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Editorial January 2006
The Eternal Triangle

by Hilary Williamson

Title catch your interest? Sorry, it's not what leaps to mind! The triangle in question connects the three F's - food, fitness and fat. My own genes must have allowed my ancestors to survive cycles of feast and famine; all the women in my family have struggled with weight gain. Personally, I dieted in my twenties and thirties, accepted being pleasantly plump (as my father so kindly put it) in my forties, and started worrying again after the scale crept inexorably upwards post-menopause.

What works? High altitude Himalayan hiking once did wonders for me, but is extreme for most people - and those twenty pounds sneaked back onto my hips. Diets alone just don't have a lasting impact. For sustained weight management, regular exercise is a must, as well as some form of decreased intake of calories. A good friend of mine walks miles every day, listening to audiobooks en route. I enjoy martial arts training several times a week, for varied workouts that never get boring. But find something that suits your own interests and lifestyle - a form of fitness you can easily engage in and enjoy enough to keep doing.

Post holidays, diet and fitness books are filling the shelves, offering inspiration, exercise routines and healthy menus. Here are a few titles to get you started. Leslie Sansone, author of Walk Away the Pounds brings us Eat Smart, Walk Strong, encouraging better eating habits and regular walking. She offers 'pattern-busting activities ... to break you out of old habits and into healthy new ones', with over 80 tasty recipes including smoothies and salads, fish and veggie dishes, and (one of my favorites) Chicken Mole with chocolate, full of antioxidants.

The Katz Flavor Point Diet takes a new and intriguing approach to 'Mind Over Appetite', focusing on a Flavor Point (at which one feels satiated and stops eating) and organizing meals and snacks according to specific tastes. Sound odd? Dr. David Katz assures us that sensory-specific satiety is based on tried and true science. He offers a series of daily and weekly meal plans that emphasize specific flavors, e.g. a Mushroom Day versus a Dill Day, and the second half of his book is filled with enticing recipes like Orange Grilled Tuna.

Calorie Queens by Jackie Scott, Diane Scott Kellum & Brett A. Scott, offers tools for a lifestyle change (recipes included), based on the fact that a certain calorie level sustains a specific weight. And, coming in April, Master baker Stephen Lanzalotta's Diet Code recommends that we 'Eat Bread, Drink Wine, Lose Weight' Da Vinci style. Lanzalotta applies the Golden Ratio (3 parts vegetable, 2 parts protein, and 1 part grain carbohydrate), and advocates a return to fundamental foods. He includes a fascinating history of bread, as well as pantry tips, cooking techniques, meal plans and delicious recipes.

Other recent books on weight control include Arthur Agatston's South Beach Diet Quick & Easy Cookbook; a commonsense approach in Lean Mom, Fit Family: The 6-Week Plan for a Slimmer You and a Healthier Family by Michael Sena, Kirsten Straughan & Tom Sattler; a focus on changing thought patterns in Edward Abramson's Body Intelligence; and an un-diet cookbook, The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan by Mari Fujii. Additional books in the genre are listed in our previous Diets & Fitness column.

So, find a fitness and food management regime that fits your lifestyle and personality, one that can easily become a habit, and that will let you move from the eternal triangle that links fitness level and food intake to fat, to a slim line balanced between regular exercise and sensible eating habits. All of us at BookLoons wish you a Happy New Year and a fit and healthy 2006, full of possibility.
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