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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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Book Review: Fit 2 Fat 2 Fit by Drew Manning

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As a bookstore manager I see a lot of fitness books come into my store. When I saw this one I was immediately intrigued- what the heck? This guy purposefully gains 75 pounds to prove a point? The concept of the book was born out of frustration on Manning’s part- a personal trainer who had never battled his weight, who always made good food choices and couldn’t understand why other people couldn’t make those same great choices.

His trip to “Fat” is full of Mountain Dew and Captain Crunch. In 6 months he gained 75 pounds. He talks about the shame he felt, the sadness and frustration, understanding that people judge based on the outside all to frequently and the snap conclusions they make about overweight people are very damaging. His 6 month trip back to “Fit” is likewise insightful as he talks about things he never “got” before, like how it feels to walk into a gym with a far-less-than-perfect-physique, how hard it is to give up the food that gave you so much comfort (his beloved Mountain Dew) and most importantly, the need of a strong social support group to encourage you on.

There is also a very candid chapter from his wife about her perspective on his journey. Very candid.

The last third of the book is exercises and diet plans, oops, I mean lifestyle plans (because no one calls it a “diet” anymore, now everyone calls it a “lifestyle change”), but those aren’t very unique to this book. There were a lot of protein shake recipes, however, so of you are looking for more of those read all the way to the end of the book.

I thought the book was inspirational, some parts seemed a little repetitive and slow, and the big breakthrough (“people need people who understand!”) seems kind of like a “duh”. But it was entertaining and there is a “hey if he did it so can I” factor that is infectious.

Here is his Spinach Shake recipe that he raves and raves about in his book:

1 scoop of Protein2Fit Vanilla Whey Protein
3 cups spinach
½ banana
2 Tbsp of natural peanut butter
2/3 cup of unsweetened almond milk
approximately 3 handfuls of ice

Reported from his website: Fit2fat2fit.com.

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

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