Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Diet Dropout's Guide to Natural Weight Loss

by Stan Spencer
Fine Life Books 2013
152 pages     Non-fiction
read as an e-book

I need to read a nutrition or diet book every once in a while to keep myself on track. The Diet Dropout's Guide to Natural Weight Loss is the kind of a book that you could read several times over just to remind yourself of your nutritional and fitness goals. Stan Spencer, the author, is a biologist, and most of the science-based information is very practical and written in simple, meaningful language.

At the outset, I need to say that Spencer is not advocating a particular diet plan, but he is advocating a lifestyle change. He offers basic information about eating patterns that cause weight gain, some practical ways to break those destructive eating patterns, and suggests basic nutritional guidelines for healthy weight maintenance. He says, "Natural weight loss simply consists of changing the situations, habits, and thought patterns that caused you to gain weight in the first place." And while I would quibble with the concept that natural weight loss is "simple," I certainly can relate to the concept of changing situations, habits, and thought patterns. 

One of his key ideas is the concept of mindfulness. This is a concept that I have practiced many times in my life but I have never consciously used in conjunction with my eating goals. I certainly have planned meals, eaten meals, stolen lots of snacks and junk food, and dieted. But, I never have used meditation and mindfulness to control and confirm my nutritional needs. Practicing mindfulness could be as simple as taking a deep breath before eating, or it could be as complete as spending 12 to 15 minutes a day in meditation. "As you focus on the present, try to keep an accepting, nonjudgmental attitude toward whatever you are experiencing at the moment." When I think about it; I eat the most when I am not mindful...when I am just filling my face without thinking. I guess you would call that "mindlessness!"

One of the major goals of the book is to help people stop emotional eating. He suggests five ways to achieve that goal:
1. Focus on the present
2. Mental relaxation
3. Healthy Thoughts
4. Social Interaction
5. Do Something Productive

Spencer doesn't suggest any particular diet plan, but he advocates eating three balanced meals a day. Each meal should consist of 45-65 percent carbohydrates, 10-35 percent protein and 20-35 percent fat. This ratio will cut down on cravings and emotional overeating. Of course he advocates exercise as one of the key components to natural weight loss.

The Diet Dropout's Guide to Natural Weight Loss is geared to people who have found weight creeping up on them and wanting to stop the habits that have promoted those weight gains. I found a lot of the information very useful, although I didn't read anything that I didn't already know. Sometimes it is important to be brought back to reality. One reviewer said that the book took high level concepts and reduced them to a simple language with specific tactics to make for a healthy lifestyle. I think I would sum the book up the same way.

The book is short, inexpensive and valuable. The Kindle version is only $2.99. Well worth having.
I read a book last year on the same theme: Full-Filled by Stephens and Rose. You might check that one out as well. Another meaningful book was Women Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth.
Spencer's website:

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