LIVING Alli Spotts-De Lazzer’s MeaningFull is not only founded on a qualified therapist’s knowledge, but first-hand accounts of people who have dealt with dieting, weight and body image issues, and come out the other side having beaten them
Main image by Drop the Label Movement
Alli Spotts-De Lazzer’s MeaningFull: 23 Life-Changing Stories of Conquering Dieting, Weight and Body Image Issues is a book which, with no exaggeration, can change the world for the better!
Spotts-De Lazzer is a licensed therapist and has a certification in eating disorders, but it’s not just the theory she knows: she’s been through it first-hand, and conquered a decades-long struggle with food, weight and body image. Within the prologue she gives her own story and her dozen ‘shifts’ that helped her conquer her issues, and she’s wise not to give these as a prescription, but a guideline so that readers can figure out their own path.
It’s an intelligent author who gives her readers time to contemplate and figure things out for themselves: this is far more powerful than dictating a nulti-step programme to them and making them feel bad when one of those steps doesn’t suit.
‘Choice is often unpopular,’ Spotts-De Lazzer tells Lucire. ‘You’ll see my book never tells anyone what to do. Same with me as a therapist. It’s the best because people find their ways of growing and own them.’
Her format is clever, too: after her prologue she includes first-person stories from others who have had their own struggles with the same issues. Every one of them, because they are from the heart and genuine, has something that a reader finds a connection with. This isn’t a theoretical book: it gives real examples and the different ways each person dealt with their challenges. At the end of each chapter, including her own prologue, Spotts-De Lazzer provides professional notes to give the precedent account some context. The last section of the book features insights from loved ones, including Spotts-De Lazzer’s mother, who recalls her daughter’s experiences from her own perspective.
Spotts-De Lazzer reminds us that the body–mass index is based on a formula created 200 years ago, and that based on its numbers, an élite athlete might be tested as obese.
Her 23 stories—call them ‘mini-memoirs’—are from different backgrounds and ethnicities, and it’s probably the most diverse book on the subject. Usually, the research has been on younger white women, with the biases inherent in that.
This is a must-read in our opinion, with easily digestible, real-life accounts. It can potentially remove so many of the stresses related to dieting, weight and body image, and reminds us all to put ourselves genuinely first, not the messages that get repeated ad nauseam through the media as well as some people we know.
At the time of press, MeaningFull is available now via Amazon at US$16 for the paperback, and US$9·92 for the Kindle edition. •
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