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Book Reviews Eat Smart Walk Strong the Screts to Effortless Weight Loss by Leslie Sansone

When I read the title of this book, I knew that I had to purchase it.  The book itself was in a clearance section of the local bookstore for only $2 so I figured if nothing else I would have something new to write a review on.  The book itself promises in the title that it will help you lose weight EFFORTLESSLY.  Unfortunately, just the effort that was used to read the book would be more than enough to disprove the title itself. 

The entire concept of the book is simplicity in losing weight.  Rather than having to workout the book simply makes argument that you could simply change the way that you think about food and you should be able to lose the weight without doing any exercise at all.  While I can completely agree with this concept, I don’t know if it is the correct message to send.  I think it is self defeating to encourage people to avoid exercise.  I know this isn’t her intention but by creating a book that talks about the simplicity of losing weight without exercising she is accepting that some people just aren’t going to exercise rather than motivating/inspiring them to do so WHILE adhering to her concepts on weight loss.  She does talk about walking 30 minutes a day.  Sure this is better than doing nothing for that 30 minutes but the minimal caloric impact of walking is going to make people feel like they are doing more than they really are.  For it to be effective she should really stress the importance of raising the heart rate for a period of time if they want to burn calories.  Speed walking is very easy to do and would be a much better option that would actually push weight loss much more than basic walking.

The book goes into portion control and how you can change your portions in order to lose weight.  Virtually every book out there talks about this and we hear about it all of the time in the news so it really isn’t anything new.  This is just a reaffirmation of what we have already heard for years.  She does however take things a step further by talking about the different habits that we have which can be self defeating and what we can do to modify these habits to doing something much healthier.  I compare this to my own goals of losing weight.  Rather than eating full meals 3 times a day, I changed my habits to eating 5 smaller meals per day.  In order to meet my weight loss goals I would eat healthy on 4 of those meals and eat what I wanted to for dinner while still following healthy portion control restraints.  By doing this I was able to eat well at least once a day where I didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything.  By doing this daily, I changed my habits.  I knew that if I ate healthy throughout the day I could splurge at the end of the day. 

Other parts of the book is something as simple as drinking more water.  The idea is that you drink 8 cups of water every single day.  By doing so and eliminating the coffee, tea, juice, and other beverages she argues that you can lose weight through this method alone.  This of course is something that I always talk about.  Those beverage calories are wasted calories, ones that aren’t going to fill you up, and will simply make you gain weight.  I cannot agree more with this idea.

Sansone also talks about breaking up your current trends.  Rather than eating with the television on, you should turn it off.  You are going to be much more aware of the amount of food that you are consuming if you turn the television off than you would if you leave it on.  I think this is especially important when you have children.  This not only creates a much healthier eating environment it provides a great deal of bonding between the family which can reduce stress levels which will reduce cortisol and body fat around the midsection.  This can be a great way to increase the overall health of your family however I think most will be psychological if anything. 

The book itself is mostly filled with solutions to problems that are common sense.  However, even though most of the ideas are simple common sense ideas they actually make sense and are ones that people should implement into their daily lives.  If everyone implemented several of her ideas then it would create a much more positive environment in the home and could hopefully lead to better eating habits.

What I don’t believe however is that the average person is going to lose enough weight to continue the diet over 6 weeks.  The entire program is based off of a 6 week plan that focuses on what each person’s problem areas are.  I think it is great that through questionaires the consumer can determine where they are having issues in their diet, but without a healthy exercise regiment, you aren’t going to see enough results in 6 weeks through a diet of this manner without getting discouraged in the process. 

I think the major misconception is that walking burns a lot of calories when it really doesn’t when done at a standard pace.  Your body is used to walking and doesn’t feel any stress from it.  Increasing your stress level and your heart rate is going to burn the calories and she really doesn’t talk about this and encourage it when she talks about walking along with the rest of the book.  To this end I really can’t consider this an active approach to inspiring people to exercise.  If nothing else the book is simply saying that with minimal effort and simply turning off the television while eating people are going to lose weight. 

Another major negative was when she stated that praying was a great way to break up a routine.  This is a book about weight loss.  I don’t care how much you pray you aren’t going to lose weight because of it unless you pray so much that you physically don’t have the time to eat food.  So while it may break up your routine it is nothing more than a sad attempt at pushing religion.  While this may be a positive message for some people it isn’t for the great many of us that think of religion in negative terms. 

Overall, the book is a crapshoot.  You can lose weight with the book but you really have to stick to the diet and resolve your eating issues.  If you are able to drink nothing but water and change your portions then you should be fine.  I would recommend pushing yourself more during exercise and ensuring that you are doing it on a daily basis if you plan to actually lose a reasonable amount of weight. t: 17 pounds, 11 ounces