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Book Review: The End of Overeating

27 May 2009
Today's book review is on The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite by Dr. David Kessler. Click on the book to visit the author's website.

This book was recommended to me by several friends on the Mothering.com message boards. I was told that it changed their lives, the way they looked at food, and it would change my life too.

Um, not really. Don't get me wrong, it was an interesting read, but this book is S.L.O.W. The first half or so of the book is all about the science of how the brain responds to hyperpalatable, stimulatory food. Interesting in the first chapter, but after the first 150 pages I was more than ready to move on to a new topic. I stuck with it, and I'm glad I did. The last 75 pages is about how to essentially "reprogram" your brain's responses to craving high salt/sugar/fat foods. Kessler says that while it may become easier to eventually avoid overeating unhealthy, hyperpatable food, the urge never completely goes away. I'm glad he admitted that, because I think I'd feel like a failure if I worked my butt off and still wanted French fries now and then.

My two favorite things were how he says that we get in the habit of coming home and going straight to the fridge, coming back with a carton of junk and eating in front of the TV. He says the routine we set while eating becomes deeply ingrained in our psyche and is one of the reasons people have such a hard time with overeating. One thing he recommends is to shake up your routine and don't just sit in front of the telly stuffing your face. I think the reason I liked this bit of advice so much is because we're moving and I'm determined to not start a new routine of coming home from the gym with Wendy's and watching TV while snarfing it down.

My other favorite thing was when he likened today's food to adult baby food. Much of the processed food we eat has been softened up with oils. The fat helps the food form a lump in our mouths as we chew, which becomes very easy/comforting/quick to swallow. Kessler says it's almost like the food we eat has been pre-chewed. Gross.

Overall, I got some good information from this book, and I was able to write several pages on how to help myself overcome my junk food addiction. I'm glad I read it, and I would recommend it to anyone struggling with addiction to unhealthy food or portion sizes, but I wouldn't buy it again. Not for hardcover prices anyway.

1 comments to Book Review: The End of Overeating:

Amy B said...

Hi Kris! I thought I'd get to know you a little better. :-) you seem to be a very neat gal with a very cute kid and nice hubby. I'm very glad to know you. I found a wonderful book about nutrition that changed MY way of life. It's called "Nourishing Traditions." Read the 1st 10-15 pages (preface)in the bookstore- remember to pick your jaw up off the floor when you leave. Also, here is a GREAT blog for crockpot recipes that actually taste good: crockpot365.blogspot.com I think you'll like it.