A reasonable and accessible treatise on why losing weight is often so hard.

SUPERSIZED LIES

HOW MYTHS ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS ARE KEEPING US FAT — AND THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT REALLY WORKS

A nutritional guide debunks some misconceptions surrounding weight loss.

Weight-loss advice is everywhere, and yet it can often be contradictory. Is diet more important than exercise? Does fasting, avoiding carbs, or counting calories work? What about all the supplements and meal plans? With this book, Davis dives into the confusing and often false messaging surrounding weight loss. He demonstrates that the weight-loss industry has produced spurious solutions going back to its origins in the 19th century. The problem has only gotten more tangled with time. Ubiquitous junk food, social media echo chambers, shoddy research, lax journalistic standards, financial incentives, and a host of cognitive biases convince readers that the newest trend is proven to work when the evidence isn’t there or the results are only temporary. This landscape has made it more difficult than ever to get into a desirable shape while simultaneously creating unrealistic standards and making people feel ashamed for their inability to shed pounds. Chapter by chapter, the author confronts some of the most salient ideas about weight loss, exploring their history and dissecting them using the latest science. He even tackles what he says might be the biggest lie of all: that dieting and exercise reliably contribute to weight loss. The book is appropriately slim but packed with information. Davis, with a background in both journalism and public health, writes with authority and candor. “There’s no question that exercise is essential for good health,” he argues. “But it’s unrealistic to count on exercise to produce weight loss, and doing so can keep people from enjoying the many benefits of physical activity by causing them to become discouraged and give up when it doesn’t deliver as promised.” The manual is inherently intriguing, even for those lucky people not looking to lose weight. Diet is a foundational aspect of daily life, and learning how misunderstood certain aspects of it are makes for engaging reading. There are areas of the author’s argument that some might quibble with, but his ultimate weight-loss suggestions—yes, he does believe it is possible—are surprisingly simple and difficult to refute.

A reasonable and accessible treatise on why losing weight is often so hard.

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 141

Publisher: Everwell Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2021

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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GREENLIGHTS

All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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