Book Review: Susie Elelman’s Still Half My Size brings a show business perspective to the world of weight loss

Susie Elelman is a much-loved Australian media personality who has appeared on daytime television and radio for several decades. She has also waged a rather public battle with her weight and those experiences shaped her first book, Half My Size released in 2005. Now in 2018, Elelman follows-up that title with another self-help book, Still Half My Size, where she uses a similar format of offering up her own personal anecdotes, tips and tricks with those of her celebrity friends and various experts from different fields to provide commentary on weight-loss. This ultimately has varying results in terms of its usefulness, applicability and impact.

It seems that the diet book industry has grown exponentially in recent times, just as our own waist lines have increased. One’s weight is a very complex and individual issue. This means that some readers may find parts of this book quite useful and educational because Elelman herself lost in excess of 50 kilograms and kept this off for the better part of a decade.

On the other hand when one reads a book like this we need to be mindful of the fact that Elelman is not a Doctor, nor an obesity expert, and that readers really should first and foremost seek advice from their own medical practitioners. While some of her tips, like imagining her body as a dream car and being more mindful of the food/fuel she is placing into it may have worked for her, this approach may not work for other people. Elelman offers up other advice about portion control and exercise and these make logical sense and are most likely the things that people already know about and know that they need to employ.

It is interesting that in one part of the book Elelman shares two very different approaches to treat-like foods such as a hamburger and chips. Her method is to avoid these things because she admits that she has difficulty in exerting willpower when presented with such foods in the first place. This is contrasted with fellow media personality, Julia Morris who Elelman describes as someone that denies herself nothing but exerts self-control by only eating half of the extravagant hamburger and chips. This idea just reinforces the notion that there is no easy solution or one size fits all answer to weight problems/management.

This title – like Elelman’s previous book – includes interviews with celebrities like Tara Moss, Jessica Rowe, Sandra Sully, Jeff Fenech and Fran Macpherson (mother to models, Elle and Mimi.) The interviewees are candid in their responses, even though from the outside looking in, these people don’t appear to have ever struggled with maintaining their weights. Elelman also includes interviews with experts like Dr. Gary Aaron, the Medical Director of the Australian Menopause Centre, and with sex therapist Dr. Rose King with each providing some interesting commentary on menopause and sex, respectively and how these relate to weight-loss.

Fran Macpherson also includes some low-fat recipes at the end of this book for some soups, salads and fruit-based desserts. Whilst Personal Trainer Glenn Chipperfield includes some quick and easy TV commercial break exercises. The inclusion of these may help some readers but at the same time it also feels like this book is trying too hard to be all things to all people, which it simply cannot be, especially if it wants to succeed at being all of these different things.

Susie Elelman’s book has some intriguing tid-bits for those people embarking on a weight-loss journey and who are looking for some advice from an older sister who has been there and done that. But that being said, this should not replace the advice of a doctor or other medical professionals who know a reader’s medical history and can provide better direction regarding how to tackle this complex problem. There are also some readers who will be left wanting a book that is more scientific in its approach because for the most part, Still Half My Size seems to play up the showbiz factor of weight-loss and this can be a very different experience to those shared by your average Joe.

For what it is, Still Half My Size is an at times inspiring and entertaining self-help book about one woman’s personal journey through weight-loss and how she achieved this with a little help from her celebrity friends.

Still Half My Size is available now through New Holland Publishers


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