Book Review: The Start Here Diet

Author: Tosca Reno (with Billie Fitzpatrick)
Publisher: Appetite by Random house of Canada
Publish Date: 2013

Tosca Reno, co-author with Billie Fitzpatrick of The Start Here Diet, is not the first writer to tackle the issue of weight loss. Given the steadily increasing number of North Americans dealing with this challenge, from those struggling with the extra ten pounds gained over the holidays to the more serious cases of obesity, she is not likely to be the last. However Reno does bring a fresh approach to the age old question: How to lose the excess weight and keep it lost?

Today, Tosca Reno is an internationally known and respected Canadian nutritionist, weight loss specialist, fitness trainer, motivational speaker and, yes – best-selling author; but ‘twas not always so. Like all successes, hers did not come easily, nor overnight. However, as her story details, the struggle paid off and provided her with a treasure trove of tools to share. The author comes well prepared to the task at hand, complete with the experience honed from her own lengthy struggles with weight gain, including the ‘yo-yo’ dieting syndrome. The Start Here Diet is full of very useful tools and how-to’s that Reno has condensed down to three basic steps; steps that are simple to understand and easy to follow.

  • Step 1: Dive Inward. The reader is encouraged to identify the emotional triggers for overeating, the self-defeating ‘self-talk’ and the reason you really want to get back to your ideal, healthy weight. This isn’t Pollyanna talk; the woman gets real, sharing from her own journals kept during the course of her journey. Reno’s willingness to lay bare her own vulnerability as a means to giving others a leg up is unique and powerful.
  • Step 2: Uncover Your Hidden Foods. You know – the ones you just can’t live without; you know what they are – the ones you eat often and mindlessly. Be they salty or sweet, they’re full of empty calories, and you will be challenged to learn how to identify, and then replace, these non-friendly tidbits with nutritious foods that you can enjoy without gaining weight.
  • Step 3: Move a Little! No need to join an expensive gym or find excuses to delay (or skip altogether) lengthy daily workouts at home. The author offers fifty basic and easy-to-do movements that will improve strength, tone and overall health. Heck, she even promises that moving just a little – even for only fifteen minutes a day – will reshape the body and get you started on the road to success.

As I read through the personal stories revealed through the course of TSHD, I did indeed experience what Reno promises the reader in the book’s introduction: I felt I was being coached by a trusted mentor, someone who’s been in the trenches and has survived to tell the tale – and has brought back the survivor’s handbook to boot.

Forgiveness looms large as a theme in The Start Here Diet; that’s self forgiveness and anyone who’s dieted and failed (even once) knows the pain of that unique flavour of self-recrimination. Reno exhorts the reader to believe in herself/himself and to “imagine a life of joy you thought was out of reach.”

Beyond such emotional and psychological support, she promises real and essential tools and she delivers – from shopping and cooking tips to meal plans and yummy recipes to nourish, and not just fill, the body. Tosca says, “The Start Here Diet is all about cherishing you.” And it appears she does, she really does. Do you? If your answer is “No” or even “I don’t think so”, maybe this book will help you to start the journey down that road.

Bonnie Black is a former editor, and current contributor, to Vitality magazine.

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