Theresa Shank, R.D., founder of Philly Dietitian, wrote this for the "Goal Getter" blog at Philly.com.
My clients often ask me if I can suggest books that will help them on their weight-loss journey. After contemplating the vast amount of nutrition books available, I've put together three of my favorite reads that have influenced the way I counsel my clients, plus the weight-loss strategies you'll learn from them.
This witty and fun read will help you figure out what really works for you in the long term. The Little Book of Thin by Lauren Slayton is composed of 14 easily readable chapters that outline skills for weight loss in everyday circumstances, such as an entire section devoted to at-home menu selections with easy-to-make recipes.
The Little Book of Thin begins with the "10 Steps to Svelte" - essentially the golden rules for weight-loss success, according to Slayton. Some of her rules, which I highly support, include: eating a protein breakfast within two hours of waking up, consuming four fish meals a week, enjoying only one fruit daily, sleeping seven hours a night, and getting 180 minutes of cardio a week.
Slayton also tackles how to dine out on a diet. Simplifying this common weight-loss barrier, Slayton suggests eating something small, such as organic string cheese or 10 walnut halves before going out to dinner in order to offset overindulgence. She also encourages streamlining menu options by narrowing choices to only the fish offerings. Another savvy rule of thumb for dining out is the golden rule: 1 of 4 no more. This recommendation highlights the four problem areas when dining out: bread, booze, dinner carbs, and dessert. Pick your pleasure; choose only one to enjoy your dining experience while saving your waistline.
Not all detoxes are created equal. Mark Hyman's book creates a solution for weight loss by introducing long-term, sustainable habits. His premise is to eliminate all foods, drinks, and habits that increase blood sugar level. Increased blood sugar levels cause the body to store everything you eat as dangerous belly fat. Hyman's detox decreases insulin levels and stimulates the body's natural fat-burning ability through a 10-day detox high in protein and fat and completely devoid of sugar and processed foods.
Rules to live by from this book:
Don't pour on the pounds: Eliminate all liquid sweeteners from your diet immediately.
Minimize products containing flour: These products are really just another form of sugar, i.e. bread, pasta, crackers, rice, cookies etc.
Pack on protein, especially at breakfast: By replacing bagels with eggs, you speed your metabolism and balance out your blood sugar.
Go green: Build your meals around vegetables, then protein.
Don't fear fat: "Healthy fats help you lose weight and feel more satisfied, including nuts and seeds, olive oil, avocado, coconut butter, and omega-3s," Hyman writes.
Eat foods that improve your gut function: Inflammation damages your metabolism, affects how your brain controls your appetite, and creates insulin resistance. Eat pumpkin seeds, kale, tomatoes, salmon, chicken, and bok choy for increased gut function.
The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper has helped contestants shed thousands of pounds through his effective weight-loss advice. With so much conflicting advice out there, it's no wonder people haven't been successful at losing weight and keeping it off. Harper clears any confusion with 20 straightforward "Skinny Tips." When I found this book two years ago, I started taking notes to apply to my counseling. Some of the rules may be hard to adapt to - like No. 18, "Go to Sleep Hungry" - but then there are others like No. 20 "Plan One Splurge Meal a Week" that are more applicable.
Here are my favorite of Harper's "Skinny Tips":
No. 14: Eat a Real Breakfast: Research continues to prove that people who skip breakfast are more likely to eat too many calories later in the day. Harper suggests eating oatmeal (stay away from boxed cereal), eggs, or Greek yogurt for breakfast to stay lean.
No. 20: Plan One Splurge Meal a Week: A whole cheat day is going to send you out of whack, but if you have a splurge meal once a week it can get you through the rough days. Harper asks his readers to schedule their splurge meals (within reason, of course). But Harper suggests you wait to schedule your splurge meal until you have completed two weeks of following his rules. He also asks readers to write down the calorie count of the meal before they eat it to help them stay mindful.
No. 7: No Carbs After Lunch: Harper tells readers to eat most of their carbohydrates (fruit, dairy, and starches) in the morning and focus on proteins and vegetables in the afternoon. His reason is that carbohydrates are essentially sugar, and sugar cues the pancreas to make more insulin, which in turn triggers your appetite - and evening cravings. Follow rule No. 7 to finally break away from late-night snacking.