or who they should be—instead she creates a map for readers to start exploring these questions themselves.”
--Michael F. Melcher, Law Practice magazine
 
“This is not a self-help book in the normative sense. It is simply a powerful book that can challenge one to move into an entirely different state of personal expression and growth.”
--Nick Maddox, Deland Beacon
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY (with its companion volume THE ARTIST’S WAY MORNING PAGES JOURNAL) becomes a friend over time, not just a journal. Like a journal, it provokes spontaneous insights and solutions; beyond journaling, it establishes a process that is interactive and dynamic.”
--Theresa L. Crenshaw, M.D., San Diego Union-Tribune
 
 “If you really want to supercharge your writing, I recommend that you get a copy of Julia Cameron’s book THE ARTIST’S WAY. I’m not a big fan of self-help books, but this book has changed my life for the better and restored my previously lagging creativity.”
--Jeffrey Bairstow, Laser Focus World
 
“Working with the principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Cameron developed a three month program to recover creativity. THE ARTIST’S WAY shows how to tap into the higher power that connects human creativity and the creative energies of the universe.”
--Mike Gossie, Scottsdale Tribune
 
THE ARTIST’S WAY is the seminal book on the subject of creativity and an invaluable guide to living the artistic life. Still as vital today—or perhaps even more so—than it was when it was first published in 1992, it is a provocative and inspiring work. Updated and expanded, it reframes THE ARTIST’S WAY for a new century.”
--Branches of Light
 
“THE ARTIST’S WAY has sold over 3 million copies since its publication in 1992. Cameron still teaches it because there is sustained demand for its thoughtful, spiritual approach to unblocking and nurturing creativity. It is, dare we say, timeless.”
--Nancy Colasurdo, FOXBusiness
 
 
 
Praise for VEIN OF GOLD, the second volume in the ARTIST’S WAY trilogy
 
“For those seeking the wellspring of creativity, this book, like its predecessor, is a solid gold diving rod.”
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY

Praise for ARTISTS WAY EVERY DAY
 
“I’ve been a huge fan of Julia Cameron’s work since I first delved into THE ARTIST’S WAY over a decade ago. Since then she’s continued to create a series of inspirational books, the latest of which is THE ARTIST’S WAY EVERY DAY, a wonderful collection of meditations and daily inspiration. A great addition to any collection of meditation and inspirational materials, Ms. Cameron’s new offering is sure to guide you in a new direction.”
--Dishmag.com
 
“Now, Cameron’s most vital work is accessible in a daily guide. Intended for study for the course of a year, THE ARTIST’S WAY EVERY DAY extracts the essential teachings from Cameron’s groundbreaking work and assigns them to each of the 365 days.”
--Business Woman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585426980
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/26/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 8.18 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Considered to be the world's foremost expert on the creative process and the spiritual rewards of creativity, Julia Cameron is the author of twenty-six books including The Artist's Way, Walking in This World, and Finding Water. With combined sales of more than three million copies, her books have been published around the globe. A world-renowned teacher, she speaks regularly to standing-room only audiences.
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Read an Excerpt

The First Tool: Morning Pages

The first tool of the Writing Diet is a tool I have taught many times before. It is the basic tool of creative unblocking and the basic tool of successful long-term weight loss as well. You will write three pages every morning, a practice that I call Morning Pages. They are to be strictly stream of consciousness, no "high art" here. You simply move your hand across the page and write whatever thought comes into your head. Even "non-thoughts" are fine. Don't expect or demand that you have a writing style. Any style at all will do. So fret, gripe, worry, scold—or celebrate. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages.

Your pages may sound grumpy and whiny—"I'm awake and I want to sleep two more hours. I hate my job. I hate my boss. I hate the life I have invented for myself these days." Your pages might sound anxious and scattered. You might find yourself angry or sad. It's all right. It's all right. Your job is simply to get down on the page whatever it is you are.

What you are doing with your pages is something that in 12-step parlance is called "getting current." You are out to catch up on yourself, to pinpoint precisely what you are feeling and thinking. It's an interesting phrase, "getting current." Because that is exactly what we are doing. We are tapping into the energy flow in our lives, the current of who and what we are. When I get current, I feel more alive. I know who I am and what I want more of and what I want less of. Writing Morning Pages, I tap into a creative energy that flows like a subterranean river through my life.

One of the first fruits of Morning Pages is an upsurge of creativity in many forms. Apartments get painted. Curtains get hung. Long-overdue letters get written. Art forms that we have lost or forgotten come wafting back to us with increased urgency. "Don't put me off any longer," these zephyrs beg. When we listen to them, we start to flourish.

Morning Pages galvanize our days. They prioritize them as well. Writing Morning Pages, we begin to see that each day is made up of myriad "choice points" and that we have a great deal of freedom to choose exactly how we will live. Morning Pages make us aware of which activities are dead ends for us and which activities give us a sense of health and well-being. Like a tough-love friend, Morning Pages nudge us in the direction of needed change.

"I really need more exercise," we write one day. And a second day. And a third. On the fourth day we abruptly realize that we can take a twenty-minute walk on our lunch hour. We take that walk and the next day's pages record this small triumph.

Morning Pages put us in touch with our emotions. Often those emotions have been clogged, stuffed down beneath the weight of our busy days, days filled with work, relationships and, yes, food. Too often we have touched our feelings and recoiled as from a hot stove. We have been angry and felt our anger was taboo. We have been sad and turned to some mindless television to ignore it. We have even turned to food when we felt joy. Any intense emotion can trigger a Snack Attack.

Writing Morning Pages, our mindless lives are behind us. A day at a time, a page at a time, we become mindful, acutely attuned to our personal feelings. We might write "I am angry at my sister. Talking with her bores me silly. She just gets me on the phone and does a monologue. We haven't had a real conversation in years!" Realizing how we feel, we often make spontaneous changes. To our needy sister we say, "Wait a minute—there's something I want to tell you"—and then we tell her that we are not a wailing wall and that she, too, needs to learn to listen. To our surprise, she hears us. For the first time in years, conversation is a two-way street.

The pages examine all of our relationships, not the least of which is our relationship to food. "The junk food I am eating leaves me hung over," we might write. The very next day, faced with an opportunity to binge, we decline. "What's come over you?" our friends ask as we order a salad Niçoise instead of our usual chicken potpie.

"My tastes have changed," we might joke, but more than just our tastes are changing. Jeannie began her day on Coca-Cola and moved on from there to Cheerios. "It was like a five-year-old was feeding me," she laughs. Her Morning Pages pointed out to her that she was living on sugar and starch and that a few fruits and vegetables might be in order. One day she found herself buying a container of fresh strawberries. "I've always loved fresh strawberries, but I never let myself have them. I just didn't feel deserving. A month of pages changed the habits of years. I simply couldn't bear to see how I was treating myself. Once I did see it, I knew it had to stop—and it did."

The last time I heard from Jeannie, strawberries were a staple in her diet. She had exchanged her morning Coca-Colas for tea and had even started making herself salads for lunch. She had dropped three dress sizes and lost the telltale bloat on her fine-featured face. In the photo that she sent of herself and her new boyfriend, she looked fifteen years younger than her pre-pages self.

Morning Pages sweep the house of our consciousness. They poke into every odd corner of our thoughts. They are a catcher's mitt for many small ideas that lead to larger breakthroughs. "I'd like this room better red," we think one day of the foyer to our apartment. A week later the room is red and we do, in fact, like it better. But now we think our living room could use some sprucing up. It looks so dull by comparison…

A day at a time, a room at a time, we remake our environment. Now our apartment looks like someone with self-worth lives there. And someone with self-worth is struggling to be born.

"This relationship is suffocating me," we might write. Cornered by our pages, we face the difficult fact that our marriage is arid and that we feel parched and exhausted from trying single-handedly to make it work. "I deserve reciprocity," we scrawl early one morning. Later in the day we tell the same thing to our spouse. Standing up for ourselves, we begin to walk taller. We feel the self in self-worth.

It takes courage to undertake Morning Pages, but pages themselves give us courage. In the privacy of our journal, we admit the secrets we have been harboring. Once aired, those secrets lose their power to tyrannize us. Our pen is the scalpel with which we lance the psychic infections we have been carrying. "I hate this job," we write. "It's prestigious, but there's too much stress for too little reward."

Once we target a problem area, the pages are quick to suggest solutions. We are not trapped, pages remind us. We always have choices. Sometimes those choices are difficult. We may hate our job but love our salary. Pages encourage us to take accurate stock of our situation. Perhaps, for right now, the job is worth all its aggravation. We can choose to leave or we can choose to stay. Pages help us to sort our options.

Many of us find, writing pages, that we seem to be put into contact with a source of wisdom greater than ourselves. Answers swim into consciousness that seem far wiser than our personal thinking. It is for this reason that I have come to think of Morning Pages as an effective form of meditation—especially for hyperactive Westerners. Most of us have a hard time with conventional meditation. It is very difficult for us to sit calmly and do nothing for twenty minutes. With pages, you sit calmly and do something. That something, the motion of the hand across the page, is actually a way of tracking what meditators speak of as "cloud thoughts." As our thoughts cross our consciousness, we record them on the page. Oddly, the very act of writing down our concerns helps us to put those concerns in their proper perspective. We miniaturize our irrational worries. We underscore our legitimate concerns. Morning Pages are a sorting process. At first on the page and then in our lives, we begin to get things straight.

With our pages as our ally, we begin to face down difficult issues. Some of us face squarely a long-suspected drinking problem. Others admit to using television as a potent narcotic. Many of us find that food is our favored blocking device.

"I was a late-night eater," says Anthony. "I didn't realize this until I began to record in my Morning Pages what felt like hangovers. I wasn't drinking. In fact, I prided myself on several years of sobriety, but there was no question that my mornings were hung over and that food was the substance I was abusing."

Self-knowledge is often the first step toward change, and when Anthony admitted his abusive eating, he took a step toward discontinuing it. "It didn't happen overnight," he says. "But I began to record, hung over again,' and then, one night, I aborted a late-night snack halfway through, saying to myself, 'You don't want to be hung over in the morning, do you?' "

When Anthony abandoned his late-night binges, he found that he had immediate access to greater creative energy. "I found I was full of late-night ideas and that a fear of this energy had been at the root of my overeating." No longer overeating to thwart his creativity, Anthony saw that he had many healthy choices in front of him. For one thing, he had the time and energy to write his long-delayed memoirs.

"My extra pounds were a barricade I placed between me and my freedom," he realized. "When I gave up late-night grazing, the pounds slowly began to slip away and I found myself making many healthy changes."

Believing himself trapped in a dead-end job, Marcus saw that he was in fact unwilling to do the footwork to find new employment. He was in jail, all right, but he held the key—he just needed the will to use it.

"One morning, I wrote I hate my job' for the last time," he recalls. "That day I picked up the phone and called a head hunter. I soon learned that I was eminently employable."

Morning Pages point us in the direction of our growth. They make us intimate with ourselves and that, in turn, allows us to be more authentically intimate with others. Leslie found herself writing that she was unhappy in her relationship. As she explored this in subsequent pages, she learned that she was hungry for deeper communication than what she enjoyed with her lover. "Try telling him that," her pages suggested one morning. The advice brought Leslie face-to-face with the fact that she had almost sabotaged her relationship rather than risk honesty within it.

As we risk honesty in our pages, it becomes easier to be honest elsewhere. Leslie admitted in her Morning Pages that she was feeling stifled by her lover's codependency. "I resented his possessiveness, but I also went along with it because I was, frankly, a little flattered by it," she says. In her pages she rehearsed what she wanted to say: "I just need a little more breathing room," she told him. "I don't want to do everything together." When she risked more disclosure, he risked more disclosure in turn. To her surprise, he admitted to similar feelings. They were actually both feeling smothered. This conversation gave them the courage to open the cage door. They soon found that their increased independence gave their time together greater intensity and meaning.

Greater intensity and meaning are common experiences for those who choose to work with Morning Pages. The experience is not unlike falling in love—but the object of our affections is now the Self. We become interesting to ourselves. Our thoughts, feelings, and perceptions count for something. A page at a time, a day at a time, we are becoming intimate with ourselves, and that intimacy is often both threatening and thrilling.

Janice undertook Morning Pages because of a mysterious malaise that she did not understand. She was happily married to Bill, a charismatic, high-powered salesman. He spoiled her with material blessings. Her every wish was his command. Every year Bill's earning power seemed to increase. They traded in home after home, always moving to bigger and better abodes. Pampered and pudgy, Janice dutifully decorated each new nest—but she resented it.

Janice's pages suggested to her that their pursuit of the great American Dream was actually a frenzied and empty pursuit. "I didn't need more. I actually needed less. I needed to be able to cherish what I had, not constantly trade it in for something else." With the help of pages, Janice saw that her own dreams had become submerged beneath the dreams and goals of her husband. She wanted to write—and more than the steady stream of bread and-butter notes that their lifestyle demanded. Bill traveled in his work. Janice was often lonely, but she decided to use her empty time to take a writing course. Her creativity took off like a rocket. Soon she was asked to script a radio show—then to host it.

"I became a writing fiend," Janice laughs. "They were paying me to write, but I would have paid them!" She also became thinner, no longer an overstuffed hen sitting on her nest egg.

Morning Pages teach us what we like—and what we don't like. A line at a time, they move us closer to our authentic selves. In Morning Pages we stop hiding. We come out into the open— at least on the page. "I'd really like to try… "we write—and then we try it. Dreams long deferred move, step by step, into reality. We discover that as we move our hand across the page, a Higher Hand moves across the surface of our lives. For many of us, pages are a spiritual experience as we make contact with a Power Greater Than Ourselves.

Alice lost both of her parents to early deaths. An adult, she often still felt like an orphaned child. She was surprised to find comfort in writing Morning Pages. Time and again she would write out guidance that seemed to her far wiser than any of her own devising. "At first it was as if I became my own wise parent. Then I began to wonder if perhaps my own parents weren't speaking to me through the pages. They began to feel much closer to me and I began to feel far less alone. The pages became for me a source of companionship and strength. I began to think of them as my personal spiritual practice. They kept me on track and gave me an even keel."

For many of us, an even keel is elusive. We long for stability but we do not know how to find it. Pages may be the first effective form of mentoring that we encounter. We make contact with what might be called an Inner Mentor. Under its tutelage, we are able both to remain stable and to take risks.

Alan began doing Morning Pages when he took an Artist's Way class. For twelve weeks he wrote every morning, watching with some awe as his ordinary life became transformed. For many years he had dreamed of being a playwright. At the urging of pages he now tried a few short monologues—and read them aloud to great success at an open mic. With such encouragement, you might think he would be firm in keeping to his new regimen— instead, when his class ended, Alan abandoned it.

As Alan abandoned his pages, he abandoned himself. No longer listening for guidance, he accepted a new, high-powered job in a field that he didn't really like. In fact, the only thing to like about his new job was the salary. Frustrated and a little ashamed of him-self, Alan began to overeat. He kept a steady supply of snack foods in his desk drawer at the office, and whenever his conscience bothered him, he reached for a treat. Before he realized what had happened, Alan had packed on twenty-five pounds. Always a big man, he was now too big. When Alan and I crossed paths, I suggested he go back to his Morning Pages to see if he could determine what was eating him and why he found it necessary to overeat.

"I don't know why I ever quit," Alan quickly reported. Within three weeks of being back on the page his eating patterns began to come under control. He no longer treated his desk like an extension of his refrigerator. "I really hate this job," he admitted. "I think I sold myself out to take it."

At the urging of his pages, Alan turned in his resignation, determined to find new work that was more in accord with his value system. He also began writing again, and one more time his monologues met with public success.

"I think I have a knack for this," Alan told me modestly. I suggested he find a day job that left him with enough energy to pursue his writing in the evenings. Before long Alan was offered a job that seemed perfect to him. He believed in the company and its goals and he found that working along the lines of his true values didn't stress or tire him the way his old, toxic job had. No longer conflicted, Alan found that he could both work his day job and write in the evenings. Before long he found the courage to tackle a full-length play—a dream that had for years eluded him.

"I think I learned my lesson," Alan now says. "I need the honesty and self-reflection that Morning Pages afford me. I am not a spiritual man, but I seem to be living now along more spiritual lines. I find I like it."

"I find I like it" may be for most people the bottom line in working with Morning Pages. As we vent our anxieties, our stresses, and our frustrations, a new equanimity begins to take hold. We feel different and we begin to look different.

"What did you have," the joke runs, "a face-lift or a surrender?"

I began working with Richard during the worst months of a long, cold New York winter. A blocked Broadway actor, he carried an extra thirty pounds. It was his "insulation," he joked, but to me the weight wasn't a laughing matter. It was creative suicide. When I looked at Richard, I saw the handsome leading man struggling to emerge. His diet of pizza and cheeseburgers and Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies was pure sabotage. I put him on a regimen of morning writing and fairy tales. (Yes, fairy tales.)

Against his better judgment, Richard began Morning Pages. He quickly saw his own negative patterns. He overworked. He overate. Fatigued and frustrated, he under nurtured himself. Pizza became the panacea for his misery. He had big dreams and a bigger waistline, but the closest he got to Broadway was his favorite pizza stand. He was afraid to take a genuine risk. I suggested he take one on the page. Why not use a fairy tale to bump off a creative monster, someone who had been damaging to his creative self-esteem? Could he think of anyone? He could.

"Fine," I said. "Now write a tale in which you do him in."

"This is really, really stupid," Richard told me, but he went home and wrote a fairy tale about a former music teacher. In the fairy tale the teacher suffered a fate worse than death—he always sang off-key. Richard was jubilant that his abusive former teacher had finally gotten his comeuppance. Sharing the fairy tale with the class, his glee was contagious.

"Good for you," I told Richard. "Now what?"

Richard flushed. "Actually, there is a now-what," he admitted. "I've signed up for voice lessons and I've given up cookies, pizza, and cheeseburgers with everything."

The last I heard of Richard, he had dropped twenty of his unwanted pounds, gotten new head shots taken, and was auditioning again.

From the front of the classroom, the transformation that Morning Pages causes is almost startling. Even after two and a half decades as a teacher, I am still struck with wonder as people seem to change right before my eyes. I call the process "spiritual chiropractic" as changes are made in exactly the direction that they are needed. Overeaters curb their binges. Undereaters begin to eat more regularly. From the front of the room, the increased health is readily evident. And "all" they are doing is writing.

Writing "rights" things. Dead-end jobs are abandoned. Ditto for dead-end relationships. Energy is spent along new and more productive lines. Dreams that were elusive begin to seem possible. As we become increasingly unblocked, our lives flourish. As we become more fit, our lives become more fitting. At age forty-five Deanna embarked on law school. At age fifty James went back for a master's in poetry. Georgianna did the same thing at seventy-five. In each case, their morning writing led them into more adventurous and expanded lives.

Much to their surprise, people get happy when they write. Once we get used to it, writing is as natural as breathing—and almost as necessary. Moving our pen across the page, we come into focus to ourselves. Emotions long avoided become familiar. Perceptions become clearer. Boundaries begin to fall in place. Guided by our own hand, without years of costly therapy, we begin to break our unhealthy patterns and dependencies. We become true to ourselves—and more true to others.

"Thank you for Morning Pages. My husband is a far happier man," a woman told me. I have heard this sentiment many times over the years.

"I thought I needed a divorce," admits Kevin. "What I really needed was a way for me to take responsibility for my own happiness."

Morning Pages are a route to happiness. For many people that happiness is expressed as weight loss.

Task

Write Your Morning Pages

This tool is the bedrock of creative recovery. It will challenge you, enrich you, and enliven you. Set your clock an hour early, although you may not need that much time. Take yourself to the page and report precisely how you are feeling. Nothing is too petty or too large to be included. Keep your hand moving and follow your thoughts. They may be quite fragmented and scattered. That's all right. Do not expect "real" writing. Just let yourself write. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages. They are for your eyes only. Let yourself write. Remember—and trust—that you will be able to write yourself right-size.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 14 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 23, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great for Daily Dose of Inspiration

    What I like best about this book is its presentation. The information provided is not necessarily new and profound, but the way it is presented really works for me. The chapters are very brief and each ends with a writing exercise. Because of the chapters' brevity, I was able to read one each morning. It served as a kind of diet devotional. It gave me the motivation to start my day in a positive frame of mind. Cameron explains the importance of eating clean and this makes a lot of sense especially with all the mysterious "additions" that are now included in many of our foods. However, she recommends "diet" foods that include artificial sweeteners which I personally believe are not part of clean eating. I found the exercises to be effective and the personal and client testimony/dialogue to be inspirational. I especially like Cameron's emphasis on living in the moment even when we have chosen to eat something that is not healthy for our bodies. We do not have to continue our unhealthful eating for the rest of the day (as we often think) but can instead forgive ourselves immediately and start over right at that moment. Writing daily, in what Cameron calls "Morning Pages", can really help to uncover hidden links between food and emotions (both negative and positive) as well as other issues we may not be aware of that sabotage our efforts towards a healthier life. Anyone who is focusing on leading a healthier life and building a positive relationship with the food they eat should read this book. They will come away with many great tools - such as four questions to ask before making the choice of what and when to eat - to help them on their journey. This is a book that should be read more than once. I recommend reading it again and again as a daily dose of inspiration.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2008

    awesome book

    I thought this book was great. It was featured in shape magazine and i got it the first day it came out!! go get it!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 14, 2010

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    Get Ready To Tackle The Emotional and Psychological Elements of Weight Loss

    Having read and been completely transformed by Julia Cameron's outstanding creative recovery book, The Artist's Way, I noticed an incredible transformation in myself other than a blossoming of my creativity. As I uncovered all of the demons within my past that kept me from living a creatively fulfilling life, and as I grew more confident in myself and in my God-given talents, I found that I turned less frequently to food as comfort and consolation. The more I wrote and painted, the more I channeled my energy toward creative productivity, the more weight I lost.

    The exercises in The Artist's Way showed me that I used overeating and excessive money spending as consolation for my blocked creativity. Events from my past left me with feelings of low self-worth and incredible self-doubt. Food was my comfort, whether something was going wrong or right. And I carried with me an extra 30 pounds of weight as a result.

    So transformed by Cameron's book, I explored her other offerings, and I found The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size. I was shocked to discover that Julia Cameron had noticed in her other creativity students the exact same transformation I was undergoing. After decades of teaching creative recover, Cameron often found that students who began her course overweight often ended the course much slimmer. With the help of nutrition and creativity experts, along with real-life examples of the physical impact a creative recovery can have on an individual, Cameron has created a completely unique method of looking at weight loss. Rather than turn to the refrigerator, Cameron suggests to her readers that they turn to their journals to write about their feelings.

    It sounds simple, and it is. The key to the success of this diet is actually implementing the writing exercises along with a diet of clean foods (whole, unprocessed, raw, natural foods) and increased exercises. Cameron promises no magical results, but stresses the therapeutic side of writing as a critical addition to the well known reduced caloric and increased activity elements of dieting.

    Particularly useful is Cameron's insight on water intake and the positive impact an increased regimen of water consumption can have on all aspects of health. She often comments on binging and "snack attacks," giving useful insight and strategy for dealing with the most common temptations that come with indulgent food. Additionally, the mystery of how to eat healthfully while dining in restaurants is solved.

    Most insightful are Cameron's chapters explaining that slow weight loss ("easy does it") is the most healthful and sustainable type of weight loss. She forces her readers to acknowledge that what we all want is immediate results and to accept that it simply is not possible or sustainable.

    Nowhere does this book advertise itself as a plan strictly for women. In fact, several of Cameron's real-life examples feature men. However, too often this book leans toward the feminine perspective, often explaining how many calories women must ingest in order to lose weight and discussing self-esteem issues overweight women may encounter when meeting men. Also, one entire chapter discusses the importance of sexy lingerie to a woman's wardrobe, regardless of her size. Since this book is intended for both sexes, I would have preferred Cameron also include some male-specific strategies.

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  • Posted April 24, 2010

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    Walk the Line (of Your Pen)

    Like any diet program or writing class, one truly requires the desire and motivation to see the experience to the end. Cameron provides many useful tools and concepts to assist a dieter at any level. Designed to be used separately or in conjunction with one's diet program, the Writing Diet provides useful food for thought and encourages its participants to pick up a pen in lieu of that next snack. Those saddled with desk work and minimal exercise, would find her thought process and suggestions particularly helpful. Some of the practices employed in this book are pulled from her successful book, The Artist's Way, but their application in The Writing Diet prove equally essential.

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