Skating Uphill: Diet Books are Not All Created Equal

Skating Uphill 0614

“Reading a diet book is not the same as actually successfully going on the
diet you are reading about…duh!” ~The Uphill Skater

Last month I promised to review a few books for you. I hesitate to use the term diet books because many so-called diet books currently on the market are not really about weight loss, but are more a collection of charts and recipes. Not that it’s bad. Other so-called diet books are actually exercise manuals and food charts. That's not bad either. You will also find the healthy lifestyle type of diet books that can be very good. Books like Wheat Belly (Rodale Press Inc.) are a whole different genre and are meant to be warnings about avoidance and should only be taken as such.

There are four books that I have read or been reading recently that I would like to share with you. The first is The South Beach Diet (St. Martin’s Press) by Arthur Agatston, M.D. He has written several books that are in the same vein, but the one I have is the first one, published in 2003. Seventy-six of its 204 pages are recipes and they are not too bad. The rest is his philosophy on weight loss, some of his results and daily diet plans. South Beach has worked for me at least three times. Yes, I even have notes on the pages as to how much I weighed each time I started and stopped. It was easy to modify into a vegetarian program, but I got tired of it. Being a vegetarian for 25 years, I found this diet was not enough fruit and too heavy on protein. This may suit you, but as a life plan, I cannot recommend it. On a better note, I still make the mashed cauliflower recipe and use Laughing Cow cheese that I discovered via the South Beach Diet.

Next are the many Weight Watchers’ books on the market, mostly featuring diet plans, recipes and yes, even one with a picture of Sarah, Duchess of York. I consistently use Quick Success Program Cookbook (Penguin Group USA Inc). I do not use it as a part of a weight loss plan, but it offers some delicious recipes. All of the Weight Watchers’ books have a place in a healthy lifestyle plan.

Next is a real doorstop of a book that is nearly 500 pages. It is called the No-Fad Diet (Crown Publishing Group) and is put out by the American Heart Association. This book is packed full of information and has 190 recipes, mind-set change tips and ways to achieve a more active lifestyle. This is, perhaps, the most all-encompassing book I have found. It can be a bit overwhelming, too. It has it all, from many recipes, to daily and weekly plans and survey results. As you would expect, the emphasis is on heart health.

I am building up to what I feel is a good book that is easy to follow and works short-term, as well as long-term. I have had this book for a long time, and it is written by a somewhat has-been diet guru, Jorge Cruise. Still, this is a good book. It is called 8 Minutes in the Morning (Harper Collins). I love this book for a number of reasons. First, is that it worked and still works for me. I religiously do my eight minutes of exercises every morning. This book has recipes that are easy and tasty. I judge a recipe book by how many exotic things I have to buy to create one of their dishes, and let me tell you, sometimes I will forgo the whole thing because it calls for something like lentil flour, crushed anise leaves or something I do not have and will never use again. However, 8 Minutes in the Morning offers simple recipes, good exercises complete with pictures, inspirational success stories, including the author’s, charts and more. What makes this book different is that it has places to write about a good day or complain about a bad day, and it asks you to answer questions in writing as you progress.

I especially like the breakfasts. I never had an egg white omelet until I read this book. They are actually not bad! It has oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fruit…wait a minute, this sounds like what we eat every day. Yes, with only a few exceptions, you will most likely have it all in your kitchen. The book promises a loss of two pounds a week and it delivers. I go back to the plan if I have gained a couple of pounds.

As always: Try, modify and don’t overbuy. Tune in next month for another Q and A. I have had lots of questions lately!

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