Friday, December 10, 2010

Healthy Living Weekly Post: The Ultimate Weight Solution book review (Part 3)

I am continuing my review of Dr. Phil McGraw's book The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. You can read parts 1 and 2 of my review here and here. (BTW - this is just my review of a book I happened to pick up to read as I strive to read books that will encourage me in healthy lifestyle habits.)

Dr. Phil's sixth key to weight loss freedom is Intentional Exercise. The chapter starts with the story of a lady who lost 100 pounds by deciding to be more active and exercise regularly. One thing that encouraged me about her story is that she gained most of her weight during difficult times when her husband was out of work and they were struggling to make ends meet. She coped with these problems by overeating. I am so excited that Robbie and I have actually taken this time to make better lifestyle choices by eating healthier and exercising regularly.

Intentional Exercise involves finding an exercise that is motivating for you and that you can do and enjoy. It also involves planning your exercise schedule, actually putting it on your calendar like all your other appointments. My two main exercises right now are working well for me. I enjoy the strength training routine because I have been able to increase the amount of weight I am able to lift and I can see definition in my arm and leg muscles. I also enjoy the stationary bike because I can read while I ride. Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, one that I've enjoyed for as long as I can remember. Getting this exercise session in each day guarantees I'll get in at least 30 minutes of reading even on the busiest days. I can do both of these exercises at home which is another plus for me. Robbie is also using the stationary bike every morning, riding for 20 minutes while he watches an episode of Seinfeld (he's been riding regularly for the past three months and is now well into season six!).

I really like Dr. Phil's suggestion to "consequate" your exercise session. Basically this means giving yourself a reward, having the reward contingent on completing the exercise session. I do this on days that I'm having trouble getting motivated to exercise. I tell myself that after I exercise, I'll take time to read some blogs or work on the puzzle or sit out on the patio a while. In reality, I could do these things anyway without exercising, but when I make them contingent on getting my exercise done I seem to enjoy them more.

Another key to success with exercise is monitoring your progress. I keep a record in my calendar for each exercise session. I record the weights I use and the time, level, and miles for the exercise bike. Over the past three months, I have gone from 30 minutes on level one to 30 minutes on level three on the stationary bike! Robbie had been on level 3 for a while when I first mentioned I thought I was ready to move up to it. A day or so later he informed me I could "feel free to move up now because he was already on level 4." LOL You just have to love some fun competitive exercise motivation!

Which leads me right in to the seventh key, Circle of Support. This last key addresses the people in your life who will either encourage or discourage your healthy lifestyle changes. In this step, I am so fortunate that Robbie has truly embraced all of the lifestyle changes with me. He is exercising regularly, we go to the farmer's market together and have a great time sampling all the fresh fruits and vegetables, then come home with several bags of goodness. We have both been trying out new recipes. Robbie even adapted his pumpkin pie recipe to eliminate the crust and make it less fattening. We have switched from whole eggs to eggbeaters (or a combination of eggs and eggbeaters) for many recipes and are both conscious of choosing lower fat options when we do the grocery shopping.

The book ends with a chapter about various physiological conditions that can cause resistance to weight loss and a chapter reminding us that weight is managed over our lifetime, not something we merely pay attention to until we reach our desired weight and then resume our former eating and exercise habits.

Overall I enjoyed the book and felt that it provided good information about weight loss primarily focused on healthy living as opposed to a special diet to lose weight. I like the fact that Dr. Phil stresses these are changes to be made for a lifetime.


  1. Melissa - I've been following this review and it sounds like a fairly good book. It also sounds a lot like common sense - do you think it is worth purchasing (is it a keeper?) or should I check the library?

  2. After reading your reviews, I've put the book on hold at my library. Thank you!!

  3. I definitely think this is a keeper book, for reference and for motivation. (I found this book at a used book store for ¼ of the original price.) Each chapter contains one or more assessments to help you determine how you are doing with each key. They would be good to re-take after a while to see how your habits have improved or to note areas that still need to be worked on. I am personally going to review the sample meal plans in January.


Thanks so much for your comment - it's like a ray of sunshine in my day!