It seems that every week new diet books hit the stands, touting the wonders of some new program to shed weight. Typical diet plans focus on everything from healthy fats and bad-for-you sugars to balancing hormones and eating for your blood type. Despite counting calories, carbs and fats, however, obesity is still a major problem in the US. So, what if we took a different route? What about focusing on the psychological aspects of dieting. Perhaps the key to weight loss is not what we put in our bellies, but actually what we put in our brains. If you’re looking for some help developing a healthy and balanced mindset regarding eating and weight loss, check out these non-diet diet books.
Women Food and God
New York Times bestselling author of When Food is Love: Exploring the Relationship Between Eating and Intimacy (Plume, July 1992), Geneen Roth has written and taught on the subject of the human compulsions surrounding food for more than 30 years. Her newest book Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything (Scribner, March 2010) focuses on how the way we eat – whether we restrict our food intake or binge or both – is inseparable from our core beliefs about being alive. Roth writes: “Since the relationship with food is only a microcosm for your relationship to the rest of your life (and your beliefs about abundance, deprivation, fear, benevolence, God), any attempts to change the food part without also engaging in the beliefs it represents will…end in disappointment 100 percent of the time.” She ends the book by listing her seven eating guidelines, which include eat when you are hungry, and eat with enjoyment, gusto and pleasure. This is a book that will tune you in to your body and make you question those self-sabotaging beliefs that hold you back from health and happiness.
Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
Written by Michael Pollan, one of our nation’s most trusted sources on food issues, this small (less than 200 pages) paperback lists simple, easy-to-remember rules to eat by. If you’re overwhelmed with keeping track of the latest diet and nutrition information, Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (Penguin, December 2009) is an invaluable resource to keep within reach. The book is broken down into three basic sections: What should I eat?, What kind of food should I eat?, and How should I eat? A few rules that Pollan suggests are: 1) don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce, 2) eat meals together at regular times, and 3) don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk. Pollan’s previous works include In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (Penguin, April 2009) and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (Penguin, August 2007), and you may have heard his philosophy broken down to only seven simple words: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
The Slow Down Diet
Despite the word “diet” in the title, Marc David’s book The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, & Weight Loss (Healing Arts Press, April 2005) focuses on a balanced way of relating to food, not on counting calories or cutting carbs. According to David, “We need to stop fighting food and start embracing it. We need to stop punishing our bodies and start providing for them. We need to slow down and enjoy and then we’ll get the results we’ve been looking for – and sooner than we expect.” Chapters for this eight-week breakthrough plan include The Metabolic Power of Relaxation and The Metabolic Power of Story. David is a nutritionist with a master’s degree in the psychology of eating who educates you as much as inspires you to eat for your body, mind, and spirit.
Fit from Within
Written by Victoria Moran, Fit from Within: 101 Simple Secrets to Change Your Body and Your Life – Starting Today and Lasting Forever (McGraw-Hill, April 2003) encourages acceptance of self and breaking the cycle of emotional eating as means to achieving a healthy weight and body image. If you’re struggling with food, weight and self-esteem, Moran’s 101 short essays that extol a body-mind-spirit approach may be just the ticket to help you break free. Chapter titles include: Let Other People Do It Their Way, Focus on Living a Quality Life, Give Up the Notion of Blowing It, and Take the Responsibility, Not the Blame. With every page, you’ll find that Moran is gentle and encouraging. This book will help you embrace that there is more to life than losing weight. Follow it up with Moran’s most recent book Living a Charmed Life: Your Guide to Finding Magic in Every Moment of Every Day (HarperOne, April 2009), and you’ll find health, happiness and fulfillment in every aspect of your life.