You Are What You Eat – You Are What You Read

You Are What You Eat – You Are What You Read

You Are What You Eat—You Are What You Read

As a Fitness Expert, I have been instructing exercise classes since 1980. I know that must make me sound old, but as the saying goes, with age comes wisdom. So, as it stands with every flip of the calendar, I am much wiser.

During the course of my career, I can honestly say that I have heard every diet, weight loss regime, and strategy in the book for losing weight; all enlisted for the betterment of good health internally and externally.

My observation is this: striving for balance is the key to longevity and happiness in life.

However, everyone needs to figure this out for themselves. If it is weight loss you are looking for, change your eating habits, exercise, and burn more calories than you are consuming. Alternatively, you can take in fewer calories and work at becoming stronger.

Both concepts are basically the same and are scientifically proven to work.

Let it be known, I am a firm believer of not depriving yourself, so eat, drink, and be merry!

Health tip: calories in the food we eat provide energy so our bodies can function. Therefore, we need to eat a certain number of calories to sustain life. If we take in too many calories than we are utilizing, we will gain weight. BUT not all calories are the same. As a comparison, a regular chocolate bar is one hundred and fifty calories, coincidentally the same as thirty cups of lettuce.

If we understand what a calorie is and why we count them, we can make better dietary choices, with “choice” being the keyword in all aspects of our lives, not just with the food we eat. Freedom of choice is a big deal that we often pride ourselves on having.

This brings me to the second part of my blog’s title.

You Are What You Read

I started reading memoirs and biographies in my 20s. They became my go-to genre and first choice in reading material. Personal histories and self-portrayals intrigued me.

I picked books that were on Oprah’s book list, in addition to referrals from friends, and as it turned out, almost every book I read was a memoir. Fast forward 40 years later, and with two memoirs written and published, now under my belt, and a third one coming out soon, I still prefer to read anything and everything that is non-fiction.

Through self-discovery, trial and error, I discovered that I know what I like, and I like what I know. I am fascinated by how others tick. I love to learn and find great pleasure in other people’s lives and the choices they make.


I am not embarrassed to say that memoirs and biographies round out my entire reading list. Unless of course, my Book Club suggests otherwise, the women from my group and their choices in reading material have taught me a lot. For this I am grateful.

I have tried to read other genres, and what comes close to my taste are fiction books about families and family dysfunction, even if they are not true. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens and Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano are two great examples of books that I thoroughly enjoyed, both being written in the context of fiction. Sometimes, I find myself secretly pretending books such as these are non-fiction, and in reality, are accurate accounts from someone else’s life, somewhat like a memoir incognito.

Yet, many people do not share my likes and dislikes, and I understand this. Of course, to each his own. Differences are what make the world go round and so on… I respect and appreciate that we cannot like the same reading material as the next person. It would be silly, boring, and rude to think otherwise.

When I first realized that memoirs are not everyone’s cup of tea for “getting lost in a book,” it boggled my mind. It was hard for me to fathom that others did not enjoy delving into a true story about unique, eclectic lives brought together by pain and sorrow, joy and success; individuals who have conquered and gotten through trauma and tragedy; stories and blow-by-blows about people like myself, who have come out better on the other side of their struggles, or perhaps worse.

I found this out the hard way after my second book was published. After writing about the intimate details of my life, overall, the feedback was remarkable. I received a lot of five-star reviews and an award. I felt accomplished and was proud that my goal to help others who share similar struggles was realized. By the many reviews and book sales, I felt that I was reaching others.

However, eventually, my bubble was burst, and my self-esteem plummeted when two people shared their distaste for my story. This felt crushing, and as I assessed their comments in bewilderment, I wondered how they could find fault with my story since it was just that—my story.

Essentially, I took their thoughts and opinion far too personally.

As it stands, they did not care for my book, period. Which does not mean their disheartening and unnerving reviews reflected who I am as a writer or human being. This, I sincerely hope is true.

Those two negative reviews became a turning point for me. We all know the old saying, “We can’t please everyone,” even if it is in our nature to want to please most people most of the time.

I say this in pleasantry as I continue to move forward, writing, unravelling, and healing from my past and finding incredible empathy for others who write and divulge the secrets and mysteries behind their lives. Their true accounts of drama, humour, hard times, good times, and more, can be absorbing and helpful.

Now, I understand a bad review

All in all, I can completely grasp why someone would not care for the harsh reality that only a memoir brings. It might dredge up the pain, hurt, and even annoyance of their own past lives. It possibly sounds like minutiae and someone droning on about the injustices in life, grief and healing, and how people have wronged them.

Some might read a memoir and say in their head, blah, blah, blah or yada, yada, yada followed with…

Really? Do we always have to be learning something? And, who cares?

Can we not just get lost in science fiction, horror, mystery, or a Harlequin Romance once in a while?

I say a wholehearted yes!

To each his own, we all have choices, and I embrace that. The bottom line is to read.

My mother was an avid reader and said to me once, “I don’t care what you read, just read something!” With that being said, as a youngster, I chose Archie comic books. Every other Saturday, my mother took me to the comic bookstore in North Vancouver, where I lived. Sometimes I traded my comics in, and sometimes (if I were lucky, or she was in a good mood), I would get a brand new, crisp, never-before-read comic book. I can still smell the old worn books and see the colourful, encased plastic sleeve of the new ones. The experience of having an avid comic book enthusiast behind the cash register freely offering wisdom and know-how is still etched in my mind.

Eventually, I became obsessed with Betty and Veronica and wanted to look just like them. But I will save that topic for another blog…eye-rolling emoji here.

If you enjoy memoirs, you might like to read mine.


I was asked to choose and review five of my favourite books. You know, the book that you never wanted to end. Or the characters that stay with you, and their circumstance pops into your head periodically—sometimes, we feel so connected to them that we often wonder how they are doing now.

If you click on the link below, you will find a creative new way to read reviews, and you can see my five choices.

“Shepherd is a book discovery website that is like wandering the aisles of your favourite bookstore. Along with little notes from authors pointing out their favourite books.”

-Ben, creator #reading #books

These five books have inspired me, educated me and caused me to continue writing with the best storytelling visuals I can muster. Click on the link to view them.

AND guess what?

One of the books in my recommendations is not a memoir.

6 Replies to “You Are What You Eat – You Are What You Read”

  1. Loved how you wrote how important “Freedom of Choice” is in our lives. Whether it be in the foods we eat. Or our stories that we like to read whether Fiction or Non-fiction. We all can choose, and have our opinions on what best suits us as individuals. The five books you chose, that have educated you and inspired you are Novels that sound very intriguing. All on the journeys of others lives and heartbreak and adventures. And what they have endured. You have peaked my interest with all 5 books. I will surely put these on my list of books to read!

    1. Thank you, Maree! We share the same curiosity to learn about others. I am excited for you to read my book number three, Fat and Beautiful – My Sister’s Story. Don’t be alarmed by the title, as it explains itself very early on in the story.

  2. I love reading about people who I admire. Michelle Obama’s book is my latest. You know me well Karen and I would love a recommendation for my next read.

    1. Awesome! Thanks Anne, for reading my blog! I hope you saw my five top book recommendations. There is a link at the bottom of my blog. Happy reading and writing! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *