GOOD NEWS: Kostas
provides page after page of assessment tools, guidelines, records and logs, and references. Five different eating plans encourage a "design-your-own" approach for optimal nutrition. (Research confirms greater success with individuals who set up their own program.) The author warns not to eat less than 1,000 calories per day, and recommends a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement for plans below 1,200 calories; maximum weight loss allowed is two pounds per week. In addition to fat and calories, the book raises awareness of sodium, sugar, cholesterol, fiber, and a number of vitamins and minerals. Dozens of food exchanges, sample menus, and portion control guidelines are found throughout the book.
EVEN BETTER: The author reinforces that low calorie diets do not work. If time is a challenge, this book is designed so that readers can scan the table of contents and choose sections that most affect their lifestyle. Kostas gives a great explanation, with diagram, of the principle of combining carbohydrates, proteins, and fats for better nutrition and control of appetite and blood sugar levels. The fitness
section includes sketches of strength and stretching exercises that can be done
without any equipment. Serving as both a reference and a guide, The Balancing
Act promotes setting specific, achievable goals to set the reader up for success.
THE BEST: The "80-20 rule" is certainly refreshing: "If you make healthy choices 80% of the time, you can eat 'fun foods' 20% of the time and still stay healthy and achieve your weight goals." And Kostas encourages readers not to let one meal end all weight loss attempts. The plan simply outlines a practical system for food selection and a sensible fitness routine--the individual dictates all details. Other expert
reviews proclaim this book "the most complete and sensible approach" available
and "comprehensive, practical, realistic, and medically sound." Moderation, balance, and variety are a theme carried from beginning to end. Readers get a wealth of factual information, combined with tips, goals, and motivation. This sound reference is not close to being out-dated, even seven years after initial publication.