A few diet books have impacted my eating habits, leading to a successful, healthy lifestyle that has kept pounds off. The Zone Diet, by Barry Sears, published by William Morrow, 1995, could be subtitled: “Seeing Food as Fuel; Brewing Up ‘Premium'”.
The author of The Zone has applied a wealth of scientific and medical knowledge to the issue of weight loss. For a healthy, medically sound diet, this one takes the cake. I’ve successfully used the strategies suggested in Barry Sears’ book; they make so much sense. For the long haul, this is a great diet to follow. Incorporating the principles has improved my energy level, my health, and my weight-burning capacity. I love it!
The Zone Diet stresses the importance of having the right mix of fuel: A balance of carbohydrate, protein, and good oil (not saturated), present at every meal. It also considers the glycemic index ratings of various foods. And while this diet doesn’t promise rapid weight loss, it proved to be a good plan to follow for the long haul.
Another noteworthy book: Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution, by Dr. Robert C. Atkins, published by Harper; Revised edition (December 4, 2001). This may strike many as a fad diet, but it’s worthy on at least one count: For getting over carbohydrate addictions. White flour, white sugar, and other refined, processed foods just aren’t good for us! And while it does take a lot of discipline to stick to, within thirty days or so, one can break the habit of including carbohydrates at practically every meal. Cravings gradually disappear. Otherwise, if we continue to include them in our daily meals, they continue to exert their power over us!
One might rely on another diet for the long term, but to get carbohydrate cravings out of the system, the Atkins approach proves invaluable. A revamped Atkins has surfaced under another name, as The South Beach Diet, with a perhaps less-radical approach, for the more cautious dieter. But I personally followed the Atkins diet quite successfully, amazed that I could eat so little and not get hungry. Once the body achieves ketosis, the appetite is curbed, making dieting more comfortable (if it can ever be that). And while I don’t recommend following this diet without a doctor’s supervision, it does work!
Anyone serious about weight-loss must also consider how to exercise. The New Fit or Fat, by Covert Bailey, published by Mariner Books; Revised edition (August 12, 1991), is an excellent resource. We need to know how to maximize our exercise efforts! There’s no way around it, really. To be trim, we ought to be fit. To be fit, we need to exercise. But I’d tried exercise plans. I’d done various programs, most of which seemed grueling. To add insult to injury, the exercising didn’t improve my physique!
When I got hold of an original version of the Fit or Fat book (some thirty years ago, when it first came out), it really impacted me. I didn’t have to do the long, drawn-out exercising; I just needed to apply the aerobic philosophy. It’s been working ever since!
Under some conditions, an even more vigilant approach must be taken. Jordan Rubin, author of The Maker’s Diet, published by Berkley Trade (April 5, 2005), offers a compelling personal story. Diagnosed with a life-threatening, severe case of Crohn’s Disease at age 21, he eventually used the information he collected to heal himself. Doctors, prescriptions, and hospitals had failed to improve his condition, but a nutritionist offered hope, helping him begin a diet based on biblical teachings. His health improved radically within four months, and he went on to outline his findings in The Maker’s Diet.
The diet has apparently helped people suffering from Crohn’s and other GI diseases, auto-immune diseases, and more; the premise of eating whole, organic foods is bound to be a healthy one. Rubin also started a supplement company, Garden of Life, to offer some of the products he promotes in his book.
Some critics have noted discrepancies (or bad logic) in Jordan Rubin’s theology. And not everyone will probably sense the need for the products he suggests. But he does have some good ideas, and a few inspired thoughts to share.
I considered whether to include some of the latest, most popular diet books on this list. The Last Diet Book Standing, by Kerry McLeod, comes to mind. Also, The 24-Hour Turnaround: The Formula for Permanent Weight Loss, Anti-Aging, and Optimal Health–Starting Today, by Jay Williams, promises a mouthful, judging by its title. Another one, The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat, by Michael F. Roizen, is chock-full of the latest on health. But any list compiled of the latest, greatest “health foods” promoting longevity will soon be outdated by tomorrow’s discoveries. While a focus on healthy eating is important, is there anything that goes even beyond that? Dean Ornish points out that human relationships have more impact on disease and health than diet. Likewise, maybe our approach to dieting has more impact on our health than diet does, as well.
So for my final book, I must mention, Thin Within, by authors Judy and Arthur Halliday, published by W Publishing Group (December 2002). You could also call this book, “Developing a Healthy Perspective in Relation to Food”. The basic ideas in this book make wonderful sense: Eat when you’re hungry, eat your favorite foods, get the focus off of diet. But deeper than that, authors Judy and Arthur Halliday help a person identify and resolve issues that cause overeating, sharing God’s grace with the reader, encouraging a healthy attitude about food, teaching us how to eat like a naturally thin person. As we internalize some great truths, being fit and trim can become a reality.