Book Review: ‘The Fat Chick Works Out’ by Jeanette DePatie

9 Mar

The Fat Chick Works Out

by Jeanette DePatie

Real Big Books

Publication Date:  April 15, 2011

Book received from:  Author

Let me start by saying that Jeanette DePatie is an inspiring personality, encouraging people to get over the ‘I’m fat, so I can’t do that’ mentality.  She lays out a 12-week plan on how to get started towards becoming more physically fit and feeling better about yourself.  That being said, there are many areas in regards to what it takes to be truly healthy that fall short, or are not even addressed in The Fat Chick Works Out.

The positives:

In a country that has the rate of obesity and unhealthy behaviors, it is important to promote fitness on any level.  The Fat Chick is a good jumping off point for those that are severely unmotivated or uneducated in the area of personal health, in that it encourages starting off slowly and working habits into your everyday life, rather than a huge overhaul that may be more difficult to stick with.  DePatie has set up a simple system of checks and balances, in which one can set their personal goals based upon their determined fitness levels.  She promotes having a positive body image, regardless of size, and that will help lead to a more positive life in other aspects, as well.  It is a great plan to show that anyone can get up and moving.

The not-so positives:

The Fat Chick seems to encourage the mindset of ‘anything is better than nothing.’  While this is intrinsically true, it also tends to encourage the ‘well, I did that, so why push myself?’ mentality.  When it comes to getting truly healthy there are a lot of ideas out there, but there are still basic principles- among those are proper nutrition.  DePatie talks about food in Chapter Six (yes, waits until week 6), but not about nutrition.  If you are trying to get healthy, what you are putting into your body cannot be ignored simply because thinking about food is a trigger for their addiction of eating.  With “teeny tiny tips” to healthier eating such as “reduce the amount of soda I drink,” it does not encourage total commitment to getting healthier.  By week 12, one should be on a solid course to changing habits, and it is at this point that DePatie says that you can celebrate your success by taking up to 2 weeks off of your new lifestyle.  This idea seems completely counterintuitive and counterproductive.

In the end, she also implies that society pushes certain expectations upon us, that in turn lead to an increase in stress about weight, thus leading to health problems.  Ergo, “[…] the media and medical professions may actually help cause the conditions […].”  Personally, I found this to be blame-placing, denying personal accountability.  Yes, societies expectations are often not attainable.  We know this.  However, finding outlets to blame for one not reaching their goals is not promoting positive self-image, which DePatie says she is all about.

In Summary:

The Fat Chick does supply many good jumping off points towards your fitness goals.  However, there is not enough solid education in nutrition and fitness to promote the change in lifestyle that DePatie seems to be encouraging.  I realize that it gets discouraging when you cannot meet your fitness goals as quickly as you first thought.  We have all been there.  However, not being completely accountable for why those goals were not reached is never going to get you to those goals in the long run.  Setting realistic goals is key, but those goals need to be adjusted from time to time to push yourself to the next level.  Simply finding a comfort zone is not getting you healthier, but keeping you right where you are.  The Fat Chick is for those that want to get started towards a more active lifestyle, but not for those that want to change their lives.

For more about Jeanette DePatie (a.k.a The Fat Chick), visit her website.

This book can be purchased at, as well as your local independent bookseller.


2 Responses to “Book Review: ‘The Fat Chick Works Out’ by Jeanette DePatie”

  1. Kris Owen (@Wolfwen) March 10, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    This is definitely a clearly written and thought provoking article! I understand (although not agree) with many of your viewpoints and would like to point to some lives who have changed because of Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick): — including one woman who says: “This class has helped me in so many ways. My blood pressure is much lower and my diabetes is totally under control. But what’s most important is the new outlook I now have on my life. Instead of feeling handicapped by my health problems, I now feel like I’m in control of my life. Jeanette always encourages me to work at my own pace, so I really feel like I can do it. I have more energy. I’m not so self-conscious any more. I’m more confident. This class has helped me to feel like I can do anything!”

    • Jaime H. March 12, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Thank you for the comment. I by no means want to undervalue what DePatie surely does for many women (and men) out there. I just found it necessary to point out what I felt the weak points were, as well as the strong points. Anyone that helps to encourage a healthier life should be given credit- and DePatie does just that! Thanks again, and thanks for reading.

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