Weight Loss, Dieting & Obesity
© Copyright 2004 - 2011 , Trevor Johnson.
Dr. Phil McGraw's The Ultimate Weight Solution & Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge - Review.
*** Strongly Recommended ***
Dr. Phil is internationally known for his Dr. Phil show on television and his close connections with the Oprah Winfrey Show. A well published "Life Strategist", Dr. Phil has run the "Ultimate Weight Loss Challenge" in the format of a so-called reality TV show, and has published his book, "The Ultimate Weight Solution" and a companion cookbook.
I strongly recommend Dr. Phil's "The Ultimate Weight Solution" book, but equally strongly urge that his companion cookbook be left on the bookshop shelf.
The first thing to be noticed about this book is the absence of the word "diet" in its title. This is refreshingly honest and ushers an almost unique perspective to the realm of weight loss books on the market today. Although the book does discuss and even propose a diet plan, it is a very minor part of the book overall - maybe only ten percent of the content. And, I must add, it is that specific minor part of the book that I recommend be ignored.
The dietary advice is the old, well worn and much discredited "food pyramid" supposedly balanced approach - low fat and high carbohydrate, particularly high grain, diet. Such a dietary strategy is a significant part of the cause of the human obesity crisis we have in the western world today. (Ask any farmer: How do you fatten a turkey in time for Thanksgiving? Or how do you fatten your cattle before sending them to market? Any farmer will tell you that a low fat, high grain diet is the way to weight gain.)
Dr. Phil also shows a lack of understanding of the dangers of artificial sweeteners, falls for the long discredited "all saturated fats are bad - all unsaturated fats are healthy" notions and indicates no understanding of the health and weight dangers of trans-fats from hydrogenated oils, nor the proven benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids.
Such serious dietary advice errors indicate that his understanding in the field of nutrition is circa the 1970's and has not been updated with more current scientific studies and understanding.
So, you may well ask, given my criticisms why do I strongly recommend Dr. Phil's "The Ultimate Weight Solution" book?
Although diet and nutrition is not Dr. Phil's strong suit, as I mentioned, that constitutes only around ten percent of what this book is about.
The book is sub-titled: "The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom". Diet is only one of those seven keys, and most of the other keys play a much larger role in the overall scheme of his theme than does diet.
Dr. Phil's expertise, his strong point, is that he is an acknowledge expert in Human Behavior. (Psychology, if you will - though Dr. Phil prefers to call himself a "Life Strategist".)
It is in his area of expertise, in the area of understanding the psychological, behavioral issues associated with weight gain and the types of human behaviors that need to be addressed and modified to achieve lasting weight loss, that Dr. Phil truly excels.
All major weight loss books have their strengths and weaknesses - and most of them have as a major weakness a lack of any insight into human behavioral issues surrounding weight gain or loss. Most concentrate purely on diet alone, with some incorporating exercise as a necessary mention with little detail.
It is in this area of psychological and human behavioral issues involved with weight loss that Dr. Phil's "The Ultimate Weight Solution" is clearly and indisputably the most authoritative book on the market today.
If, other than the dietary advice, this book has any other weakness, it may be in generalizing way too often that all weight gain is solely due to behavioral matters. I don't dispute that he is correct on this point in probably upwards of 85% of overweight and obese people, though it does come over as harsh and insensitive to people who genuinely do have other serious medical conditions or genetic mutations responsible for their obesity. I'm sure that Dr, Phil would respond that most overweight and obese people who make such claims are simply making excuses and refusing to face the reality of the causes of their situations and denying the true causes. And I'd respond that he's probably quite right about that most of the time - though there certainly are exceptions.
Overall, Dr. Phil's "The Ultimate Weight Solution" should be considered absolutely essential reading for all who desire lasting weight loss - even more fundamental for permanent benefit than just reaching for another recipe strategy. There is simply no other published work that even comes close in explaining and emphasizing the psychological / behavioral aspects of weight gain and loss. Just ignore his sections on diet and nutrition, do not buy his companion Cookbook, and learn the nutritional and dietary aspects from other sources - such as from this website and some of the other Diet Books this site reviews.
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