In Why Intelligent People Are Overweight, Turk knows you already understand that eating unhealthy leads to weight gain. He knows you understand that sitting on the couch all day with zero exercise leads to weight gain. He assumes you are intelligent and know these basics. He then goes into why you CONTINUE to engage in unhealthy activities even though you know the facts. That is, he gets into your brain’s resistance to taking the right steps.
Why Intelligent People Are Overweight Turk makes it clear up front that this will not be an easy book to read, because it is delving into our internal fears and issues. It will be difficult to confront, but of course critical. He discusses how emotion is really what causes weight gain. It is our emotion drawing us to unhealthy food, our emotion which resists making better choices. We literally have a “food addiction”.
So his solution is this. Make a list of current positive associations with the poor food. You can’t just try to “drop” the food, because all these pleasures will then go away and you’ll feel deprived. It will rarely last. So then you do two things. You build positive associations with the *stopped* behavior – and at the same time build negative associations with the food item. And you have to realize, in the end, that health is THE most important thing in your life. Yes, more than family and spirituality and other things. Because if you aren’t healthy, you can’t give 100% to those other areas.
Turk goes through common excuses why people eat poorly and why they don’t exercise. He then addresses each one. He explains how to create goals, and motivations, and timelines. He provides good examples of people who had issues and how they tackled them.
I do have one complaint about this book. Turk sent me a review copy, and he did so knowing I have written about low carb diets for ten years. And in his book he inaccurately bashed low carb diets! He claims they’re all about steak, eggs, and fat. Nothing is further from the truth. Numerous doctors now highly recommend low carb diets because they are so successful in managing weight. They are about CUTTING OUT SUGAR. That’s what “low carb” means. Removing all those added sugars, the high-fructose corn syrup, the piles of starches in the modern diet. About refocusing on lean, healthy meats, on high quality vegetables, and on drinking ample water. I’ve reviewed numerous low carb books over the years and I can’t think of a single one that claimed one should live on steak, eggs, and fats. So this is simply a wild exaggeration that Turk shouldn’t have made.
So with that one caveat, I think the book offers a lot of value. Yes, it’s short. Yes, it’s about motivation and doesn’t have a meal plan or exercise plan for you. It assumes you can find those details in many other books. What it focuses on is how to get your mind redirected from its unhealthy obsessions with certain foods to a healthy desire for better foods.
I was provided a review copy of this book.
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