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Weighty Insights

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Two top-notch books help readers solve their weight dilemmas

By: Lily Faber

Why You Can’t Lose Weight: Why It’s So Hard to Shed Pounds and What you Can Do About It

Author: Pamela Wartian Smith, MD

Pamela Wartian Smith’s latest diet book, Why You Can’t Lose Weight, is not a “diet book” in the traditional sense. She does not name food as our sole enemy in the battle of the bulge and, in a refreshing twist, does not provide recipes guaranteed to make you healthier and skinnier. Instead, Dr. Smith describes a host of lifestyle and physiological factors behind why so many of us are overweight and struggle to shed the pounds, no matter what regimen we follow.

Why You Can’t Lose Weight is divided into four easily navigable parts: Lifestyle, Health Problems, Biochemical Factors and Solutions, which are then divided into chapters. Each chapter includes lists of symptoms to help you diagnose yourself, how each issue affects your weight, and what you can do to lose excess pounds. Every part begins with a questionnaire to help you think about the real reasons behind your weight problems—and it isn’t always about food.

While her Lifestyle section addresses issues such as food addiction and insufficient exercise, Dr. Smith also includes factors like too little sleep and too much stress—both of which can adversely affect your weight. The Health Problems section delves deeper into your body’s inner-workings, explaining why your body isn’t responding to certain diets (potential food allergies, chronic inflammation), and how these health problems can cause illnesses such as chronic indigestion, swelling of the joints, Crohn’s disease, diabetes or even cancer.

In the Biochemical Factors section, Dr. Smith addresses issues such as insulin resistance, neurotransmitter dysfunction, and genes as possible culprits contributing to your expanding waistline. For each of these biochemical issues, she provides foods or supplements that could solve the problem, while warning us to consult our doctors about how different supplements can interact to potentially cause negative side effects.

As she concludes her book, Dr. Smith isn’t necessarily giving you a one-size-fits-all plan, but instead provides a practical starting point for you to educate yourself and analyze the reasons behind your specific weight gain. In the end, the goal is to create a personalized plan by creating a support system and setting manageable goals.

The Perfect 10 Diet: 10 Key Hormones That Hold The Secret To Losing Weight And Feeling Great—Fast!

Author: Michael Aziz, MD

If you are looking for a practical and readable diet book that can help you to lose weight and gain optimum health for life, read The Perfect 10 Diet by Dr. Michael Aziz. His main goal: To help you balance your hormones through exercise and the use of “food as medicine.”

In this book, Dr. Aziz explains how our American diet got to be so bad, what nutrients our bodies actually need, which hormones are essential to health and weight loss, and how to follow his diet by providing recipes, meal plans and lists of the foods you should be eating (sorry, cake is not included on the “yes you may have it” list). The book is peppered with his patients’ success stories that serve to reinforce his message that good food equals a healthier you.

Written in an accessible and logical way, The Perfect 10 Diet helps you to understand scientifically why low-fat diets and products are actually damaging our health and why a diet higher in fats is far superior. This may seem controversial, but, to clarify, the kinds of fats that Dr. Aziz is promoting are natural ones that are present in foods such as animal proteins, eggs, avocadoes and even butter (butter, it turns out, contains healthful compounds like lecithin, which assist the body in breaking down cholesterol and protecting it against free-radical damage.)

Dr. Aziz also provides a clear and helpful guide to the 10 hormones he feels are most directly linked to your weight, including: insulin, glucagon, leptin, thyroid, human growth hormone (HGH), cortisol, DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone), estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. He explains their function, how they can become unbalanced (by factors like excess sugar or aging), and how to regain your body’s natural and healthy levels of each of them, using chapter breakdowns and easy-to-follow charts.

In terms of practicality, Dr. Aziz’ method actually seems do-able—it’s just a matter of making healthier choices. Choose whole wheat over white bread. Eat organic fruits and veggies. And don’t eat fast food or sugar. Basically, I’d like to call The Perfect 10 Diet the “Common Sense” diet. My only complaint is that I’ll miss the croissants.

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