Book Review: Eat, a Guide to Rediscovering Your Natural Relationship with Food

I recently had the opportunity to do another book review for the ever patient and wonderful Book Hub, Inc.  This time I decided I’d give a self-help book the good old college try and I was pleasantly surprised!  Read on for my review!

Eat: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Natural Relationship with Food, by Dr. Linda R. Harper, Ph.D.

                A seemingly interesting concept put to paper – the very idea of this book goes against every diet rhetoric on the market – generally speaking a traditional diet excludes certain foods: ex, the first of such, the no to low carb South Beach Diet whose very principle is that if you cut-out or reduce your carbohydrate intake with an exercise regime you will not only be healthier, but you will also experience long-term weight loss.  However, like most diets of this ideal there is always a chance of putting the weight back on, Dr. Harper suggests that statistic is a staggering 90% failure rate for most ‘traditional’ diets  – easy to believe, true, but then you hear ad after ad after ad saying this diet or that will ‘guarantee’ long-term success.  What most fail to do is change the dieter’s very relationship with food and their body.  This book gives us the tools to change that mentality – she is basically telling us, or rather giving us permission to ditch all diets and the rules associated with them and latch onto yourself, allowing you to make the decisions.  She assumes we already possess the required tools- we just need the instruction manual.  Eat: A Guide to Rediscovering Your Natural Relationship with Food, by Linda R. Harder, Ph.D. is just the manual needed.

                She breaks the process down for the reader step-by-step using examples from her practice along the way.  These are real people who have let go of the dieter mentality in order to discover their ‘Best Self’ through the release of what she refers to as S.A.D. eating, or rather Socially Acceptable Deprivation.  She begins by using a very basic 30-question quick answer quiz, and from this the reader should be able to determine their SAD score.  Mine was eight (8) yes’ and 22 no’s – which translates out to mean I live with the ‘unsuspecting influence’ of diets, in other words there are diet rules I did not even realize I was maintaining, though I do not consciously engage in a diet or plan out diet meals – the downside of this lack of awareness means my body has not found it’s ‘natural rhythm’ within my Best Self and therefore is unable to find and maintain it’s ideal weight – note I said my personal ideal weight, not what society thinks that should be.  If one, such as me were to apply Dr. Harper’s principles, I think we would find our bodies would find their ideal weight while allowing us to have a healthier relationship with food.  A relationship that has been tainted by society and diets deemed appropriated or rather not appropriate.

                At first I was hesitant about Dr. Harper’s concepts and thoughts, but the further I read the more I was able to see myself in her content.  I believe any reader would feel the same way, hesitant at first, but by the end fully engaged and finding themselves in the context.  The only downside I saw to reading this guide, I will not say book as it does not flow like a book would, is the format.  She skims over the context and leaps into her examples which are longer in description that the context they are highlighting.  Because of this, I found myself reading and re-reading sections to try and figure out what she was talking about.

                For anyone struggling with the path of dieting I recommend this book highly.  As previously stated, Dr. Harper makes it easy to latch on, but somewhat difficult to hang on due to the lack of actual content.  The dieter rather will be able to identify with the examples and will begin to transform their unhealthy relationship with themselves and food into a healthy one – and that in the end, is Dr. Harper’s Goal.

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