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Book Review: Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight

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Registered Dietitian Jen Brewer has written this book with the idea of giving readers a toolbox that will help them create healthy habits instead of giving them meal plans or exercises. Her first section instructs the reader on 4 core principles: Calorie output should exceed input, balance your basic body ingredients, get enough sleep and exercise. Sounds simple, right?

“There seems to be a crevice between what we know and what we do. (I was explaining this to a weight loss group once, and one of the sweet ladies jumped right in and was quick to correct me, “No, honey, it’s not a crevice, it’s a canyon!”)” Page 29

This book aims to bridge that canyon by using a combination of practical lifestyle changes. She tells readers that you don’t have to use all 25 tools in the book, just use the ones that will fit your lifestyle. The book concludes with inspiring case studies and what ‘tools’ they used.

If you have spent time at Weight Watchers, you are familiar with these tools (use smaller plates, shop the perimeter of the grocery store, schedule in your exercise). I felt that either the author is or was a Weight Watchers’ Leader or these ideas are just universal. Where I found the book to be really helpful was where it speaks about nutrition. Her breakdown about what nutrients you need and where the best sources of those nutrients are was very helpful. I’m a Lifetime Member at WW and I’ve never seen this information presented quite so concisely.

(A new idea that came up under one of the lifestyle changes (Tool #4: Subtract by Addition- meaning to find ways to eat more fiber rich foods to fill up with more food but on fewer calories) was to drink a glass of water and eat a piece of fruit every 4 hours that you are awake. The idea is that you will fill up on water and fruit, satisfy your sweet tooth, and consume fewer calories overall.)

To get you started, there are tables to determine caloric needs and plenty of charts and checklists. If you are looking for slow, steady weight loss or just ideas for improving your health day to day this book has some great ideas and inspiration.

The book is written in a fun tone with many amusing quotes: “When I buy cookies I eat just four and throw the rest away. But first I spray them with Raid so I won’t dig them out of the garbage later. Be careful, though, because that Raid really doesn’t taste that bad.” (Janette Brewer, Page 74)

I’ll conclude with my favorite ‘tool’: #22- Look Long, Step Small. Every day ask yourself, “What am I doing today that will help me reach my next-year self? The time will pass… When it does, one of two things will happen. You will either (1) be excited and proud of yourself for making all of the tiny daily (and even hourly) choices to reshape your body… Or (2) be frustrated that you’re stuck with the same habits and the same body, knowing that you are now on the other side of the time frame with nothing to show for it.” (page 75)

This book celebrates the power of small steps creating big change.

Stop Dieting and Start Losing Weight on Amazon.com

BTW- I borrowed this book from work and received no remuneration for my review. Nothing. Not a drop.

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Favorite Fitness Blog: For the Love of Disney Running

If you want to get a good idea of what it is like to participate in a Run Disney event, or a lot of them, Erin Williams has an awesome blog that even motivates me. Check out For The Love of Disney Running. You’ll start planning your costume.

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My Christmas

I think this is the prettiest Define Jacket Lululemon has made. My DH bought it for me for Christmas. The color is Bordeaux Drama. Sigh.

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And look at the back…

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I know, I’ve talked about this jacket before, but after hearing that Lululemon was discontinuing this style I had to move it to the top of the Christmas List.

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Jazzercise: A Review

Living Social had a deal going: 28$ (I think it was) for 10 weeks of Jazzercise. I’ve never tried Jazzercise, and they have really early morning classes at the one near me (No Zumba classes seem to be held this early- what is up with that?) so I decided to give it a go. Normally, Jazzercise classes run about 40$ a month.

I went 3-4 times a week, at 5:30 am for 10 weeks. Here is what I liked:

Consistency, and variety. I had a different instructor each day and they all seemed to know the same routines, but the routines rotated, so I wasn’t doing the same routines every day. This kept things fresh and fun.

Current music. Nice variety of music.

Friendly, welcoming staff, teachers and participants. I felt genuinely welcomed and accepted. Very non-competitive atmosphere.

Clean, well lit, warm facility. I looked forward to going there every morning. (this was at a dedicated Jazzercise center)

Fun choreography.

Now what I didn’t like:

This is probably just me, but I am used to pushing myself intensely when I work out. I love to have buckets of sweat running down me. I know, I know- you don’t have to sweat buckets to get an effective workout, but I am much more satisfied when I do. Their chart of perceived exertion recommended backing off when you got to the point where you couldn’t talk and exercise at the same time, and I like my workouts more intense than this. For the other participants in class with me, they were probably just fine with it. It is a very non-intimidating environment. However, if you are looking to leave it all on the gym floor, you might be disappointed in this. It will not ask you for everything.

Also, the slavish adherence to Jazz feels dated. I think even Bob Fosse would say you don’t have to do rib isolations in every warm up.

Lastly, the kick box technique is bizarre and does not resemble any of the techniques I have taken in any cardio kickboxing format. You can look up “Jazzercise kickboxing” on YouTube and see what I mean.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Despite my criticisms, I would be interested in maintaining a membership if it were about half the price it is. Any workout you actually go to is better than the ones you don’t, and my motivation has been seriously lacking of late. Never underestimate the appeal of a clean, well lit place full of friendly people who all just want to shake it, at 5:30 in the morning.

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