Passing for Thin: Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self by Frances Kuffel

Aug 31, 2009

Kuffel offers interesting insight into her weight loss, different from a how-to diet book or even an account of how she did it. Her focus in on why she did it, and how her own journey transformed her relationships and her life is an engaging read about one woman’s struggle to overcome a lifelong addiction.

In answer to the constant question “were you always fat”?  Kuffel explains, “I identified myself as fat at such an early age that for a long time there was no other adjective to follow.” While she may not have always been fat, her memories seem to revolve around the food she schemed and plotted to acquire.

Kuffel describes the defining moment when she realized her eating was out of control as “idiotically mundane”. She was financially broke and commiserating with a friend. The moment came when her friend asked why she had bought Pringles with her last $3 when she wasn’t hungry.

“So why did you buy Pringles?”

“Because I’m afraid. I eat when I’m afraid…”

I heard this. It was the truest thing I had ever said. This was my heart and my guts talking, every blood cell in my body condensed into five words.

I heard but I didn’t listen. I wasn’t ready. It would be ten years before I listened and acted.

But I knew.

Ten years is a long time to live with the knowledge of a necessary change. Kuffel doesn’t expound on the details of her eating plan, offer tips for others struggling to lose weight or pretend to offer inspiration. She does, however, document her emotional journey and how changing her outward appearance changed how those she knew best related to her. As well as how she related to herself.

I can’t pretend that I always understood what Kuffel was trying to tell her readers, but over all Passing for Thin is an engaging account of one woman’s struggle to overcome addiction.


Reviewed by Helen H.
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