Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking, a weekly blog hop of food posts.
In response to my previous posts where I mentioned reading 70 books and losing 70 pounds, some commentors have expressed interest in following a similar path. Here are those posts, for some background:
So, today, I’m pulling on my librarian hat and recommending some ways to make good choices of books to support a healthier lifestyle.
The first skill to develop is How to Skim a Book, so that you can quickly sort through many books to choose the ones that are most likely to work for you. Here’s my method. It works best for a physical book in hand, but Amazon often has enough information with the Look Inside feature to yield the same results.
How I Skim a Book
- Read the title and subtitle. Are they appealing? Not too pushy or overhyped?
- Meet the author. What can I learn from the jacket? Is the author a doctor or a therapist who has worked with many dieters? Does the author have a personal story that appeals to me?
- Scan the back cover. Is the concept interesting? Feasible?
- Flip to the Table of Contents
- Do the chapter titles cover topics that will help me?
- Does the way the book is structured make sense to me?
- Is there an index? If I learn something, I want a way to find it again.
- Is there a bibliography? Bibliographies help me find other good books to read.
- Read some random pages in the middle. Is the writing style one that I can stand to read? It might be asking too much to enjoy the writing in a diet book, but I want the narrative voice to be one that I can relate to with a tone that isn’t too annoying.
With a skimming skill in hand, here are three steps to reading books that will help you improve your health and diet:
Step One. Clear time for reading. How will you incorporate the reading of diet books in your other reading? Some suggestions:
- Make every third or fourth book you read a diet book
- Read a diet book at lunch time, saving other books for evenings
- Read a diet book in print, while something more fun resides on your e-reader (or vice versa)
Step Two. Select from a variety of books. Visit a well-stocked bookstore or library to get ideas of books that you may want to read or check on-line sites like Amazon or Goodreads. Skim the books to see if they seem good candidates for you, but remember that you can always abandon a title later if it doesn’t work for you. I suggest choosing at least one book in each of these categories:
- The food industry (like In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler, or Salt Sugar Fat by Michael Moss)
- Habits, thoughts, and behaviors (like The Beck Diet Solution by Judith Beck, The Eating Well Diet by Jean Harvey-Berino, or The Diet Fix by Yoni Freedhoff)
- Diets you’re curious about
Step Three. Get the books. If you’re going to read a lot of books, the library is your friend. Most libraries have books in print, audio, and electronic formats. You can always purchase, later, the books that suit you best.
What health books have had the biggest impact on your lifestyle?