“Hungry” book review

Over the weekend I finished reading the book Hungry by Crystal Renn.

Renn is a model…formerly “straight-size” and currently “plus-size” (one of the most successful in the world)–and this story is about her journey through her modeling career thus far, including her battle with a life-threatening eating disorder.
Ultimately, it’s a story about her darkest times, how she overcame her fear of food and obsession with working out (4-8 hours a day sometimes), and then through her recovery, she found her true passions, personality, and beauty (both inside and out).

my thoughts

  • In a sense, I found her story to be so relatable.  Renn talks so much about the ridiculous pressures that not only society puts on us but also the pressures we put on each other and ourselves to be “perfect.”  Unfortunately, “skinny” really does have some sort of relationship to being successful in the minds of women now.  I get that!  I honestly do, and reading about it made me realize its truth, which is scarily twisted.
  • Interesting statistic from the book: 25 years ago the average model weighed 8 percent less than than the average woman…in 2009, the average model weighed 23 percent less and is an average of 5 inches taller than the average woman.
  • “Too many of us feel that we have to be perfect in order to be loved.”  (page 109)
  • It is NOT okay to make snarky comments to someone for being skinny when it’s not okay to do that to someone who is overweight.  I’m a thin person, but a strong, healthy person, and I cannot stand it when this happens to me.  Renn points out the double standard our society has, and that it’s not something that should be acceptable.  Amen!
  • An interesting quote:
    If you talk to a feminist social theorist about women and weight obsession, she might tell you that our bodies have become our work.  Striving for perfection is like having a whole extra job.  As the writer Susie Orbach put it, “The body is turning from being the means of production to the production itself.”  We’re supposed to tinker and reduce and perfect–it’s integral to the gig of being modern women.  When we’re focused on our bodies, we don’t have the external focus to turn to the outside world.  The ironic thing is that if we did focus on improving the world–by working for safe streets, public transportation, better health care for everyone, access to low-cost fresh fruits and vegetables, affordable child care, and decent jobs so that more of us would have the time to prepare good food instead of relying on fast food, we’d wind up healthier as a country, and perhaps thinner.”  (page 123)
  • “Don’t change your body to fit your mind’s perception of what it should look like.  Change your mind to appreciate your actual body.”  (page 208) …. so powerful!
  • Something about eating disorders has fascinated me for years…and by that I just mean that the whole mindset behind it all is so interesting…It’s a serious sickness and honestly I’d love to somehow be able to work with young women who battle eating disorders someday.
  • This book reminded me that we are invariably our own worst enemies, and that self-loathing is a huge waste of time.
  • We need to stop trying to hide our “imperfections.”  Freckles, naturally curly hair, one slightly crooked tooth, a birthmark, etc. etc. — they’re what make us beautiful.
    **I used to be extremely paranoid about the couple of freckles on my face when I was growing up.  I remember crying to my mother that I hated how they made me look…As such a young girl, I was already pressured to look “perfect” and I can only imagine how much worse that pressure is for young girls now…Adults have to be the ones to start embracing natural beauty.  Photoshopping every “imperfection” needs to stop.
  • Looking for validation from external sources is a huge mistake.  (<–probably the biggest lesson I learned from this book)

what are your thoughts on this book?  on modeling?  on the pressures to be skinny and “perfect”? 


  1. This book sounds really interesting! Do you watch ‘Breaking Amish’? One of the girls on that show is trying to become and model and they keep telling her to lose more weight. It makes me sad, because she said that she weights around 110 lbs, and I’m guessing that she’s pretty tall!

    • I’ve actually never heard of that show, but it sounds really interesting! What channel is it on? It’s definitely sad that there is so much pressure for models to literally get their weight down to nothing at all. So scary…I just keep hoping that slowly but surely we’re all getting into a healthier mindset about “healthy” vs. “skinny”!

  2. weighs*

  3. ooh, i’d heard of her but i wasn’t aware she’d also published a book, i’m definitely interested in checking that out, so thanks!! i really like that point there about giving skinny/healthy people the same respect that overweight people get…i’m like you and people have said some really nasty things about me being thin. the underlying thing is that it’s a shame that society is so critical of appearances and the resulting pressure and body-hate that women (and men too) then feel is so sad. great post!

    • It really seems like a constant battle for everyone doesn’t it?! I suppose it’s just important to keep being as good of examples as we can be and to try our hardest to be non-judgmental–another great point she made in this book!

  4. I am absolutely going to check this book out.
    I’m working on a post on this kind of stuff actually. The PRESSURE to be perfect is absolutely insane these days and it’s destroying a lot of women and their self-esteem.

    “It is NOT okay to make snarky comments to someone for being skinny when it’s not okay to do that to someone who is overweight.”

    I can’t even tell you I’m screaming YES at this statement. So very true.

  5. oh, and congrats on a great time on your recent 1/2!!

    • thank you!

      you said that the pressure is “destroying” women–that’s such a powerful word but as sad as it is I completely and totally agree!

  6. I really do love this! I have spent my entire life with weight, food, and dieting in the fore front of my life and thoughts. At times it was debilitating and sometimes exhausting because it was all that I thought about. Worried about. Stressed about. But you just have to come to a place where you want to be healthy and strong and not care about what people think. For me, that is what it boiled down to. What someone else thought of the way I looked. Which frankly fueled the problem.
    I also would love to mentor young women when it comes to self-worth and loving yourself.
    Great post!!

    • Yes! I think we can all relate to this story in this book on some level…And I agree–I spent all of high school and too much of college worrying about what other people think of me. It’s still a struggle but I’m getting better and better at just being my own person. That cliche about life all being a journey could not be more true!

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