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. ...

WheatBelly - Another Review
- POSTED ON: Feb 11, 2013

WheatBelly – a 2nd Review

I’ve previously posted my own review of “Wheat Belly
however, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D., who I often quote,
has just posted his own well-thought-out review,
which I’m going to include in DietHobby.

Dr. Freedhoff’s review contains an amusing video he created, as well as several relevant links which I am also including here at DietHobby. If you are interested in seeing exactly WHAT a person CAN eat on the Wheat Belly diet, check out the list at the very bottom of this post.

Diet Book Review: Wheat Belly 
              by Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, M.D. 
                                  posted 2/11/2013 at WeightyMatters

You know I've been blogging now for 8 years, and while diet books have come and gone, I've never had more requests to review one than I've had to review Wheat Belly.
So last week, while I was on vacation, I hauled Wheat Belly with me.

Before my review, here's what I'm not going to do. I'm not going to reinvent the wheel and criticize the science or lack thereof. Not because there's nothing to explore, but rather because others have already done so, and they've done so well.

Here’s Melissa McEwen of Hunt, Gather, Love on some of Wheat Belly's many claims,
here's Professor Julie Jones' academic's take,
here's psychiatrist and blogger Dr. Emily Deans on Dr. Davis' claims regarding wheat and mental illness, and
here's my good friend Tim Caulfield and Dr. Davis debating Wheat Belly on CBC's Q.

What I'd like to discuss is the diet itself.

So is it really, "Lose the Wheat Lose the Weight" like the book jacket says? No. It's lose the wheat - and also most other carbs and a bunch of other foods - and lose the weight, because according to Dr. Davis, if you lose the wheat but replace the wheat wit...

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, 

Are GMO's Frankenfoods?
- POSTED ON: Nov 13, 2012

“We cannot actually say on the basis of truly conclusive evidence what specific dietary pattern is best for human health, because definitive head-to-head comparison trials have not been done, and almost certainly won’t be.
Would you sign up to be randomly assigned
to a specific dietary pattern for the next several decades?
Only if thousands were to answer “yes” would such a trial be feasible
– with the enormous costs and daunting logistics still standing in the way.”

This is an insightful statement by Dr. Kantz, who is one of the current High Priests of “Healthful Eating”. However, just like the rest of them … despite the lack of such conclusive evidence,… Dr. Kantz chooses to form his own “expert” opinions and to share them with as many as possible, as often as possible.

Recently he spoke out about his own position concerning GMOs.
GMOs is a term for genetically modified organisms. Those who are strongly opposed to them have coined the term: “Frankenfoods”, to negatively describe them. The term is based on the novel, Frankenstein, published in 1818 by Mary Shelley about a creature produced by an unorthodox scientific experiment

Dr. Kantz seemed to take a Thoughtful and Balanced approach to the issue of GMOs, so I’ve decided to share his article here at DietHobby.

Seeking Perspective on Genetically Modified Foods
          by David Katz, M. D. , 
                          Director, Yale Prevention Research Center.

The topic of genetically modified foods is buffeted by deep passions from the one side, and deep profits from the other.

Images of scientists inserting eye-of-newt genes into escarole, or wool-of-bat genes into walnuts, stalk the nightmares of pure food proponents, and up to a point, rightly so. Even if the intentions of those tinkering with foods are good -- such as putting antifreeze genes from amphibians into oranges so they are not destroyed by an early frost -- the law of unintended consequences pertains. There is ample reason, in principle, to be wary of Frankenfoods.

There may be reason in epidemiology as well. We are substantially uncertain about why rates of gluten intolerance and celiac disease are rising; genetic modification of food may be a factor. Some go so far as to declare modern wheat a "poison," lest sugar get all that negative attention! Genetic modification may be a factor, as well, in everything from food allergies, to irritable bowel syndrome, to behavioral and cognitive disorders occurring with increasing frequency in our children.

I feel we need a more balanced perspective on this topic.

Genetic modification is not all bad. There, I've said it.

Without it, we would not have broccoli or navel oranges. We would not have pink grapefruits. We would not have amaranth or quinoa. And for that that matter, we would not have our dogs, our tea roses, or -- arguably -- our children.

Opposition to genetic modification comes easy in principle, but is a slippery, treacherous, obstacle-strewn slope in practice. If we consider sexual reproduction a form of gene...

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