Pretty Unhealthy

by Nikki Stamp

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LoveReading Expert Review of Pretty Unhealthy

This isn’t a diet manual – it’s about how to get back a healthy relationship with food and exercise, concentrating on how we feel rather than how we look.

Pretty Unhealthy is written in a personal and chatty style to educate, inform and entertain. When heart surgeon Dr Nikki Stamp was diagnosed with high blood pressure, she began to look more closely at not just her own lifestyle but what being healthy really means. In modern society, health and beauty have become intertwined, with people’s looks and size being (falsely) seen as an indication of their overall physical and mental health.

This book wades through the barrage of health information reaching us on a daily basis via books, websites, blogs, social media posts and magazines/newspapers. How do we know what to believe? How much of this often-conflicting information is based on actual science and written by qualified experts, rather than the popular so-called ‘wellness experts’? And is it really making us healthier – or just more miserable?

Dr Stamp covers various contemporary topics, including diet fads, exercise trends, body positivity & body image and weight bias. This isn’t a diet manual – it’s about how to get back a healthy relationship with food and exercise, concentrating on how we feel rather than how we look. This book won’t tell you what to eat and drink – that has to be your decision – but it will tell you how to be in control of your own choices, rather than be influenced by the pseudoscience, false hope and ‘magic bullets’ around you. 

I ended the book thinking about my lifestyle and what I enjoy and how, above all, it’s important to be kind to myself. Can’t get better messages than that.

Victoria Goldman

Pretty Unhealthy Synopsis

Why are we obsessed with wellness, but our health is getting worse?

How have we messed up our relationship with food and exercise so badly? We are more obese, less active and more stressed than ever before and it's killing us.

Today, we're more likely to die from a lifestyle disease than any other cause, and many of these would be preventable if we took better care of our health. Enter a vast wellness industry that has emerged in recent years, making big money promoting 'healthy' lifestyles. Except the aim isn't to make your body work better: it's to make your body look better.

Equipped with Instagram accounts or wellness blogs, each health advocate leads an army of people towards what is labelled 'health' but might actually be far from it. We are obsessed with body transformation and fitspiration, but the wrong advice is making us poor, tired and pretty unhealthy instead.

Pretty Unhealthy is a call to reclaim the definition of true health: to aim for bodies that are resilient to disease and can do everything we need them to do; and for us to feel emotionally happy in those bodies.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781911632344
Publication date: 9th January 2020
Author: Nikki Stamp
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Collections: New Year, New You!,
Primary Genre Women’s health
Other Genres:

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Pretty Unhealthy Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

One book that everyone should read. You will question social media and its association with the health and beauty industries.

This is one fantastic book written by a surgeon which goes underneath all the hype of the multi-billion pound health and beauty industries.

The author describes how social media is being used by both industries promoting diets, fitness regimes, sportswear, clothing and so forth aimed mostly at women to achieve the perfect look and the medical and psychological effects this can have on people. She also questions the accuracy of the various bloggers on social media as research has shown that very little is evidenced-based. This book also questions the qualifications of people posting on social media.

This is a brilliant book and written so that anyone can read it. It is not a medical textbook and gives an insight into what lies beneath the glossy photos.

It will open your eyes and get you thinking not only about what goes on but how it could be affecting you directly or indirectly.

You won't be disappointed. Brilliant!

Catherine Bryce

Very informative yet still easy enough to read without feeling overwhelmed with facts or difficult language.

Great book. Very informative yet still easy enough to read without feeling overwhelmed with facts or difficult language. It is great to see SOMEONE trying to shout out about this dangerous topic. There is far too many eating disorder and mental health sufferers out there to keep ignoring how dangerous our beliefs currently are around weight, food and the perfect body. Life is for living and food is to be enjoyed. I think our main focus should be on health and enjoyment.

Kate Thacker

I loved this! I have been looking for a book that understands me and this is it. I look forward to what Nikki does in the future.

Nikki’s book is like a breath of fresh air, she can combine such knowledge and passion in her writing. Fantastic book, easy to read, accessible and engaging. It’s not a book to race through but to be enjoyed thoroughly. I really wish I had this book growing up.


A timely read which highlights the dangers of social media pressures in feeding disordered eating habits

This book presents an up-to-date, accessible overview of the latest science supporting health with a body-positive attitude - and an intelligent, inspiring take-down of influencers and pseudo-nutritionists whose Instagrammable diet tips can cause real harm. Dr Nikki Stamp is an engaging narrator and the reference list in the back is full of leads to follow up - non-fiction at its best!

Catherine L Jenkins

Definitely something a bit different to the usual ‘health’ books. A good and inspiring read.

A very interesting and thought-provoking book, written well without the usual pages of facts and figures that I normally find quite overwhelming and skip past quickly. She covers how social media is a huge problem with weight and image issues and how lots of information given on these platforms can be inaccurate, not fact-based and can be damaging – especially to the young who follow and believe such things.

Jayne Burton

Interesting and very informative. Definitely gives you a lot to think about!

Ironically, I first heard Nikki Stamp talking on the podcast of another doctor and health blogger who I follow on social media. As someone who follows her fair share of fitness and health rated accounts on Instagram, this was a really interesting read for me. I liked that Nikki talked about a variety of issues: the focus on beauty as a measure of worth, nutrition, body negativity and positivity and I thought it was good that she a) showed both sides of the debate and b) that she wasn't afraid to call out stuff she felt was wrong whilst still encouraging the reader to make up their own mind.

Nikki Whitmore

A refreshing look at the diet industry and social influencers.

This isn't your standard new year diet/ new you book, it takes a look at all the myths and health tips that fill sites like Instagram and explains why they may not be as healthy as they appear. Filled with common-sense advice and interesting facts that made me look again at my own diet and (lack of!) exercise.
The author has a straight forward approach that doesn't feel preachy and it's a good book to dip in and out of if you don't want to read it straight through.

Katie Young

Hopefully, we can all find our own version of healthy and not be so led by the media and so-called ‘influencers’.

Do we have to be thin to be healthy? I've never really thought about this idea before but there is no reason apart from the fact that thin seems to be so very desirable these days. Surely healthy can be different sizes?

Lots of different points of view are outlined in this book but to me surely ‘healthy’ can mean different things to different people. You don’t need to be a gym bunny and be your ideal weight to be healthy and this is something that’s explained in this book. Hopefully, we can all find our own version of healthy and not be so led by the media and so-called ‘influencers’.

Stephanie Harding

A very interesting look into social media influencers and the current obsession with being skinny and diets.

A very interesting look into social media influencers and the current obsession with being skinny and diets. All very well written in an engaging way that reads easily and makes you think a lot about today's modern world. It is scary to think how many dangers there are online and how many of them we take for good influence. I will be now thinking twice about all the recommendations on social media, even when they are made to look as positive and life-affirming. This is a great read and very much needed in the modern, looks-obsessed world.

Agnieszka Higney

Gives some eye-opening facts...not just another 'how-to' guide to being healthy

Written by a heart surgeon, this book gives you an insight into how so-called diet and lifestyle industry infiltrate our subconscious and how we're bombarded with the wrong messages and so many messages that even the experts get confused.
The author writes with honesty and integrity and poses the arguments over how wrong the industries get it. It makes you feel better that if professionals can get it wrong, then we can't all be that bad.

This book is written clearly and covers a lot of ground - possibly too much (I think there could have been a little more editing before publication to avoid this). However, it does include some eye-opening facts and is a new way of looking at keeping ourselves healthy.

I am glad that this book is not just another 'how-to' guide and does not condescend to its readers. Overall, an interesting read.

Sinead Blowers

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781911632344
Publication date: 09/01/2020
Format: Paperback

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About Nikki Stamp

Dr Nikki Stamp, FRACS, is a cardiothoracic surgeon, one of only 11 female heart surgeons in Australia. Her clinical work is at the forefront of cardiothoracic surgery, including transplants and congenital heart disease. She has a particular interest in women's heart disease and how the medical system can better serve female patients. Nikki is the author of Can You Die of a Broken Heart?, which has been translated into 7 languages, and Pretty Unhealthy. She has hosted heart health episodes for Australia's flagship science TV program Catalyst as well as hosting Operation Live, in which she commentated a live caesarean birth and ...

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