Review: Refuse to Regain by Dr. Barbara Berkeley

This is my review I posted on Amazon:

I have maintained my goal weight for 7 months (-55 lbs from my high weight) and was curious about this book. Previously I’ve studied National Weight Control Registry articles. An important finding of the NWCR is that there is not a single diet strategy that characterizes successful maintainers. So I find the focus Dr. Berkeley places on her primarian eating system puzzling.

I came around to understanding that as a weight loss physician she deals with patients who have undergone medical interventions to lose weight. She relates that she’s never seen someone maintain counting calories when we later learn she has furthermore never met anyone who lost their weight counting calories. I don’t count calories per se but I do track my food and find it elegant and effective.

If you’ve had weight loss surgery, medically supervised fasting or extreme exercise to lose weight this program is not a bad way to learn healthier diet. I think it’s unfortunate she has five rules on eating and one on exercise, but half the rules cover life skills like planning, support and attitude which I think is a big improvement over other lifestyle change books I’ve read.

I found her emphasis on being tough offputting. It is a problem focused attitude rather than possibility focused. Her “get mad” litany was particularly acrid. But I benefitted from the review of physiology and this is one of the first places I’ve read about glycogen, which has a big role in “water weight”.

I think entering my food into a website (of which there are several free ones) twice a day is much easier than banishing all sugars and starches from the home and workplace (fat free treats and alcohol excepted in Berkeley’s “primarian” plan.) And we learn toward the end she doesn’t believe in forcing others to eat as she does. I’m not saying her plan is unsound, it just doesn’t look sustainable. In the end, it takes internal motivation. Maybe this is the tiger mom path to self esteem.


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