spectating participant

March 16, 2006

Book Review: Body Clutter

Filed under: flylady, books — suzanne henderson @ 10:27 am

[Body Clutter: love your body, love yourself] by [Marala Cilley] and [Leanne Ely]

Written by the author of [Sink Reflections] and the author of [Saving Dinner], Body Clutter is a joint endeavor by the Flylady and Leanne Ely. The flylady email list that I am on has given numerous testimonials regarding the book, setting it out as a wonderful tool for starting on that path to removing personal body clutter (fat).

Now, the book boasts the fact that it is more than just losing weight. Eliminating body clutter is also about addressing the reasons we over eat, including emotional attachments to food and childhood experience that may give us an unhealthy excessive craving for certain items. There are activities in the book, mostly journaling activities, designed to address the issues behind over eating and poor nutrition and exercise.

In Marla’s typical narrative style, there is a lot of conversational material in the book that seems to barely get at the issues. Yes, she discusses them and tries to provided her standard motivation of encouragement without accepting whining or excuses, but it really works out to a lot of flat paragraphs. Personal examples have filled all of her writings from Sink Reflections to her website and emails, but in this instance, they seem to be overwhelming her message in a negative way.

Leanne Ely offers a lot of insight in how to make eating healthy possible. I like having her insight, especially considering that I’m one of the many subscribers to savingdinner.com’s weekly menu lists. But she also seemed to adopt Marla’s style of writing that really just filled 227 pages with what could have been done in about 50.

Now, to be fair, I am not starting out on searching for the right motivation to get healthy. I’ve already figured that out for myself. However, I was hoping ot find some suggestions or comments that would stick with me, as I did in the Sink Reflections book, that would make it easier to continue on my path. Flylady (Marla) has often directed her prose at the individual who feels hopelessly out of control of their life and this book is a reflection on that. But, unfortunately, it just seems like a long narrative highlighting that issue without truly empowering someone to stand up and take action or how to start that process. For someone so focused on “babysteps” for progress, she didn’t fufill her goal of helping people on to their personal journey for eliminating body clutter. Instead, she just threw her experiences (and Leanne’s) out to the masses, mentioned how our mind plays a role in our habits, and just let the pieces fall where they may.

Finally, I have to admit to my discomfort at giving a negative review of this book. Mostly because I admire Flylady’s methods and her ability to get people motivated. But, I just can’t say that this book is of any use to anyone who needs to make a change or who wants to make a change. There are other books out there that address the mental and physical issues surrounding weight loss while empowering the reader with real, tangible steps to start taking. Body Clutter is just another passive excuse for not dealing with the issue, it’ll get read and people will be able to agree with the writings, but in the end it will just end up at the bottom of the book shelf, if not garage sale pile, because there is nothing in it to refer back to or hold on to.