Monday, February 1, 2010

The Body Fat Solution (Book Review) and a GIVEAWAY

Several weeks ago the publisher of The Body Fat Solution: 5 Principles for Burning Fat, Building Lean Muscle, Ending Emotional Eating, and Maintaining Your Perfect Weight, written by Tom Venuto, contacted me and asked if I was interested in reviewing the book. I said yes, and they sent me a copy. [Please note that I am interested in healthy living, eating and exercising, but I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or personal trainer. In this review I share my personal opinions.]

I have to say that the title seemed a bit catchy to me, and I’m not sure I would have picked up the book if I had seen it in a bookstore. I am a bit skeptical when it comes to “solutions” as they remind me of quick fixes. However, this book is not about quick fixes at all, just the opposite. In the introduction to the book, Venuto summarizes the approach he advocates throughout the book quite well and states, “If you’re sincere about getting lean and staying lean, then this endeavor shouldn’t be a race, but a journey of learning and gradual self-improvement” (p. xxvi). Throughout the book he provides the reader with facts and information to achieve gradual change from the inside out. I particular like the attention he pays to the “inside,” or emotional and psychological part of achieving and maintaining the body one wants.

Venuto looks at many weight loss myths and why people believe them. And his explanations make sense. He also talks about the importance of attitudes and beliefs when it comes to weight loss. He stresses that attitude is a choice and states, “Anybody can be positive when the results are good, but successful people choose a positive attitude when it counts the most – in the face of difficulty” (p. 45). He talks about changing how we look at the world by using reframing. One can see things as problems or challenges, frustration or fascination, confusion or curiosity, shoulds or musts. Exercise can be seen as a chore or an opportunity. Venuto encourages the reader to stop limiting belief and to instead install success beliefs (such as, “It’s achievable,” “I' am able,” “I deserve it,” and, “I want it”). I believe one can use these principles to make all aspects of one’s life better.

In the chapter on emotional eating, Venuto addresses that we eat for many reasons other than physical hunger and leads the reader through his A.W.A.R.E. Formula (become aware, watch out, arrest the behavior pattern, replace the old emotional eating behavior, establish new beliefs). He wants the reader to view food as building material, fuel, nourishment, and as stoking the metabolic fire.

Venuto stresses that losing weight depends on a calorie deficit. He makes it very clear that while one can lose weight by achieving a calorie deficit, one can choose foods that do not lead to good health. He states that it is important to strike the right combination of calorie quantity (to achieve a deficit) and calorie quality to be healthy. He advocates eating whole, unprocessed, real food and tells the reader to ask the following question when selecting food, “DID THIS FOOD come directly from a tree, from a plant, from out of the ground, or did it walk, fly, or swim?” (p. 128). I like these criteria for selecting food very much as I try to select natural, unprocessed foods whenever I can.

Venuto discusses how to maximize your metabolism, and addresses things like resting metabolic rate, weight training, cardio, thermic effect of food, and nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). He discusses the advantages of HIIT (high-intensity interval training)  and  stresses the importance of NEAT to burn more fat. He also goes over the importance of weight training and gives lots of tips and useful information. There are several pages that describe various exercises that include pictures.

Finally, Venuto addresses the importance of a supportive social network. He asks  readers to take a good look at the people close to them and decide whether they help them move closer to their goal or bring them further away from their goal. One should then decide whom to spend more or less time with. He acknowledges that one cannot eliminate all negativity and provides strategies for building “immunity” to negative people.

The last part of the book talks about how readers can take all the information in the book and come up with their own plan. Venuto addresses things like menu planning, grocery shopping, planning for eating out, weekends, special occasions, and trips. He also addresses how to monitor progress, be accountable and deal with a plateau.

I think this is a good book for people who are trying to lose or maintain weight and are looking for a comprehensive way to look at their lives and want to find lasting solutions. I especially liked that the book quite thoroughly addresses the emotional and psychological aspects of weight, eating, and living a healthy life. I also liked that many aspects of the book can be applied to areas outside of weight loss and/or maintenance, such as the power beliefs and our social surroundings have on our lives.

And now to the GIVEAWAY. One of my readers has the chance to win a copy of The Body Fat Solution. You can get a total of up to five entries:
  1. Leave a comment on this post and share one healthy living tip. This will get you one entry.
  2. For an additional entry, link back to this giveaway from your blog and leave me a comment telling me you did so. If you don’t have a blog, spread the word about the giveaway to your friends, and tell me in a comment.
  3. Follow me on twitter: @wellandrea and leave another comment stating that you do.
  4. Tweet about the giveaway and let me know in the comments.Use "@wellandrea is giving away the book The Body Fat Solution by Tom Venuto"
  5. Post about this giveaway on your Facebook page and let me know in a comment.
The giveaway is open until Saturday, February 6, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. PST. I will hire the toddler again to pick the winner…

Be well,