The Manhattan diet: Losing Weight While Living A Fabulous Life


By Eileen Daspin


Wiley, Eileen Daspin is a lifestyle and culture journalist who lives in Manhattan (of course) with her chef husband Cesare Casella. After reading a New York Times article about obesity rates that showed Manhattan as the skinniest of all 62 counties in New York state, Daspin decided the world would be a better, and thinner, place if we all followed in the diet footsteps of Manhattanites and interviewed 25 women who were “slim and fit” and had a “healthy attitude toward eating” to find out their diet secrets.


It seems that one person’s “healthy attitude” is what I would call a nutrition nightmare: one woman ate coffee with milk for breakfast, followed by one hard candy at 11 a.m. before lunch at 12:30.


Yikes. And that’s quite a sensible example. Don’t get me started on the woman who picks the chocolate chips out of a cookie so it is lower in carbs then eats the chips with crumbs clinging to them to get the cookie flavour.


Billed as a “stylish” way to lose weight, tips include gems like “eat what your body craves” and “don’t eat anything that’s disguised to look better than it is.”


There’s even a few celebrity Manhattanites, like Sarah Jessica Parker, Gwyneth Paltrow and Tina Fey — and their tips thrown in to the mix.


Daspin includes a diet to follow, and recipes, but this book is more a fun read than a tome to take seriously.


Sex In The City fans will eat it up.


The Skinny Rules:


The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to THIN


By Bob Harper with Chris Critser


First a disclaimer: I dislike NBC’s The Biggest Loser TV show. More specifically, I dislike the show’s far-from-reality weight loss practices of semi-starvation and six hours a day of exercise in a sequestered environment and the infuriating must-try-harder undercurrent when a contestant “only” loses five pounds in a week.


So at first glance I really wanted to dislike this book, written by Loser’s fitness trainer Bob Harper via science and medical journalist Chris Critser.


Surprisingly, though, Harper addresses the reality issues of the show right up front, admitting it is far from real, while also dishing out possibly the best advice in the book: permanent weight loss is hard work and involves making lifestyle changes.


Harper’s rules range from the tried and true (drink more water — Harper says without fail Biggest Loser contestants are all chronically dehydrated when they start on the show — and learn to read food labels) to the surprising (eat a splurge meal once a week — “when you plan something you are in control,”) and go to bed slightly hungry. (I tried this and lay awake half the night listening to my stomach rumble).


It’s not all rules, Harper has meal plans and recipes (including a very tasty one for turkey meatballs which I will make again, although I admit I put a non-Harper-approved amount of cheese on top of mine), with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables and reducing refined flours and grains.


He is a little absolute at times (“If you don’t start eating fish you are going to get fat again.”) but most of Harper’s advice, although “nonnegotiable” reflects an attitude of kindness toward overweight and obese people that’s sorely missing from the show.


And society.

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