45 Pounds (More or Less)

download (4) Goodreads synopsis:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of infomercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

For me, weight has kind of always been an issue, especially when it comes to body image. I’m not a size 5 like my mother was before having children. I’m not the athletic type like my little sister, who played soccer and still plays softball to this day. My dad was athletic – baseball, football, and weight lifting. Me? I tried to play softball during 5th and 6th grade, the results…I have terrible vision and could not catch or hit anything to save my life. Instead I cheered from the end of first grade until eighth grade and then again my senior year of high school. Now I coach cheer and gymnastics during my summers home. I try to go to the gym when I can and am not exhausted, but the babies at work wear me out! Lifting and carrying them all day is a workout entirely its own. I bought a gym membership to my college’s gym, how many times have I gone? Like six times. I just get so self conscious with all of the skinny girls working out like its easy and all the buff, judgmental frat bros in the weights areas.

Though the main character is only sixteen years old, I see a lot of my high school self in her – though I have never been higher than a size 14, and the scale is just a number. I wasn’t really sure how I ended up heavily involved in school with no close friends and a boyfriend, that just never made sense to me. Of course, I always thought it was a weight issue. Much like the main character, Ann, I had a friend that was a convenience friend. Cassie was only friends with Ann during summer because she was too busy at another high school and hanging out with her tennis teammates. My friend, let’s just call her….Hannah (not real name), and she would only talk to me during the school year, as soon as summer hit, I was no longer in existence, and then by the time school started back up again it was like I was the greatest person in the world because I was the only one who would listen to her BS. Friends like this make it hard to become yourself and make it harder for you to accept/change the way you are, especially when they have such strong personalities.

It also didn’t help that Ann’s mom was going through a lot after being severely mentally abused for years, so she put her daughter on every diet imaginable as soon as she started gaining weight as a child. I have never been on a diet program, I’ve wanted to because I figure it would help out my asthma problem, but in reality I have a love-hate relationship with food. I’m a picky eater to begin with – I cannot eat cooked veggies (only raw), I never used to have dressing of any kind on my salads, I love steak/pasta/potatoes and my weakness is bread. Diets are tricky things and Ann decided to drop a butt load of money on some diet/exercise plan she knew nothing but what the infomercial told her. Research people – it saves money, lives, and hunger.

Through this book I have a greater appreciation for my hard work – eating salad with most meals, not going out to eat every night, not over-indulging in the wonderful food my sorority chef makes us for our meals, walking to and from class instead of the shuttle. These little things have made an improvement, much like Ann eating the cardboard food and starting to run. Taking up an eating disorder is not the way to do things girls, and I’m glad author, K.A. Barson, did not have her character, Ann, develop an eating disorder. Healthy is the way to go, not skinny. Don’t send the wrong message to girls. Confidence is also key. Confidence is important to create and maintain friendships, try something new, and to be your own perfect self. Barson’s message wasn’t written in the sky, but for those of us that have gone through the “I’m going to lose thirty pounds in less than two months” stage, we appreciate you painting us in a good light.

I was kind of surprised I finished this book all in one day since I had so much to do, but then again, it’s okay! I have plenty more to read 🙂 Up next will be The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han! Happy reading fellow bookworms!

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