Feel Great Lose Weight

Feel Great, Lose Weight – Review

Long term, simple habits for lasting and sustainable weight loss
by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

As the book title suggests, the message of the book is that feeling great comes before losing weight if you want to do this in a lasting and sustainable way. Dr Rangan Chatterjee, British physician, author, television presenter and podcaster, provides a pathway to losing weight without suffering hunger and fatigue – but rather as a new joyful lifestyle full of energy, and with a boosted self esteem.

It’s not you, it’s your environment

“You have entered a no-blame zone” proclaims the opening headline which is good to hear. If you are going to make life changes to improve your health and to enjoy a more active lifestyle, then beating yourself up and feeling bad about it seems a bad place to start!

Understanding how and why you gain weight beyond the sneery “calories in, calories out” is empowering and the knowledge shared in the book is designed to help you take the tiny but powerful steps towards losing weight. Chatterjee also explains in the introduction that “it’s not you, it’s your environment”. 

This may seem like a cop out but I strongly agree with Chatterjee. Like the proverbial frog in a pot of water slowly coming to boil, if you have lived in the UK for the last 30 years you may not have noticed how things have changed, but having spent much of the last 30 years outside the UK I can clearly see how the food environment has changed. Today supermarket shelves are laden with mouthwatering, ready-made, ready-to-eat, delicious, calorific food just waiting for the unsuspecting consumer to buy it and eat it. And I did! For the first three years of being back in the UK I was like a kid in a sweetie store, and with a helping hand from my menopause, I gained a good 8-10 kilos as a result.

“It’s not that we are lazier or greedier than any other generation, it’s that our environment is different”

Feel Great Lose Weight - ChatterjeeBut, as Chatterjee says: “…no society in the whole of history has been so surrounded by as many delicious and tempting calorie-rich foods as we are. On top of that, no previous human society has been expected to do work that requires such little physical activity… we’re more tired than ever, more stressed than ever … .” It’s not that we are lazier or greedier than any other generation, it’s that our environment is different. As Chatterjee explains later in the book, scientists in the food industry are actually up at night designing ways to make food even more desirable and accessible. Consider the irresistibility of salted caramel – invented in the 1970s!

Chatterjee suggests that just like a car with a faulty fuel gage, we’re also getting false signals telling us, for example, that we’re hungry even though we may not need that food. Just as you would fill up a car if the gauge indicated it was low on fuel, we too fill up when we get hunger signals. We are just behaving appropriately in response to the signals our body is giving us.

How to become our own mechanic

But we are not doomed. Science also works for us and we now know so much more about how things such as sleep, our emotions, our hormones, movement, basal metabolic rate, set point, weight point, and other factors affect how we consume food, and how our body uses it for energy and storage. Chatterjee explains that in the book he will teach us how to become our own mechanic, fix our signals, dial down our weight point and become slimmer without suffering hunger and fatigue. 

The 5-step pathway

The book is broken down into five sections that deal with:
  1. WHAT WE EAT – which talks about foods that increase cravings and over-activate our store-fat signals, and what to do about it.
  2. WHY WE EAT – which talks about emotions, sleep and stress, and how these factors affect how we eat, and how our body’s process food. Chatterjee provides simple techniques to help us in deal with stress and get better sleep.
  3. WHEN WE EAT – which talks about the body’s daily rhythms and how to leverage this knowledge to reduce hunger pangs and reset our signals.
  4. HOW WE EAT – which suggests that eating mindfully can help adjust the hunger signals, and
  5. WHERE WE EAT – which talks about how making tweaks to our environment can nudge us towards healthier habits.

The book is beautifully laid out and very easy to read with calming pictures, and lots of photos of Chatterjee living a healthy life. Lots. The book is also chock full of explanations of why/how/what/when, very actionable tips, case studies and advice, and I was busy with my underlining pen as I am sure you will be.

I don’t believe the book is designed for a quick read but rather to work your way through, taking time to try out the doctor’s suggestions and consider some of the many ideas he discusses. As Chatterjee explains, not every idea will work for every body, we are all different so you need to try things out for yourself and see what works for you.

Adopting new strategies

I was already on a self-designed programme to lose weight inspired by two other books I can happily recommend – Atomic Habits by James Clear, and Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg. ‘Feel Great, Lose Weight‘ came along as a very welcome support for my journey and I have adopted many new habits and strategies into my life from the book: I do have dumbbells in my kitchen now, I do eat more protein, I am eating more slowly to allow the fullness hormones to kick in, and I’ve adapted one of his de-stress ideas to help me get better sleep – to name a few.
Overall the book provides a guide for a healthier way to live so that ultimately you might benefits in many ways, not just in losing weight. It’s definitely the kind of book I will refer back to and it absolutely provided me the motivation and additional tools to carry on on my weight-loss journey.

Author: Katie McGregor, Love Life over 40

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