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The Perfect Fit Diet    by Lisa Sanders order for
Perfect Fit Diet
by Lisa Sanders
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

If you've tried on diets in the past, but never found a good fit, then perhaps you need a more user friendly approach. That's essentially what Lisa Sanders, physician and Yale Medical School researcher, offers in The Perfect Fit Diet - to help us deal with 'the stress of overabundance' while inhabiting bodies 'built to withstand the stresses of starvation.'

What she tells us is that all diets work for a subset of the population, that none is effective for everyone, and that we need to pick the approach that best fits individual lifestyle, family medical history, and personal eating likes and dislikes. She discusses the 'science of satiety' as a young field 'beginning to reveal that much of what we need to satisfy us is hardwired', and advises us to put together a customized plan for sustainable weight loss. How to determine that optimal diet? Dr. Sanders includes a thorough questionnaire (emphasizing the need to keep a detailed eating and exercise diary for a week before filling it in), along with instructions on how to interpret the results. She also explains the general forms of diet available - the 'Counting Carbohydrates' style, made famous by Dr. Atkins; a 'Counting Calories' approach; and the 'Counting Fats' diet that was popular in the past, but rarely touted in recent times.

The author presents each diet in terms of what foods should be eaten and avoided, recommended meal plans and suitable recipes. There are many useful tips, such as to get calories in early if 'Counting Calories', to check urine daily when 'Counting Carbohydrates', and the 'hidden cost of low-fat foods' relevant to 'Counting Fats'. After telling us how to pick the diet style that best fits and presenting the three basic diets, the author spends the last third of the book on the dieting profile that came out of the questionnaire. That is, how to work with food preferences for meat, vegetables, starch or sweets, as well as guidance relating to past dieting experiences, medical history, eating habits and lifestyle. Some interesting insights from research - fruit juice is not especially good for us, drinking wine with a meal usually makes us eat more (as does watching television!), and spinach really does taste bad to some people.

The Perfect Fit Diet is a most welcome approach. It acknowledges (and backs with research) the common sense notion that both genetic and environmental influences affect our ability to sustain the recommended weight. The book also provides a toolbox of comprehensive guidance towards picking the right style of diet, and making lifestyle changes, that suit individual needs. If you've made a recent resolution about weight loss, then do read this book before you start.

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