Taking the weight off your body and mind

Book facts: Losers are winners by Sigrid S. de Silva. Publisher: Vijitha Yapa Publications. Reviewed By Gaston de Rosayro

Tried diet after diet and still cannot lose weight? Then it’s about time to call the expert. Sigrid de Silva, shares the plan that has worked so well for her many patients. She is decidedly the expert dietitian whom doctors refer their toughest cases to. Sigrid has for years worked on the front-lines of obesity research and treatment and has helped thousands of people achieve lasting weight loss.

Through her friendly guidance, just as in her compassionate bed-side manner, she shows you how to fix your internal biology by adjusting your eating and activity one step at a time. She offers extensive advice that helps you put the plan into practice. This is the only book you will need to learn how to defeat your hunger and cravings, and make the changes to your biochemistry that will help keep the weight off for good. Sigrid de Silva’s book is the most informative and intelligent approach to understanding weight loss and gain.

Here you learn the strategy for feeling full with fewer calories and to teach your brain to stop craving for food. Amazingly you learn to put down your fork and automatically push your bulk away from the table without counting a single calorie. The book offers advice on common medical conditions that can make you gain weight and lose weight even if nothing else has worked.

Besides, her practical advice is so easy to follow. Sigrid has finally put all the pieces together to help individuals understand struggles with weight. Her approach is extremely nurturing, well thought out and ever so helpful. It doesn't set out a path for you to follow but teaches you how to find your own path to proper nutrition. It is an easy read and enlightening. She actually does not say it in so many words, but it’s a fact of life “that those who indulge, bulge”.

This classic tome in textbook format covers the entire field of nutrition. It contains comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the subject. It includes physiology of nutrition, foods and their composition, dietary requirements in health, and nutritional management of disease.

In it, she delves into the causes of weight gain, examining and explaining unhealthy attitudes towards food and offering strategies to develop healthy eating habits in their place. She focuses on how to fit good food into your daily routine without drastically altering your lifestyle and helps you to set achievable targets that will allow you to lose weight and then keep it off.

‘Losers Are Winners’ also sets out to dispel the myth that there could ever be a standard dietary system guaranteed to meet everyone’s nutritional requirements. The author is a natural nutritional psychologist, and approaches her mission from a truly holistic perspective. Rather than proposing yet another ideal diet based on the perfect composition of specific nutrients, she explores the multi-dimensional dynamics of nourishment, reaching far beyond the usual aspects of nutrition.

Although she does not deny the impact of eating high-quality foods, Sigrid invites the reader to consider other factors which are equally significant in determining whether a meal is truly nourishing. The less tangible ‘ingredients’ of a meal, such as the consciousness with which it is eaten, as well as the ambience of one’s surroundings, and the people in whose company we dine, are all part of the beneficial experience and profoundly affect the body and mind on both the physical and subtle energetic levels. The more zealous we are in our conviction that we have found the one right way of eating, the more limited we become in our understanding of food and our interaction with it.

She explains that our nutritional requirements are continuously changing with variables such as age, the environment we live in, and nature’s seasons. One of the exercises described in the book is listening for body feedback, which allows the body’s intuitive wisdom to determine which foods would be most nourishing at a given time.

Each chapter in this highly readable book features a summary of the main points discussed, as well as suggestions for how the reader could work with these in his or her own life. Someone who has a weight problem, for instance, will find the chapters addressing the connection between food and the love for it, and the application of affirmative willpower, most helpful.

The author liberally peppers her advice with invaluable tips that you can easily accommodate into your daily routine. Soon you will think “this is so much easier than I thought it would be” and you will start feeling better.

Fighting the battle of the bulge can range from following a sensible diet to benign ill-guided efforts to extreme, downright risky behavioural patterns. Some measures are unlikely to cause harm because they cannot be sustained long enough to do damage to your system but other dieting tactics can have serious health consequences.

People get so focused on weight loss that they are willing to do unproven and potentially dangerous things that can backfire and cause serious health problems. She stresses the fact that extreme dieting can also lead you down the path and increase the risk of developing eating disorders. That is because a diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.

She also warns about dubious supplements and over-the-counter diet pills that make extravagant promises. Extreme diets, wonder pills and magic potions, may sound too good to be true and probably are. Diet pills, potions, and concoctions purchased over the counter are unlikely to be effective, not necessarily safe or capable of delivering on the oft exaggerated promises. They may not appear to be dangerous but they can still cause harm. Most diet pills are nothing more than a quick fix loaded with caffeine and diuretics that can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Skipping meals, severely slashing calories leads to weight loss but the lost weight includes precious muscle mass and poses health risks - and most people end up regaining all the weight, plus some more. Finally, she puts some of the most popular diets on trial, outlining the pros and cons of each approach. Sigrid is very clear and concise in her writing and her book seems to strike the right balance between information and entertainment. She provides all this advice without being ‘preachy.’

The author also sounds a ‘buyers beware’ warning on misleading creative advertising and a guide to reading food labels and caveats. Just because it says it is natural, doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe or good for you.

The innovative book offers a glimpse of how a Registered Dietitian can personalise your lifestyle with a little intervention. Presented in an easy fun-to-read yet informative manner, it considers the whole person, not just diet. There are simple explanations from start to end, a self quiz – no cheating allowed! - and a conveniently formatted progress chart at the end.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to make a change to a healthier lifestyle. Go on, buy it. It will decidedly take the load of weight off both your body and mind!

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