Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My Review: Never Say Diet

When this was offered as a First Wildcard choice I grabbed it. Surely this was the book I've been looking for; the one that will tell me how I can effortlessly take off all those extra pounds and keep them off. I was sorely disappointed. Not only did the author say that I had to eat fewer calories than I burned, she said I had to take up regular exercise. I mean really--If I liked eating right and exercising regulary I wouldn't need this book, would I?

Back to reality here. As weight loss books go, this one seems pretty sensible and I'm going to give it a try this year. The author, who lost and has kept off 200 pounds, says that you have to surrender your weight problem to God as part of five decisions to make: Be truthful, be forgiving, be committed, be interested and surrender. It is her goal to remake your whole lifestyle and relationship with food.

Unlike most weight loss programs that immediately restrict food intake, her program starts with exercise. For the first four weeks, "all" you are asked to do is to do aerobic exercise of some sort for at least 30 minutes at least five times a week and to eat breakfast every day (and to log both the breakfast and the exercise). In week five you start logging everything you eat, and start doing, in additon to the cardio, 20 minutes of strength training with a stabilty ball twice a week (she shows the exericies) and you are asked to note your biggest food weakness and give it up.

By week nine you are in the heart of the eating program, which she describes as "make food boring". Basically, plan several meals for each time period, and then repeat them . In other words, she doesn't encourage you to experiment with 25 ways to cook boneless skinless chicken breasts. Rather, she says to pick five dinners to repeat throughout the month--the idea being that they less you have to think about food, the better. Also, with a limited menu, you are more likely to have the right ingredients in the house and less likely to decide fixing dinner is too much trouble.

Exercise continues to increase in both duration and intensity throughout the 16 week program. She never really gives a diet plan except to say that we should eat five times a day and about 1500 calories a day and that we should stay away from empty calories except as special treats.

The book they sent me came with a workbook in which to log your exercise, food, measurements and meal plans. It seems like a sensible program, almost more weighted toward exercise than watching what you eat--though that's definitely a part of it. The author mentions the often-told tale that taking weight off is not most people's problem; keeping it off is. She has become a marathon runner; exercise obviously has become an important part of her life. I accept that to maintain weight loss I'm going to have to permanently change some habits; not just temporarily do what I don't really want to do. However, I don't really see anything in this book that makes me think this program will be any more likely to stick long-term than any other sensible weight loss program--probably because at the core, they are all about eating less and exercising more.

First Wildcard will tour this book January 14. Check back then to read the first chapter. Also, I'll keep you posted about how I am doing following this program.

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