Weight Loss: From flab to fab
It's that time of year when the shelves are bulging with books promising to make us thinner, happier, sexier and fitter. Chrissie Russell asked the experts for the skinny on 12 of 2012's weight-loss tomes.
Head of Energy Management, Helen Walsh is a fitness trainer with 20 years of experience helping clients reach their weight loss goals.
Aveen Bannon is a consultant dietician, founder of the Dublin Nutrition Centre, and member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute.
ESCAPE THE DIET TRAP
By John Briffa (€16.99)
Could it be that 'eat less, exercise more' actually causes the body to resist weight loss? Briffa reckons cutting calories puts the brakes on our metabolisms. Ditch low fat, artificial sweeteners and regular aerobic exercise for a diet high in protein, medium fat and low in carbohydrates while attacking fat with brief, high-intensity workouts.
Helen says: "There's a lot of sense here, then he blows it by saying aerobic exercise is a no-no. Done correctly, aerobic workouts keep the heart and lungs strong, send oxygen to cells and oxygen burns fat."
Aveen says: "I would always advocate avoiding dieting in favour of a more balanced diet, so there's merit to this. But watch that the high protein doesn't result in high fat."
BUT I DESERVE THIS CHOCOLATE (THE 50 MOST COMMON DIET DERAILING EXCUSES AND HOW TO OUTWIT THEM)
By Susan Albers (€11.99)
Who hasn't justified a chocolatey indulgence on the grounds we've earned it? Albers highlights that emotional eating plays a big part in obesity. Get mindful about stress/boredom/treat patterns and you'll soon shed weight without cutting food groups or hitting the gym.
Helen: "Always beware of a weight-loss book that does not recommend you MOVE. Willpower is important but exercise is a vital part of any healthy weightloss plan."
Aveen: "Identifying emotional triggers that cause you to eat more is key to combating it, but we should try to get away from good vs bad food."
7LBS IN 7 DAYS SUPER JUICE DIET
By Jason Vale (€11.99)
The self-proclaimed 'juice master' is back with a new edition of his watery weight-loss programme. For seven days, devotees get to slurp down nothing but five daily concoctions of blended fruits and vegetables while exercising for up to one-and-a-half hours.
Helen: "This is extreme. You need to eat solid foods so the muscles in your digestive system stay strong and you have enough energy to exercise."
Aveen: "A quick-fix diet where you'll lose a lot of water weight as opposed to fat weight. It's also deficient in protein and many essential vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B12 and zinc."
RUN FAT B!TCH, RUN
By Ruth Field (€14.95)
Want to burn fat? Then start burning up the pavement. According to the self-styled 'Grit Doctor', runners are thinner, happier, more successful and have better sex lives..
Helen: "Running isn't for everyone; lots of pounding and shin splints, not to mention your poor pelvic floor. There are easier ways to start getting fit."
Aveen: "Find an exercise that suits you and balance it with healthy eating."
DE-STRESS DIET: LIFESTYLE PLAN FOR A CALMER, SLIMMER YOU
By Anna Magee and Charlotte Watts (€17.65)
A stressed body craves sugar, which it then stores around the middle. Don't want a gut? Then calm down with the help of gentle exercise like jogging, yoga stretches and deep breathing.
Helen: "Exercise will always reduce your stress levels as long as you're not competing. But that doesn't mean forgoing high-impact sports.
Aveen: "Stress can be a trigger for overeating, but it's important to also recognise the importance of exercise and a balanced diet."
TARGET YOUR FAT SPOTS: GET YOUR BODY IN SHAPE
By Max Tomlinson (€14.99)
Holding fat in one area, Tomlinson says, is down to a hormone imbalance that the right supplements, food and exercise can fix. His two-step programme starts with a week-long detox followed by one of six, six-week programmes depending on where you want to shift fat.
Helen: "You can blast any area, unless it's loose skin, by training that body part."
Aveen: "Holding fat in one area is more likely to be due to genetics than anything else, so supplements may not make a difference."
CLEAN AND LEAN COOKBOOK
By James Duigan (€13.99)
The third part in the 'clean and lean' series, Duigan, who was a personal trainer for model Elle Macpherson, offers up over 100 recipes to make his diet easier to stick to. His philosophy is that a body can't be buff if you're eating 'toxic' processed, sugary foods. Ditch the processed stuff and the weight will follow.
Helen: "This makes sense: the cleaner you eat, the more energy you have to hit the gym."
Aveen: "A healthy diet will help the bowel work well and naturally eliminate waste material, but foods don't make us toxic."
DE VANY DIET: EAT LOTS, EXERCISE LITTLE, SHED 5LBS IN ONE WEEK, LOSE FAT, GAIN MUSCLE, LOOK YOUNGER, FEEL STRONGER
By Arthur De Vany (€10.85)
A simple premise: Cavemen weren't fat. De Vany reckons we were designed to eat meat, fruit and veg and shouldn't be afraid to miss a meal (prehistoric folk didn't sit down at the same time every night for dinner) or only exercise in sporadic intense bursts (think running away from a woolly mammoth).
Helen: "This is gimmicky and missing meals makes your energy slump, so it's harder to lose weight or stick to a training programme."
Aveen: "Interesting concept but a diet like this lacks calcium, vitamin D, insoluble fibre and selenium."
THE DRUNK DIET: HOW I LOST 40 POUNDS . . . WASTED
By Luc Carl (€23.75)
Mixing memoir with advice, rocker Luc Carl tells how he lost weight without cutting back on partying (although he did ditch junk food and start running).
Helen: "Definitely don't work out when under the influence as it will put stress on your liver and kidneys."
Aveen: "Consumed sensibly, alcohol can play a part in a healthy, balanced routine. But drinking excessively can affect vitamin B status, be dehydrating and provide empty calories. Not a diet I would advocate."
CHOOSE TO LOSE: THE 7 DAY CARB CYCLE SOLUTION
By Chris Powell (€23.75)
Forget diets that say bread is the enemy -- Powell insists carbs are vital for weightloss by fuelling the body. He urges keeping the body on its toes by alternating high and low carb days with different levels of interval training.
Helen: "Alternating workouts is good because it stops you getting bored and has a stimulating effect on the metabolism."
Aveen: "At last, a plan that doesn't demonise carbohydrates. As the body's main source of fuel, high fibre sources should be consumed at each mealtime."
THE PHYSIQUE 57 SOLUTION: THE 2-WEEK PLAN FOR A BEAUTIFUL BODY
By Tanya Becker and Jennifer Maanavi (€26.40)
In under an hour, this fitness craze sweeping the US vows to deliver a dancer's body thanks to a punishing muscle toning workout that burns up to 650 calories and eating organic, locally produced, unprocessed foods.
Helen: "Intense workouts like this are best eased into, otherwise you'll be cancelling all future engagements."
Aveen: "The idea of eating local, unprocessed foods is great nutritionally."
DIET REHAB: 28 DAYS TO BEAT FOOD CRAVINGS AND LOSE WEIGHT
By Dr Mike Dow (€17.65)
Dr Dow says it's not our fault we crave fatty foods -- we're hooked on how they make us feel. Gradually swap doughnuts for healthy serotonin hits from bubble baths, candles, talking to friends, cuddling, sleeping and vitamin D.
Helen: "Moving more helps beat food cravings!"
Aveen: "Eating something every three to four hours to keep blood sugars level, and foods naturally rich in B vitamins will help you to beat cravings.
John Briffa (16.99)