Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Should read this book

This is what the GoodReads teaser says
You are what you eat. . . .
Cat smart, sassy, and funny—but thin, she’s not. Until her class science project. That’s when she winds up doing an experiment—on herself. Before she knows it, Cat is living—and eating—like the hominids, our earliest human ancestors. True, no chips or TV is a bummer and no car is a pain, but healthful eating and walking everywhere do have their benefits.
As the pounds drop off, the guys pile on. All this newfound male attention is enough to drive a girl crazy! If only she weren’t too busy hating Matt McKinney to notice. . . .
This funny and thoughtful novel explores how girls feel about their bodies, and the ways they can best take care of their most precious resource: themselves.

I read this after Lisa McAnn, a young adult author whose books I love, recommended it. I started it last night and finished it this morning. I would have kept reading last night if I could have kept my eyes open. This story really touched me. I was that girl in high school (and in college, and as an adult to be fully honest). I was smart and a great friend, but I was overweight. And I really didn't do anything about it. I ate candy and drank soda for comfort after a hard day, my social life revolved around eating out with my friends. And I thought oh people will like me because of my personality--they did but no one fell in love with me during this time. I don't completely think it was the way I looked; I think the way I looked affected how I felt about myself and that kept love out of my life. And I am not saying that overweight people are unloveable and don't fall in love, I just know what was truth for me.

I finally lost over 60 pounds in 2003 when I decided I needed a change. I started loving and valuing myself a little more. And things didn't change immediately--guys weren't falling under my spell(like they do in Cat's case in the book) but I was more self-confident and eventually that drew guys to me. When I met the man who is now my husband, he commented on my brains and my love of teaching before he ever talked about my looks. He calls me his nerdy girl(sometimes adding in the descriptive hot before nerdy). I don't think he fell in love with me because I was now skinny, I think because I got healthy for me I now knew I was loveable and he could see that. And like Cat, I realized smart and beautiful is the way I want to be remembered, not just solely for my looks(which aren't just based on weight) or my smartness. One of the things about being pregnant that freaked me out the most is losing control over my weight(not total control--but having to be OK with gaining weight) as I have worked so hard to be where I am and feel the way I do. Ironically, I think these days my husband finds me even more beautiful....

So enough of spilling out my guts. You should read this book, maybe you were this girl in high school, maybe you teased this girl in high school, maybe you know of someone who is right now going through this. I teach 8th graders and I watch my female students struggle with this. I watch as they slam down energy drinks as a meal or avoid lunch because they think they are fat or make comments about their own and other's weight. This will be another teen lit book that I recommend to some of my students who might identify with the story. I know losing weight doesn't solve problems, but if I had one wish for my students it would be that they love that girl in the mirror

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