This send up of the thin-is-in mentality is funny enough to make even diehard dieters consider replacing their baby carrot stick with Krispy Kremes. Shanker, one of Us Weekly's Fashion Police commentators and self-proclaimed fat girl, estimates she's spent 16 years trying to lose weight: "I've met with seven weight loss specialists, worked with three nutritionists and three personal trainers, tried a dozen weight loss programs, taken thousands of pills, joined six gyms, read thirty-one books and spent enough money on weight loss to buy myself an Ivy League degree."

Out of this context, Shanker takes on the media, corporate America and even the medical establishment, arguing with their belief that it's impossible to be both fit and fat. "Let's take the focus off 'fat' and put it on health," she lectures. "Let's take the focus off 'skinny' and put it on good common sense. Let's take the focus off body image and put it on education, women's rights, human rights, the economy, baseball cards, anything." Although Shanker's opinions on full-figured fashion and feminist philosophy are entertaining, she's at her best writing about her stint at Duke Diet and Fitness Center, one of the country's oldest and most successful weigh loss management centers. As her optimism about hardcore Duke University Medical School program flags, her diary of adventures becomes increasingly irreverent, refreshing and human. Anyone who has ever tried to lose a pound will gain confidence and a sense of humor from Shanker's story.

Forecast: Shanker writes a humor column for Grace magazine, and her readers will probably want to buy her book. Author appearances in NY will further round out sales.

 

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