Fine Life Books (Jan 2013)
Summary: Dr. Spencer explains why we gain weight and why fat lost by dieting almost always comes back. He then presents an array of science-based weight loss tools for controlling emotional eating, calming cravings, boosting metabolism, and improving nutrition and exercise. In the final chapter he has you create a personal weight loss plan based on your unique set of needs, abilities, and preferences. – source
“This is not a diet book”
This is the first line of the Introduction. The author wants you to naturally and permanently keep the weight off. There are no special weight loss products, nothing complicated. You don’t even have to count calories. This is such a small book, you can read it in a day and start implementing strategies right away. You put the weight on gradually and he says you need to lose it gradually and by changing your thought patterns, you can keep it off.
Why We Weigh More
First he explains why we weight more. He compares now to the 1960’s when most people were thin. There is the obvious one, we are all less active. Makes me think of the Jetsons. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a cartoon of a futuristic family who don’t have to do anything for themselves. They just push a button and some contraption puts on their clothes.
Highly Palatable Foods
We all know that we live in a time of highly processed and fattening foods. He lists ten aspects of our environment that encourage us to eat too much. The one I found the most interesting was “Highly Palatable Foods.” Basically the food tastes so good that we keep on eating it even though we are full. Who would have thought that good tasting food was bad? He explains however that it’s the fat, sugar and refined flour that makes it taste so good. It becomes addictive and we just can’t help ourselves.
He takes a good look at Emotional Eating.
“We use the natural highs that these foods give us to comfort ourselves when we are stressed”
He goes on to talk about how to improve your emotional well-being.
- Focus on the present also known as Mindfulness. Relax your mind and induce the ‘relaxation response.’
- Think Healthfully, a concept I’ve read a lot about. It is important to change our thought patterns to keep us emotionally healthy. That being said, I know first hand that it’s difficult to change.
- Emotional Independence, he sums it up wonderfully.
“Your emotions are not determined by what others think, say or do, but by how you think about those people or circumstances.”
- Perspective, use a percentage scale to help you put those negative situations into perspective. I love this concept!
- Change your way of thinking in one day. There is a three step routine and he wants you to practice it every time you dwell on an unpleasant situation. I found this part quite funny:
“Going through these three steps every time you have irrational thoughts will be time-consuming and inconvenient. That’s OK; do it anyway.”
- He says that you will stop those thoughts “just to avoid the bother of going through the routine.”
- Be a Card-Carrying Healthy Thinker, he has a card you can print and carry around with you to help you think healthy. It sums up the previous information. Once again I love how he puts things. Written on the card under Healthy Thinking is
“…I alone determine how this situation will affect me emotionally.”
Avoiding Temptation and Cravings
Next he give you lots of way to avoid temptation and cravings. One pretty obvious one is “Clean up your environment.” Keep bad foods out and good foods available. This makes total sense, Designate an eating area. If I followed this one I wouldn’t eat nearly as much as I do. I eat at the computer frequently. Another one I found interesting is “Decide in Advance”. Decide before you find yourself in a tempting situation. How many servings of sweets will you have in a day? When stressed, what will you do instead of eating?
“A temptation is a decision that has not yet been made”
Processed foods digest quickly leaving you feeling hungry despite the high calorie count.
“Refined flour and sugar also encourage overeating by enhancing the flavor of foods to an unnatural degree.”
A good way to eat less of these foods is to decide what you will have for each meal. Another technique I think I could do is “The Power of Half.” If you don’t want to entirely give up your favorite food, decide to eat half as much or half as often. This way you won’t feel deprived.
I know I don’t do this and need to: “Listen to your stomach.” I didn’t know it but when your stomach is empty it is only about the size of your fist, so it really only holds a couple of handfuls of food comfortably. When the food tastes too good to resist I keep eating even though my stomach tells me it’s full. According to the author our moms were wrong telling us to clean you plate.
“It’s OK to leave food on your plate, especially if you have been served too much. Don’t treat yourself like a garbage disposal just to get rid of extra food.”
Dr. Stan Spencer says we don’t have to give up the convenient foods we’ve eaten all our life to lose weight. We just have to eat less of it and increase the slow digesting foods. He even includes very simple recipes at the end of the book.
The Bottom Line
This review ended up being a lot longer considering the size of the book but I really wanted you to get the feel for what you’ll learn when you pick up this book. I think it’s the only weight loss/healthy lifestyle book we need.
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