A weight loss book that doesn't offer to change your life in a month? Seriously? In America?
April 13, 2009
What I liked most about this book is that it takes the long view. The point is to bring your life into balance by changing your lifestyle generally, including diet and attitude. It doesn't offer quick fixes, and Mr. Bussell repeatedly reminds the reader there isn't really any such thing.
Indeed, it's quite possible to read this book as cultural criticism. Why does dairy have so much power in the US? Why do we eat so much meat? Why are we the single culture that loves to ice our drinks?
Money drives much of our culture. There is money to be made in creating problems. Then money is made with promises to fix the problems. Many of the book's better points are made when the author looks at American culture through the lens of Chinese thinking. You don't have to be interested in weight loss to find the conclusions compelling.
Essentially, America is a young nation, and our culture is based on young ideas. We're excited by excess, and we're continually reeling from one new trend to the next, while older countries look on: sometimes in amusement, sometimes in horror.
What does this have to do with why you're fat? The author asks that you give the question some honest thought. Think about the typical commercial for an antacid that promises you can continue to eat fried food because their product blocks the pain signals your body is sending you. Isn't that typically American to be told, "You shouldn't adapt your diet! Why take care of yourself when you can have more french fries!?"
Does that really make sense to you? It may *appeal* to you, but is it advice you'd give someone you care about?
The book is written in a conversational style that's pleasant. There are instructions, of course, but the author doesn't nag. Instead, we're reminded to take the long view of everything, including diet. Dump the microwave and the fast food, and take control of your life by relaxing, getting enough sleep, and eating real food.
Bussell encourages making small changes for the better now, because even if you backslide, over time your progress will snowball into a better quality of life. It's nice to hear that relaxed, longer time-horizon message. It's a calming counterpoint to a culture that pushes the new and the now. Perfection, if it comes, is never quick. Relax, get in balance, and develop healthier habits. Weight loss will follow in time. If this sounds interesting to you, then buy this book.