Category Archives: Book Reviews

My e-book is out! Purchase your copy of 5-Minute Meals today.


I am thrilled to announce the release of my first e-book, 5-Minute Meals.  This has been a project of mine for a couple of years now.

I love food and enjoy cooking, but I don’t want to spend all of my free time in the kitchen. I’d rather be outdoors, playing tennis or relaxing with friends. I realized that many of my clients felt the same way. So I decided to write this book, to share my favorite quick-and-easy recipes with the world.   Continue reading

Brain Over Binge 

Brain Over Binge

After six years of chronic bingeing and purging, Kathryn Hansen stopped her eating disorder independently and abruptly, using the power of her own brain.

I recently heard Kathryn’s story while listening to the Nutrition Matters podcast. Her story was powerful and her approach to recovery sounded compelling. She also sounded very bright, and she supported her ideas with research. So, I purchased and read her book, Brain Over Binge, to learn more.   Continue reading

Pursue Pleasure to Improve Health

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Do you really need to kill yourself to save your life?  You might think so, if you look at the way some health fanatics strictly follow their diet or exercise plans.  However, not-so-novel research suggests that being healthy is much easier and more fun than we’ve made it out to be.  In Healthy Pleasures, an old but timeless book, authors Robert Ornstein, PhD and Davis Sobel, MD identify life’s simple pleasures and describe the proven ways they contribute to health and well-being.   Continue reading

The Gifts of Imperfection and Health at Every Size®


I recently finished reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown, PhD.  Brené is a researcher who has collected stories from thousands of individuals who are living, full, vibrant, wholehearted lives.  In this book, Brené shares strategies to embrace your authentic self and live a wholehearted life.

I believe the concepts in this book tie in nicely with a Health at Every Size® (HAES®) philosophy.  I’ll explain how in this post.

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Book Review: Embody


I recently finished reading the book Embody: Learning to Love Your Unique Body (and Quiet that Critical Inner Voice!).  The book is by Connie Sobczak, co-founder of the non-profit organization The Body Positive.

Embody is a beautiful book, woven with heart-wrenching stories and inspiring quotes, that teaches the five competencies of the Be Body Positive Model.  The competencies are:

  1. Reclaim Health
  2. Practice Intuitive Self-Care
  3. Cultivate Self-Love
  4. Declare Your Own Authentic Beauty
  5. Build Community

I loved this book.  In my experience, the ability to appreciate your body is often a rate-limiting step to rejecting the diet mentality and committing to a Health at Every Size® approach.  I highly recommend this book to anyone with a body!

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Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming (Book Review)

childs-weightEvery parent and dietitian should read Ellyn Satter’s Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming.  Ellyn Satter is a registered dietitian and family therapist, and is considered to be the leading expert on feeding and raising healthy kids.

In the book, Satter refutes the idea that parents must force their children to eat less and exercise more to lose weight.  In the long run, this technique backfires, as children become preoccupied with food and turned off to physical activity.  Rather, Ellyn coaches parents to feed well, parent well, and allow children to grow up to get the bodies that are right for them.

For a summary of the books main points, read on, or click here for a PDF summary from Satter herself.

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The End of Overeating: Book Review

imageDavid Kessler’s The End of Overeating explores the psychological and biological reasons behind our tendencies to overeat. The main points argued in the book are:

1. Foods unnaturally high in sugar, fat and sodium can be addictive

Processed foods that contain added sugar, fat and salt stimulate the reward centers in our brains. This engages the opioid circuitry, a pathway that can create an addictive response and lead to overeating. Studies show that rats will work almost as hard for hyper-palatable food high in fat and sugar as they will for cocaine.

2. The food industry knows about these addictive properties, and capitalizes on them

Everywhere you go, you can find food companies promoting or selling foods high in sugar, fat and salt. French fries (the most popular “vegetable” in America), are made by taking a potato, deep frying it in fat and sprinkling it with salt. Dip that in ketchup (which contains sugar as a primary ingredient) and you’ve hit all three points: sugar, salt and fat. Many other foods popular foods feature sugar, fat and salt as primary ingredients as well: chocolate, ice cream, hamburgers, cookies, chips, salad dressing, soda, cake, fried chicken, cheese… the list goes on and on.

3. Stop overeating by taking steps to break free of the addiction to hyper-palatable foods

View calorie-dense foods in a new light- as something repulsive and unhealthy rather than desirable. It is possible to train your brain to respond differently to stimuli. Previously, cigarettes were viewed by most people as cool. Today, now that the health risks of tobacco are well-known, the majority of the population views cigarettes as unhealthy and undesirable. Through awareness of the unhealthy and addictive properties of calorie-dense foods, we can begin to view these foods differently as well.

Consciously seek whole foods that are nutritious and not addictive. Whole foods (like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat and dairy with minimal processing or unhealthy added imageingredients) contain fiber and other nutrients designed to fill you up for fewer calories. With time, your taste-buds will learn to appreciate the subtle, complex flavors of whole foods, and highly processed foods will seem monotone and overdone.

Serve yourself “just right” portions. With practice, we can learn to serve ourselves “just right” portions. A “just right” meal is one that will keep you satisfied for approximately 4 hours. It will typically contain 400-600 calories, on average. A “just right” snack will keep you hunger-free for about 2 hours. It will typically contain 100-300 calories.

At mealtime, serve yourself a “just right” portion, and put the rest of the food away. Mentally tell yourself this is just the right amount for you, and there is no need to go back for seconds. If you find yourself hungry again later, you can always serve yourself a “just right” snack.

Plan ahead, and take steps to avoid temptation. Don’t leave it up to chance or willpower when you’re hungry to refuse hyper-palatable food. Plan ahead by choosing healthy meals and snacks to eat in advance, and keeping them readily available. Take steps to avoid temptation by refusing to buy hyper-palatable foods at the grocery store, and avoiding restaurants or events where you know you will likely give in to temptation.

My impressions:

I disagree with a few aspects of this book.  One is using negative reinforcement to change behavior.  For example, the author recommends putting an unflattering photo of yourself on the refrigerator as a reminder to make healthy choices.  This practice is likely to do more harm than help.  Positive reinforcement is more effective and better for self-esteem.  Also, there is research showing that avoiding and depriving yourself of foods can trigger overeating.  I prefer the intuitive eating approach, which includes unconditional permission to eat.

Overall, The End of Overeating was a fascinating read.

Eat Your Way to Happiness: Book Review

imageEat Your Way to Happiness, by Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, is a fun read that is packed with good nutrition advice.  There is no doubt our lifestyle and food choices can affect our mood.  However, with my newfound Health at Every Size approach to health, I’m skeptical that this book will make you “blissfully thin,” a term to which the book constantly alludes.  I think that self-acceptance, combined with the habits promoted in the book, will make you blissful at weight that’s healthy for you.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend this book for it’s terrific nutrition advice and explanation of how food affects our mood.  Some of my favorite nutrition “secrets” in this book are:

  1. Eat Real 75% of the Time: “Eating real” means choosing foods that are as close to their natural form as possible, with minimal processing and refinement.
  2. Follow the 1-2-3 Rule for Breakfast:
    1. One to three servings of a quality, high-fiber carbohydrate
    2. Two servings of fruits or vegetables
    3. One protein or dairy
  3. Choose High Quality Carbs: As in whole grains, not refined.
  4. Adopt the 6% Solution: Aim for only 6% of your total calories to come from added sugar.  Not 25%, which is where the average American is at right now.  For a 2000-calorie diet, 6% translates to 30 grams (2 Tablespoons) of added sugar.  This does not include sugar found naturally in fruit or dairy, so eat plenty of these!
  5.  Sprinkle it with Super Mood Foods: Amp up your already healthy diet by sprinkling in some “super mood foods.”  These include:
    • Leafy greens
    • Nuts and legumes
    • Dark orange veggies
    • Berries and citrus fruits
    • And many more!
  6. The One Habit Your Must Embrace to Be Happy, Fit and Healthy: Exercise.  Period.  According to Somer, "Nothing you do will have as big an impact on your weight, as well as your mood and health both today and in the future, as exercise.”  Exercise gives you a natural endorphin rush, boosts self-confidence, fights fatigue, soothes stress and enhances sleep, all which lead to improved mood.

Learn more at the book’s website: Eat Your Way To Happiness.  Also available on Amazon.

Eat Your Way to Happiness Video

Health at Every Size

imageI recently finished reading Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, PhD.  Bacon agues that promoting weight loss is ineffective in improving health over the long-term.  According to the book:

  • The vast majority of dieters regain their weight. There is no method proven effective for weight loss maintenance.
  • Research is emerging showing that fitness, not fatness, is associated more strongly with health and longevity (1,2,3).
  • Preoccupation with weight can be psychologically damaging and may lead to disordered eating (4,5).
  • People of any size can improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic disease by eating healthfully and being physically active, regardless of whether or not they lose weight (6,7)
  • No study has ever shown that weight loss actually prolongs life.

The Health at Every Size (HAES) approach emphasizes:

  • Self-acceptance regardless of weight, size, or shape
  • Physical activity for enjoyment and enhanced quality of life
  • Normalized eating in response to physiologic hunger and fullness cues rather than external guidelines or rules
  • An approach to healthy living that does not necessarily involve weight loss for overweight individuals

With the HAES approach, the fundamental principles of nutrition remain the same.  It’s still important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and unsaturated fats from mostly unprocessed sources.  It’s still important to eat breakfast and drink water.  If you follow these guidelines and lose weight, that’s fine.  But if you follow these guidelines and don’t lose weight, that just may be fine too.  What are your thoughts on HAES?

For additional information on HAES, check out:

Also check out this short clip by the Surgeon General, emphasizing a Health at Every Size approach:


  1. Barlow CE, Kohl HW, Gibbons LW, Blair SN. Physical fitness, mortality and obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1995;19(suppl4):S41-S44.
  2. Church TS, Cheng YJ, Earnest CP, et al. Exercise capacity and body composition as predictors of mortality among men with diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2004;27:83-88. Abstract
  3. Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Janssen I, Ross R, Blair SN. Metabolic syndrome, obesity, and mortality: impact of cardiorespiratory fitness. Diabetes Care. 2005;28:391-397. Abstract
  4. Gaesser GA. Big Fat Lies. Carlsbad, Calif: Gurze Books; 2002.
  5. Campos P. The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession With Weight Is Hazardous to Your Health. New York: Gotham Books; 2004.
  6. Barnard RJ, Jung T, Inkeles SB. Diet and exercise in the treatment of non insulin dependent diabetes. Diabetes Care. 1994;17:1469-1472. Abstract
  7. Tremblay A, Despres JP, Maheux J, et al. Normalization of the metabolic profile in obese women by exercise and a low fat diet. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1991;23:1326-1331. Abstract