"People don't like being told what to do," says nutritionist and personal trainer Jonny Bowden. And that's the fundamental problem with weight loss programs: they are someone else's idea of what's good for you, which translates, in your mind, to deprivation and self-denial. "People don't fail when they design their own lives according to what they want to do." So Bowden helps you design an eating program for yourself that is personalized for your measurements, temperament, lifestyle, and metabolic and biochemical uniqueness.
Bowden offers his "A" food list (eat more of these), including vegetables, fish, eggs, lean meat, and "good" fats. His "B" list (reduce your intake of these) includes commercial breads, pastas, and cereals; refined oils; margarine; and sugar (including fruit juices). He advises you to control starches (including grains)--maybe one portion a day. He's "cautious" about recommending soy. He says supplements are essential.
Bowden uses much of his book to explain why, in his view, the dietary recommendations of major medical organizations are "ridiculous." He admits that he is taking on "the medical and nutritional establishment" with some of his recommendations. He disputes the Food Pyramid (accepted by all the major medical and dietetic organizations) and pronounces Dean Ornish's low-fat dietary recommendations "from the dark ages"--even though Ornish's program has been shown in published, peer-reviewed studies to reverse heart disease. He calls the carbohydrate recommendations from the "American Dietary Association" (he must mean the American Dietetic Association) "nuts."
Bowden's beginner's exercise program consists of walking and strength training. Although he hates "one size fits all" diets, he doesn't seem to mind this approach for exercise, because he tells you exactly what to do each day for eight weeks, including how many minutes to walk. The strength training is appropriate, well explained, and well illustrated. The only cardiovascular exercise is walking, and he doesn't discuss other alternatives until the appendix, and only if you're at the "advanced beginner" level or higher.
Bowden is a personal trainer and nutritionist (note: not the same thing as a registered dietician). He answers readers' questions on iVillage.com and has a popular online radio show on e-yada. --Joan Price