It was thrilling to share the joy with Sarah Vincent on the day she heard her manuscript had been signed by a publisher. But that was nothing compared to the story itself – an incredible journey to beat obesity.

9780143782117 (1).jpgThis book, “Death by Dim Sim,” is a truly moving memoir. I read “Part 1: How I freed myself from my prison of fat,” in one sitting – I could not put it down. From page one: “… perhaps because you have never bought food cooked in ten-day-old oil and served with enough salt to preserve an elephant – let me explain.”

Sarah’s goal is to lose 40 kilograms, eat fresh wholesome food in moderation and to exercise regularly, and when she finally contacts a nutritionist, one that has also been overweight, a new day begins. She learns she must not quit, she must commit; and that changing the habits of a lifetime are rarely smooth. Or easy. She dissects the cravings and the plateaus; and finally she investigates the darker shades of debilitating anxiety. Through account and conversation, often hilarious, revelation and insight, she shares facts, tips, tricks, recipes and meal plans. All of this is backed up by significant research.

Sarah writes in her book about the “slivers of good” that came from her dark times. After a gap of five years she returned to her love of creative writing. And she discovered on the Internet a woman who gave up Magnum ice-creams and realised she would be OK without them. I remember when I gave up smoking and realised I would be OK without my cigarettes. It took months to realise, but realise I did, and it was such an important moment. To visualise a future without the substance of any addiction is a breakthrough.

This brave woman reveals her world of morbid obesity. She exposes the addiction, the pattern of crash dieting and the manic exercise programs. She unloads some myths about weight loss companies and her experiences with hypnotherapy, a “dodgy” doctor and miracle cures. Even more confronting is the fridge photo, front and side views. And there is the terrible stress of her husband’s illness. All in all, it is a sad, shocking, hopeful, wonderful story and you can only admire her courage in remaining true to her goal.

Sarah’s journey, over a very rocky road, is a heartfelt and graphic memoir if ever there was one. Death to dim sim!

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