The Structure House Weight Loss Plan: Achieve Your Ideal Weight through a New Relationship with Food
By Gerard J. Musante, PhD Fireside/Simon & Shuster Inc. 2007
Reviewer: Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN
The author, founder of Structure House Center for Weight Control and Lifestyle Change in Durham, N.C., claims the book helps people change and redefine their relationship with food which will ultimately help them lose enough weight to achieve their ideal body weight and keep the weight off permanently.
The diet is broken into three main sections. The first section, "Get Structured," guides readers through a series of exercises designed to help them successfully lose weight. For instance, readers take a close look at their eating habits to determine if they are eating because of hunger, out of habit or response to stress. The second section, "Be Structured," teaches readers how to plan meals, prepare healthful foods, navigate through the grocery store aisles using behavioral principles. The final section, "Stay Structured," outlines lifestyle strategies readers can apply when they are away from home such as dining out or on vacation. A sample seven-day meal plans (providing 1,200 calories to 1,500 calories at three meals with no snacks) is provided, as are recipes readers can use as a starting point for creating their own individualized menus.
Many of the book's principles, including the importance of changing your mindset about food and identifying eating in response to emotions instead of hunger, are sound. But the rigid rules including no snacking between meals and no eating after dinner may be unrealistic for many to follow long-term. Snacking between meals can provide a quick energy boost and prevent extreme hunger that can lead to overeating at the next meal. The book is right to emphasize exercise as a critical component of exercise and provides practical and real-world motivational strategies to incorporate more and different types of exercise.
Anyone who eats often or overeats in response to emotions instead of to satisfy actual hunger can benefit from this book if they are willing to spend the time to analyze their eating habits with an eye toward changing the role food plays in their life. Most people, even those who need to lose a lot of weight, could benefit by adding calories to the relatively low-calorie sample menu plans in the book, as long as those snacks are not high-calorie, low-nutrient foods that contribute calories in excess of their daily needs.