By Felicia Stoler, RD, DCN, MS
Pegasus Books (2010)
Reviewed by Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RD, LDN, CDE
The author, a registered dietitian and exercise physiologist claims her book:
- Debunks diet myths and provides sound advice on how to achieve your best health
- Shows how anyone can change their lifestyle for the better
- Shows how to tailor meal plans to your own unique needs
- Provides a wide range of exercises and strategies for incorporating activity into daily life.
Synopsis of the Diet Plan
Less of a diet plan and more about myth-busting, the book discusses healthy-eating strategies. The author provides a standard formula for calculating calorie needs and a chart from MyPyramid.gov that shows how many servings are recommended from each food group based on individual calorie requirements. The book includes lists such as grab-and-go food ideas, groceries for people on the go, dining out tips, better fast food options, exercises you can do at home, activities and rewards to substitute for eating, tips for surviving the holidays, recipe modifications, 15 recipes and a 1,800-calorie sample menu.
Nutritional Pros and Cons
With so many diet and nutrition books on the market today, it is refreshing to find one written by a registered dietitian. The vast majority of the author's advice is based on sound science and common sense.
However, the way the information is organized and presented may leave the reader with questions and without easy ways to pull the information together and put it into action. Throughout the book, the focus changes quickly from one topic to the next, without clearly titled chapters, headers or an index. For example, within just a few pages, the topics change from behavior modification to the benefits of dried fruit to making better fast food choices. This makes it difficult for the reader to refer back to a specific topic or list.
In addition, there are some instances where the author's thoughts do not appear to be fully developed or have not been consolidated into clear takeaway messages for the reader. For example, when addressing how to read a food label, the author begins with a focus on the ingredient list but by the second paragraph is onto a different subject, that she is a "super taster," but doesn't fully explain to the reader what this potentially unfamiliar term means.
Some readers might have difficulty relating to the author's personal weight struggles: a 25-pound weight gain in her early twenties and depression about wearing a size 8 instead of a size 4 dress to her sister's wedding.
Living Skinny is an informative read on nutrition myths rather than an actionable diet plan for the reader to implement.