The Skinny - How to Fit Into Your Little Black Dress Forever
Melissa Clark and Robin Aronson Reviewed by Melinda Johnson, MS, RD, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson March 2007
Life on The Skinny is not about another diet, but rather an approach to meals that will keep you looking fabulous but also feeling satisfied with what you eat because no foods are banned. The authors are friends but have different lifestyles and approaches to eating. One of the authors has had a career as a food writer and has managed to stay slim despite the abundance of food she is required to sample. The other author is a mom who struggled to lose the baby weight after having twins and turned to her friend for her "secret." After following the food writer's approach to eating, the mom was able to lose her weight and not feel deprived.
The basic idea of The Skinny is you should eat exactly what you want, don't eat what you don't want, eat to satisfy your hunger and appetite and round out the rest of what you eat (beyond that food you are absolutely craving) with fruits, vegetables, protein, fats and complex carbohydrates. This advice is not new, but it is an entertaining and easy read, with some interesting suggestions on how to handle specific situations, such as eating out with co-workers. The concepts are similar to the "non-diet"approach, which has been outlined by other books and has been embraced by many health professionals as a great way to manage weight without dieting.
The authors give a sample two-week meal plan that utilizes some of the provided recipes, as a way to introduce the reader to eating on The Skinny.
Nutritional Pros and Cons:
The non-diet approach, which is similar to what is presented in this book, can be a very effective method to achieving a peaceful relationship with food, especially for people who have struggled with diets and find themselves in a "good food/bad food" state of mind. The recipes provided are interesting and simple, with a heavy emphasis on fruits and vegetables. The authors give useful advice on a variety of topics, such as how to balance your day with healthier food after you've indulged a more decadent craving. Although the book is mainly behavioral and cognitive rather than being heavy on technical nutrition information, the authors provide a general rundown of basic nutrition, along with random nutrition facts on each of the recipe pages.
The two-week meal plan offers options for most of the meals, titled "Make It" (with one of the provided recipes), "Sort of Make It" (cooking/preparing part of the meal) and "Don't Make It" (order in a restaurant or takeout), plus options for snacks and dessert. When analyzed, the menus provided around 1,500 calories to 1,800 calories a day and typically met the recommended amounts for fruits, vegetables and lean protein while falling slightly short on dairy and grains.
The book is most applicable to the working woman and does not give advice for feeding a family The Skinny way. It gives a lot of advice for eating out and eating away from home, with an assumption the reader has access to more sophisticated ingredients and/or restaurants.
This is an entertaining and motivating book to introduce someone to non-diet concepts and to healthy, balanced eating. Although the concepts can apply to anyone, it will be most relevant (because of the writers' experiences) to a working woman in an urban setting.