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About the Author
Bethenny Frankel is a five-time bestselling author. Her books include Skinnygirl Solutions, Skinnydipping, A Place of Yes, Naturally Thin, and The Skinnygirl Dish. She is the creator of the Skinnygirl brand, which extends to cocktails, health, and fitness, and focuses on practical solutions for women. Visit her at Bethenny.com.
Eve Adamson is a six-time New York Times bestselling author and award-winning freelance writer who has written or cowritten over sixty-five books.
Read an Excerpt
WHO I AM AND WHAT THIS BOOK IS ALL ABOUT
"I look fat. I hate my body." "My thighs are huge." "Why did I just eat that? I can't believe I just ate that." "I can't lose weight. I have a slow metabolism." "I can't eat that. I really want to eat that, but I shouldn't." "I hate myself." "I pigged out." "I'm definitely going on a diet tomorrow." "I can't stay on a diet. I'm hopeless." "I have no willpower. I'm pathetic." "What is wrong with me?" "She can eat anything she wants. I hate her." "I was so good today. I skipped dinner. I can't wait to weigh myself tomorrow and see how much weight I lost." "Tomorrow I'm not eating anything." "I'm never eating again." "I'm not going to that party. I'll just eat too much." "Why did I eat so much? I want a doâ€‘over. I feel so guilty." "I can just feel myself getting fatter right now. I'm disgusting." "I would be happy if I could just get skinny."
These are not the words or thoughts of a naturally thin person, but they might be the words or thoughts you say to yourself. I used to talk to myself like this, but I don't do it anymore. Do you wish you could stop, too?
You can stop. You can stop it all: the negative talk, the hatred of yourself and your body, the fear of food, the obsession with food, and, most important, the dieting. Best of all, when you stop doing all these things to yourself, you will become naturally thin.
If you are so used to thinking about yourself and about food in this negative way, if you feel shackled to diets and you think that this will never change, take heart. Life doesn't have to be this way. You are about to break the vicious circle and escape from a lifetime of self-destructive dieting. You can break free from the oppression of food obsession. And you can become naturally thin, without ever dieting again. I did it, and you can do it, too.
You Are Naturally Thin
Here's the simple truth: millions of Americans have become enslaved by dieting. We torture ourselves constantly, just because we ate a cookie (or five cookies), or didn't go to the gym, or ordered french fries, or had a second helping, or ate carbs or sugar or meat, or can't fit into our skinny jeans, or aren't as skinny as the next person. We insult ourselves and hate ourselves because we don't look the way we think we are supposed to look. We don't feel good or happy or satisfied with our lives, and we blame it all on a number on the scale. We spend thousands of dollars on diet programs, food delivery services, diet Web sites, diet magazines, and diet books. And yet we keep getting fatter. We despair, we wonder what is wrong with us, but we keep on dieting, we keep on trying, and we keep on failing.
If you wish desperately that you were one of those naturally thin people, but you don't really believe, deep down, that you are, guess what.
It's all a misconception. Being naturally thin isn't some state of being beyond your grasp. You are naturally thin. You just have to make a few simple changes to let your natural thinness emerge. You will be one of those people you wished you could be in high school. You will be one of those people that others look at and wonder, "How does she stay so thin?" This book will grant you access to that world because deep down, I know that's who you are. I found the secrets, I got naturally thin for life, and I want to share those secrets with you.
Who am I? Why am I writing this book? And, perhaps most important, why should you listen to anything I have to say about what you should eat?
My name is Bethenny Frankel. By trade, I'm a natural foods chef. You might know me from my role on Bravo's The Real Housewives of New York City, or from my appearance as a contestant on Martha Stewart: Apprentice. You might have read one of my health blogs, seen one of my YouTube videos about healthy cooking, or read my column in Health magazine. Maybe you've even tasted some of my healthy treats in my line of baked goods, BethennyBakes. But what you don't know about me is what I want to share with you: why I'm naturally thin, and why so many of the celebrity clients I cook for are naturally thin, too.
It's no state secret, but somehow, the key to being naturally thin has eluded many American women. I want to change all that. Everybody should be able to know and practice what I and so many celebrities know and practice. My goal is to democratize health: to make health accessible to everyone, no matter who. Whether you live in New York, Nebraska, or Nevada; no matter how much money you make; no matter what your natural build is or your genetic predispositions are; no matter what your social status, job, race, nationality, or sexual preference may be; no matter what foods you love or hate; no matter how much you like or don't like to exercise; no matter whether your appearance is important for your career or not; no matter how you feel today when you look in the mirror if you are sick of obsessing and beating yourself up about food and weight, this book is for you.
I am a "health foodie" because I love good, high-quality, natural foods that makes me feel better, stronger, and more energized. However, when I cook, taste is just as important to me as nutritional content. Regardless of how healthful a food is, nobody will want to eat it if it doesn't taste good, and I believe food is meant to be enjoyed, not just tolerated. For me, "good enough" is never good enough when it comes to food (or anything, for that matter!). If you don't enjoy food, why bother? I don't believe in eating mediocre food just because it will supposedly make you thinner. It won't. We should all know that by now.
To me, food that doesn't taste delicious is worthless. On the other hand, I'm not interested in eating high-fat, high-sugar foods with no fiber, vitamins, or minerals. Sometimes I do eat processed food, but this is more the exception than the rule. I'm not interested in highly processed food or food that might taste good for a minute but doesn't do anything for my health. It's a balance. I consider my daily diet my bank account, with calories I have to manage and I'll tell you more about that in Chapter 1.
Before we get to the ten rules I've created for becoming naturally thin, you might want to know something about me. A lot of what I know about food comes from a natural passion for both food and health. I grew up eating every meal in a restaurant, and my proclivity toward healthy living has grown out of an unstable upbringing that inspired me to take control of my own life and make something good out of it. This has been a long progression for me: to rise up out of a difficult childhood that set me up for a lot of unhealthy attitudes about food; to embrace a more real, natural, balanced way of cooking, eating, and looking at the world. Today, I eat and live as a naturally thin person, but it has been a journey.
That journey, fueled by my passion for food and health, led me to the National Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in 2000. I spent a year at this school, and although I originally went there for fun, I was soon hooked on the chef's life and on new ideas for making the most out of good food. But what I did with my education is a little different from what most of my classmates did. I didn't go on to work in a restaurant. I wanted to do something bigger, something that would reach more people.
One thing I did was to start my own line of low-fat, low-calorie, dairy-free, wheat-free, egg-free baked goods, called BethennyBakes™, in 2001. I was a contestant on Martha Stewart: Apprentice and people referred to me as the breakout star on that show. (I'll tell you more about that experience later.) I have cooked for celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone, Denis Leary, and Mariska Hargitay. I've been featured on morning shows, including the Today show, CBS's The Early Show, and Good Day New York, talking about healthy cooking and eating; and I've appeared on other shows, too, such as Access Hollywood, Entertainment Tonight, and Extra. I write a regular column for Health magazine, and I've written for or been written about in the New York Times, People, InStyle, Family Circle, Hamptons, OK! magazine, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today, US Weekly, TV Guide, and the Wall Street Journal, among many others. My cooking videos get thousands of hits on YouTube.com, and I have been a spokesperson for brands including Pepperidge Farms Baked Naturals Snacks, Cascade, and Tupperware. I recently finished filming the second season of The Real Housewives of New York City. And now, I've written this book.
What I know, and what I've learned over the course of my life, about getting and staying thin isn't just a matter of healthful, delicious food (although that is a big part of the picture). I've also learned a lot about how to think about food, how to balance diet with the rest of life, and how to stop torturing myself about every mouthful. When you live in New York City, it's difficult not to be obsessed with appearance, food, and dieting. But I realize it's difficult not to be obsessed with appearances, food, and dieting no matter where you live. If you share this struggle, then we have something very important in common, and I want to help you win. I'm naturally thin, but I didn't come preprogrammed that way. I arrived there by changing my habits and learning how to think like a naturally thin person. The result: I became a naturally thin person, one of those people you looked at in high school and wondered how they did it. Amazingly enough, it was easy a lot easier than my diet-obsessed self would have ever dreamed. Back when I was burdened, overwhelmed, and ingrained with the diet mentality, I never really thought I could escape. But I did.
I can't believe how much of my life I've wasted feeling anxious, depressed, antisocial, and after binging on something full of selfloathing because my jeans were too tight. I can't believe how much of my life I wasted feeling fat, obsessing about what to order on a date or how to get out of an invitation to a restaurant I perceived as serving fattening food. Does that sound familiar? Do you feel full of regret every time you eat something that doesn't fit your perception of diet food? Have food, fat, carbs, and dieting created such a level of anxiety and preoccupation in your life that you think about them all day long? Been there, done that but I'm not there and I don't ever do that anymore. Why not join me in this new state of mind?
Guess what happened when I escaped from this kind of thinking. I got thin, for life. I can't even imagine going back to my old ways of thinking, eating, and behaving my heavy habits, those habits that perpetuated my self-destructive thinking and eating. (I'll talk more about heavy habits later in this book.) I broke free, and now I have thin thoughts. And you can, too, no matter who you are.
The greatest gift I can give you, and the greatest gift you can give yourself, is Naturally Thin. I've condensed everything I've learned about eating and cooking into ten simple rules you can use to change your own heavy habits, your own thinking, your body, your energy level, your health, your whole life. Think you've heard these tips before? Think again this book doesn't tell you what to eat. Instead, I show you how to change your life without changing who you are, what you like, or how you live. I show you how to change your habits and the way you think about food, no matter what you like to eat or how you like to live, because that's where your body starts in your head.
Diets Don't Work
You might have heard this before, and dismissed it as a line. But it's not a line. It's true. Some people define insanity as repeating the same behavior and expecting different results every time. Are we all crazy? How many diets have you started? How much money have you spent feeding the diet industry? Have you lost weight, strayed from the diet, and gained back all the weight (and more)? Of course you have. We all have. And yet, we keep going on to the next "new" diet, the one that promises to finally fix our weight problems. It never does. What's wrong with us?
Life is too short to waste obsessing over fat grams or carb grams or never, ever exceeding 1,200 calories a day. How many ounces of that cereal should you eat? Is your steak bigger than a deck of cards? Is your serving of rice larger than your fist? Is that two ounces of pasta on your plate, or are you "binging" on three ounces? Come on. It's ridiculous and obsessive.
It's amazing how many highly intelligent people can be so uninformed when dealing with food, and so stuck in harmful ruts they don't even realize they are in. How many times have your conversations at a dinner or a cocktail party revolved around somebody's saying, "Oh, you should only eat steak; it's a miracle diet" or "You have to try the cabbage soup diet; it's amazing"? Diet talk is common at social events, and people talk as if they were authorities on whatever their latest plan is but at the next party, you find out that they are off the wagon or are pushing something else. How many times have people told you they are "starting a new diet tomorrow"? Or maybe you are the one who has been saying this to other people.
How many of those people have lost a lot of weight and kept it off for good?
The simple fact is that you don't function normally if you constantly have to measure, count, restrict, and obsess over food. You feel punished, deprived, even angry. I know I did. Eventually, life intervenes, and you no longer have time or patience for all that nonsense. Then you give up and tell yourself, "Well, I might as well just eat the whole double cheese pizza because dieting is just too hard."
Of course it's hard. It's not natural to eat like that, and it's not healthy, either not physically, not mentally. If you have to rely on a regimen, a menu, strict rules, or even a book to tell you what to do and what to eat, you aren't going to stick with it. You don't need something to control your life. You just need some tools that will help you regain control. After all, it's your body. You can change it if you want to change it.
Notice that I don't say you are going to need willpower. I say control because that's exactly what I mean. You are your own person. You are in control of what you do. You have the power. It's your body, your life, your mind, your food. You have control over what you choose to do and how you choose to act. The problem with diets is that they give you the idea that someone else is controlling you: a famous guy tells a famous girl what to eat; or a diet plan somebody wrote for you tells you how many cups of this and how many tablespoons of that you can eat.
Frankly, this lets you off the hook. If you are on a diet, the diet controls you, so when things go wrong, you can blame the diet. If you are on a diet, you don't have to take responsibility for your own life. The diet tells you what to do, and if it doesn't work, you hate the diet; the diet failed; you are the victim. Even as you feel guilty and blame yourself for your inner weakness, deep down, you don't feel that you've ever been the one at the steering wheel. The diet has been driving. You're just along for the ride. And that's no way to live your life.
Take back the wheel and start driving yourself through life again. Sure, taking back your life can be a challenge, but getting naturally thin is easier than you think. This book is about you and the ways you can learn to deal, face-to-face, with food again, rather than letting food deal with you.
More about Me
I wouldn't describe my childhood as typical, but I would describe it as challenging. I grew up moving from place to place. I was a bicoastal child, going back and forth from New York to Los Angeles until the age of six, then living all over the place. In New York, we lived in Manhattan, Forest Hills, Rockville Centre, Old Westbury, and Locust Valley. We also lived in Boston, Florida, and Los Angeles. I went to thirteen different schools. I had no stability whatsoever, no structure, no regular meals, and nothing to instill a healthy attitude about food. I ate almost all my meals in restaurants.
My mother loved and hated food at the same time. At least, that's how it seemed to me, and I think her bad habits inspired me to develop a healthier lifestyle, so I could be different than she was. But her food obsessions also stuck to me. I admit I am a type A person who tends to get a bit obsessive about things, and I've spent plenty of years of my life obsessing about food and working hard to be thin. In fact, I've been watching my weight since grade school. My mother's father instilled in her that fat wasn't an option, so my mother was just passing along a family tradition when she instilled these food attitudes in me.
As for my father, he was never really around. He was a horse trainer, as was my stepfather, so I spent a lot of time at the track as a kid. That wasn't such a great example. I started visiting the betting window at age six. In many ways, I had to raise myself. That made developing a healthy ego pretty tough.
Like a lot of kids, I had a chubby adolescent phase, but unlike a lot of mothers, my mother took me to an obesity clinic when I was nine. It was immediately clear to me that gaining weight was not acceptable. For years afterward, my weight fluctuated, but dieting was always in the forefront of my mind, from an early age. I remember my mother seeing an overweight girl and commenting that if this were her child, she would lock the girl in a closet and send in water on a tray. That made an impression on me, even though I knew she was joking (sort of). Being fat wasn't an option.
At the same time, we were always eating in restaurants or getting takeout Chinese food or pizza. In other words, my mother rarely cooked. The only meals I remember that seemed home-prepared were the bagels we ate every Sunday morning. I was eating escargots by the age of four. Kids' menu? I never knew such a thing existed.
I loved food. And yet, I also feared it. By the age of ten, I already knew all about the Beverly Hills Diet. I obsessed about food, and pushed it away, too. I remember ripping out the diet pages in magazines from a very young age; and over the years, I've tried all the diets. The Beverly Hills Diet, the Eat Your Weight in Fruit Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet, the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, Weight-Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, the Flight Attendant's Diet (at the time, it was called the Stewardess Diet), the Grapefruit Diet, Slim-Fast, the Zone, Diet Center, Diet Designs, the Raw Food Diet, and every other diet I happened to run across in a magazine.
I like to think of myself as an intelligent person, and yet I kept on dieting. It was a way of life, one that I inherited from my mother, and one that she inherited from her father, who also made sure she understood that being fat was not an option.
I don't blame my mother, my grandfather, or even my father, for my attitudes toward and my struggles with dieting, body image, and food. I don't even blame the magazines, books, and movies that conveyed impossible images of beauty and the supposed necessity of constant dieting. We are all smart enough to know it's not necessarily realistic to weigh 105 pounds. Yes, we are all, to some extent, products of our parents' unresolved issues, but I truly believe most people do the best they can. We are all fighting against our own issues, and food and diet were my issues. I'm guessing that if you are reading this book, they are your issues, too.
When I became an adult, my love of fine food led me to cooking school, but my attitudes toward food really started to change on one of my trips to Italy. As a chef, I vowed not to miss any food experiences in the country with the most amazing food in the world. I vowed not to obsess about every calorie and not to miss out on cappuccino, pasta, great wine, and wonderful desserts. But in Italy, I discovered something much more important than good food. I discovered a new attitude.
In general, Europeans view food and eating differently than Americans. They value food more than Americans do, but obsess about it less. That was a revelation to me, especially when I saw beautiful, naturally thin Italians eating anything they wanted. I began to shift my perspective. I began to understand how to enjoy food any food and still be naturally thin.
When I came back from Italy, changed but without having gained an ounce, I began to refine and crystallize the lessons I had absorbed. The result is this book. The lessons I've learned over the years have served me well because my life is extremely fast-paced and stressful. It would be easy for me to continue my unhealthy habits, from starving myself to binge eating. But I don't.
When I filmed Martha Stewart: Apprentice, I had just gotten over pneumonia. Being on a competition reality show is brutal, unbelievably stressful, and exhausting, and what was everybody else living on? Energy drinks and meal replacement bars. But not me. During the entire filming of that show, I took the time to make myself three meals a day, no matter what else was going on. I ate healthful food nobody else was eating because I know that it takes only five minutes to make, for example, a veggie sandwich or turkey on wholegrain bread.
Everybody has five minutes. That's the only reason I got through the experience with my health and sanity intact and I'm not kidding. I was healthy going into the experience because of my new way of life, and that by itself was significant in getting me through. I knew if I was eating processed food or, worse, eating food from the street vendors I wouldn't make it. When you are on a reality show, you want comfort food, but energy drinks and hot dogs aren't going to provide real comfort. You get very little sleep, or you don't sleep at all. You have cravings because you are under stress, and when you aren't sleeping, you are running around like a maniac. Eating well was an important investment for me during that time and is still important, every day of my life.
Filming The Real Housewives of New York City has been incredibly grueling, too. My entire life is right there, on camera, for everyone to see. As we filmed our second season, I found myself with very little time to spare, let alone time to eat well. But this is my life and I accept and welcome all my challenges. My positive mentality has affected everyone around me. The other housewives are losing weight, and all my friends have lost weight. Being naturally thin has radiated out to everyone I know. It's amazing.
Your life is probably a little or a lot different from mine, but you probably also have stress, a grueling schedule, and very little time to eat well. I understand. But know that you can still be naturally thin, without dieting, no matter what your life is like. Today, I'm a thirtysomething woman living in New York City, and I no longer diet. I eat pretty much whatever I want to eat. And for the first time in my life, my weight is completely and surprisingly consistent. I look and feel better than I ever did before. I'm in charge. I'm not a doctor, I'm not a nutritionist, and I'm not a fitness expert. And, most important, I am not in charge of you. But I am a natural foods chef, a dedicated lover of delicious food, and a healthy, thin person. I'm also a person who wants to tell you how I broke the code, broke through the chains of dieting, and learned how to incorporate the ten simple rules into my own life.
I admit that I have an advantage, living in New York, where I can experience an impressive culinary variety. But this can also be a disadvantage. I could easily spend my days eating honey-roasted nuts, hot pretzels, and hot dogs. Every deli on the street has ice cream, pizza, burgers, and salad bars. In the City that Never Sleeps, it's easy to eat too much at any hour of the day or night. It's a world of variety, and also a world of temptation.
Even if you don't live in a big city, you have similar challenges. In New York, we have to go to six different markets to get the things we need to cook a meal. You might have access to a mega-mart with everything you need and plenty of tempting things you don't need. The New York Greenmarkets are fantastic, but you probably have farmers' markets and produce stands near you. Maybe you think you can't afford to eat well and fast food is your only option, but that's not true, either. This book will show you lots of great ways to eat well economically. Maybe you are a soccer mom continually tempted by the ice cream truck, your kids' leftovers, and pizza deliveries, but what about the girl in the city who lives right above the all-night pizza place? You have challenges. We all do. We are all different. But we can all be naturally thin.
No matter where you live, you can find and prepare good food. You don't have to settle for processed, packaged food that doesn't thrill or even satisfy you. You don't have to live on drive-through food or convenience food. You can eat just as well as I eat, and just as well as celebrities eat.
This is exactly what I want to do for you. I want to counsel and guide you, the same way I guide my friends and the celebrities who ask me for advice. Why should celebrities be the only ones to benefit from the secrets I've learned? You're busy, just as they are. You want to look fantastic, just as they do. You might not be on a set, filming a new blockbuster movie, but that doesn't mean you don't need energy and healthful meals that fit into your packed schedule. You might not be wearing vintage Chanel to the Academy Awards ceremony, but that doesn't mean you don't want to look drop-dead gorgeous in your new dress. The paparazzi may not be stalking you to see what you eat, but your friends notice. Your kids notice, too. What kind of example are you setting?
As you can probably tell, I've replaced my dieting obsession with an obsession for cooking and eating the very best food, and sharing it with everyone. I've already shared these secrets with my friends, and they have all benefited. Now it's your turn. It's my obsession to help everyone who wants to be naturally thin achieve what I have achieved. That's just the way I am. I have to obsess about something. The point is that this obsession is all about feeling and looking great for me, for the rich and famous, and for you.
It's also about finally getting rid of all the extra weight you've been carrying around the weight you don't need. That weight is holding you back from being your true self, and the only way to find your true self is to embrace healthful eating as a way of life. You can't do it by suffering, deprivation, or pain. You can't do it by starving or binging and purging. And you don't have to do any of that anymore.
Healthful eating is something worth getting excited about. All you have to do is work through the ten rules. Read them; practice the tips for incorporating them into your life; and slowly but surely, you'll see your life, your attitude, and your body changing, right before your eyes. Start practicing now, and in just days you'll feel more like yourself again. I'm ready to help you transform your entire relationship to food, exactly the way I help my clients change theirs. Are you ready?
What to Expect inside This Book
This book will teach you a new language and a new mind set. I've divided this book into two parts. In Part One, I talk about the ten rules I've learned for getting and staying naturally thin. I devote one chapter to each rule, explaining it in depth so that you will understand what I mean and how to incorporate the rule into your life. I'll talk about how each rule works for me, and how it can work for you. Memorize these rules and live them, and you'll start to see exactly how easy it is to be naturally thin.
I suggest you take your time with Part One. Let it sink in. Think about it, read it, and read it again. Go back over the sections that speak to you, and I'll be with you the whole way, sharing my own struggles and helping you manage yours. The more you think about and practice the ten rules, the more they will become integrated into your consciousness. Before you know it, you'll be practicing them without even thinking. They will become part of who you are and how you think about food. And starting with the very first chapter, you'll be able to stop dieting, stop obsessing about food, and stop wrecking your own happiness and health. You'll be free and you'll start getting thinner.
Part Two of this book is for people who want more structure. Make no mistake: this is not a diet. But it does offer some solid guidelines for how to implement the rules in your life. In Chapter 11, I set up some principles for you to practice and I also review the ten rules. I talk about some important concepts and remind you of others from Part One. Then I take your hand and lead you through a week of eating.
During the chapters on the week of eating, I talk about a lot of things, from what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to handling special occasions, travel, and cooking at home. What do you do when faced with a gigantic muffin at Starbucks? What do you do when you have to find a meal at a convenience store? How do you handle a breakfast buffet without panicking or gaining ten pounds in one sitting? What do you do about happy hour? It's all covered here.
I also tell you, throughout Part Two, exactly what I am eating for each meal on each day of the week. This information will be in boxes called "Bethenny Bytes," because they are bytes of information about my personal food choices. But these boxes are not meant to tell you what to eat. In fact, sometimes I set a really bad example! The point is to show you that naturally thin people live normal lives and face normal challenges, and knowing how to face them including how to feel when you make bad choices or eat too much is the heart of the matter.
Throughout the entire book, you'll notice a couple of features. Some boxes highlight "Naturally Thin Thoughts," which are tips to help you correct your thinking. Other boxes highlight "Heavy Habits," the bad habits you have and the destructive things you might be thinking, and what you can do about them. Finally, I'll occasionally include "Celebrity Secrets" boxes, with stories about celebrities. Some of these celebrities have been my clients; others I've just met. How they eat can be helpful to you, both as good examples and as not-so-great examples. Some celebrities have great habits. Others are still saddled with dieting. Many of them are a lot like you.
Most of the chapters in this book also include recipes at the end. I need to make a point here about the recipes. I'm not a measurer. This drove my teachers in cooking school crazy because they wanted to know exactly how much of this or that I put into something I made. But even if I could not tell them this, I could always make the recipe again. Although I have some measurements in my recipes, they are really not very precise. My style of writing recipes is fairly casual, too. So I'd like you to view the recipes in this book as guidelines. Feel free to be creative and stray from them, or replace some ingredients with others that you like better. I'm all about experimenting and exploring the world of taste and flavor, so I encourage you to enter your own kitchen with that same adventurous spirit. For more recipes, be sure to look for my Naturally Thin cookbook, due out next year.
Come with me through this book. I've got so much to tell you, and I'm so excited to help you find the peace, the truth, and the freedom I've found. I promise you, it's not going to be unpleasant. It's going to be fun, enlightening, even delicious. You're going to learn how to enjoy your food again, guilt-free. You're going to drop the extra weight you've been carrying around. Best of all, you're going to feel better than you've ever felt in your life. You're going to be naturally thin.
Copyright © 2009 by BB Endeavors LLC
Table of Contents
Introduction: Who I Am and What This Book Is All About 1
Part 1 The Rules
1 Your Diet is a Bank Account 19
2 You Can Have it All, Just Not All at Once 32
3 Taste Everything, Eat Nothing 42
4 Pay Attention 53
5 Downsize Now! 63
6 Cancel Your Membership in the Clean Plate Club 78
7 Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself 89
8 Know Thyself 99
9 Get Real 113
10 Good for You 129
Part 2 The Naturally Thin Program
11 The Naturally Thin Program: Setting It Up 143
12 Day One: Monday 163
13 Day Two: Tuesday 182
14 Day Three: Wednesday 198
15 Day Four: Thursday 209
16 Day Five: Friday 224
17 Day Six: Saturday 240
18 Day Seven: Sunday 253
19 Going Forward 264
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I expected a lot from this book as Bethenny has stated she is a "health foodie" and a natural foods chef. I also loved that it supported a non-diet approach. The book does offer some sound advice: don't diet, balance the food you eat, don't feel the need to clean your plate, eat mindfully to prevent binge eating, etc. Unfortunately, these tips are nothing new to the world of dieting, but perhaps fans of Bethenny or others might find some new inspiration from them. Where this book failed for me is that it also offered some very poor, unhealthy, and often contradictory advice: skipping meals, concepts of "taste everything, eat nothing" vs "you can have it all, just not all at once", eating ridiculously small portions of foods (example-you want steak, just have 3 bites), how to drink and still be skinny (what cocktails might be lower in calories or sugars than others, how not to binge eat after a night of drinking, and dealing with hangovers the next day). In fact, there is a whole section on what to eat while you are drinking. I was not expecting these types of unhealthful tips from a book by a natural foods chef and contributor to Health magazine. As a dietitian, I could never recommend this book to my clients. If you are looking for a non-diet approach to eating I would recommend Intuitive Eating by Evelyne Tribole, and if you are looking for a fun read about nutrition and how to really live both a naturally thin but also healthy lifestyle, I would recommend French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Giuliano.
This book is entertaining and will hold your interest. The author blames her mother for many of her eating problems and she uses celebrities as examples, such as Paris Hilton. There are some challenging ideas that everyone should make part of their lives, such as smaller portions & balancing carbs and proteins. I would love to see a nutritionist review this book because I don't think it is the healthiest lifestyle, especially making two alcoholic drinks a day part of your menu. As I looked over Bethanny's personal food diary, I noticed that she only ate about 850 calories a day. I also want to point out that she drinks Synergy Kombucha almost everyday and it has been known to cause yeast infections in many women. It would be good to research this product before drinking it everyday.
When I first got this book I thought I'd give it a try because I had seen Bethenny on Real Housewives and knew she was a chef and had written a book. I was surprised that after I started reading her book I would find my self thinking about what I had read hours later. Much of what she said really had meaning in my life. Bethenny also has such a great sense of humor and some really good stories to tell. I found it an informative, enjoyable read that has things everyone can use. I also don't believe in diets so this really had meaning for me.
After reading this book, I learned a whole lot of nothing..nothing new that I didnt already know. All of the advice given in the book is common sense. It doesnt take a rocket science to learn that eating small portions of healthy foods will help you lose weight and be healthy. Of course snacking on carrots is better than cookies and its o.k. to have cake if you only have a couple of bites. The problem is who is going to go to a restaurant and pay money for dinner and desert and only take a couple of bites?? One of her recommendations is to order multiple things off of the menu and sample a little bit of each one. Who can afford that in this economy?? While I am disappointed in this book I guess I should have expected that. The author is not a nutritionist or a doctor..her qualifications for writing this book is that she's naturally skinny. Her personal stories throughout the book are not motivating...they merely name drop all of the famous people she has encountered and mention how great her other business adventures are....did I mention that her great cocktails are low in calories?? On the positive, the author does include some recipes that sound delicious. All in all, this book would be good for someone who needs a reminder of how to eat healthy. The problem is most people who want to lose weight know what it takes to lose it...its actually following the rules and eating healthy thats the problem. Give me a piece of cake and I'll eat the whole thing.. I can't stop after a bite.
I've heard a lot of people complain that this book advocates unhealthy, disordered eating, and after reading Ms. Frankel's book twice, I believe that this is most likely due to a 'skimming' of the book - not an actual, read-every-sentence-of-every-chapter, reading. The average American diet has ballooned so far out of of control, so disconnected with what is healthy, that it is understandable a woman advocating approaches such as "Taste everything, Eat nothing" and "Cancel Your Membership in the Clean Plate Club" could be labeled a heretic. This book was life-altering for me, in the truest, most basic sense. I read it while on vacation, and actually ended up losing weight while eating out and neglecting my exercise schedule. Not only was I able to enjoy all the foods I normally resisted, but I did so without that sense of guilt that would usually follow such a moment of weakness. Under Ms. Frankel's guidelines, indulging in a piece of chocolate cream pie means nothing more than readjusting the rest of your caloric intake for the rest of the day (perhaps also the next day, depending on the size of the piece!), and getting on with your life - an attitude that to me is very reminiscent of French Women Don't Get Fat, but presented more accessibly to Americans. Merci beaucoup, Madame Frankel!
As many others reviewers have stated, the advice is sound - only eat when you're truly hungry and munch of veggies instead of potato chips. However the author warns us not to skip meals but then demonstrates in her food diary just how many meals she does skip or has two bites of a celery stick. Her recipes and snack suggestions contain a LOT of soy. There are lots of people who don't eat soy for one reason or another but she doesn't supply any information on substitutions. She also eats & suggests lots of seafood. Not only is that not really budget friendly for many of us, I just plain don't like it. Another reviewer commented on Ms. Frankel's suggestions for restaurant dining - order whatever you want but only eat a few bites. Really!?!?!? Spend your hard earned dollars on a ton of food and then most of it gets thrown away. I don't have that kind of budget or wasteful attitude. I'm looking forward to trying some of the recipes but I'm concerned about another reviewer saying they don't all work out well. The author passes along some good advice, smaller portions, eat slowly, focus on just your meal, listen to your body, use smaller plates & bowls, etc. This is a good reminder of what we should be doing but as far as leading by example - not so good. Good luck!
I bought this book shortly before joining weight watchers and I found that the program and book go hand in hand. They both teach you how to lose weight by lifestyle changes. I though all of her 10 rules were really helpful and very easy to remember. I find myself using them everyday. I especially like Rule #1 that your diet is your bank account and I find myself getting excited about getting the most for my money by eating healthy high fiber and lower fat foods. Just like I do about finding designer clothes for a fraction of the original price, I try to find really scrumptious food that good for me so I never feel like I am on a "diet". My only dislike is that the book should have a recipe index. The recipes are interspersed in the book so I hand wrote an index to help find the recipes faster.
This is an easy to read and wonderfully understanding book. I say it's understanding because it's as if she is there talking you through the pages. This is a fabulous book filled with recipes and even a meal plan. Her words seem to stick in your head, as you're about to bite into that 4th cupcake you can almost hear Bethenny's words of wisdom. "Is this cupcake really satisfying anymore, or was it best to stop after the second one?" I would and have recommended this book to anyone wanting to eat healthier, learn about what your eating and have fun making new meals.
While I absolutely love Bethenny and some of the advice is sound (though most of it was common sense), I do not have the money to order a dish at a restaurant, have a few bites, and throw it away. I find it a little neurotic to lick the frosting off of a vegan cupcake and throw the rest away, WTH? I tried following my "food voice" and ate when I was hungry. I had a little snack here and there when I was, but I discovered that I am hungry A LOT. Bethenny's outlook just isn't for me. I need my 3 meals a day or become an animal and end up snacking more often than I would if I just had a meal. Maybe it will work for you, especially if you're filthy rich and can throw food like there is no tomorrow.
I love the Real Housewives and when I heard Bethany was coming out with a diet book, I had to check it out. Good decision! She really tells you what to do in order to lose the weight and it may be a bit tough, but if you want to look like her, hey, there's gonna be some sacrifice. All in all, I liked her humor and would read another book she wrote.
Over all I felt like Bethenny's book was informative however, I felt that her rules were hard to put into practice. She had some great ideas about losing weight that I never thought of before. Although, it seemed like she doesn't want us to eat much of anything.
I've read quite a few diet books in my life and I definitely found this book extremely useful. And of course Bethenney's "ball-bustin" sense of humor makes this a welcome change to the otherwise bland repertoire of healthy reading. Her advice is a lot of (not so) common sense and teaches you really how to eat. Correcting my interaction with food and recognizing patterns of problem behavior are what I have taken away from it. I grew up with an aunt who slurped Slim-Fasts for years with little results; this book outlined for me a healthier relationship with eating. Also I think it's great how she is so encouraging of making your own food. Thanks for the tips and recipes Bethenney! You're my favorite Real Housewife. (Well maybe except for Luann, she is the epitome of absurdity and I LOVE IT.)
When I heard about the skinny girl margarita, I knew this would be the right book for me. Unlike many girls, I did not think once about dieting in high school, or even college. I was naturally skinny. I ate when I wanted, worked out when I wanted. Now that I am working all week and attending happy hours and nonstop weekend events, I find that I am often eating and drinking even when I don't want to. The only problem is, no one will guide you through a happy hour without casting judgements on the evils of alcohol. Like it or not, alcohol is part of the social scene and I think it's great that Bethanny feels free to admit this! THAT'S the kind of attitude that makes a non-dieter love this book!
I am not a heavy person- but I have been in a vicious cycle pretty much my whole life (I am 29). I seem to gain weight easily- so I would literally diet Sunday-Thursday (basically eat nothing)- and then gain anywhere from 6-8 pounds Friday- Saturday because of my binging. Then- I would start the whole process over again (lose 8 pounds by friday). Deprive myself during the week- so that on the week-end I could eat whatever I wanted. This book has changed my life. It seems so common sense and basic- but seeing the words and doing what it says- is just absolutely amazing! I have stayed at a consistent low end of my weight for 2 weeks- without depriving..I dont' have to look forward to the week-end anymore- because I eat what I want during the week (tasting everything and eating nothing!) I just listen to my inner food voice- and everything is great! This book is so dumb smart - that I am embarrased I never thought of it myself. Bethenny is brilliant- and she doesn't sugar coat anything either- she just gets to the point..and that is what I needed! Awesome book! (I LOVE my Kindle- but this book- you need to have in a hard copy- in order to make quick references)
First book that doesn't tell you how to diet or what to eat. She talks more about a lifestyle change. LOVE IT!
I heard Bethenny say it wasn't a diet book, but it sure seems like it, adivising skipping meals and so on. And a lot about celebreties
before i start i want to say that i have not bought this book yet. i got it out of the library but will be purchasing it for my collection. with that said, i love it and it has worked for me. it is a very smart, easy approach. i have been on every diet there is (started around 12 years of age). this is the first time i've just let go...and i have already started needing to tighten my belt. i refused to diet ever again after the first chapter. i'm not working out any harder, nor depriving myself. i'm just eating what i like, making smarter choices, and downsizing (because there truly is always more). most of all i'm finally listening to my "food voice", it really does tell you what your body needs, i just never heard it before. thank you bethenny for sharing these easy to follow strategies with the world!
For some reason, this book spoke to me, although I think the author and I are as different as night and day. I'd reccommend this book to anyone who is tired of being overweight and tired of diet books. It's like the anti-diet, and just makes sense. It also includes some great healthy recipes, although she tends to push the pine nuts a bit, lol. A great purchase, in my opinion.
I have used a lot of the recipes and used her sub ingredients, like oat flour, in other recipes that are not contained in this book.
Naturally Thin? There is no such ani-mule! At least that's what I thought after numerous visits to Jenny, powdered concoctions, point counting, calorie bibles, and self-recrimination. Bethenny Frankel's stylish, bright, insightful, and liberating approach to a lifetime free from dieting is just what it promises. It delivers the goods in a no-nonsense yet entertaining and surprisingly sensitive manner. I would wholeheartedly recommend Ms. Frankel's book, "Naturally Thin," because even if your not, following her "10 simple steps" you will be.
Bethany is great in all her explanations of foods and how to eat them. Watching her on the Housewives was great, and while reading it I can actually her her talking to me. GREAT BOOK. Not a diet book, but a book to wake you up to what your eating.
This book made me feel so much better about the way I was thinking...I read it 2 months ago and have had such a dramatic turn around in my thought process....plus my friends love it when I say "Bethenny says....."
I really liked this book! It was full of nice common sense tips, and something about her presentation just clicked for me. There's a lot of self-promotion from Bethany, but she's a good salesperson, so I guess that's to be expected.This is a nice common-sense book that anyone can do. It's kind of like Weight Watchers (you really CAN eat anything...just not all at once) except you don't have to listen to anyone cry about the meanies who bring in pastry treats to work. Ugh.I highly recommend this book for anyone who's trying to lose -- or maintain their current -- weight.
Bethenny provides some interesting advice, tips, and ways to live "naturally thin". Overall, the book is a good read and easy to get through. At the same time, nothing here is new and she has always been a "naturally thin" person. Yes, she talks about how she used to obsess over food however she makes it sound like shes been at 100 pounds her entire life. Most of her tips are not for people trying to lose weight. This book is very much for those people who are naturally thin and want to maintain it. It is NOT a weight loss book. Loose the weight reading something else and use this to stay at your desired weight.
Really easy, practical advice and recipes!