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Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to W...

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.

Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to W...

Post Number:#1 by ALRyder
» 15 Jun 2014, 14:36

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to Weight Loss" by Rachel L. Pires.]

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“Despite billions of dollars spent on weight loss, sixty-eight percent of Americans remain overweight and obese, and the dieting industry continues to grow. Yeah sure, blame it on a lack of willpower, a lazier generation, overly processed food…Despite these realities, I believe that the dieting industry is also greatly to blame.”


This is kind of a funny thing to say in a diet book, but very true in my opinion, and why it works in this particular book is because “Diet Enlightenment” is simply bringing us back to the basics. This book reminds many dieters that have lost their way or given up entirely, how to start with a clean slate, and begin again in working their way toward a healthier lifestyle.

“Diet Enlightenment” by Rachel L. Pires gives simple advice on dieting, and easy ways to follow it. This is a book that takes an old idea, and shows how easy it has become in this day and age. What is this idea? Calorie counting. It is interesting, because in all honesty calories are usually mentioned in any diet you come across, but the idea is usually overwhelmed and forgotten because of each diet’s separate gimmicks. No gimmicks here, just good old fashioned calorie counting.

Now, we know that this is not a new idea, and it is even mentioned in the book that:

“The Weight Watchers program…is essentially a calorie counting diet…”


But the author goes onto say:

“While I think it’s one of the best commercial diets, my question for you is-do you really need to spend all that money when you could have easily achieved the same results on your own?”


I do think that this is partially true, but I also know that part of Weight Watchers is the support system. You are held accountable, and go to meetings, and become an actual part of their community. I believe for some this is actually as big a help as the tools for counting calories. If you don’t need that community, or can get that same support through internet recources or friends, then this book will probably help you in the same way.

Since calorie counting is such an easy idea, you may be wondering why you would need to buy the book at all. Pires has done a lot of research, and she gives you a number of recources to help you along the way. There are numerous helpful tips she’s sprinkled in from her own journey as well.

Now, there was a section talking about “healthy” meals versus “none-healthy” meals that I found funny, because many of the foods mentioned I would not consider “healthy”, but simply foods many consumers have been led to believe are healthy. Foods like granola, yogurt, and restaurant salads are usually not the healthiest choice. The first two, not just because of the calorie content as Pires points out, but also because of the sugar content. Also, While Pires gives a lot of tips to dieters, I was surprised it wasn’t suggested that if you really want that salad, order it with the dressing on the side. Dressing is often times the biggest contributer to the unhealthiness factor of a salad, and when ordered on the side you can drizzle rather than drench it.

Now, it is said in this book that

“…recent studies have found that exercise just isn’t that important when it comes to weight loss.”


This statement almost lost me. While different professionals will tell you different things when it comes to the subject, most will agree that exercise factors into at least 20% of your weight loss goal. Now, 20% may not seem like much, but it is pretty well agreed upon that you will not get your “dream body” that is mentioned in this book, unless you include some form of exercise into your program.

Pires redeemed herself a bit when she later talked about different exercises helping to shape your body, but I definitely wouldn’t have started the exercise chapter by saying that it’s not that important. I think that many people reading this book don’t just want the weight loss, but the look of a healthy person as well.
Now, there is a disclaimer in the beginning of this book where Pires states:

“I am not a licensed nutritionist or physician, and this book is not intended to replace nutritional counseling…”


So, I feel that I must mention that I do work in the fitness world, and part of my job is sitting down with people, helping them to reach their own fitness goals. Those goals include diet as well as exercise. I will admit that the author and I have a slight difference in opinion in some areas, but I believe the main reason for this is because this book never claims to be a “get healthy” book, but instead a “how to lose weight” book. I personally am all about getting people healthy, because there is nothing like having a client who can barely make it up a flight of stairs, and turning them into someone that can keep up in a high energy Zumba class. In my opinion the best, and easiest, way to do that is to look at more than just calories when choosing foods, and to include some form of exercise; even if the program starts with something as simple as walking or easy does it pool activities.

Now, with all of that being said, this book has an abundance of research and helpful information. It gives you so many sources to help achieve your weight loss goals. While Pires didn’t always go into detail, some of the sites mentioned do not only help you calculate your calories, but also include support teams, recipes, exercise programs, etc. Hardly any of them just show the calories, but also include protein, carbs, and other nutritional information. I personally believe balancing your diet is important for a lasting end results, if you want to not only look but feel better. I do wish that Pires had included some of her own favorite recipes as many of these diet books do. I believe that if she had, some of the redundance in sections of this book could have been edited out.

As I said before the main point of this book is weight loss, and I believe that this is a good book to get people started on their journey; So I am rating “Diet Enlightenment” by Rachel L. Pires 3 out of 4 stars.

***
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#2 by H0LD0Nthere
» 25 Jul 2014, 21:21

Hm, ALRyder, I didn't know you worked in this field. Interesting. It sounds like you know whereof you speak. I wish I could afford your services. Although, I CAN climb a flight of stairs. :)

IMO, one factor in the complex of huge societal health problems is the fact that daily life is no longer physically demanding. It used to be that you had to be in great shape just to: fetch water ... do the laundry ... get the crops harvested ... etc. etc. I'm not sure we're naturally lazier than our ancestors were (human nature being what it is), but we have a heckuva lot more opportunities to indulge that laziness.
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#3 by David Dawson
» 25 Jul 2014, 21:47

The point about exercise flagged up in the review worries me. Suggesting weight loss is merely a matter of what you eat and nothing to do with exercise seems to be straying pretty close to encouraging unhealthy eating habits. (I know that body dysmorphia can create issues with overexercise etc. as well, but telling people that diet and diet alone can cause weight loss seems risky, to put it mildly).
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#4 by ALRyder
» 01 Aug 2014, 13:24

H0LD0Nthere wrote:Hm, ALRyder, I didn't know you worked in this field. Interesting. It sounds like you know whereof you speak. I wish I could afford your services. Although, I CAN climb a flight of stairs. :)

IMO, one factor in the complex of huge societal health problems is the fact that daily life is no longer physically demanding. It used to be that you had to be in great shape just to: fetch water ... do the laundry ... get the crops harvested ... etc. etc. I'm not sure we're naturally lazier than our ancestors were (human nature being what it is), but we have a heckuva lot more opportunities to indulge that laziness.


I chose my career path so that I can get paid to exercise, otherwise I probably wouldn't be doing it nearly as much as I should :p.

Also, I agree with you about the change in what it means to survive in our society today. It's actually interesting to see the change in myself simply by moving from a rural area to the city. When I was in high school if I wasn't reading I was doing sports, out riding horses, or 4-wheeling, or snowmobiling, or hiking, or swimming...or something! Bucking hay and woodcutting were regular chores back then. I moved to the city a little later in life and it took me quite a while to adjust. I am lucky to live in a city where an active lifestyle is encouraged, but exercising for pleasure on a day to day basis has definitely decreased since the move.

The last bit of your comment actually reminded me of something I was told about the Paleo Diet. I'm not sure if you've heard of that specific diet, but it encourages what I consider to be a super healthy lifestyle where everything you eat is as little processed as possible. So yes, Paleo is short for Paleolithic, basically you're supposed to eat like cavemen did. Apparently the argument against this way of eating is that we don't live as active of lives as we used to, so obviously it wouldn't work the same. This argument seemed ridiculous to me. What can possibly be wrong with eating unprocessed foods? Granted, I myself will probably never go on this diet, because I don't diet (I exercise so that I don't have to watch every little thing that I ingest. Don't judge me! Lol) but I have gone on a sort of detox that lasted a week to two, and it was very similar to this way of eating, and I had never felt better. I really think eating has a lot to do with energy levels, and even how you feel about adding in a bit of exercise.


David Dawson wrote:The point about exercise flagged up in the review worries me. Suggesting weight loss is merely a matter of what you eat and nothing to do with exercise seems to be straying pretty close to encouraging unhealthy eating habits. (I know that body dysmorphia can create issues with overexercise etc. as well, but telling people that diet and diet alone can cause weight loss seems risky, to put it mildly).


I actually think this is an issue society faces on a day to day basis. We are bombarded with diets, fake health foods, and pills constantly. There are so many tips out there on how to lose weight like switching your morning coffee out with tea, or dropping soda all together. That's great for coffee and soda drinkers, what about those of us who don't have bad habits we've acquired on a day to day basis?

My own personal beliefs on this subject did make it a little harder for me to rate this book, because I am such a strong advocate of exercise. I found myself having to be more objective on the subject. Just as I would have to be if it were a book on religion or, lord forbid, an Atkin's Diet book.

I know that "Diet Enlightenment" will work for some to help them on their journey, but I have to hope that this is only a first step on a way to a healthier lifestyle. I know some people need that one small step to make the bigger changes. If that person needs to start with calorie counting, great. As I said in the review though, you will most likely not get your "dream body" calorie counting alone. And eating junk food, even if it's all in your allotted calories, is definitely not the healthiest way of living.
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#5 by kio
» 20 Mar 2015, 12:47

great review. I like how you pulled in examples from the book and used your own experience in the review.
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#6 by bookowlie
» 05 Apr 2015, 17:51

Great review! Diet books are very popular these days and this one looks interesting. I always find it funny that so-called healthy meals are not always healthy - for example, a big salad in a restaurant is often more calories than a cheeseburger and fries. The salads are loaded with dressing that's high in fat and calories, along with other high-calorie ingredients.
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Re: Official Review: Diet Enlightenment: The Real Secret to

Post Number:#7 by npandit
» 16 Apr 2015, 11:33

It's really cool to see a book reviewed by a professional in the field it discusses--have you read Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma"? In it, he talks about so many things that contribute to why Americans tend to be obese--while there are many good things about being a melting pot of immigrants, one of the negative things is that we have no one 'food tradition', so we are stuck listening to 'experts' who change their minds every three years about what is bad for you to eat. Over centuries, people from different regions have cultivated their own version of a balanced diet. Unfortunately, we don't benefit from as much from healthy cultural traditions, because we listen to what we need to eat from companies that want us to buy their food.

We're also busy all the time, so don't have time to sit and eat as a family and instead eat 'on the go' or while doing something else, making us stuff ourselves when we're not hungry and not pay attention to what we're eating. Further--any time we go to the supermarket or watch tv, we see way more food than we need to eat to sustain ourselves.

I thought the book was really interesting. Anyway, great review! I enjoyed reading it. It's a tough job you do, redirecting people to create a better lifestyle for themselves!
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