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enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  488 ratings  ·  76 reviews
Meet your new best yoga-and-healthy-eating friend in this smart, accessible, and funny memoir of dieting and discovery.

For years, Jessica struggled with fluctuating weight and bouts of
unhappiness. Like many of us, she found comfort in food and craved
cigarettes and self-confidence. Then one day Jessica took her first
yoga class in Katmandu. She lost 40 pounds and changed her
Hardcover, 207 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Skyhorse
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  488 ratings  ·  76 reviews

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Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
When her preachiness about the benefits of vegetarianism started to annoy the crap out of even me (the vegetarian), I decided she had reached the point of no return for me ever liking this book. It did encourage me to do yoga, which is great, but I found myself rolling my eyes a lot of the time. When you tell me your "splurge" food is going out for whole wheat pizza with a small amount of low-fat organic cheese (very occasionally), it just makes me want to punch you in the face. ...more
Jul 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommended to Barb by: Sue Craigmile
Offering much advice on how to lose weight, Jessica Berger Gross also spends a lot of time preaching up yoga and vegetarianism. She calls us, as a society, on many of our excuses for not losing weight. I got very hung up on her lack of contact with her family. I found it very difficult to take her advice for a 'healthy' life seriously because she made the decision to stop all contact with her parents. I cannot reconcile this decision with all the teachings from yoga, but especially the "Undistur ...more
Anne Marie
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Things I took away:
1. When eating- 1/2 full of food, 1/4 full of water, 1/4 air for space
2. Have a healthy staple meal you can make anytime
3. When you are digging in the fridge, think about what you might really need (a short walk outside, play with the dog, deep breathing, stretching...)
4. "Global livestock production is responsible for about 1/5 of all greenhouse gases- more than transportation...Another way to put it is that eating a typical family-of-four steak dinner is the rough equivilent
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is good for what it is: a light, fun introduction to yoga philosophy and a healthy lifestyle. The cover art is hideous--I'm sure its cartoonish curves are supposed to attract young women to the tome--but Bobby Clennell's illustrations are great. I've also read Neal Pollack's Stretch, another yoga memoir, and while Pollack's is a better introduction to yoga culture, Berger Gross's work is a better introduction to the yogic lifestyle.

Also, as far as diet books go, this one has minimal f
Feb 25, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this would be more of a yoga memoir, like Poser by Claire Dederer. Skip this one and read the latter.
Apr 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, 2016, yoga
Fast read. I found this through my yogis on Instagram network. But ultimately disappointing. The author uses the yoga sutras as the structure for her book, bringing in recommended yoga poses for every chapter. I liked this approach.

But I couldn't reconcile the fact that she cut out her parents from her life entirely despite advocating for "coming to terms with your past through forgiveness." I didn't love the (insidious, but present) fat-shaming, equating yogi with thinness. She is dismissive o
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Glad I only paid $.99 for it on Amazon's Kindle. It just failed to hold my interest though I did finish it. I think I was expecting something witty & perhaps sarcastic but it just came off as very "I once was lost & now I'm found."

I don't like yoga but can see the health benefits in doing it. I was hoping this book would give me something to help me like yoga more. A different way of viewing it so that it didn't seem so boring & tedious. It didn't.

The writing is not bad & I can see that someon
I usually tend to steer clear of weight-loss memoirs - sometimes they come across as preachy and smug. Most of the time Bergre Gross avoided doing so. (There were a couple of times I had to cringe - her commentary about feminism and fat was one.)

I found the yoga philosophy compelling.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks, nonfiction
The author did get a little bit preachy at times, but overall I agreed with her philosophy. I was able to read it in about two sittings and there are some recipes inside I look forward to trying.
jill crotty
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
I for one enjoy reading about people’s journeys. This started off quite enjoyable! But there is a turn with a lot of preaching I was not expecting. The author wasn’t just telling us about her conversion to vegetarian but was pushing it on the reader. She went off on a tangent then said call it like it is
“ a piece of cow” ....if we can handle was a little too pushy for my taste. I finished it, but not enthusiastically.
Brindi Michele
From the get-go, I felt preached at and patronized. Completely disappointed in the whole feel and message of this book...especially the way it's handled, seemed to put the reader down rather than build them up. Thoroughly annoyed.

But yoga is great and moderation is key. (I agree COMPLETELY, but could explain it to you in a nicer and encouraging way.)

Skip this one.
Taylor Kundel-Gower
Jul 25, 2018 rated it liked it
There are some hard truths in here about moderation, excuses, self-discipline, and animal consumption. There are also some glimmers of hope: getting healthier is as simple as taking walks or starting a yoga and meditation practice at home.

Ultimately, there is some good advice in this book, but I would not call it profound and I would definitely say that much of it was a little bougie for me.
Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dragged On

The yoga, quotes at the beginning of the chapters, tips on sensible eating (not the vegetarianism rants), gauging fullness, and getting to the root of why you are overeating were the best parts of the book. The rest of it kind of dragged on and I kept losing interest. I will not read this book again.
Sep 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Just wasn't invested in this author's journey. I never could connect with her therefore I could care less about her discovering yoga, meditation and becoming a vegetarian. Wasn't inspired one bit. The part about taking a couple of years to finally stand on her head, yeah, not interested and who cares? ...more
Shannon Cox
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Generally an inspiring yoga/healthy eating/weight loss story. At times, lacking self awareness. A few pretty cringey moments where the author fat shames and uses gimmickey terminology like “clean” eating, as if a bagel is the biggest sin someone could commit. Writing could have been better.
Jul 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Easy read. Good tips.
Eydie Ann
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Quick enjoyable read. Anyone who has been dieting and doing yoga for a while knows much of what is stated here but it’s always s good reminder and an inspiration to read someone work it all out.
Being a beginner yogi myself (and a dog lover!) this book was fun to read. All the info about yoga and healthy food was very informative.
Anita Smith
Feb 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this for the most part. I read it in just over the course of one day. As someone who is just starting out in the yoga world and is loving it more and more with each Downward Dog pose, I could definitely identify with the author. I've been through a rough couple of years myself and in many ways, yoga has helped me more than anything, even therapy. I really liked the author's writing style and how she incorporated old Sanskrit philosophies and yoga teachings into everyday life in ...more
This is a quick read. I could have finished in one sitting if I wanted to.

This is a good overview book for yoga newbies! The formatting in the Kindle version was wonky (yes, I used that word.) Sometimes, the line breaks were crazy. In other spots, the illustrations were split and/or cut off. The recipes were difficult to read because of formatting and font issues.

I did enjoy the resource list. This is more like a memoir than self-help or a guide. I liked her relaxed chatty style until we got to
Feb 01, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga-memoir
This was much better than I thought it would be. The reviews on Amazon weren't always kind. I think the problem is when people who aren't into yoga read a book written by someone passionate about yoga, they don't "get" it, and they trash a book. That said, I love yoga, and I could understand this author's journey and how yoga changed her life.

If you like yoga, you will probably like this book. This is a memoir, not a "chick lit" fiction book. It takes courage to write a memoir and tell the not-
Jan 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adviceandhelp, food
Very quick read -- took me 55 minutes. This is a good book for anyone who's new to yoga, the yoga sutras, or healthy eating, but for me it didn't do anything except remind me of what I already know I should be doing! For more in-depth (and engaging) discussion of the yoga sutras, I recommend Stephen Cope's The Wisdom of Yoga, which also contains a section on mindful eating. For more detailed tips on a healthy vegetarian diet, including a 21-day detox and kick-start diet plan, read Christina Pire ...more
Feb 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yoga, food, fitness, memoirs
Adding the subtitle here since Goodreads always seems to omit them: "enLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples, and a Beagle Pointer"

An accessible memoir with a friendly and sweet tone that blends wisdom from the Yoga Sutras, commonsense nutrition and exercise advice, and personal anecdotes about Gross's struggle with her body. It's easily readable and easy to relate to her as a person. Plus, she includes recipes and good instructions for some foundational yoga poses.

Jun 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
An autobiography peppered with yoga poses and recipes, Jessica Berger Gross, tells the story of her own struggles with being overweight and depressed. Through yoga, she finds a committment to physical health and well-being in her practice, exercise, and eating habits. The voice is reassuring--like talking with a close friend. At times, she seems a bit more preoccupied with thinness than health.

For more serious readers, I would suggest some other books first.
Yogis: Yoga and Vegetarianism: The P
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up as I have recently begun yoga class and as a rather "hefty" gal, I was hoping yoga would help me lose weight. This book is not only a great beginner guide to some of the philosophy and teachings of yoga but the author also includes some great recipes to try as well. I do want to stress that this book is specifically geared towards weight loss and so the seven teachings she covers are focused to that end goal. If you are looking for something that covers the sutras in a more ...more
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011-books
I liked the addition of specific yoga poses to try in the book and I found the writer's journey interesting, but it doesn't leave me wanting to pick up another book of hers. I know she had lots of work to do emotionally with regards to dealing with her parents and maybe that is why I was frustrated with the book...if tools and a philosophy for approaching problems is listed, I want to have more "evidence" that it is worthwhile to work through the solutions because we all know how tough it is to ...more
Sep 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really would like to give this 3.5 stars. I thought the book had a great message especially for those new to yoga. She presents a simple down to earth explanation for the tenets of yoga, but it did seem to me to be very heavy on the weight-loss aspect, which in fairness to the author was stated in the title. I do think that the author's lifestyle with yoga, classes, and practice, is unrealistic for most of us, especially working mothers with multiple children and juggling responsibilities. And ...more
Kelly Olexa
Feb 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was completely wowed by this book. I stumbled upon it on Amazon, and since I had just recently discovered a love of Hot Yoga...I purchased the Kindle Version. Perhaps it was just at the right time for me, but this woman's story of personal transformation, both emotional and physical, was really moving to me. A lot of the "aha" moments she experienced were things that I too have just been discovering in my own life. This is not a "diet" book or a "how to do yoga" book but more of a story of thi ...more
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pleasure
I stumbled on this book while perusing the library shelves for yoga books that might get me started on some home practice. I generally find self-help type books to be so oversimplified that they aren't particularly useful but the title of this one intrigued me as it seemed to hit everything I was looking for - weightloss, yoga, and I'm a sucker for the dog reference. This book certainly has some parts that I felt were oversimplified but there were also quite a few useful tidbits along with a use ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yogi-challenge
Motivation, yoga poses, inspirational quotes to start each chapter, and a great chili recipe. This is just a sampling of what this book has to offer. I recently finished reading enLIGHTened on my kindle and thoroughly enjoyed it. Jessica Berger Gross's colloquial writing style provides a way for the reader to really connect with the author. By the end, you'll feel like you've known her for years. Gross demonstrates how someone can take charge of life's journey, chart his or her own course, and o ...more
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Jessica Berger Gross is the author of the bestselling ebook Estranged, and the editor of the anthology About What Was Lost: 20 Writers on Miscarriage, Healing, and Hope. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Salon, New York Magazine's The Cut, and The Globe and Mail. Jessica lives in Maine with her husband and son. ...more

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