"Lose Weight Now" uses the same approach as "Easy Way to Stop Smoking" in that the author attempts to change the way we think about food. The difference of course being that I can quit smoking and never ever touch tobacco again, but I can't really quit eating. The trick is to stop overeating. Allen proclaims that after you read this book, you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived."
In order for the concepts of this book to work, you have to have an open mind. When quitting smoking, I had a very open mind because nothing else had worked - what did I have to lose? So I went into reading "Lose Weight Now" knowing I'd have to do so with an open mind - no pre-conceived notions, no guessing what's ahead and no shooting down ideas just because they disagree with my own.
At the of the first chapter, Allen says that his "method is easy, eating is a pleasure, overeating is a pain, dieting will not solve the problem, it will only make it worse." At the end of each chapter, there is a nice bulleted summary with a "tip" summarizing the main point. Each chapter gives you a little more to think about while he re-enforces previous chapters. You kind of feel like you're being strung along and you might start to wonder if he'll ever tell you how you can possibly "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived," but he does indeed tell you.
I have no doubt that if I followed every instruction in this book, I would indeed lose weight. The thing about these books that allows them to work is 1) You must have an open mind; 2) You have to believe what he is telling you or at least grasp the concept and 3)You have to ultimately want to do what he's saying. I don't think it would be "easy" per se, but doable.
Now, if you've made it this far in the review, you may be thinking this is a book you'd like to read. If so, STOP READING NOW!! In order for this book to "work," it really should be read from cover to cover and in the sequence the author meant for the reader to receive the message. This is an important part of the Easy Way book. I am about to spoil the ending in a minute and explain what the author tells you to do so you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived." (Yes, I've quoted that several times now, right. This is how the book is laid out as well. Allen believes in repetitive re-enforcement)
But just so we're clear...
SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I've done what I can, so no hate mail on the spoiling, ok?
Before I spill the beans, I just want to add that these are not my ideas and I am not defending them, I'm simply agreeing or disagreeing.
This book is written on the premise that you can "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived." When you read that, doesn't it sound too good to be true? It does to me and it also sends up flags like crazy. Is he saying I can eat cheeseburgers EVERYDAY?!?!?! No he isn't unfortunately - but I was really hoping! Then of course, there's the no "special exercise" thing. I mean, is the word "special" the key word? Or is he saying I don't have to get on my treadmill ever again? No willpower? Seriously? It takes willpower for me to go to work everyday, how is it possible to even consider losing weight without willpower? Yeah, so there went my open mind... But I pressed on because I remember the quit smoking book and how silly some of that stuff sounded.
Allen does a really good job in breaking down complex science and biology into simple analogies that everyone can understand.
Humans are compared to wild animals and to a car.
- In the wild, animals aren't overweight because they stop eating when their hunger is satisfied. Wild animals eat their favorite food as often as they want and as much as they want and don't have a weight problem. Allen says we should be like the animals.
- The strongest animals on earth (elephant is the example) don't get their protein from meat (do you see where this is going yet?).
- Our body is like a car in that it needs sufficient supplies of fuel and air and need to be maintained correctly. We need air to breathe. We need food to survive. But when you fill up your car with fuel, it weighs more than when it was empty, but you don't drive your car around the block10 times to cause it to burn off excess fuel. Therefore, we shouldn't exercise to burn off excess calories, but for the benefits exercise offers.
- Putting the wrong food in our bodies is like putting diesel in a Ferrari (I actually like that analogy). This makes sense to me though. Eat 2000 calories of candy bars everyday compared to 2000 calories of fruits and veggies and there will be a noticeable difference in how you feel, right?
Brainwashing by "Big Food"
The companies that supply our stores and stores themselves are referred to as "Big Food". Basically, he's saying that "Big Food" is like the tobacco industry and doesn't care a hill of beans about consumers, only the money they can make from us. If they need to sell addictive food and beverages in order to do so, they have no problem with it. I agree with this to an extent. Business are in business to make money. It's simply up to us to make the right choices when shopping. I get that.
Only eat when you're hungry. Again - I agree.
You can acquire a taste for virtually anything
Did you like black coffee the first time you tried it? Beer? Oysters? Blue Cheese? Ok, those last two I still don't like. But I acquired the taste for coffee and I think you'll agree - not all beer tastes good. Allen says that fortunately, tastes can also be unacquired (enter processed foods).
We aren't designed to eat meat or dairy
Ok, here's where I disagree. I think we are. No, our teeth aren't pointed and sharp like a lion's, but the lion doesn't know how to start a fire and cook either does he? I also NEVER had to force myself to enjoy a steak, in fact my mouth waters just thinking about it. Allen proposes that since our DNA is so similar to monkeys, that we should eat like them too. I say we are NOT that much like monkeys and I don't believe we evolved from monkeys either - otherwise there would BE NO MORE MONKEYS! So, I'm breaking into a bit of controversy here, but that's ok, this review is also a blog and therefore my opinion. I believe that our very complex bodies were not made by mistake but by design. Following that, I have read and do indeed believe the Bible. Since I believe the Bible and what is written there, I believe it's perfectly ok to eat meat. And since God was sending His People to the "Land of Milk and Honey," then it's also ok to consume dairy. So that's where I stand on this one and I have to say that Allen pretty much lost me here on out.
Eat only "Real Food" in its natural state
Don't eat "Junk Food." Junk Food is defined as any food that is processed, mostly with chemicals and unnatural additives and preservatives. I totally understand the concept of not eating processed foods. I just don't find it "easy" to do. I must say though that Allen must have gotten through to me a little, because since reading this book, I do check labels for those extra ingredients. I really like finding labels where I can pronounce and actually know what the ingredients are. But he's also saying don't cook foods because the high temps ruin the nutrients. Ok, so now we really are like monkeys. =(
We are addicted to sugar. No surprise there. Remember the 90-minute video from UCSF called "Sugar: The Bitter Truth"? If you haven't seen it, it's really interesting with some cool science to back up what he's saying if you have 90 minutes to spare!
The bottom line
Here it is, the whole book in a nutshell - become a vegan. But not a true vegan because there's a margin for error allowed here. He never says that you can never eat meat ever again. But I think he feels that after reading this book, you simply won't want to. How do you "Eat as much of your favorite foods as you want, whenever you want, as often as you want, and be the exact weight you want to be, without dieting, special exercise, using willpower, or feeling deprived?" Answer: Change your favorite food from <insert bad-for-you-food here> to your favorite food from the fruit, vegetable, nut or seed category. Eat no processed food, sugar, meats or dairy.
It is with great sadness that I can only recommend this book for people who really want eat like a vegan, vegetarian or something really close. Of course, maybe you could pick and choose the parts you like and maybe just eliminate... say processed food.
But if you'd still like to read the book, and you have a Kindle/Kindle app, I can "loan" it you. It'll save you $5 and let you decide if you like it. Email me for details. (UPDATE: The book is no longer available to loan.)
So, this is turning out to be a really long post. Sorry about that. I'll hold off updating you on my goals 'til tomorrow, except just to say that I did ok.