Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Health Book Review: Just 10 Lbs by Brad Lamm

I know I said I wouldn't review the book until I'd gone through the diet, but I'm quickly realizing that sticking to a set plan doesn't work well for me. So I figure I'll review the book without my failure/success weighing in on my impressions of the book/plan itself. I do intend to try the diet and see how things work out.

Pros: the diet focuses as much on changing your attitude - towards yourself as well as to food - as it does on correcting eating habits and encouraging more exercise. The book encourages you to consider things you do well, on increasing your self-esteem and improving your body image - through a body map and other techniques. One of the first things you have to do is discover what kind of eater you are (do you eat because of an emotional imbalance? because you love the tastes and textures of food?, etc.).

I think there's an advantage to doing the diet for a month, including the 'mindful meditation' (prayer, yoga, some kind of exercise that focuses on your body-mind connection) and other practices. Once you're in the habit of doing the exercises, you're likely to continue them after the diet is over. You're also supposed to learn and be satisfied by proper portion sizes - rather than the significantly increased North American portions we generally have.

The book includes a sample meal plan, recipes and daily challenges/affirmations to keep you focused.

Cons: he suggests that farmers markets are cheaper to shop at than grocery stores and going to them is a way of ensuring more fruits/vegetables in your diet for less. This simply hasn't been my experience with farmer's markets, which are (in my area at least) significantly more expensive than shopping at grocery stores. But that's a minor point.

Another minor point is the idea that following healthy guidelines will prevent diseases. I don't like this because it implies that if you're sick you had an unhealthy lifestyle. Some diseases are preventable through healthy eating, exercise, etc. Others are not.

A more important point is that I don't like the idea of cutting an entire food group from my diet. I'm a firm believer that everything in moderation is good for you. Or at least, not harmful. I find it strange that with all the care he's taken on designing the diet he has no chapter on reintroducing grains/legumes (beans, lentils, rice, pasta, bread) back into your eating plan once you've lost the weight. There's no guideline of 'replace 1/2 the protein with 1 cup pasta/rice if using' to show what a portion size of those would be or what you should take out in order to fit it into a healthy plan. Are you simply meant to cut them out forever? I wonder how long it would take to gain back the weight you lost if you're not employing smart choices when bringing back otherwise axed foods.

And when he lists the approved foods it's hard to tell if you can add in other vegetables not on the list or if you should stick to what examples he's given (for example my favourite vegetable, corn, isn't on the list).

Ultimately, it seems like a healthier diet than many on the market, in that it focuses on the entire body and mind as a unit, rather than simply focusing on 'bad foods' or 'good foods'. And while it's not perfect, I'll still be trying to follow as much of the diet as I can.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

Sorry about the break. December's a busy month - especially since I had to work more around buying presents, etc.

One of my New Year's Resolutions this year is to... drum roll please... lose weight. Original, I know. But, I've already started working on it. Netgalley had a diet book on offer a month or so ago, and I've finally had time to start reading it. Unlike a lot of diet books that focus on big results, this one focuses on small, manageable results. Just 10 lbs, by Brad Lamm. I haven't had the chance to finish reading it, but I already like what I see.

Lamm's focus is to increase protein and vegetable consumption (reducing carbohydrates) while at the same time, getting you to increase your overall care of your body. The idea is that if you don't love your body - extra weight and all - you'll be more likely to fall off the diet and gain the weight back. It's also less a diet than a way of thinking (or not thinking) about food.

He starts by subdividing eating habits, you are how you eat. Do you eat out of habit whether you're hungry or not?, out of stress?, because you love the tastes and textures of food? If you don't know why you're eating more than you should, how can you stop?

And yes, exercise is mentioned.

In other words, it sounds like a plan that could work. I'm not too keen on the 'pray to a higher power to lose weight' component of his 10 step plan, but if I lose my 10 lbs I'll do it.

My problem now is wondering when to start. I need a week to get rid of the white potatoes and bread around the house. And sometime in January I'm planning a trip to the Caribbean, so that will affect things.

Ultimately, I suspect I'll start next week, and if the vacation interferes, I'll just restart when we get home. Regardless, I'll post progress markers, and at the end of my trial (which will be more than the subscribed month, after the vacation's added) I'll write up a review of the book/plan.

Other resolutions are to learn how to use all the functions of my new serger (including the special feet) and sew some clothes.

I also want to get my wedding album finished. It'll be two years soon... about time I'm done that project.