Book Clubbing: Author Takes Celebrity Diets for a Spin

Gwyneth surrounded by, but not reading, books.
Gwyneth surrounded by, but not reading, books.

I haven’t done too many book reviews on the blog, but I assure you, I do read. And not just US Weekly and Life and Style either. Why, I’ve even been known to pick up a Vanity Fair at the airport once in a while.

I kid. I actually read a lot. I used to get in a good 45 minutes of reading every morning during my approximately seven-mile commute to work on the metro. You read that right: 45 minutes to go 7.2 miles. So, yeah. Lot’s of reading time.

But for the most part, I don’t really review them on the blog. Way back when, I did review this tome of excellence by Gaga’s ex. And a recent book suggested by former running partner Amy definitely falls into the same genre/category of silly and celebrity-focused enough to be reviewed on ThePoeLog. (That is indeed a genre. You can see it on the New York Times Best Sellers List right under “Paperback Graphic Books,” which sounds scintillating but in actuality is like, comic books.)

The book — “I’ll Have What She’s Having,” is an in-depth exploration on how to map social behaviors. I’m kidding. That’s a different book. With the same title, but by a group of like, professors of anthropology.

No, no, no. The book I read is by a very attractive New York writer who is celebrity-and-diet obsessed. But in a good way.

Over the course of a year, author Rebecca Harrington tried 14 celebrity diets, ranging from Cameron Diaz to Sophia Loren (talk about two different body types).

The results are kinda meh.

First off, let me say, I am not at all a diet person. Never been on one. I’m not really much for denying myself. I know that drinking wine and eating delicious buttery bread every night is probably not a recipe for weight loss. Oh well.

And, I don’t look at celebrities and models and think I should look like them. I’ve never been susceptible to that type of societal pressure for some reason. There’s them and then there’s us. I have a pretty good idea of the effort and deprivation that goes into looking like that, and I’m just not interested. So maybe I’m not the ideal audience for a book like this.

I will say, this is an easy read. Takes about an hour and a half, start to finish, max. The chapters are very, very short. In fact, I got the feeling that I was essentially reading a series of blog posts, not an actual book. It cost me $5.99 for the Kindle edition, and I still think I probably spent too much.

The concept is pretty cute and Harrington is funny, but she’s a bit repetitive. She often mentions that working out like a celebrity is HARD. I feel like this is maybe not news?

Harrington is also far too brief. She starts a diet and then it’s just over. You have no idea from the outset how long she’s going to stick with any particular diet and she combines the days, so it’s just a blur. Like I said, short chapters. Maybe because she was weak from hunger and couldn’t type any longer.

There are a couple of takeaways —

  1. Being a celebrity sucks. And it always has, even if you were Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, or even Karl Lagerfield (and can I just say how refreshing it was to read about at least ONE guy who admits to having to diet to stay thin?)
  2. It takes a lot of work to be Hollywood thin. You basically have to deny/starve yourself. Which sucks when you’re rich and famous and have access to all of the wonderful food of the world.
  3. My favorite diet was Sophia Loren’s because basically it was just all about portion control (but not portion control like Victoria Beckham. Poor Harrington tried her “five hands” diet, which basically means you eat a lot of protein but all of it around the size of your palm. So five handfuls of food a day. Yikes.) But yeah. A cup of pasta, not a whole pot. Makes sense to me.
  4. Gwyneth Paltrow can, apparently, cook. Even though it’s all healthy and macrobiotic or whatever, Harrington really seemed to like Paltrow’s recipes the best.
  5. Worst (at least from the sounds of it) might be a tie, in my opinion: Beyonce’s Master Cleanse or Greta Garbo’s celery loaf. Since Harrington couldn’t even get past the smell of the cooked celery loaf to taste it (and who could blame her), we’ll never know the dietary effectiveness, but it does sound vile.
  6. Don’t take book recommendations from former running partner Amy. Actually, it does make for good blog fodder.

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Now that’s a diet I can get behind: pork.

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