|The Women's Press, London, 2002
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The size acceptance movement has shown us that our worth is not dependent on our weight and that the pressure to be thin can be a social and medical injustice. But while many large women theoretically celebrate their body, they still cannot accept their size.
What Have You Got to Lose? is a book for large women who may want to be thinner but don't know how to achieve it. More than a diet book, it also examines the politics of health and weight and extracts the truth from the welter of claims that fatness or thinness is best.
Shelley Bovey - who has herself lost 6.5 stone - takes an analytical look at the popular methods of weight loss and their effectiveness, and offers a way out to those women who find that their fat body is a prison.
The most difficult book of them all. For some time I had been thinking about losing weight. Turning fifty had given me a sense of urgency; I began to think of all the things I still wanted to do with my life and to realise that now was the time to work towards all those projects that had always remained in some nebulous future. Certainly I did want to be thinner but like most overweight people I had failed countless times with diets. I'd always regained the weight, plus a whole lot more and yo-yoed my way up to a very high weight indeed. Even while editing Sizeable Reflections I was researching a way to lose weight successfully - to be among the 5% who keep the weight off permanently, whereas before I had always been part of that depressing 95% recidivism statistic. There was the political angle, too. What happens when a prominent size acceptance activist decides to lose weight? Is she betraying The Cause? Is weight loss incompatible with size acceptance? Well, I searched for all these answers and found them; I have lost nearly seven stone and addressed the political implications of that. It was a tough book to write. But I have discovered the secret of being in that elusive 5%!
'A splendid writer' :: Sheila Kitzinger