The Diet Fix, Why Diets Fail, How to Make Yours Work - Book Review
- POSTED ON: May 21, 2014

The Diet Fix, Why Diets Fail, And How To Make Yours Work (2014) by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D.  promotes a sane, compassionate approach to getting a grip on food and weight. He points out that 90% of all diets end in failure and addresses how to fix the way we lose weight to make results last. 

Dr. Freedhoff, says, "at the end of the day if you don't like the life you're living while you're losing weight, you're virtually certain to gain it back." This book doesn't push or demonize any food group and provides a step-by-step process for a frustrated person trying to lose weight and keep it off in a healthy manner.

I've chosen The Diet Fix as the next book for discussion here in DietHobby's BOOKTALK. If you are interested in discussing the book or seeing videos about it be sure to check out that section.

This diet book doesn’t recommend any particular diet. It has no strict meal plan with foods that are either celebrated or demonized. There are no traumatic sacrifices required. No starvation, no cleanses, and no miracle supplements.

The Diet Fix contains no outlandish promises, no strict dietary rules, no excessive exercise, and no recommendations for supplements and potions. The book is a excellent science-based guide for anyone looking for credible advice on permanently sustainable weight loss.

Dr. Freedhoff starts out by listing “Dieting’s Seven Deadly Sins” which is the label he attaches to commonly held beliefs about dieting. These are:

  1. Hunger . "If I'm not hungry, my diet's not working." Dr. Freedhoff argues that any diet plan that leaves you hungry won’t be sustainable.

  2. Sacrifice. "No, no birthday cake for me, thanks". Dr. Freedhoff says that perpetual sacrifice of things that you enjoy will make any diet fail.

  3. Willpower. "If I close my eyes and run past the cupboard, I can make it to the bedroom without hitting the chips." Dr. Freedhoff says that willpower is important, but permanent resistance is almost certainly futile.

  4. Blind food restrictions. "The only way to lose weight is to kick this (insert food or food gro...

Fighting the Urge - Book Review
- POSTED ON: Apr 03, 2014

Fighting the Urges, (2013) by Amy Johnson, Phd. is a 23 page e-book.  

In this book, Dr. Johnson tells us that the book uses principles from Kathryn Hansen’s book Brain over Binge and Jeffery Schwartz’s book You Are Not Your Brain.  These principles are also similar to those found within Gillian Riley's book, Ditching Diets.  

The author says that the book is designed to help permanently change unwanted habitual behaviors. She offers a way to relate to one's addictions, compulsions, and habits in a way that she believes will literally physically change one's brain. 

Dr Amy Johnson gives four steps to rewiring your brain.

Step #1: View your urges as neurological junk. This is also referred to as Re-labeling.

This means you stop believing your urges signal a real physical or emotional need—you see that they are insignificant. You view them as automatic brain messages generated in your Lower Brain that deserve no attention.

Step #2: Separate your highest human brain from your urges. This is also referred to as Reframing.

This means you realize the urges aren't really you; they are simply Lower Brain- based messages. The you that has a personal identity, makes conscious decisions, is smart, and has opinions and preferences and dreams is something altogether different.

Step #3: Stop reacting to your urges. This is also referred to as Revaluing.

In step three, you stop giving your urges attention and allowing them to affect you emotionally. You view them as neurological junk, with no judgment or emotion attached.

Step #4: Stop acting on your urges. This is also referred to as Refocusing.

When you stop acting on our urges, your brain rewires around the new normal of not acting on your urges.

 Dr. Johnson says that having conflicting desires about our behavior make it feel like we have two minds, and discusses the "Higher Brain" and the "Lower Brain. The animal part of us—the Lower Brain—believes our survival depends on performing a specific action. However, our Higher Brain—where decisions are made—is ultimately in charge of our actions. These areas are pictured in the graphic at the bottom of this book review.

She says that our brains are wired to produce urges because we’ve acted on those urges many times in the past. When we stop acting on the urges, we rewire our neural circuitry and the urges stop.

The book gives the following example:

"Let’s say your compulsion is food. When you’ve heard the urge from your Lower Brain to eat large quantities of unhealthy food in the ...

Ditching Diets - A Book Review
- POSTED ON: Mar 01, 2013

"Ditching Diets: How to lose weight in a way you can maintain" (2013) by Gillian Riley, is a revised and updated edition of “Beating Overeating (2009)… which was a condensed, revised, and updated edition of the original, longer book: Eating Less: Say Goodbye to Overeating (2006).

Ditching Diets is the third edition of a book containing advice of the author, Gillian Riley, who is an addiction counselor in the UK. It disagrees with the conventional Intuitive Eating advice ‘to eat when hungry and stop when full’. She uses the three core issues of Choice, Motivation and Temptation to introduce a way of different thinking about eating food and losing weight.

Cognitive techniques are explained in terms of brain function, showing readers how to work with what happens in the brain, instead of against it. The aim is to raise awareness of the addictive nature of overeating, creating a healthy, relaxed and realistically imperfect relationship with food.

The hope is that sustainable weight loss will be achieved through the elimination of overwhelming and persistent cravings, obsession with food, feelings of deprivation and rebellious rule breaking. Success with the plan would be successful weight-loss and maintenance while eliminating the need for “diets” – which Ms. Riley defines as restrictive eating plans devised by others.

The author, Gillian Riley, feels that the best way to lose weight is by developing a personal style of eating that one can live with, because such an eating style will be flexible and probably unique to that person.

She attempts to teach people to stop eating so much by changing their thought processes because she believes that the prohibitions normally involved within a “dieting mindset” contribute to the problem.

Gillian Riley Disagrees with advice such as:

  • to eat only when hungry and stop when full;
  • to overeat favorite foods to learn to get over them;
  • to find the right kind or combination of carbs, proteins and fats, or micronutrients;
  • to deal with one’s emotions in order to stop wanting to eat so much.


None of this takes into account what happens in the brain when one’s natural, survival drive to eat (and eat and eat) becomes activated. The purpose of this drive is to get one through the next famine, but in times of plenty the drive causes disaster. Therefore, nutritional advice often makes little difference. ...

In Defense of Food - A Book Review
- POSTED ON: Nov 15, 2012


In Defense of Food” (2009) was written by Michael Pollan who is a Professor of Journalism at University of California at Berkeley. Pollan is not a doctor, a scientist, or a nutritionist - he’s a journalist.

Pollan's message is:

Go back to nature, eat whole foods. Don’t diet.
Don't overeat; instead eat slowly, and enjoy your meals.
Our curse is processed food.
Artificially 'improved' foods and natural foods have very little in common

The best-selling, "In Defense of Food" provides a guided tour of 20th century food science, a history of "nutritionism" in America and a snapshot of the marriage of government and the food industry. It then works as a hard-sell for the “real food” movement.   Pollan's arguments are basically:

  • High-fructose corn syrup is the devil's brew. It must be removed from one’s diet.

  • Avoid any food product that makes health claims, these mean it's probably not really food.

  • In a supermarket, don't shop in the center aisles. Avoid anything that can't rot, anything with an ingredient you can't pronounce.

  • "Don't get your fuel from the same place your car does." Avoid buying foods sold at mini-markets.

  • "You are what you eat eats too." One must pay attention to what is fed to one’s food.

  • "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." By which Pollan means: Eat natural food, the kind your grandmother served because the food industry had not yet learned that the big money was in processing, not harvesting. Use meat sparingly. Eat your greens, the leafier and more varied the better.
  • In short: Kiss the Western diet goodbye. Look to the cultures where people eat well and live long. Trust your gut. Literally.

 In all this, Pollan insists that you have to save yourself. He says that the government is so overwhelmed by the lobbying and marketing power of the processed food industry that the American diet is now 50% sugar in one form or another, and calories that provide "virtually nothing but energy." Politicians are terrified to take on the food industry. And as for the medical profession, the key moment, Pollan writes, is when "doctors kick the fast-food franchises out of the hospital".

Pollan is a not a scientist, 

The End of Overeating - A Book Review
- POSTED ON: Nov 09, 2012

 The End of Overeating (2010) by David Kessler is a compelling, in-depth analysis of why we eat the way we do. Dr. David Kessler, former FDA commissioner shares how our brain chemistry has been hijacked by the foods we most love to eat: those that contain stimulating combinations of fat, sugar, and salt.

Drawn from the latest brain science as well as interviews with top physicians and food industry insiders, The End of Overeating exposes the food industry’s aggressive marketing tactics and reveals how we lost control over food, and gives suggestions on how to regain personal control.

Kessler pores through the research and details the physiological and psychological reasons for why we are drawn to overeat, and the way that big corporations use this research to make food products that are guaranteed to tempt us to over-indulge. It all boils down to sugar, fat, and salt, and how companies spend millions of dollars developing recipes and chemicals that will entice us, to over-ride our natural "homeostasis" that would normally keep us at an even weight.

The first part of the book deals with the physiological research, then the psychology behind overeating, and finally, at the end of the book are chapters devoted to dealing with these triggers in order to help one get beyond the temptations and stay at an even weight. 

 It is certainly true that the obese in our culture are in a Catch 22 situation. Marketing Interests in Society do everything possible to entice us to overeat, and yet we are also stigmatized by Marketing Interests in Society when our bodies become obese as a natural result of overeating.

Of course, … also … that stigmatization of our obesity creates even more marketing opportunities for those same food Marketing Interests as well as a for variety of others, in the form of “diet or non-diet” information and programs; a multitude of “healthy” foods, supplements and drugs; the “health” services of medical professionals, including surgeons, psychologists, nutritionists, trainers; as well as “health related or exercise” facilities and equipment etc

I was not impressed by Kessler’s “solutions” to the problem of obesity. This best-selling book’s primary value to me was its presentation of interesting detailed facts about how Marketing Interests use their best efforts to entice us to eat as much as possible.

Kessler’s presentation represents a popular theory about the current “obesity epidemic”, however, there are also opposing theories.  Mike Gibney, author of a recently published book, “Something to Chew on”, (11/2012) says that when Kessler writes that the incidence of obesity soar...

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