Pub. Date: December 2003
Publisher: Oxmoor House, Incorporated; 480pp
There are no bad foods. None. You never need to feel guilty about eating a food you like.
After giving up many of our favorite foods when going on diets that restrict our food choices, a comment like that is refreshing and encouraging. Could it be true? Cooking Light, known more for their magazine filled with delicious recipes, wrote a book on weight loss that goes into great detail about why we really can have our cake and eat it, too. From recipes to fitness tips, success stories to diet challenges, we find it all in this book.
- Part One: No-Diet, No-Denial Weight Loss The core ideas of this book will help you lose weight and be healthier, without following a specific diet plan. We learn the power of positive eating: enjoy your food, so you will stick to your plan. Diets don’t work – learn how to make small changes that have a big effect overall. How to find your healthy weight – it probably isn’t what you think. What is the best way to track your progress? Throw out the scales and check body fat percentage instead. These may sound like simple points that we’ve picked up elsewhere, but Cooking Light goes into more detail and makes it seem more realistic. One important point they make is the need to exercise. Many diet books focus on what may be perceived as “magic formulas” which include forbidden food lists that trick us into eating less. This would include most of the popular diet books on the shelves right now. Cooking Light offer a new approach which isn’t really new at all: Eat less, Move more. No one is excluded, as we learn tips for children as well as middle aged and older people.
- Part Two: Healthy Weight-Loss Success from the readers of Cooking Light This chapter contains several stories from women, men and entire families that lost considerable amounts of weight using the Cooking Light approach. Included are before and after photos, words of wisdom, and interesting personal stories.
- Part Three: Eat Smart for Healthy Weight Loss Fat, carbs, fiber, antioxidants – all buzzwords in today’s diet world. Why do we need to learn about them, when the book stated earlier on that you could eat anything? You CAN eat anything you want, within reason if you practice portion control. However, you still need to be kind to your body and provide nourishment and energy. The 12 chapters in this section bust the myths surrounding carbohydrates, fats, and teach us how to choose healthier versions of all our favorite foods.
- Part Four: Get Started on Your Weight Loss Lifestyle Most of us eat based on habit. This section teaches us how to enforce better habits so that eating healthily becomes second nature. The final chapter in this section touches on emotional eating, and we were disappointed that it only covered 3 pages. This may be the only flaw in an otherwise perfect approach to weight loss. However, applying the tips learned so far should also be useful to a stress eater in other ways.
- Part Five: Supermarket Savvy and Secrets The editors of Cooking Light share their strategies and flavor secrets that lead to weight loss. This section holds the keys to the point mentioned earlier: the power of positive eating. Cooking Light has many years of experience behind them, so who better to share the most useful tips for enjoying your food, without anything to make you feel guilty! Even basic tasks such as navigating the aisles of the supermarket become a new experience. Once you’ve learned how to shop properly, you can go to the kitchen with more “secrets” to cooking better food. We learn how to maximize flavor with vinegars, oils, marinades, and seasonings. They also include recipes for these flavorful additions, made from fresh ingredients.
- Part Six: No-Diet, No-Denial Recipes This is what Cooking Light is best known for. From Enchiladas Verde to Mini Mocha-Toffee Crunch Cheesecakes, you’ll find enough enticing and healthy recipes in this chapter to make you give up ANY diet you are currently following, and apply their approach to weight loss. You’ll also find a week’s worth of menus to get you started, and a recommendation to keep a food and fitness journal to ensure you stay on track.
- Part Seven: Fit Kids With childhood obesity rates rising, it’s nice to know that there are things we can do to help our children become healthier. Cooking Light includes a section that focuses on children, their nutrition guidelines, and getting the whole family involved to help our kids. Included are kid friendly recipes, and tips for becoming more active.
- Part Eight: Good Moves Half of any good weight loss program is exercise. Cooking Light didn’t leave anything out when they wrote this section. There are photos that detail exercises for every part of your body. The importance of cardiovascular exercise is detailed, and weight training is also recommended. Many people that are new to exercise prefer to avoid it if they can. It’s boring, hard, tedious. It doesn’t have to be, though, and many more people love it. It’s a great stress reducer, and the after effects more than make up for the few minutes you devote to getting in the habit. Cooking Light wrote one chapter entitled Find the Fun in Fitness: It’s all about attitude followed by Make Exercise Your Passion. Yes, even YOU can learn to love exercise! They also recommend walking as the cheapest and easiest way to get in shape.
- Part Nine: Secrets of Success – How to Beat the Top 10 Weight Loss Challenges Cooking Light polled their readers to learn the top 10 challenges to losing weight. This section of the book addresses each of those challenges and makes them a breeze to overcome. Covered are the sweet tooth, large portions, eating out, no time to cook, no time to exercise, cravings and binges, dieting alone, cooking for two, holiday weight gain, and dieting on vacation. We won’t include any of their resolutions here, you’ll have to read the book!
Overall, this is one of the best books we’ve read on weight loss. Everything is covered, and it makes weight loss easy! There are more than 250 recipes included, so it’s more than just a diet book. If you have found that you’ve not been able to stick to diets in the past, and prefer a more balanced diet and exercise routine, then you should read this book.