Monday, October 3, 2011

Book Review: Weightless by Kate Wicker

When I was in fifth grade, I quit ballet.  As much as I loved dancing, that love didn’t compare to how intensely I hated the way I looked in a leotard and tights.  In a ballet studio, with every wall covered in mirrors and unforgiving lighting, I became acutely aware that I didn’t fit in with the petite girls in my class.  When I look back on it now, it saddens me that I gave up something that brought me so much joy because of an insecurity with my body.  What is even more disheartening is that this was not the only time that I let my weight affect my life choices, rather it was the first incident in a more than decade long battle with body image. 

While in high school, I realized that my relationship with food and perception of my body was not only unhealthy but verging on dangerous.  I instinctively turned to the constant source of stability and security in my life: my Catholic faith.  However, I found that there were few resources available that addressed healthy body image and eating through a faith-based perspective.  When I read about the new book Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body a few months ago, I rejoiced!  This is the book that I had so desperately sought.  While my need for it may no longer be as great as it once was, I was still looking for faith-based resources on body image and healthy eating. 

The first thing I noticed about the book when I received it in the mail was its length; at only 83 pages, I wondered how it could possibly live up to my expectations and thoroughly cover the topic.  Yet, the book did not leave me unsatisfied or longing for more.  In fact, I was impressed with how comprehensive the book was.  Author Kate Wicker approaches the topic from many angles: personal anecdotes from her own struggles with an eating disorder, quotes and wisdom from scripture and the Saints, and practical advice for common situations and issues.  While some of the chapters in the book may not apply to you specifically, for example, the chapters that address postpartum body image, aging, or modeling healthy body image for your daughters, there is something in the book for everyone. 

While I could have easily seen a book like this becoming predictable and repetitive, Kate Wicker does not stick to the same old Bible passages about loving yourself and your body as a temple (although these are included, of course!).  Several times while I was reading I was tempted to check the Bible to see if the passages she quoted were really there – I had never heard them before yet they fit the topic perfectly!  And who would have known that so many Saints talked about food?  Finally, here was the wisdom that I had been searching for!  That’s the genius of this book – Wicker’s ability to bring together Catholic wisdom on this topic from such diverse sources. 

Each chapter ends with “Soul Food”, “Meditation”, and “For Your Reflection” sections.   They explore the spiritual sides of the issues in greater depth, provide a plethora of quotes from the Bible and the Saints, as well as questions for further reflection.  I suggest reading the book with a journal and Bible close at hand.  I used my Bible on several occasions to look up passages Wicker suggested or to read the greater context of the passages she provided.  While reading, I was constantly jotting in my notebook new ideas, quotes I liked, or answers to the questions Wicker posed.  Usually, I would read a short book like this in a day, but Weightless gave me so much to reflect on and respond to that I couldn’t read more than one chapter in a sitting.  Due to its short chapters and questions for reflection (and the universality of the topic), it would also work well as the focus of a women’s group or book club.  Regardless of the how you decide to read the book, I strongly suggest you do. 

This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Weightless - Making peace with your body. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.


  1. I've been intrigued by the buzz but knew very little about the book. Thanks for a thoughtful review. My heart breaks for your 10-year-old self (brings back memories about my own grade school self) and all the girls and women dealing with these issues. which is probably most of them.

    I didn't know about the Catholic book reviewer program!

  2. Great review! You just reminded me that I need to do one of my own for The Catholic Company (shameface)...haha.

  3. Sounds great, thanks for this review Mandi!

  4. Thanks for the review! I'm about to start a diet and this will be a good read to help me keep the right mindset.

  5. Thank you so much for the encouragement and for the thorough review of my book. I'm so grateful some people have found it to helpful.

    God bless!

  6. Thanks for writing this review. I didn't know about the book. I need to get it. I've lived a full life with poor body image and now after 5 kids, I'm starting to realize that my desired body is not only probably out of reach (with my schedule and age and experience) but probably an unhealthy goal as well. I need to learn to love whatever my healthy body looks like.


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