It's that time of year - I notice the gyms are getting full again with well intentioned post-Christmas fight-the-flab people. Diets have also started.
In case it's helpful to anyone I would highly recommend the titled book above. It helped me lose 2 stone over a few months before Christmas and it's philosophy does help you to keep weight off - even with Christmas temptations I only managed to creep on 2 pounds, which I'm now losing again.
The book is beautifully simple. Paul McKenna is not a dietitian. He believes that diets do not work - or if they do seem to work he reckons people will put all the weight back on again before too long. He explains that diets create an artificial tension around food. Paul studied people who are so-called naturally thin over long periods and figured it was very much an attitude of mind. There is nothing in the book on calories and what type of food to eat. Paul reckons that if you are in tune with your body's needs then you will tend to eat the right food over time. He doesn't even recommend that you weigh yourself. You will know when you look right. Naturally thin people don't bother studying diet books on what they eat nor do they obsessively weigh themselves - very often they don't know what they weigh (also see * below).
Many will say weight problems runs in families and is to do with genetics etc. However, I did listen to an interesting view by an expert - Padraig Murphy -on the RTE program "The Health Squad" on this subject. He reckons that the idea of particular families being overweight is more to do with their common mental attitude, lifestyle and behavior than genetics.
Anyway the book's idea is that you should eat when you are actually hungry. Eat slowly and enjoy every mouthful. Stop when you feel satisfied. It's very simple. Paul puts huge emphasis on the difference between emotional hunger and true hunger, which is really the key. We often eat when we are bored or for a variety of other emotional reasons. Many of us also have a thing about finishing everything on our plate. If you eat slowly and enjoy and chew your food properly you will get full and stop without overeating. It works. And you don't need to suffer - in the same way that apparently naturally thin people don't suffer.
At the end of the day of course it is a calorie equation - calories burned being greater than calories consumed - you lose weight. So Paul does encourage some exercise to speed up the process - it's good for you and should be something you enjoy.
Anyhow, I feel a lot better being lighter and it has done wonders for my fitness on the tennis court.
* There is some truth in this. A pal of one of my daughters, D, is very model sized thin and eats normally. She is 6'1" and the funny thing is she doesn't know what she weighs. At a school domestic science event she and other girls were asked their height and weight. Class mates were putting down things like 5'2" 10 stone; 5'5" 11 stone, and so forth. D was listening to this and was embarrassed that she only knew her height but not her weight. So when it came to her turn to speak she ended up thinking that because she was much taller than everyone she must also be much heavier. So she announced with sincerity and to everyone's laughter - 6'1" 18 stone! Probably nearly twice her true weight!