Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Voices of Experience--or Not

I'll be the first to admit, I'm a tad obsessive. Okay, more than a tad.

So when I'm trying to lose weight, I want to drown in the world of diet. I buy magazines with what turn out to be ridiculous diet articles ("Lose 200 pounds in just 10 days!"), and obsess over every conflicting research report.

This time, I've moved on to books--particularly memoirs, or accounts of people who've lost weight and want to present their own navel-watching account of their journey from flab to fab.

But I've made a recent discovery: most of those books are by people who had very little weight to lose, and I'm sorry, but what the heck do they know about facing a real weight problem? Even their good ideas seem lacking in any real-world test.

I recently read Linda Moran's little book, How to Survive Your Diet, and thought--and still think--it has a lot of good ideas as far as "eating normally" in terms of portion and hunger-satiation. But you're led to believe throughout the book that Linda has battled real weight issues over the years, and don't find out until the end that she battled something like 10 pounds. Now, she says in the book that the reader might discount her ideas because she only had 10 pounds to lose--sort of the reverse-psychology equivalent of "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful." But, sorry, I think you have some great ideas for maintenance but 10 pounds just doesn't gain my respect for weight-loss tips.

Next, I read Wendy McClure's I'm Not the New Me. Wendy's the author of the popular blog and in the book she had lost about 30 pounds on Weight Watchers. Not shabby but only borderline "real" weight loss in my book. Mostly the book was the obsessive ramblings of a woman on the prowl for the perfect guy, posing as a book about dealing with body image. "X" that one off the list, although she does write well, albeit with too much profanity for my taste.

Then I read Dr. Nick Yphantides' My Big Fat Greek Diet. While Dr. Nick did lose an amazing 220 pounds, the way he did it is way out of the ball park for most of us (pun intended). Dr. Nick was wealthy enough to take a year off from work to drink a liquid diet while he tooled around the country indulging his passion for Major League Baseball games. Yeah, right. I'd be living under New Orleans' Danziger Bridge in about two weeks. Welcome to the real world.

Now I've begun Courtney Rubin's Weight Loss Diaries, and while she doesn't seem to have a tremendous amount of weight to lose, I'm identifying with her "all-or-nothing" mentality. You know the one: "I ate that bite of (name the food that doesn't fit on your food plan), so I might as well have whatever else I want today and start again tomorrow." Or: "I have to eat out twice this week for social engagements so I might as well wait to start next week." I'm not far enough into it to see how she's going to resolve these things but I do believe fixing your thoughts is the biggest thing you can do to improve your chance of successful weight loss. So we'll see how she does it.

Meanwhile, you can't do much better than the irrepressible Jimmy Moore's Livin' La Vida Low Carb, where he chronicles his own 180-pound loss eating low carb. His "take no prisoners" attitude toward weight loss doesn't give us a lot of introspection or navel-watching, but it's an honest, real chronicle of serious weight loss that doesn't involve surgery or off-the-wall baseball schemes.

There are a couple of other books in my "to read" stack (told you I was obsessive!), so stay tuned.

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