16 January 2011

Possibly another book mums don't need...

As I have been re-visiting my hometown of Chicago for the last few weeks, I find myself gravitating to my favourite bookstores, the majority of which are now overrun with Alison Sweeney's new tome, The Mommy Diet. Sweeney, host of the The Biggest Loser (US) claims that this book reflects her new found sensitivities surrounding pregnancy weight gain and the pressures to lose baby weight quickly. While I am usually all for positive reading material for new mums when it comes to body image, there are several things that bother me about this book. Firstly, Sweeney (in spite of what are probably good intentions) is inextricably linked with a television show that puts ordinary but very obese individuals through the paces to lose extraordinary amounts of weight in a short period of time. While she acknowledges that this environment led to her own anxiety about losing weight postpartum, I still think that it is difficult for other mums who are inevitably going to read this book to separate her from the context from which she has become famous. Secondly, while Sweeney reiterates that the book is meant to be a book for 'healthy' pregnant and post-pregnant bodies, I find it bizarre that a book that is meant to be about 'health' or mindful eating/exercise has the word 'diet' in the title. Call me crazy, but I think most of us have pretty explicit pictures of what 'diet' means and it usual brings to mind pictures of restrictive eating and lots of exercise in order to lose weight which I think seems to contravene what Sweeney is intending to do with the book. The book is a month-to-month guide to weight loss which, to me, isn't much different than any of the three million other books on the market that purport to be 'different' and all about 'health' when really they are just diet books in disguise. I think the whole premise of the book is hypocritical. Although Sweeney says that she didn't lose her baby weight quickly, nevertheless, she lost it and I think she would be lying if she suggested she didn't have lots of support to do so.
Has anyone out there actually bought the book or have you seen it? What do you think of it?

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The Baby Bump Project by Meredith Nash is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.