Friday, March 19, 2010

Nonfiction Review: The Eden Diet

The Eden Diet by Dr. Rita Hancock is not actually a diet book at all. It’s more of a whole and healthy approach to eating and food for Christians who want to lose weight. I’m not actually the target market for this book, since I am not a practicing Christian nor have I ever had a weight problem (though I would like to lose 5 pounds), but I still found it to be informative and helpful.

Dr. Hancock approaches weight-loss from the unique perspective of being both a medical doctor who has studied obesity and nutrition as well as someone who herself grew up overweight, lost 75 pounds, and has kept that excess weight off for over 25 years. Her book is a distinctive blend of science, personal experience, and religion, equally referencing scientific studies and the Bible.

Her premises on weight loss are refreshingly compassionate and common sense: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full, reduce portion sizes, and use your spiritual base to help support your efforts. Here, she explains why she called her book The Eden Diet:

If we had lived in Eden, we would have eaten only when we were hungry, and we would have eaten less. Therefore, we would have automatically reached our ideal weight without trying.

Instead of food being the center of our universe, God would have been the center. We wouldn’t even have thought about food until we felt hungry. That’s right – we would have eaten primarily for sustenance and in response to our God-given internal hunger signals, not to escape boredom or to fill our emotional or spiritual voids.

And we would have eaten any food that was readily available without regard to whether it was good or bad for us. We wouldn’t have had consciences about such things.

With the Eden Diet, there are no bad foods, no difficult-to-maintain restrictions. Dr. Hancock describes how to retrain your body to recognize its natural hunger and fullness signals so that you can give up traditional restrictive dieting for good. She delves into underlying emotions and conditioning that may cause you to overeat, and explains in detail how Christian beliefs support this type of natural approach.

The Eden Diet is perfect for Christians who want to lose weight and live in a way that is consistent with their beliefs. It is especially relevant for people who have struggled with weight loss and with various diets for many years and will help them to finally say good-bye to unhealthy habits and yo-yo dieting. The Eden Diet Workbook is also available, to help readers apply the concepts of The Eden Diet to their own lives. You can learn more about the program, Dr. Hancock, and local support groups at The Eden Diet website.

(Full Disclosure: The author of The Eden Diet is one of my oldest and dearest friends. However, I would not write a review of her book unless I truly thought that it was worthwhile, since the purpose of this blog is to recommend good books. I was quite pleased to find that my wonderful friend’s best qualities – her intelligence, compassion, and sense of humor – come across beautifully in her book.)

224 pages, Zondervan Boooks