By Crabby McSlacker
Does anyone else out there struggle with eating too much, or eating the wrong things, or not feeling sufficiently motivated to exercise?
Even those of us with fancy degrees and initials after our names, who've studied this stuff extensively for decades and know exactly what we should be doing... we often screw it up just as badly as anyone else does. We may even be in the "healthy weight" range, yet only manage it with much unnecessary angst, inconsistency, martyrdom, acting out, and ill-tempered griping.
So WTF is up with that? Why can't our highly evolved brains save us from self-defeating decisions? And how do we best deal with the seemingly ridiculous problem of not being able to control our own behavior?
Elizabeth Babcock's Why We Overeat and How to Stop isn't a magical solution to overeating. Alas, there is no magical solution. But I think it's as good a book as I've ever read on the subject, and I found myself with many new helpful insights into my cherished but often maladaptive ways. She provided a number of new strategies and practical tips , as well as the motivational boost that comes from taking a fresh look at old assumptions.
Bottom line: I'd highly recommend you buy the book. But heck, you might as well try to win it for free first, right? We've got a physical copy if you like (and are from the U.S.) but also have an (admittedly low-tech) electronic option, so as not to leave out folks who are not from the United States.
So, what's so great about it and why do I recommend it so highly? And how do you win a copy?
There are no claims in this book that there is one special diet or exercise plan that works for everyone. Instead, you get a framework for understanding the problem at a deep level, general principles of good nutrition and exercise, and strategies for brainstorming your own solutions, ones that most likely to work for you given your own unique challenges and priorities. But there are also plenty of concrete suggestions and examples.
Probably the best way to get a sense of the scope of the book is to check out the Amazon page and hit the "look inside" thingy. Note that the table of contents page is not only sensible, but really really long. She covers the "why's" of overeating, which you really need to know in order to figure out the "hows" of cutting it the heck out. Plenty of chapters on the "hows" too though.
The writing is reassuringly smart but approachable, and, thank goodness, not preachy or cutesy or condescending. The psychological and physiological stuff is covered in easy-to-understand, relatable terms.
2. Quite a Bit of Her Book Sounds Like Crabby but Without All the Swearing.
No gratuitous nudity either! Can you imagine?
To the extent that I'm ever successful in taming my gluttonous tendencies, its because I've stumbled on some of the same principles she advocates, though she's bettter at explaining and implementing them and has nailed a lot other nuances I hadn't thought of.
(On the other hand, some of my more peculiar experiments and strategies, the ones that make no sense to anyone but me yet I stubbornly employ and blog about anyway, aren't included in her book. Go figure!)
3. Why We Overeat Explores and Leverages a Key Insight I'd Totally Been Overlooking
It's a simple notion and one that's so intuitive once she explains it. Much better than I can, but I'll give it a shot:
The main reason we behave in counterproductive ways is because in our brains, our limbic system calls the shots, not our cerebral cortex. I.e, our "emotional" processing is older, quicker, and way more powerful than our newly evolved "logical" thinking capacity. So trying to use only the brute force of willpower to get ourselves do what is "smart" is never going to work. We need emotional buy-in or willpower will fail.
Duh, right? Makes so much sense from that perspective. Yet I persist in trying to believe the "thinking" me is in charge of what I end up doing. I go around making all kinds of optimistic plans, then don't follow through because I just don't wanna. Yet I don't use my clever cerebral cortex enough to skillfully manipulate my limbic system to reward the right behavior. I just walk away thinking FAIL and do the same shit over again the next time.
Another reason you should think about buying this book?
Elizabeth is not a famous person with a big book deal. (Yet?)
Instead, she's just incredibly knowledgeable and has solid clinical experience to back up the research, insight, and advice she shares.
And, on a personal level, it became quickly apparent to me from our email correspondence that she's extremely intelligent, conscientious, grounded, sincere, and, well, nice.
How old fashioned, right?
In the world we live in now, where at least temporarily, greed triumphs over compassion, "alternative facts" carry more weight than real ones, and those who make outlandish appeals to illogical and wishful thinking end up on top, I feel like it's important to support people who don't go that route. Those who do their homework, make thoughtful, valuable contributions, and don't trumpet exaggerated and misleading claims about their methods, even if quick fixes are a much easier sell in our culture.
So How Do You Win a Copy of this Fine Book for Your Very Own?
First off: go for it! Enter! Your chances of winning are excellent! Cranky Fitness is coming back from a long hiatus, so only a small hardy band of regulars even read the damn thing, and few will probably bother to comment, and even half of them will say they're not needing a copy and are just stopping by to say hi.
We'll do the random drawing thing in a week. So just leave a comment either here or on the sad little Cranky Fitness Facebook Page. You can even leave a different comment on each if you want two chances to win. I'll fire up the ol' RNG and announce the winner next Monday May 15th.
Note: if you are not from the U.S., or would otherwise prefer an PDF (long story) to a physical copy, please let us know so we can allocate properly.
Should you win, please email me within a week (see Schmooze page for how) and let me know your contact info so I can hook you up.
What happens if you win, but don't come back to check and email Crabby within another week? Well, sorry sweetcheeks, but I ain't hunting you down. I'm afraid I'll just have to give YOUR copy to someone else.
Ooops, and I almost forgot, here are links for Elizabeth Babcock's Counseling Page where you can read more about her, as well as The Whole You Health Blog where she's got some more great resources to share.
Or goodness, you could also just go ahead and spring for Why We Overeat and How to Stop on Amazon and just pop down in the comments to say hi!