Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I am Today by Valerie Bertinelli

“Valerie Bertinelli shares an inspiring blueprint that offers women in midlife support and hope. She shares personal stories that many women will relate to from her past decade: hitting her fifties, taking care of her dying mother, the evolving relationship with her husband, a career change, her relationship with food, and the battle to believe in herself as she is.

Despite her success receiving Emmys for her Food Network show and critical praise for her books and cookbook, Bertinelli still judged herself harshly if she gained a pound or showed too many wrinkles. But after her mother died, she found an old recipe box with notes of the strong women that came before her, reminding her that she has to find out who she is and take care of herself. Saying, “enough already!” Bertinelli set out on a journey to love herself and see that perfection is not the goal; it’s the joy we can find every day in our lives, our loved ones, and the food we share. Recipes and advice will be sprinkled throughout the book.”

I’m not quite sure why I burned an Audible credit on Enough Already: Learning to Love the Way I am Today (Amazon). I normally don’t get much from self-help books, I’m not an uber-fan of Valerie Bertinelli beyond watching One Day at a Time when it was first on back when I was a kid. But I’ve been struggling with my weight lately (let’s face it, since the pandemic started), and I know Valerie struggles with it, too. I decided to take a chance, and I’m sure glad I did.

Bertinelli talks about her struggles with her weight, going all the way back to her teens. At one point in her life, she was a Jenny Craig spokesperson, and I remember when she posed in a bikini at the age of 48 on the cover of People magazine. (No way could you get me into a bikini like hers and I’m almost the same age). But Valerie reveals that she starved herself for a week before the photo shoot, and when it was over, the weight started piling back on. She felt guilt for portraying what some might say are unrealistic expectations to those who battle with their weight.

Valerie’s life in an Italian American family meant dinners with lots of rich foods, which she still loves. Food and cooking to her is a form of love, and anyone who has seen Valerie’s Home Cooking on Food Network knows that she really knows how to cook good food. (I’ve never seen the show, but throughout the book she shares some of her favorite recipes and they sound fabulous.) She seems to use food to connect with her son, and it seems like they have a good relationship.

Bertinelli spent much of her life just wanting to lose “just ten more pounds” and she realizes now was a wasteful existence that was and is to do. Self-improvement is great, but if you’re constantly putting yourself down mentally because you “failed” at the weight game, you’re really sabotaging your chance for happiness. Easier said than done, but it’s clear that Valerie has reached that stage in life where she realizes the numbers on the scale don’t matter.

I found the sections dealing with her ex, Edward Van Halen, one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, touching. It’s great that they maintained a cordial relationship for the sake of their son, Wolfgang, and that they still loved each other, even though they moved on and married other people. In fact, Valerie’s second husband is barely mentioned, other than to say that they were headed for divorce. There’s some real tear-inducing moments when Bertinelli describes Van Halen’s final day, succumbing to cancer that had ravaged his body.

Enough Already is written (and spoken) in an easy style, easy to listen to or read, easy to take the life lessons mentioned, easy to find a more positive outlook at the end of the book. Some may find this book shallow because Valerie seems to constantly talk about her weight, but anyone that thinks that probably never struggled with their own. I found it refreshing, like having a conversation with a girlfriend over lunch.

For more reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com

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