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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
I read a lot. A whole lot, and it's not just limited to health and fitness books, either. However, the book that I recommend the most is this one, Outsmarting the Midlife Fat Cell by Debra Waterhouse. I have it on my wish list, but I've already taken it out of the library and read it four times, front to back. Why? Well, Dr. Waterhouse has written a clear, concise, sometimes humorous self help book that is actually HELPFUL! She explains what the changes are that a woman from around 35-55 might go through, why it is so easy to gain weight and so difficult to get it off, why we start gaining in our tummies, why all of the things we did in our twenties to lose suddenly don't work anymore, and why we need to make peace with these changes and respect what our bodies are trying to do for us. Her writing style is practical, upbeat, and motivating. Her recommendations for how to halt spare tire encroachment make sense and genuinely work. Her advice also provides the added benefit of halting osteoporosis, and maybe even reversing it. No gimmicks here. No magic bullets. But you also won't have to live on bean sprouts and tofu(unless you want to). The author gives you permission to weigh a few pounds above the recommended insurance charts, and the means to see that it looks good on you. I've read and recommended some other health and fitness books that are quite good, but none surpass this one. It needs to be on every woman's shelf. Period.
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70 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on September 11, 1999
I'm 45 and exercise regularly and was dieting yet continued to gain weight. This book helped me to understand why my body was not co-operating with me. I started eating more often and increased my activity level and in two weeks I finally lost 4 pounds. The book has a very positive approach to the menopause experience.
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122 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on September 13, 1999
I'm a fat acceptance advocate who hates diet books on principle. Someone suggested I read this book anyway, and I'm glad I did. It confirmed the conclusions I've come to on my own after many unhappy years of struggling with an illusory "weight problem": diets make you fatter, skipping meals is bad for you, there are no "bad foods," you should listen to your body and eat when you're hungry, and the only way to stay in shape is to exercise. Her theoretical explanations made a lot of sense, and her attitude was reassuring: this is the way a woman's body WORKS, and if you gain some weight or change shape in midlife it's not because you're "doing something wrong." I don't agree with her completely: I think she's unnecessarily judgmental about "emotional eating" (if you're under stress and can't do anything else to alleviate it, is it better to overeat for a few weeks or to take up smoking?). Also, she seems to feel that the only way to build strength is to work out with free weights, but many other exercise programs can have the same effect -- even yoga, if you select the right asanas to practice. Still, in general, hers is the ONLY sensible approach to managing one's weight that I've ever read (any diet book that lists the National Association for Fat Acceptance as a "support group" is all right with me!), and I'd like to recommend that every woman (fat or thin) read it as she enters midlife.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 1999
I went to bed one night relatively trim and able to fit in my clothes. I woke up the next day and I had a "stomach!" That's how it seemed at least and I didn't know why. I was aware that I had seen the same thing happen to many of my friends at about the same age and didn't know why. My eating habits hadn't changed; I never was an exercise buff...but why suddenly this mid-life bulge?
I ran across this book quite by chance and the cover caught my eye. I wanted to know how to "outsmart the mid-life fat cell" and I was certain it existed. This book was better than the best novel. I couldn't put it down. It was so easy to ready and understand and supplied graphics to further explain the reasoning and science behind each explanation.
I am well on my way to outsmarting the fat cell and it is easy. The book is really very sensible and not a fad diet. The authors credentials give the book the crediability it needs to be taken seriously and has dependable, seemingly accurate explanations. Not to be missed.
Actually, I think when every women turns "50ish" it should appear in their mailbox from....?
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 1999
One of the best books I've read in years. It's filled with facts, based on reality, and is easy to read. The author uses analogies, stories and humor to educate the reader. I highly recommend this book to all women over 35 AND their mates. You'll be glad to know you AREN'T imagining things, it's NOT in your head, and you aren't alone! When you finish, you'll know what's happening to you, why, and how to live with it postively. I laughed, I cried, and I've already loaned my copy out.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on April 7, 2006
In my own subconsciously arrogant way I used to believe that as long as I didn't overeat and exercised I would never gain excess weight. Well, this last year has been a very humbling experience. I am about to turn 40. ALMOST OVERNIGHT it seemed like everything was fitting more snugly than it used to, especially around my midsection (this was the one body part that never used to give me grief). I figured, cut back on my food a bit, and bump up the exercise. Still nothing... if anything I seemed to be getting bigger! I finally got on the dreaded scale and I had gained 10-15 lbs. in the last year. I'm now wearing 10s and 12s. Yikes!

So I see this book in the bookstore and know that I have to buy it. This has been one of the best purchases I have made this year. It thoroughly explains WHY I am gaining this weight and why it is going to my midsecion rather than its former favorite areas, my rear end and thighs.

It explains why dieting is the worst possible thing I could be doing. Why lunch should be my largest meal, and why 5-6 smaller meals make more sense than two or three, with starving sessions in-between.

It explains why exercise is the most beneficial thing I can do right now, and how combining daily exercise (an hour of aerobic activity a day) with small meals is the most efficient way to fight our midlife fat cells. We should also do strength training 3X/week to keep our metabolism raised.

But like anything else, we can't go overboard on exercising any more than we can go overboard on the dieting. During this time in our lives, our body is programmed to go into survival mode any time we deprive our body of food or we exercise too much. According to Debra, the more we have dieted in the past, the harder time we are going to have with weight gain during perimenopause/menopause. Apparently, women are going through the changes at a much earlier age than our older parents/grandparents because of this excess dieting. Their generation didn't diet as compulsively as ours does.

The book mentions the paradox of pregnancy during perimenopause. Because more women are delaying their pregnancies until their 30s and beyond, many are dealing with weight gain from this, along with perimenopause, therefore dealing with doubly resistant fat cells.

What I have the hardest time digesting, but I have to accept in order to keep my sanity during these next 10-15 years, is that my body is SUPPOSED to have this extra padding of fat in my midsection during perimenopause/menopause in order to protect my organs and promote longevity. Not an EXCESS of baggage in the middle, but more than we had when we were younger. Where we used to gain it more in the rear/thighs during our teens/20s for healthier childbearing, now this weight is going to our middle for a healthier menopause; thus, a longer life. No, I don't like it, but knowing that our body will be able to drop weight again more easily AFTER menopause provides a small comfort.

I thought I was doing something wrong or something was wrong with me... but now I understand!

STILL...What about these women in their 40s and 50s who are still thin as rails? How have they managed to avoid the bigger midsection? (these women are definitely in the minority) Have they all had a tummy tuck? Or are they better at hiding it? As helpful as this book is, I still have to wonder if there is still a secret that hasn't been discovered by most of us?
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53 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2001
I had high hopes that this book would help me reverse the steady increase in my weight that has been occurring over the past several years in spite of my healthy diet and exercise program. Unfortunately the author didn't provide me with any new information. The message I got was accept the fact that you're going to put on weight with menopause.
What did help me lose weight, as well as improve my sleep and alertness, was Barry Sears' Zone diet. Waterhouse laments that menopausal women can put on weight eating rice cakes. Sears explains why this happens. (Bottom line: don't eat rice cakes!) Waterhouse tells us that some women actually like their more rounded, apple-shaped figures. Sears explains why it is a look we should avoid.
I enjoyed the humor, but if you're serious about losing weight, trying reading some of Barry Sears' books. I've been losing half a pound a week consistently, feel more mentally alert, and sleep better.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2001
I recommend this book so highly that I am taking the time to sit down and write a review--something I usually do not do! I have just recently had a doctor agree with me that I am going into the perimenopausal years (in my late thirties). Debra Waterhouse explains that it really is true that more and more women are entering this time of their life already in their thirties--something that I've had a difficult time getting people I know to believe!
I feel that all women in the perimenopausal and menopausal years really need to read this book. (Women of all ages should read the author's other book "Out-smarting the Female Fat Cell). Dieting has a terrible hold on women who doen't realize or believe the negative effects of it.
It has been a tremendous relief to me to read that my recent, rapid weight gain is not necessarily all my fault and that dieting will only make it worse. To read and understand what's happening with the hormones in my body and the effect that has on me physically and emotionally gave me a feeling of confidence. Confidence that I can become healthier--without dieting and depriving myself--and stronger by working more physical activity into my day.
I plan to put Debra Waterhouse's advice into practice and be healthier and stronger after menopause than I am now!
Thank you for this great book and the way you have written it so that the average person can understand this very complex time in their lives.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2000
When I started reading this book I felt like the author was in my home. I had been working out and watching my weight more than ever before and at 41 wasn't losing a pound. I had the thyriod test done and talked to my doctor which didn't help. Three weeks after reading her book, I lost 3 pounds and it's slowly coming off. The information was helpful and empowering.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2003
When I came across this book I was in the middle of another "Lose 15 lbs. in 2 weeks!" type diet. I was tired of starving, feeling guilty, and ready to give up. While reading this book it was like a light bulb came on. What she writes makes perfect sense. Eat when you're hungry; eat smaller more frequent meals; stop when you're filled, but not full; exercise moderately. These were foreign concepts to someone who has lived either on or off a diet for half of her life. So, I immediately stopped starving myself, and began listening to my hunger signals. It has been a life-changing experience for me. Now I'll never live in semi-starvation or binge-mode again! Goodbye counting calories, carbs, fat grams, eating on schedules, etc. Hello life! Bottom line: If you're addicted to dieting, are a yo-yo dieter, and can't seem to lose the weight or keep it off, give this book a try. It's working for me!
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