Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Keeping It Off by Michelle Bridges

Diet books by hosts of reality TV shows are not my usual fare, but in my role as editor for the General Non-Fiction page at The Australian Women Writers challenge, I'm trying to highlight all the possible types of non-fiction books out there.

Michelle Bridge's Keeping It Off has an admirable aim - to help us all be fit and healthy for our entire lives. As her starting point is the sad but true fact that most of us who lose weight while on a diet or get-fit program, will put most of it back on again within two years.

Bridge discusses how her approach to food and fitness has evolved over the years thanks to experience and research. She is no longer a pure 'calories in - calories out' advocate thanks to new research around how we all burn calories differently as well as the way environmental factors influence us. Weight loss, she claims, is a science, but keeping off is all about psychology. Bridge cites the work of Dr Katharine Samaras from St Vincent's Hospital and the Garvan Institute.

The 60-odd pages devoted to Bridge's ideas and thoughts is written in a direct, down to earth, humorous way. Unfortunately most of the photos don't have the same appeal (Mr Seasons accused me of having a 'you women are hard - you eat your own' attitude, before admitting that he also found the photos to be ghastly). Perhaps I'm just showing my age, but all those heavily made-up, photo-shopped images do nothing for me whatsoever. They don't inspire or impress. The more natural photos of Michelle exercising later in the book were better and felt more authentic.

Case studies, food plans and work-outs make up the bulk of the book. The recipes looked simple and tasty. Using the same set of ingredients, the recipes were divided into meal portions for toddlers, teens, mum and dad.

The main message though is one most of already probably know - there is no magic pill or easy fix. Keeping the weight off is a lifelong commitment to eating well and staying fit.

The trick is to find the way that works for you.

Keeping It Off has kick-started my annual spring 'let's get fit and healthy' spree. That's a good thing. Ultimately, though, Bridge's book will probably not inspire me long term. Perhaps it's time for me to read another chapter of Changing Habits Changing Lives?

Out of curiosity - is there a fitness/health guru that inspires you?
I'm quite taken with Michael Pollan and Michael Mosley's approach to food and health as they appeal to my own attitude towards life and their ideas fit into my lifestyle. But is there someone else out there that could tempt me with the right balance of science and practicality?

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