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  Diet Review

Diet Evolution
Eat Great, Lose Weight
Eating Thin for Life
Enter the Zone
Idiot's Guide
Sugar Busters!
The Atkins Diet
The Balancing Act
Total Health Makeover

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Losing Weight
by Susan McQuillan, MS, RD, with Edward Saltzman, MD

GOOD NEWS: This enjoyable, easy-to-follow book teaches readers how to build a balanced diet (to satisfy dietary guidelines) and incorporate exercise in daily life. Built on a foundation of informative facts, individual needs are recognized and scientific explanations, where needed, are given in "layman's terms." In addition to the expected diet and exercise info, you'll find guidelines for evaluating group weight-loss programs, a list of non-profit support groups, how to join a gym, factors affecting metabolism, and many other useful tips and tools. Three eating plans, with variable levels of structure, allow readers to personalize their approach to a healthy diet. Basic recipes, with a wide array of variations, are a plus.

EVEN BETTER: Early on, the author highlights healthy weight and calorie ranges, noting that specific numbers are not appropriate for a majority of individuals. Sample meals are based on 1,500 to 1,600 calories, with a recommendation of 20 to 30% of calories from fat. Pills and supplements, providing only short-term weight loss solutions, are discouraged. Balance is the key to weight loss, achieved by a moderate decrease in calories and a moderate increase in exercise. Readers are guided through assessing their personal styles and habits in order to identify specific suggestions for change. This Idiot's Guide even shows sensible ways to fit occasional fast food and alcohol into personal plans.

THE BEST: "Don't be a slave to your scale!" McQuillan proclaims. (The weight change chart is designed for once-a-week documentation.) She notes that diets with fewer than 1,200 calories are unsafe and do not meet the RDAs. The goal is slow and steady weight loss, including behavior modification, with a built-in plan for weight maintenance. This guide is not just for weight loss, but promotes developing a healthy lifestyle, being a role model for your children, adjusting attitudes and behaviors, and encouraging family involvement. "In This Chapter" previews the contents of each, and all chapters are concluded with "The Least You Need to Know" for reinforcement. Best of all are four sets of shaded boxes throughout the book: Guru's Corner relays words of wisdom from the experts, NutriTip gives practical info and inspiration, No Weigh! debunks misinformation about getting fit, and Advice from Losers quotes true stories from others battling with excess weight.





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