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Bulletin Board > How Do You Write a Diet Book?

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message 1: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler (simonhughwheeler) What do you think is most important in a diet book?
I'm trying to write a diet book and have a lot of info compiled, but I'm looking for an angle, or the best way to present it.
Diet books don't seem to focus too much on the technical/scientific side of things and appeal more to the emotions. It is said that at a party try to avoid talking about politics and religion. Well, have you ever brought up diets? It's a prickly subject. Everyone has an opinion, everyone has the latest fad and almost all end up back at square one.
What is that all important hook that grabs you?
Thanks for your help.
Simon Hugh Wheeler.


message 2: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments Hm. Hard to tell, because from my experience, what a lot of people expect from a diet book is actually "a miracle solution to my weight problem". As soon as you mention that you did it by eating less, replacing junk food with healthy food, and exercising (because, let's be honest, 95% of weight problems stem from those, or the lack thereof), suddenly nobody's interested anymore. So I'm not sure what a good angle would be, since the raw truth doesn't seem to hit home that often.

If it can help, my own hook is "no bullshit, just facts". I don't believe in miracle diets, and I'm more interested in understanding how things work: why do bodies react the way they do, why doing this has that effect, how repeatedly dieting can affect one's metabolism, and so on. So, yes, I guess the scientific approach, rather than the emotional one, has worked best for me.


message 3: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler (simonhughwheeler) Yeah, Yzabel, I agree - junk food is fun, exercising is not. There ain't many people that want to give up the good life.


message 4: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments Although I will admit to exercising to keep myself warm in winter. Exercise vs. high electricity prices? Exercise's the winner. XD


message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Yzabel wrote: "As soon as you mention that you did it by eating less, replacing junk food with healthy food, and exercising (because, let's be honest, 95% of weight problems stem from those, or the lack thereof)"

Not so much.

http://healthland.time.com/2013/07/19...

Quote: In the mouse study, the research team determined that mutations in the Mrap2 gene led the animals to eat less initially but still gain about twice as much weight as they normally would. While their appetites returned, these mice continued to gain weight despite being fed the same number of calories as a group of control animals. That led the scientists to figure out that the mice with the mutated gene were simply sequestering fat rather than breaking it down for energy. The mice, like people, possessed two copies of the gene, and mice with even one defective copy experienced significant weight gain, although not as much as those who had two mutated versions of Mrap2.

----

None of this is to say that there are no environmental factors, but it is oversimplistic to say that "95 percent of obesity" is caused by them.

The article addresses only genetics, and nothing about endocrine imbalance and a variety of other issues that make weight gain and loss nowhere near as simplistic as "eat less and exercise more."

Beware, when "writing a diet book," that you may be doing what amounts to practicing medicine without a license.


message 6: by Yzabel (new)

Yzabel Ginsberg (yzabelginsberg) | 262 comments Yeah, I don't know... I seriously have my doubts that every person with a weight problem is in that case because of some weird genetic mutation. Mostly everyone I know IRL who complains about "being unable to lose weight" also eats like crap and never exercises, so my first observation is too often that maybe, just maybe, they should give a try at a different lifestyle before blaming their genes.
(I'm in that case. Was obese from childhood to my late 20s. I used to delude myself about "it's genetic, I can't do anything about it", but to be honest, I was never attempting to get rid of the weight either... Also, trying to eat healthy on a budget is goddamn hard. It took me a good year or so to finally master that, uhm 'art'. Although it seems to me that fruit & veggies are less expensive in my country than in others, so I admit it helps.)

There ARE medical factors, of course. They need to be addressed, and I guess it's always best to get medical advice first, anyway, when in a specific situation (having to lose 15 lbs and being insulin-resistant are two very different things). Still, for a lot of people, it remains a matter of "eat less and move more"... only nobody wants to hear that because, let's be honest, having to run 10 miles every other day sucks balls, if only because it's time-consuming. (Oh yes, I admit it willingly: it sucks.)

Come to think of it, IMHO the real, actual problem isn't even losing the weight: it's keeping it off for good (hence why fad diets fail so often, since people go back to their old habits afterwards). This needs to be addressed as well.


message 7: by Sharon (last edited Nov 22, 2013 02:42PM) (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Yzabel wrote: "Yeah, I don't know... I seriously have my doubts that every person with a weight problem is in that case because of some weird genetic mutation. "

The fact is, you don't, and can't, know what causes any one individual's size -- environment, genetics, economics, etc. It's also a mistake (IMO) to presume that being thin is a sign of health; one of the slimmest women I know has a heart murmur, for example.

There ARE medical factors, of course. They need to be addressed, and I guess it's always best to get medical advice first, anyway, when in a specific situation

Yes ... whether it's a new eating plan or an exercise program, or anything else.

Let me put it to you this way: I was eating less than 600 calories per day and still gaining weight -- because I had an undiagnosed thyroid problem. All I was being told *until I went to an endocrinologist* was "Eat less and work out more."

No human being can live on 600 calories a day. Period. And I was being told to eat even *less.*

Well, the simple fact is that it's a whole lot more complicated, and individual, than "eat less and work out more."

No one should be dispensing nutrition/diet and exercise advice except qualified professionals, IMO. And, obviously, even *they* get it wrong sometimes.


message 8: by Sharon (new)

Sharon (fiona64) Simon wrote: "What do you think is most important in a diet book?
I'm trying to write a diet book and have a lot of info compiled, but I'm looking for an angle, or the best way to present it.
Diet books don't se..."


What are your qualifications for this endeavor? That's the question I should have asked before I addressed anything else.


message 9: by Simon (new)

Simon Wheeler (simonhughwheeler) Some interesting diets:
The Junk Food Diet, (there are a few).
The Twinkie Diet.
The Facebook Diet, (maybe if you get hooked on playing Candy Crush Saga all day, you'll forget to eat???)
The Writing Diet! (Write away those pounds - I dunno why I'm not skinnier.)

These are all developed by qualified doctors/nutritionists?

A diet by a qualified person: The Dr Atkins Diet.
A doctor that encourages people to gear up your metabolism to burn large amounts of fat and thereby create acetone, (same stuff nail polish remover is made from) is more interested in gimmicks that sell a lot of books, than people's health.

Tim Crowe, a nutritionist at the Deakin University in Australia, wrote an interesting article about the cynical world of diet books. http://www.thinkingnutrition.com.au/2...


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