Can Reading Help You Lose Weight?
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
I have so many weight loss books sitting on my shelves - The Ultimate Diet, Why French Women Don't Get Fat, Eat This Not That, The Atkins Diet, Eat Right for Your Blood Type, The Paleo Diet, Why Diets Don't Work, Fit or Fat, and the list goes on and on. I practically have the entire health section of any large bookstore on the shelves in my workout room. These books are well written, well researched, well edited and they are all interesting - until I read something that is so stupid that it stops me in my tracks and I quit reading right then and there, bookmarker still in place.
In all fairness to Dr. Phil I have not hit that dead zone yet in his two diet books but I still am reading them at a snail's pace.
I can be happily reading along and then I read the passage about 'burning fat'. Of course you do not 'burn fat' - fat has to be converted to glycogen which your body can use as fuel so I get offended that the authors of these books think that we are all so gullible that we have a picture in our heads of fat burning off of our bodies. Where does that fat go? Does it puddle around our feet melting into our socks and shoes? Is that why we run or walk fast, to out walk/run our melting fat? Does Crisco ooze out of our pores and down our arms? Is our fat more like lard or more like liquidly oils? Does it smell? Fats melt pretty quickly so why are we still so fat if it melts so fast? Hmmmm??? I ask those authors these questions.
My next pet peeve saying is that muscle weighs more than fat. I ask you how much does a pound of fat weigh? How much does a pound of muscle weigh? So how can a pound of fat weigh more than a pound of muscle if they each weigh a pound? Yes, muscle is denser than fat so a pound of muscle is smaller than a pound of fat but pound per pound they are the same. How can these scholarly authors say such things?
Eating for my blood type tells me that I should be an aggressive carnivore eating everything that stops moving long enough for me to bite into it. I picture me as the cave woman with a dinosaur leg in each pudgy hand chomping merrily as blood runs down my arms. Yummy!! Yeah, right. That's not going to happen. I have been a content, overweight vegetarian for more years than not.
Reading these books didn't help me lose weight. In fact, I was probably eating something unhealthy while I was reading these books. They talk so much about food that they made me hungry. They start naming all the things not to eat - don't eat cake, don't eat cookies, don't drink soda - and of course, all those pictures of goodies start running through my brain like a ticker tape and I'm headed to find those things. Then they start in with the things you should eat - eat broccoli and carrots and kale - mmmm, good. That doesn't look or sound good when the sugar parade just ended in my head and might just be headed around the block for a second pass. And I'm supposed to deprive myself for the rest of my life? What if I live a very long time? Oh no!! Then what? A thin, staving old lady sniffling while shuffling past a bakery on her way to the lettuce shop isn't appealing either.
How about moderation? That sounds pretty good to me. Eat everything , eat a variety, eat well, but everything in moderation. And don't forget to add some exercise to that equation.
One book that I read cover to cover asks the question 'is it better to be fat and fit than thin and not fit?' My husband is a thin man who is careful about everything that goes into his mouth. He has very high cholesterol and had to have a pace maker and has a stint to keep his greater mesenteric artery open. His father was thin and died at 61 yrs old from a heart attack. I have known other thin people, fit and non-exercisers, who were unhealthy.
On the other hand, my mother's family are all heavy. My mom is 91 yrs old, Auntie Linda will be 90 in July, Auntie Ruby just turned 89 last month, Auntie Emma is 87 and Uncle Johnny is will be 80 this year. They are all doing very well with the usual aches and pains of people who have lived very long and productive lives. They all started losing weight in their 80s - so there is hope for me in the next 20 yrs! Yay!!
But I digress - this blog is about books and whether they can help you lose weight.
I have always loved to read (with the exception of diet books and I'm so over those!) and have so many boxes of books and stacks of books and bookcases of books and books covering every surface that you can imagine how happy I was to discover the Kindle!
I was on a flight home from Malaysia when I noticed my seatmate reading a gadget while I was reading a paperback, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. He was only too happy to tell me all about his Kindle and show me how cleaver this device was for avid readers. Of course, I got online at the next layover and ordered one. It arrived at my home a day or two after I got home and I finished the dragon girl book on my Kindle. I have since had many reading devices and have shown my readers and tablets to many, many people - I think Amazon should give me a cut for all the Kindles I have sold for them and Samsung, too, for all the Galaxy Tablets I have recommended.
I started listening to books about 20 yrs ago. At that time there wasn't such a variety available and the easiest thing to do was to rent them from Books on Tape. They arrived in a little box that was already pre addressed back to BoT. They were on cassette and very convenient since most of us had Walkmans or cassette players in our vehicles. Then came books on cd. And now we have Audible.com. Love that place!! I Have hundreds of books on mp3 and can listen anywhere, anytime.
I listen while I am driving, cleaning, biking, walking. Sometimes I have to walk or bike extra miles just to find out what happens next. Right now I am listening to Dick Vandyke's autobiography. I probably seem like a nut laughing out loud all over the biking trail but it's funny - I can't help it.
I listen to fiction, nonfiction, self-help, how to, biographies, historical novels. You name it and I'm listening to it. I love books about King Henry VIII and his wives. I love biographies especially when they are written and read by the authors - Carly Simon, Rob Lowe (really funny), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn, Jimmy Carter, James Gandofini, Alan Cumings, Willie Nelson, Andy and Don, to name a few.
I love good fiction. Just finished What Was Mine about a woman who kidnapped a child and just couldn't take her back to her family and raised her as her own daughter. Me Before You about a paraplegic. Jane Eyre, Gods in Alabama, The Expatriates, Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, Pretty Girls, Gray Mountain. Anything by Jodi Picoult, John Grisham, Anita Shreve, Diane Chamberlaine, Liane Moriarty. And of course, Stephen King.
How to books like The Magic of Tiding Up, Earth Moved (about earthworms), Gulp, Bonk, Spook, Get What's Yours (about SSI), The Science of Yoga, Eat that Frog, Unclutter Your Life, Critical Conversations.
All the walking and biking books - I Hike, Grandma Gatewood, A Walk in the Woods (movie just doesn't cut it!), Across America by Bike, Blue Highways, AWOL on the Appalachia Trail.
Classics like Jane Eyre (incredible narration), The Godfather, Roots, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Breakfast at Tiffanys, To Kill a Mockingbird.
Books about presidents, ufos, birds, artists, the list is long and as limitless as your imagination.
I have walked, biked, drove, cleaned, gardened, and exercised my way through billions of words. It's a wonderful world through the eyes of others. Step out of your own space and into a fantasy world or into history or literature or poetry and get away from the tv. It's hard to eat when someone is talking to you or telling you a tale and you are engrossed in that book and don't even realize that you have reached your destination. Makes me mad to reach my destination.
Yes, books can help you lose weight. Not especially weight loss books but all other books. I made a deal with myself a long time ago that I can only listen to my books while working out, driving or working. I accomplish a lot more now that I'm listening to books. Even my horses are used to hearing my books while I'm grooming them or walking them. They seem to like most books although they are easily bored and would rather get cookies while I listen.