As a writer for Plugged In Parents website, I can say with complete honesty that this book is a MUST read for all women (of any age). Before I start my review, I need to be upfront with you. This book really hit home, and I cried several times while reading it, because I've been struggling with an eating disorder for the past five years.
While pregnant with my first son, I gained 50 pounds. I ate and ate and ate, having no idea the weight wouldn't magically come off after I had my son. Now, I'm not a petite person at all. I'm 5'8" and I've always been a size medium. There was no reason for me to gain 50 pounds. So when my son was 8 months old and I was struggling to lose the last 10 pounds, I started something I never thought I would do. After overeating, I would make myself purge (throw up).
Just typing that brings me to tears. Feeling completely out of control of your own body is an awful place to be.
The thing is, I looked great. I had a bit of a baby belly, but good grief, I had just given birth 8 months before! I was just too self-conscious that I freaked out. I needed to see that pre-baby weight number on the scale.
Fast forward a few years and I have yet to see that number on the scale. I still struggle with overeating and, every once in awhile, purging. I'm ashamed of this, and I'm working on getting past it. I'm trying to see myself as a beautiful woman, no matter what size I am. I know we're not all made the same, and I will never be a size 2, nor do I want to be. I want to find the beauty in ME, not base my beauty on a number or a size.
Why is there so much pressure for girls to look a certain way in our society today? We should be embracing inner beauty and encouraging girls to be who they are meant to be, not who our world thinks they should be.
Robyn does just that in Good Girls Don't Get Fat. She shares examples of conversations she's had with teenage girls and young women -- all of them eye-opening and frightening. Apparently women aren't just dealing with anorexia and bulimia anymore. Girls are taking steroids, beating their stomachs, and taking laxatives to get thin.
Robyn also discusses the importance of parents not putting pressure on their daughters to look a certain way. She includes a guide on how to be the best dad and mom you can be for your daughter, and lists actual examples on what you can say and do. Robyn shows us how one word or sentence can haunt a girl for the rest of her life, and the parents may not have even meant to be critical. I think the same goes for friends and other family members as well. We need to encourage our daughters, mothers and female friends. Let them know how beautiful they are, not how skinny they are.
There are multiple charts, quizzes and other helpful things in Good Girls Don't Get Fat. It's a great guide for parents who don't know what to look for, what to ask, or where to start. One thing that surprised me was that an older brother can 'teach' a younger sister how boys would like her to look, indirectly. A younger sister will learn how guys want her to look just by watching how her older brother treats other girls.
One of my favorite chapters is "Kiss My Assets: The Secret of Girls Who Thrive at Every Size." This chapter is so inspiring and helps girls realize they can be happy with their body, no matter their size.
The bottom line is: we need to stop judging ourselves and others by their size. It really doesn't get us anywhere. And please, if you are struggling with an eating disorder, or know someone who is, get help! Speak up about it. I held it in for too long, and now I can't believe I've been struggling with this for 5 years. I don't want this to rule the rest of my life, and Robyn's book gave me the tools to start moving forward.
It's hard and embarrassing to talk about, but it's so important to talk about. There are millions of women and girls out there, suffering from warped body images and eating disorders, who are too scared to say anything. Speak up! We are beautiful women, period! Don't let anyone tell you differently!
I can't recommend this book enough. It has helped me tremendously, and I'm positive it can help many others as well.