What would you do if after losing half your body weight, your husband left you for a woman twice your size? In Stacey Ballis’ latest novel, Good Enough to Eat, main character Melanie Hoffman finds herself in this position. She gave up her long-hour, fast food-fueled attorney position to take care of her health, study nutrition and cooking, and open up a health food café only to find herself replaced by a larger model.
Melanie is forced to ask herself the question: What does it mean to finally become a “thin person”? To those struggling with their weight, Melanie’s accomplishment appears to be the Holy Grail. Unfortunately, as I know all too well (and am still learning) through my own weight losses and subsequent gains, getting rid of the weight is just the beginning.
Losing all that weight didn’t give Melanie the positive body image she was looking for. She sees the ravages of her body, its imperfections caused in part by the trails that weight loss have left behind, saggy body parts where the fat once was and stretch marks. She desperately fears losing control and regaining the weight she worked so hard to lose. Melanie has a hard time trusting her own ability and accomplishments, as well as letting go of her need to be perfect.
Melanie has the opportunity to start a new relationship with a great guy. She is afraid to show himself what she considers to be the “body of an old woman” and afraid to trust again.
Good Enough to Eat is a great novel showing that body image isn’t measured by calories or numbers on a scale. Even women who decide they want to lose weight, and appear to “have it all together” like Melanie with her health food store can have their own insecurities. You can see someone who appears to be a “Melanie” and think she has it all. But you don’t know what’s going on on the inside. We all have our body image insecurities which are assuaged not only by addressing our bodies but our thoughts and how we look at things. Self acceptance is accomplished from the inside out.
Good Enough to Eat really resonated with me. Pick it up.