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Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body

4.07  ·  Rating Details ·  376 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews

In the age of The Biggest Loser and the “war on obesity,” we’re pressured to conform to certain body standards at any cost. Sure, everyone should eat right and get exercise, but what if you do that and you still don’t fit into the clothes at the mall?

In Two Whole Cakes, Fatshionista extraordinaire Lesley Kinzel
tells stories, gives advice, and challenges stereotypes about
Paperback, 160 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by The Feminist Press at CUNY
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Dec 08, 2016 Melissa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Absolutely everyone
Yes. Just yes. If you, like me, have ever looked at a fat person & thought, "Why can't they just eat less?" you need to read this book. If you, like me, have ever looked in the mirror & thought, "Why am I so fat & gross?" you need to read this book. Will I look at a fat person ever again & wonder why they can't just lose some weight? No, I will not. Will I feel ashamed about the wobbly skin that's still around my middle from my pregnancy? No, I will not.

When I tell someone I've
Oct 24, 2013 Anelis rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who thinks this book is not about them
I like Lesley. I always read her pieces at XOJane because every time without fault they are interesting, well written, and informative. In fact, she is the reason I found out about XOJane in the first place. She is one of those people who exist on the Internet (because, like, I live in Greece guys) but who with their presence have made me feel better about myself, and generally made me happier.

So yeah, when my favorite fat blogger publishes a book about body acceptance you bet your ass I'm going
Mar 26, 2012 Morgan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-reads
I feel like the whole book can be summed up by Lesley's motto: "Your body is not a tragedy". I was pretty familiar with Lesley's work from her blog and XOJane so a lot of the book was familiar territory. But for people not as familiar with her work, it's a great primer on how to accept all bodies. Even with the knowledge of some of the stories (like the titular Two Whole Cakes episode) it was still a really fun, great read. I got through the whole book in one day, if that gives any idea how much ...more
Apr 24, 2012 Julia rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012
Maybe my expectations for this book were too high, but the lack of narrative arc and lack of chapter/section divisions didn't work for me. The writing, of course, is amazing (if somewhat lacking in the snark level I've come to love from Lesley's blogging). It's just a little too disjointed and unfocused as a book for me.
Jul 21, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
I would give it 5 stars for the concept, but am only give 4 because there was a lot of redundancy in the writing. That aside, the basic concept of the book is that women (particularly) are conditioned from an early age to hyperfocus on the appearance of our bodies not only to the distraction of the function of our bodies but to the detriment of our social and emotional health as well. Why do we not appreciate the bodies we have for all they enable us to do, rather than (the vast majority of us) ...more
Apr 01, 2013 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminism
There was one thing that I did not like about this book, and while I feel it’s a little bit inappropriate to open a four star review with that sentence, I feel it needs to be done as my issue is with the title. Well, I suppose rather with the subtitle: “How to stop dieting and love your body.” This is not a how-to book, in any sense. I suppose the title might be for marketing purposes, although it seems strange that it has such an upbeat, self-helpy title, considering that it is even put out by ...more
Alex Templeton
Oct 01, 2012 Alex Templeton rated it liked it
Having recently been spending more time than usual considering my weight for reasons legitimate (potential future health complications) and not-so-legitimate (nasty comment made to me about it), this book came along at the perfect time. The book is author Lesley Kinzel’s personal reflections on growing up and living today as a fat woman, as well as her thoughts on how ridiculous and unjustified the whole fear of fat is in our culture. (This thought was captured in her title, which makes referenc ...more
May 18, 2013 Katrina rated it really liked it
I appreciate that the author didn't just talk about what fat people can do to love themselves but more so shared the message that "Everyone deserves respect and justice no matter what they look like" and that you have every right to be happy with yourself on your terms with no need to apologize for your happiness to anyone.
May 14, 2012 ~*kath*~ rated it really liked it
An absolute delight, with plenty of food for thought and a good chuckle or three along the way. Consistent with Lesley's earlier writing online.

Clear, palatable and no bullshit, Lesley smashes the dominant paradigm with this very reader friendly book.
Lisa Kerr
Jun 24, 2013 Lisa Kerr rated it did not like it
I really didn't like this book, which is funny because I like Lesley's articles on xoJane. This was actually a manual on how to get made fun of and how to stand a bad way. I had to stop reading.
Apr 21, 2012 Stacy rated it it was amazing
I can already tell I'm in love with this book and I'm only a few pages in. Read it!!
Dec 08, 2016 Cyndi rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Kinzel's blog when it was active, but she stopped updating it a couple of years ago. So I was glad to see her book. The book is a collection of articles but without chapter headings, so it all blends together. Each piece is well done but a bit of organization would have made it more readable. Sitting down to read it all together, it may not matter much, but it would be impossible to go back and find something specific.

Fatness as moral deficiency is something Kinzel is excellent
Molly Brewer
Jan 31, 2015 Molly Brewer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir, nonfiction
Okay so. First thing that needs to be said: this book's subtitle ("How to Stop Dieting & etc...") is unnecessary and ridiculous. This book is in no way a how-to, being instead a collection of essays based on author/blogger Lesley Kinzel's experience living in a fat body, as well as a 101 intro on body acceptance and related fat politics. Second (shameful) thing that needs to be said: I almost didn't want to record this on my "read" list, because I felt like it might elicit certain questions ...more
Feb 17, 2015 Melody rated it really liked it
Had some trouble getting into this because the first five or so sections are very disjointed. I know some of these 'chapters' were pulled from her blogging days and it shows. I would have appreciated some kind of format or at least titles for each section, because there were almost no smooth transitions in the first half of this book. It doesn't take away from the excellent content, but it does interrupt the flow.

The book seems to have more of a connected feel and a purpose to it towards the end
Jul 11, 2016 Jenn rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this short introduction to body positivity by Kinzel. I have followed her blog (also Two Whole Cakes) for a while now, and was excited to read this, especially after reading an excerpt in Bitch Magazine. Light but never fluffy, Kinzel is an excellent writer (must be those double-master degrees) with a gift for language that packs a wallop. I can't deny that a good part of my enjoyment derived from the fact that Kinzel and I share similar backgrounds and stories of growing up--she is, I ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Crystal rated it it was amazing
Anyone who follows me on Twitter or is my friend on Facebook knows I am a fan of Lesley Kinzel. So it's really no surprise then that I would love this book.

I want to time travel back to the first time I hated my body or decided I would be anorexic (I would last long enough to get a migraine from nit eating and then I'd binge, which would trigger a wave of self&body-hatred) and MAKE my younger self read this. I look back at pictures of my younger self and realize that I spent so much time hat
Oct 08, 2014 Shari rated it it was ok
Shelves: diet-health
p. 68 The danger of falling into the habit of demanding that our bodies be pretty too is that by doing so we are reinforcing the cultural importance of prettiness.
p.73Anger is a natural response to the awareness that one has spent an uncertain amount of time, money, and attention on the pursuit of a potentiality that may not exist.For some of us, the anger is borne of having spent so many years chasing the inevitable unicorn of the perfect body-or rather the body that is good enough for us to be
Jul 10, 2012 Casey rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
I was reluctant to pick up this book because the subtitle "how to stop dieting" turned me off a bit - though I move in circles of the fat acceptance community, and I do believe that you should learn to love your body no matter what place it's at, I sometimes find in those circles disregard or even hostility towards those who DO choose to diet, for whatever personal reasons.

However, I was happy to find despite the subtitle that the Kinzel's book doesn't take that approach. It is really more of a
Jul 12, 2013 Tracy rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A super-quick read, very personal to the author's experience, but that's kind of the point. Kinzel refers to other, more all-purpose fat activism/acceptance books, like Marilyn Wann's Fat! So?: Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size, plus websites and other resources... I am probably going to reread this one before returning it to the library; I want to take notes especially on the author's ideas about prettiness as an expression of social conformity, and I generally want to think mor ...more
meredith ann
Jul 22, 2013 meredith ann rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
while reading this, i didn't feel like i was reading a book; sometimes it felt like i was reading a really good blog entry and others, it felt like i was talking with someone who knew all the right things to say.

not having grown up "fat", there were things i couldn't relate to but living as a plus size woman now, many of the topics she talks about were too familiar (stop making plus size clothing that just looks like we want to cover our bodies!!).

personal side note: i'm glad she talked about
May 18, 2013 Raquel rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, self-help, may
A slim volume of big ideas. While the subtitle is misleading--very little space is devoted to exactly how to stop dieting and learn to love your body, although the author makes it clear that she has indeed done both--this book nonetheless makes a strong argument for why it's healthiest to ignore our image-obsessed culture, stop stigmatizing fat people, and instead just focus on being our best selves while standing up for your right to exist and be accepted right now exactly as you are. Lots of g ...more
May 24, 2016 ELIZABETH-ANNE rated it really liked it
People make all sorts of assumptions about others all the time, I am as guilty of this fault as everyone else is, less you think I am being holier than thou.

Many assume heavy people, I being one of them, just lay on the sofa all day eating cake, and while that may be true for the emotional and binge eaters, myself again being one of those, which is why I have not been an appropriate weight since 1983 consistantly, it is untrue that every heavy person is a glutton or has an eating disorder.

I do b
Jessica Ellis
Nov 10, 2012 Jessica Ellis rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I grew up reading Jane magazine during my teen years. Last year, I was SO EXCITEd to learn that Jane had found an online resurrection in It was there that I found Lesley. I am a lifelong yo-yo dieter and she introduced me to the possibility of a different reality. This book is in no way a full primer on body positivity, nor does it give the full science behind why dieting isn't a such a great idea after all. It does tell her story, and it does show one person's rise above the crap th ...more
Aug 16, 2012 Marisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: size-acceptance
I've been following Lesley's blog for several years now, and her book was everything I'd hoped for. Having been doing the size acceptance thing for a while now, I can't say that this book was full of shocking revelations for me, but it was lovely, intertwining activism with memoir. I was also very pleased that Lesley managed to avoid the common blogger cum author pitfall of publishing her past blog posts with a bit of editing - while the subject matter certainly falls in line with her blog, the ...more
May 28, 2012 Carrie rated it it was amazing
Kinzel refuses to be a second class citizen because she is fat, and in fact reclaims the very word "fat" as a term for unclouded self empowerment. In Two Whole Cakes: How to Stop Dieting and Learn to Love Your Body, Kinzel shares the struggles she encountered on her path to body acceptance, and offers readers an excellent primer for anyone interested in the fat acceptance movement, as well as providing insight to those already involved in body acceptance politics. Affirming and uplifting both an ...more
May 04, 2013 Jonna rated it really liked it
Well. I am honestly not sure what to say. As a fat girl my entire life, I totally get what Lesley Kinzel is saying, and I want to embrace the idea of fat acceptance, yet that is a difficult thing to do. The idea that being this size, that being fat, is so ingrained in everything I hear see and am told, and have been told since the age of nine, that to change now, at age forty-five, is an enormous task.
Well-written, very informative, and occasionally funny, certainly giving me something to think
Jan 14, 2013 Cassandra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Cassandra by: Curve magazine, I think
If I was rich, I'd buy tens of thousands of copies of this book and wander around town, dropping them in mailboxes at random. Kinzel pulls the wool back and shows our culture's attitudes towards obesity (or, as she describes herself, "death fat") and bodies in general for what they really are. After finishing this book, I felt like I'd met *the* sane person when it comes to our fixation on body shape, weight, and food. I can't remember the last time I felt so refreshed, which is especially impre ...more
Sep 19, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
Books about fat/body politics help me keep sane, and this one, with a more in depth analysis than many, was so, so good. I particularly liked Kinzel's discussion of liberal vs. radical fat politics, which created such a clearer understanding of my own frustratingly liberal politics and why they leave me so unhappy that my brain may have actually exploded. It's so hard to maintain my own politics in the face of a constant barrage of reasons I should hate my fat self, but books like this one make ...more
May 23, 2014 Tatjana rated it really liked it
"Your body is not a tragedy."
This book is small and thin, but packs a wonderful punch. While I've known most of this information on a gut level, it's like meeting someone and realizing, over a cup of coffee, that you've had very similar experiences in life. Validation is powerful.
Closing the book I felt powerful. I looked in wonder at my focus and resolved to let the diet world spin off into outer space. How much can I do in the world if I'm not absorbed in losing weight? I guess we will see!
Jun 04, 2012 Kara rated it really liked it
Shelves: weight

Body politics, for lack of a better umbrella term for the many issues discussed here, is an important topic that needs to be discussed, out in the open in broad daylight, so it’s unfortunate that the book is as short as it is. Kinzel barely starts before either changing subjects or wrapping it all up. Still, at least the conversation has been started. Basically, being fat is not a crime, and society needs to stop treating everyone outside a narrow, narrow box of the “right” size like criminals.
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“Everyone deserves respect and justice no matter what they look like.” 3 likes
“Don't let your own life pass you by because you're trying to tell me how to live mine.” 2 likes
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