Friday, May 6, 2011

29 Days... To Your Perfect Weight - Michele Bertolin and Richard Fast

Before I start talking about this book, I want to make sure everyone is aware that this is not a "get skinny quick" fad.  So don't let that title scare you off.  This is about making lifetime changes to your attitude towards food and health.

Now, a little confession time.  My whole life, I've always had a vicious cycle of weight losses and gains.  My pattern is to lose weight, and swear that no food tastes as good as being thin feels.  But once I've hit my goal, I relax and before you know it, I feel frumpy and pudgy and need to lose again.  It is frustrating and completely unhealthy.  Why can't I just live moderately?  I don't think anything in my life has ever been is not in my constitution.  But I know I need to figure this out.  Which is why I very quickly accepted the opportunity to review this book. 

"29 Days" is a program that can be applied to many areas of life.  In fact, there are four books in the series that address not only achieving your perfect weight, but also achieving financial independence, quitting smoking, and becoming a great listener and communicator.

The Book:  The first half of the book covers some fundamentals that apply to anything that requires a change in behavior.  Most of this information I've heard before when I was working the corporate world and attending various inspirational seminars, but it is good to review the facts.  How do we make and break habits?  Why change is so difficult, and how gentle progress can help us bypass our hardwired brains.  Discovering the power within us that we can access to support our desire to achieve anything in our lives.  It always sounds good on paper, but if you only read these words, it isn't enough.  We know this stuff, but how do we apply it to our lives and make it work?

The Program:  Here is where the rubber meets the road.  In the case of achieving our perfect weight, the program starts out SLOOOOOW.  And this is a good thing.  There is nothing more intimidating than trying to eat less, eat right, exercise your rear end off, and not eat a cookie, and do it all cold turkey.  Plus often, we just abuse ourselves without really knowing what we are trying to achieve.

This program holds your hand, and day by day, helps you be aware of your eating patterns, your motivations for losing weight, and small changes you can make so you can slowly take that weight off without it being traumatic.  In week two, you start to set goals that are measurable and achievable.  You learn about portion sizes and intake versus output, the power of drinking water, and making healthier choices.  Only in week three do you actually start actually "doing" weight loss things.  It is gentle, it is encouraging, and it is educational.

Although the book leads you through the daily steps for each of the 29 days, this program offers an online coach, where you receive your morning and evening messages via e-mail.  When you click on your e-mail, it takes you to the 29 Days website, where you can keep an online diary and record your thoughts and frustrations and insights.  This is so incredibly helpful for anyone who is on the go.  I began to look forward to my e-mails.

My experience:  Before I could properly review this book, I had to "do" the 29 day program.  I was a little nervous and alot skeptical.  But when the program started and I began reading my e-mails, it was so easy.  It was as simple as just training my mind to think about things throughout the day, and just objectively observe my bad habits.  Within the first few days, I could list ten things that I was doing to undermine a healthy lifestyle.  Things that could be eliminated easily.

So after a couple of weeks of telling myself all the things that I was doing to sabotage myself, I kicked it into gear...I made sure I drank lots of water, exercised daily, watched my food portions and tried to limit snacking to healthy stuff.  No food diaries, no counting calories.  For me, that is the quickest way to burnout.  And it was all pretty low-key.  But then again, losing weight has never been my issue.  It has been keeping it off.

Besides the twice-a-day e-mails, there was another very clever tactic I'd never seen before.  Right when you start applying your knowledge in week 3, you are asked to write a letter to yourself.  One that you can pull out, in two weeks, two months, or two years from now, when you are ready to go back to your old habits.  You tell yourself how it feels to be uncomfortable in your clothes, and give yourself encouragement to keep it up. I used the limits of my writing skills, and I know when I hit my wall, this letter is going to give me a big kick in the ass.  Which I think is very cool.

So after a couple of weeks of applying the 29 Day mentality, I've lost five pounds.  Which definitely does not get me to my ideal weight, but its a good start.  I've got a good attitude, and I think these are rules I can live by.

4 out of 5 stars



Beth F said...

Congrats on your success. And yes, it is *so* hard to develop new habits and lifestyles. I like the daily email reminders and the online resources.

Zibilee said...

Five pounds is a great loss, and one to be proud of! This sounds like a really neat book, and Like Beth, I love that there are online resources available. It might be something worth looking in to!

bermudaonion said...

I've been working hard to improve my lifestyle this year. Not so much to lose weight, but to take better care of myself. I like the common sense approach this book seems to take.

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

Good for you! It's so hard to change your lifestyle. I've been struggling with the same thing and sometimes it feels like you just can't win.

Jenny said...

This sounds great!! I'm back up to my highest ever weight (okay, I'll be honest, I'm 1.5 lbs over it which makes THIS my highest weight ever). Just as recently as this past fall I had lost about 15 but then became relaxed again. I need something more, LOL! I like how this book seems to combine the actual techniques and tips along with discussing why your making the decisions you do. I'm very interested in this!

Julie P. said...

Sounds like some great concepts! I'm glad to see that you are benefiting from them.

Unknown said...

You are off to a great start. The book and plan sound good. I have been heavy all my adult life. While I know I need to lose weight and for my health, I don't seem too concerned about it. UGH.
I hope you'll update about the practices and your successes.

The Bumbles said...

I'm glad you have found a system that is working for you so far. It is correct - it isn't about losing the weight so much as finding a way to live healthily in your own life. Doing a bunch of things that you will never continue to do within your own schedule means that weight won't stay off. Doing things realistically will. I like the reminders - from their e-mails to the letter to yourself. Sounds promising!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

They always say slow is best, but it seems hardest pyschologically. Plus for me I always want it to be over with so I can go back to my old evil ways thus defeating the whole point needless to day. Great for you to do this right!

Jenners said...

I have so many of the same problems that you face and I agree with all the obstacles that prevent us from making it stick. I do good and then I relax and go back to my old ways and it starts all over again. And I just cannot live with a diet for my whole life. I've been focusing on making small incremental changes that are more of how I live rather than things that feel unnatural that I'm tring to do. Getting myself to walk five days a week is the first part of this plan.

Melissa said...

This is my downfall too. I lose weight then get lazy and gain it all back. New habits are so hard to keep!

Alice said...

Well done, Sandy! Hang in there. New habits will become old habits and before you know it, it's like breathing. I eat anything I like (cookies I love!) but I make sure I exercise after that. I think my body loves me. LOL!