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Book Review and Giveaway: Operation Beautiful - Geek Turned Athlete

Book Review and Giveaway: Operation Beautiful


A few months ago, I was contacted by the PR assistant representing Operation Beautiful:Transforming the Way You See Yourself One Post-it Note at a Time to see if I wanted to review the book. I emailed back, “Of course!” Then, school took over my life with my last semester of grad school, and it got buried in all the books I wished I had time to read. Since graduating a week and a half ago, I have read a few books including Operation Beautiful, and let me tell you, this couldn’t of come at a better time.

I’m having anxiety about getting back in the workforce again. I had a great job in Tucson before we moved to Germany, but now after graduating with my masters, I’m afraid I’m not good enough for anyone to hire in Spokane. Negative thoughts have been eating me up regarding this.

When I first got this book, I thought it would concentrate on “Fat Talk,” and post-its which I think is a very important topic to address, but I had no idea the impact it would have on me. This book covers more than just post-its and “beautiful notes.” Here are some things that I loved and identified with in the book:

purpledark.gif First off, I was seriously impressed with how honest Caitlin was in the book about her own struggles regarding “Fat Talk.” Even though I read her blog from time to time, I never knew she dealt with the same issues as a lot of other people (you will have to read the book to find out). It definitely humanized her. Thanks for being honest, girl!

purpledark.gifAgain, I think Fat Talk is a huge issue, and although I don’t participate in Fat Talk on a daily basis, I do have my moments when I’m tearing myself apart internally with comments of how my face is ugly b/c of all my pimples (I’m 27, I shouldn’t be breaking out!); my legs aren’t as firm as they used to be last triathlon/running season; and the list goes on and on. It seriously doesn’t help me to berate myself and act like a psycho. These thoughts don’t control my life, but they do enter in my head occasionally.

I have a loving husband who adores everything about me, even my “Charlie’s” (his nickname for my huge pimples– we both have a sick sense of humor naming pimples, I know), and he could care less about how firm my body is. Having a supportive partner helps for sure, but my confidence needs to come from within and it usually does.

purpledark.gif The whole idea of perfection was addressed in the book. I am a self-professed perfectionist for sure. It is something that I struggle with everyday, and I have gotten a lot better at dealing with it over the years. I don’t judge other people, so why am I always SO hard on MYSELF?! It is a great lesson to learn once you have that “aha” moment where you realize your imperfect self is perfect.

purpledark.gif If you don’t want to read any of the content, at least read it for the uplifting quotes sprinkled throughout the book.

purpledark.gif The concept of Energy Vampires and how to deal with them is also addressed. I’m a big proponent of surrounding myself with positive people. I had to cut a few close friends out of my life recently because they were sucking the life out of me. I always want to help people, and often invest too much emotion and energy into doing this. I take responsibility for others actions when I shouldn’t. I can only control my actions. I don’t need the drama, and I don’t need to be a “mom” to anyone besides my Kai and once in while my husband. That keeps me busy enough! I see others struggling with this as well.

purpledark.gif Meditation is something that I have been practicing off and on for years. I love it, and with my mind always racing a million miles an hour, it is a good thing to slow it down once in a while (or more often!).

purpledark.gif Caitlin addresses diet fads and diet pills. This book would have been a lifesaver to me while I was an undergrad!

Many of you may not have known this, I had a brief stint with diet pills, anorexia, and overexercising for about a year in my very early twenties. I don’t like sharing this too much since I am mentally way past that time in my life.

I let men treat me like crap, and thought that I would get treated better or be happier if I was really skinny. I already have a small frame to begin with, and my balanced muscular 5’5″ body at 120-125 pounds dwindled down to 105 pounds with the help of exercising for 4 hours a day, diet pills, and a 1,200 calorie diet. My friends and family were noticing that I was getting down to nothing, and they started commented on how skinny I was. My clothes were falling off of me. I was exhausted all the time. I was NOT happier because all I did was think about how FAT I was. It was disgusting.

I hit rock-bottom with one of my break-ups. My grades dropped, my eating habits were all over the place, my life sucked. One of my good friends (who turned out to be my brother-in-law) told me flat out that I needed to take better care of myself. He said I needed to get over the break-up, and that I was being a lunatic. He said that I was much smarter than how I was behaving. He was actually more blunt than that if you can imagine it. From that day on, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to let a man or anyone else for that matter have that much control over my life.

I met my future husband, who ate REAL butter and greasy bacon and drank WHOLE milk. He was the most fit guy that I had ever dated. What????? My entire view of nutrition was shattered. Everything changed. Food wasn’t the enemy. I was sure he wouldn’t approve of the diet pills. They went out the door, and my REAL life began.

purpledark.gif Caitlin also brought up the fact that “reacting with love” is NOT a sign of weakness. This would have been also nice to read when I was younger. I loved to argue, and I was always right. Although, NO ONE is ALWAYS right. I used to think I knew everything. Now, the more I learn about the world, the more I learn that I really don’t know.

purpledark.gif She talks about having faith. This isn’t necessarily of the religious kind, but it is important to have faith in something. This can be faith in love, faith in others, or faith in yourself. This struck me hard because I felt it addressed my career issues. I need to have more faith in my abilities. I was hired at a great engineering firm in Tucson, and they must have seen something in me to give me that great job. I AM capable of succeeding. I shouldn’t be afraid of failing. Life is just TOO short.

purpledark.gif There are fabulous motivation mantras in the back of the book plus a note section. I adore the concept of being able to write yourself notes in this book.

I don’t think this book was meant to be given away when the publisher sent it to me, but I feel the need to pay it forward. I don’t think it is fair to read this, and let it collect dust on my bookshelf. So, I’m giving it away to one of my wonderful readers.

Personally, I feel that reading this book is a great opportunity to start the new year off right and transform yourself for the better. Even if you may think this book would not be helpful for you (it might, that is what I thought when I starting reading it), you can still give it away to someone who you might think needs it.

Ultimately, it took me years of struggling with my self-esteem to truly LOVE my life, and think it would have taken a shorter amount of time if I would have read this book when I was 18 or 19!! I am who I am now though because of those struggles. 😉

All you have to do is:

  • Comment below telling me if you have ever dealt with any of these issues and what you did to remedy the situation.
  • You get an extra entry if you tweet and comment that you tweeted:
    • @GeekTurnAthlete is giving away a copy of #OperationBeautiful the book!

You have until 6pm EST to enter on January 1st, and the randomly picked winner will be announced later that night.

**Unfortunately, this contest has ended!  Congrats to Kacy!!  I hope that those of you who didn’t win the book, end up getting your hands on a copy.  It is so much more than just post-it notes. 😉

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Kacy December 30, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I’m so sorry you went through that. I too dabbled in diet pills throughout high school and college. I’m so ashamed of it and the motivations behind it now that I finally have a true grasp on things. I was so lost back then.

    I still haven’t read the book and I’m dying too. If I win I’ll pass it forward again 🙂 What a great idea!

    Happy New Year Nicole!

  • Kacy December 30, 2010, 1:38 pm

    I tweeted 🙂

  • Skinny Sushi December 30, 2010, 1:43 pm

    This sounds so great. I struggle a lot with negative thoughts, and they generally lead to self sabotage in the form of purposeful bingeing, which helps nothing, makes me gain weight and feel worse about myself, and makes me sick. In my early 20s I remember wishing I could have the purge side too so that at least I wouldn’t gain weight. That’s so messed up…

    Anyway, I’d love to read this book, I’ve had it on my Amazon wishlist for a long time.

  • Brooke December 30, 2010, 1:44 pm

    currently muddling through self-worth issues. hard when i finally got some confidence it came from my weight loss and race performance.

  • Brooke December 30, 2010, 1:44 pm


  • Skinny Sushi December 30, 2010, 1:45 pm

  • Erica December 30, 2010, 2:02 pm

    First off, I love how honest you were in this post….just rocks 🙂 I have been meaning to pick this book up for MONTHS. I’m glad to hear its totally wonderful. I am also a self-professed perfectionist. Its something I’ve been working on for a while now. In fact, one of my goals for next year is to focus more on relaxing and time with family & friends….vs. over-committing and trying to be and do everything.

  • Sana December 30, 2010, 2:14 pm

    I think you are so beautiful now and I am so proud of all the epic things you have done! I struggled with self doubt often, but I think it’s normal. Well that is what I tell myself 🙂

    I hope 2011 brings you a lot of love and happiness!

  • Lisa December 30, 2010, 5:49 pm

    I’ve dealt with MANY of these issues, and not all as well as you, especially the ENERGY VAMPIRES, which some of my family members are so it is almost impossible to remove them from my life. . . to remedy the situation I try and think of the basis for the specific person’s actions, many people don’t mean to be terrible, it is something they have been taught, or learned as a copping mechanism. Getting mad at them is like getting mad at their up-bringing. So I try (many times unsuccessfully) to give them the benefit. It probably isn’t the best way, but it’s my way.

  • Megan December 30, 2010, 6:58 pm

    I understand what you went through as an undergrad. Sans diet pills, I did a similar thing. I was meticulous about counting calories, down to the apples (I’d weigh them) and crackers (I’d count them, crumbs included). I dealt with stress and relationships in the worst way possible, overly dramatic and too engulfed to recognize what was really going on. I wouldn’t eat for pleasure, I’d eat because of peer-pressure. To be honest, it took moving halfway around the world and being single and alone for six months to shake me from that terrible habit… and I think my body was just tired of it. Now, I don’t own a scale, I eat what I want, and I really enjoy the feel-good comfort of eating. I take pleasure in it and don’t feel bad if I eat a cookie or a spoonful of peanut butter. And I feel whole, healthy, and happy.

    Great post, darling.

    • Nicole December 30, 2010, 7:21 pm

      Thank you! The stupid things we do when we are young! I swear, living in Europe only solidified my eating for pleasure approach. They seem to enjoy themselves so much more than Americans do!

      • Melie December 31, 2010, 11:00 am

        I totally agree about the different approaches in Europe and in the US. Having grown up in Greece, I was never surrounded by such people and attitudes that put skinny before healthy. I was very surprised when I moved here to listen to my friends and pretty much every body had to share a similar experience. Unfortunately, this attitude seems to be spreading across the borders and younger and younger girls start falling into that trap. That’s why initiatives such as operation beautiful might help. By the way, I always thought that the book was mainly about the post-it notes. I might want to check it out now…

  • Megan December 30, 2010, 6:59 pm

    ooh, i also tweeted.

  • Amy December 31, 2010, 4:52 pm

    Even at 34 I’m still dealing with fat talk. Yesterday on a group trail run I noticed I was pretty fast on the downhills. Instead of being proud of myself I thought something along the lines of “your faster because you’re bigger than the other girls so gravity helps out”. Lame! But the good thing was I realized what I was doing right away and made myself stop.

    • Nicole December 31, 2010, 6:48 pm

      Girl, it is all about technique!!! You’ve got it on the downhills (I’m good at downhills too. ;))

  • Toronto Girl West January 1, 2011, 8:55 am

    Okay. Confession time. My worst self esteem issues came during undergrad. Prior to that point I had always studied in really multicultural schools then I got to University and things got a lot ……well…….whiter.

    That messed with my head because I quickly began to think that I didn’t live up to the Caucasian ideal of beauty. And somehow that made me ugly.

    Yeah, no one said it made sense.

    Of course it didn’t help that I ended up chronically I’ll and as a result put on a lit of weight.

    On the whole it didn’t get better until lawschool. I moved to Victoria. Started working out. And generally investing time in myself. That’s where I found my self-esteem.

    I lost in in Toronto and somehow found it on Vancouver Island! 🙂

  • Sara January 1, 2011, 11:18 am

    Who doesn’t have issues:) I think you definitely have to surround yourself with positive people!

  • JennyV January 2, 2011, 10:07 am

    Joining a running club has helped me to move from viewing running as a calorie-blasting activity to something to be ENJOYED with friends. It really has helped me take a former-bad habit (over-exercising) and made it a positive.

    This world tells us that we’re ‘not enough’ — and I’m happy to know that because of Christ I’m MORE than enough! Praying daily and working on refocusing my thoughts makes a world of difference.

  • Maribeth January 2, 2011, 10:11 am

    Like many others, I have dealt with a lot of these issues. I have found that I need to stay positive and surround myself with good, loving people and energy. I am happier now than I’ve been and am looking forward to a great year/future!


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