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Refuse to Regain!: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned! Hardcover – October 1, 2008
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"'The best move would be to stop making excuses for your weight,' says Barbara Berkeley, MD, author of Refuse to Regain! 'That's the first step to getting healthy,' she says. Her other weight-loss strategies will help take you the rest of the way." Women's Health Magazine
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I came around to understanding that as a weight loss physician she deals with patients who have undergone medical interventions to lose weight. She relates that she's never seen someone maintain counting calories when we later learn she has furthermore never met anyone who lost their weight counting calories. I don't count calories per se but I do track my food and find it elegant and effective.
If you've had weight loss surgery, medically supervised fasting or extreme exercise to lose weight this program is not a bad way to learn healthier diet. I think it's unfortunate she has five rules on eating and one on exercise, but half the rules cover life skills like planning, support and attitude which I think is a big improvement over other lifestyle change books I've read.
I found her emphasis on being tough offputting. It is a problem focused attitude rather than possibility focused. Her "get mad" litany was particularly acrid. But I benefitted from the review of physiology and this is one of the first places I've read about glycogen, which has a big role in "water weight".
I think entering my food into a website (of which there are several free ones) twice a day is much easier than banishing all sugars and starches from the home and workplace (fat free treats and alcohol excepted in Berkeley's "primarian" plan.) And we learn toward the end she doesn't believe in forcing others to eat as she does. I'm not saying her plan is unsound, it just doesn't look sustainable. In the end, it takes internal motivation. Maybe this is the tiger mom path to self esteem.
The author is a doctor who runs a clinic targeted at obesity issues. She also operates a website ([...]) that I think is a super source for maintainers. I took away two key points from this book. First, and most importantly, formerly overweight people almost always have issues with refined grains and sugars, and the best approach is simply to avoid these foods and adopt a "primal" diet. Primal means eating what hunters/gatherers would have eaten -- meat, eggs, some dairy, vegetables, fruits, fats. I have adopted this approach, and it has just turned my life around. The people I see who struggle with their maintenance and weight loss goals almost always seem still to be in a sugar/carbohydrate addition phase. Just realizing the addictive power of these foods was a huge first step, which helped me virtually to eliminate them.
The second key point was the concept of using the scale as a tool (daily weighing) and establishing a "scream weight" -- a weight at which, if you see it on the scale -- you move into an "all hands on deck" approach, and take immediate steps to reverse this gain. There are other helpful tools in the book as well.
The two concepts in the book that I disliked were (1) the use of artifical sweeteners, and (2) the concept that people should have a little daily treat -- usually of some very unhealthy refined food. To me, artificial sweeteners are something that should definitely be avoided, and I don't see how they possibly fit into a "primal" eating plan. I think they are triggers that keep the sweet tooth active. The daily treat? I don't think there's a problem with the occasional treat, but again, eating some kind of artifically sweetened pudding or dessert didn't seem like it fit in with the overall philosphy. Overall, though, for anyone who wants to maintain a weight loss, I highly recommend this book -- if nothing more, as food for thought.
Some of Dr. Berkeley's suggestions are a bit difficult to live with in our fast paced world, but....... It was an interesting approach.