Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

What do You See When You Look in the Mirror? (Weightless Book Review)

May 18th, 2012 · 14 Comments · Special Situations, What to Buy

Weightless: Making Peace With Your BodyI nearly went to the bus stop with dried clay on my face this week.

I truly look in the mirror so infrequently that I forgot I had Redmond Clay on some zits overnight, and I was halfway to the bus stop with my son before I realized I’d better turn around rather than socialize with other parents as they wondered why I had bright white dots on my face!

My life just gets too busy for vanity.

On the other hand, when I watched the videos I made recently for the GNOWFGLINS eCourse (I’m on the schedule for next week teaching a lesson on healthy snacking – you’re signed up, right???) I was horrified to discover that I look awfully girthy. I’m hoping the old thing about television adding 15 pounds is true, or maybe I need to shop for more flattering shirts? Most of my pants fit… Confused smile

Suffice it to say that my relationship with my body image is typically “too busy to worry about it” lately. But I know that I’m probably in the minority for my gender, which is why Kate Wicker’s book, Weightless: Making Peace with your Body, will be such a godsend for people who really need to hear her message.

Kate is a young mother of four children who is on the other side of a battle with an eating disorder, and her book chronicles her daily struggle with body image, being “good enough,” and reminding herself that she is God’s daughter, created perfectly in His image.

Her voice of hope, I am sure, will be the voice calling to many who are struggling with negative body image and the vice of self-improvement. I enjoyed reading about her fervent parenting goals and how she chooses to share positive body image lessons with her young daughters.

As I was reading, my overarching thought was that this book is not for me.

Although everything Kate says is spot on, I’m just not at a place where I’m struggling with body image or self worth. I’m struggling with, “When do I find time to take a shower?” and “Hmmm, did I wear deodorant today? I can’t remember…”

However, the further I got into it, the more nuggets I found with which I could relate, since we all have the need to relate with our Creator appropriately, and sometimes I’m probably not up to par on behaving as a  “blessed daughter of God.”

Kate’s style is engaging and peppered with personal stories (to keep keep tired mamas from falling asleep, ahem), yet the tone and messages are incredibly deep.

In a world where, as Kate quotes, “more than 30 percent of [college women] agreed that they would give up ten years of their life to be ten pounds thinner,” there are plenty of people who desperately need to hear the message of God’s love, acceptance, and perfect design. We real foodies know, of course, that those 30% and more who are dieting and doing the low-fat thing probably are trading in ten or more years of healthy living, unfortunately. Sad smile

Part of Kate Wicker’s journey toward healing from her eating disorder involved learning: “We do not hunger because we lack food; we hunger because we lack God.” So many of us (Katie raises her hand) turn to food as therapy or solace, and even make it an idol – including healthy food. Kate Wicker’s Catholic faith is an integral part of her healing and is woven throughout the book. She reminds us that the Eucharist is the one meal we should never skip.

I think – although I can’t be sure – that a non-Catholic would still benefit immensely from Weightless. One who is open to or practicing the Catholic faith, however, will be particularly filled up.

Beyond Food

The desire to look attractive, beautiful, goes beyond body shape and food. Kate’s chapter on “Real Beauty” reminds women: “Our beauty gives us power. We have the ability to capture the hearts of others, especially men. Let us attract people with our true beauty and dignity. All of our actions can either give glory to God or misrepresent his truth.”

The author herself feels most gorgeous just after she’s had a baby, a beautiful moment and a beautiful image. Kate directs the reader’s thoughts to the beauty of Mary, Mother of God, as the example of true inner beauty. It is my hope, and I’m sure hers as well, that even a non-Catholic could appreciate learning from and emulating such a wise, blessed woman.

There is also a chapter about the “Mom Bod,” which brings me to the qualification that Weightless really does speak to young mothers, or at least people who are old enough to imagine themselves a mother sometime soon. I think there are many excerpts that teenage girls should hear, but I don’t know that the book as a whole would be on the right level for an adolescent struggling with body image issues. There are just too many references to motherhood that would probably be beyond a girl’s reach. (The teenager’s mother, however, should probably have the book close at hand, since the following chapter is about raising children, girls especially, to have healthy body images. It is fantastic and full of wisdom.)

Parenting Wisdom

Some of my favorite pieces of advice from the chapter on raising girls include:

  1. Eat as a family; talk about your day and your faith at meals. Discuss healthy food choices, “real” food vs. factory-made food.
  2. Don’t make mealtime a battleground; teach children to listen to their bodies.
  3. Don’t tell young girls they’re “pretty” all the time; vary the ways you complement their physical appearance and performance.
  4. Don’t worry too much about clothes, beyond modesty.
Final Thoughts

As I’m talking about Real Food Weight Loss and Exercise this week, suddenly this book seems to fit perfectly with what people should be reading. I think Kate does an excellent job weaving stories with Scripture, Church teaching, her personal journey, and important life lessons. I also think that Weightless is not for everyone, but if you are a mother (or could imagine yourself as one) who struggles with body image and preferably a Catholic (or open-minded Christian), then you need this book.

Disclosure: Kate is a friend and colleague who blogs at katewicker.com, but knowing her and getting a review copy don’t change the fact that my opinion is my own.

Be sure to keep up on the Real Food Weight Loss series next week as we tackle exercise, the complementarity of men and women, sweetener-free popsicles for kids, and at least THREE different quinoa protein bar recipes! Everyone seems to have a different favorite, so I’ll share them all!

[interactive_links style='side_count']

Pin It

———————————————

I’d love to see more of you!  Sign up for a free email subscription or grab my reader feed. You can also follow me on Twitter, get KS for Kindle, or see my Facebook Fan Page.

If you missed the last Monday Mission, click here.

Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

See my full disclosure statement here.

Tags: ··

14 Comments so far ↓

  • tacy

    I just heard about this book/author from a friend. It looks like a fabulous read. Thanks for your review!

  • Kate Wicker

    Thank you so much for taking time to review Weightless! No doubt reading the book and reviewing it made it even more difficult to squeeze in a shower. :-)

    Seriously, I find that although I still occasionally grapple with body image issues and more importantly, food issues (it’s more about grasping for control for me and runs so much more deeply than simply a desire to be fit or thin), I find that these days I actually have to remind myself that just because my soul and the “inside stuff” is far more important I still do have a responsibility to take care of this body of mine. We can’t recognize the supremacy of the spiritual and then say to heck with our bodies and our appearance! These bodies are all we’ve got for living this earthly life. Not only must we fuel our bodies properly with real foods and move them daily (no need for marathon sweat sessions, but it’s important to stay fit in order to carry on the hard work of being a mom to littles!), but taking care of our physical selves also means adorning them properly. For me personally, I likewise feel like I ought to take a little time – providing we’re not all sick around here or a newborn is in our midst – to spruce up for my spouse and for ME. It’s amazing how some simple primping can make me feel more human.

    One of the best quotes I’ve seen on the subject of temperance and prudence when it comes to our bodies and souls is from St. Augustine: “Take care of your body as if you were going to live forever; take care of your soul as if you were going to die tomorrow.”

    As women, we are meant to portray beauty. But the trouble is so many of us think beauty means a size 4 or aging without looking like we’re aging. I am a passionate advocate of achieving real beauty and taking care of our bodies out of respect for them and to honor our Creator. That’s one of the reasons I love your blog so much, Katie. You’re helping so many people learn how to eat well and to eat “real” food.

    Sorry for rambling, but thank you again for taking the time to review Weightless. God bless you and your ministry!!!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kate,
    I am loving that quote from St. Augustine…so that means no sweatpants, though? ;) I struggle with the TIME it takes to look cute, since I’m naturally not a shopper…but I’ve gotten some good stuff second hand recently, so that’s helping me feel cuter!
    :) Katie

  • Adrienne @ Whole New Mom

    Hi Katie!

    You did not look girthy at all! Silly.

    TV does add more to you but you looked wonderful. Of course, what’s inside matters and the exterior is nothing. Just a shell.

    But worry not.

    - Adrienne

  • KatieC

    I’m confused by “open minded Christian.” Do you have a minute to explain what you mean by that? (I realize this may sound snotty – I truly don’t intend that. I’m genuinely confused.) thanks!!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Katie,
    You don’t sound snotty at all – hope I didn’t with that phrase either. I was trying to figure out how to explain that there’s definitely a lot of Catholic teaching and quotes in the book, so if someone is going to get hung up on that and frustrated, they wouldn’t like the book. But if someone wanted to benefit from the rest of the good nuggets in the book, I didn’t think they HAD to be Catholic to do so. They would just have to be able to read around the parts that might not apply (or just become a convert, ya know). ;) Does that make sense?

    :) Katie

    KatieC Reply:

    Thanks, Katie!

    willowsprite Reply:

    I’m wondering too…

  • Pam@behealthybehappywellness

    Looks like a great read. Many of my clients come to me because they want to lose a few pounds. I definitely help them with that, but I also work with them in trying to be comfortable where they are today – that is more important and will lead to much more lasting happiness than a slimmer figure. I also think it’s so important to be careful what you say around your kids – in our household we stress being HEALTHY as what is important, not being skinny.

    Pam@behealthybehappywellness Reply:

    By the way, made your peppermint bark over the weekend from the Smart Sweets e-book – YUMMM!

    Kate Wicker Reply:

    Pam, your comment is spot-on. The allure of being thin is so much more fantastic than the reality. For so long I would turn to the scale when life got rocky. So much was out of my control. I could not make myself be loved, but I could make myself thinner. Only when i arrived at that “thin, happy place,” I still got hurt.

    I realize I am sharing a lot here, but I am very passionate about helping women reclaim the beauty of Creation and make peace with food, their bodies, and themselves. I know far too many women who tell themselves, “It will be better when I lose those last 5,10,15, 30 pounds. Life will better better. I will be better.” But they are “good enough” just as they are. Likewise, suffering is a part of the human condition. 

    In my own journey to wholeness I had to accept where I was and love the person I was at that moment. My dignity and worth remained constant. It was there when I was an overweight child teased for being chubby. It was there when I was all angles and far too thin. It’s here now that I’ve arrived at a mostly healthy place. 

    Truthfully, it’s difficult for people to eat well and be well when they don’t like or even love themselves. Overrating or under eating becomes a vehicle for expressing so many feelings that have little to do with the food itself. 

    Anyway, it sounds like you offer wise counsel to your clients. 

  • Kate Wicker

    Katie, I hope my comment didn’t come across as personally remarking on you saying that you’re too busy for vanity. That was not my intention at all. As a mom of little ones, I really struggle with taking care of myself and my appearance. And, um, sometimes that means showering!!! I joke that I should move to Europe since the idea of buying produce daily and showering weekly sounds just lovely to me.

    At any rate, thanks again for the review, and my apologies if my comment came across wrong. I have to remind myself of this stuff all of the time because striking the right balance in this culture is very difficult.

    Oh, and for non-Catholics wondering about what Katie meant, the book does reference the Eucharist and includes quotes from saints and the Catechism. In the mothering chapter, I also include a prayer to Mary. I have head several non-Catholics send me a message about how they enjoyed the book, however. Please feel free to contact me if you have specific questions.

    Thanks again, Katie. God bless!!!

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Kate,
    No worries! I’ll move to Europe with you, too, me and my homemade deodorant and “no shampoo” habits! ;) Katie

  • Kate Wicker

    *head should obviously be had. Kids are going bezel while I am locked in the bathroom, and I can’t even think straight (or at all).

Don't miss the half price offer!!
Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

PTE350
Squooshi reusable food pouches