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Motivation & Inspiration

At ACMC we believe in a team approach. We work with you to keep you motivated to meet your weight loss goals. We hope these suggested readings will keep you informed on the latest thoughts related to overweight and obesity.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
by Michael Pollan

Food. There's plenty of it around, and we all love to eat it. So why should anyone need to defend it?

Because most of what we're consuming today is not food, and how we're consuming it — in the car, in front of the TV, and increasingly alone — is not really eating. Instead of food, we're consuming "edible foodlike substances" — no longer the products of nature but of food science. Many of them come packaged with health claims that should be our first clue they are anything but healthy. In the so-called Western diet, food has been replaced by nutrients, and common sense by confusion. The result is what Michael Pollan calls the American paradox: The more we worry about nutrition, the less healthy we seem to become.

But if real food — the sort of food our great grandmothers would recognize as food — stands in need of defense, from whom does it need defending? From the food industry on one side and nutritional science on the other. Both stand to gain much from widespread confusion about what to eat, a question that for most of human history people have been able to answer without expert help. Yet the professionalization of eating has failed to make Americans healthier. Thirty years of official nutritional advice has only made us sicker and fatter while ruining countless numbers of meals.

Pollan proposes a new (and very old) answer to the question of what we should eat that comes down to seven simple but liberating words: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. By urging us to once again eat food, he challenges the prevailing nutrient-by-nutrient approach — what he calls nutritionism — and proposes an alternative way of eating that is informed by the traditions and ecology of real, well-grown, unprocessed food. Our personal health, he argues, cannot be divorced from the health of the food chains of which we are part.

In Defense of Food shows us how, despite the daunting dietary landscape Americans confront in the modern supermarket, we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. We can relearn which foods are healthy, develop simple ways to moderate our appetites, and return eating to its proper context — out of the car and back to the table. Michael Pollan's bracing and eloquent manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.

Pollan's last book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, launched a national conversation about the American way of eating; now In Defense of Food shows us how to change it, one meal at a time.


Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis, and What We Can Do About It
by Kelly D. Brownell

The war against obesity must go beyond personal responsibility and will power to encompass a Gandhian mass movement against a food industry and a social order intent on fattening us, argues this fact-filled but ferocious manifesto. The authors, academics with the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, contend that our abundant, super-sized meals and our modern, sedentary lifestyles have formed a "toxic environment" that indulges our genetic fat-storage proclivities to a pathological degree. The result is an "epidemic" of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and low self-esteem. Brownell and Horgen blame these side effects on a car-centric culture that has virtually criminalized walking (27% of adult Americans, they report, get "no physical activity at all") while parking kids in front of television, video games and computers and eliminating gym classes from cash-strapped schools. But the worst villain of the book is the politically powerful food industry, which, the authors say, plies us with cheap fat and sugar while keeping healthier foods scarce and expensive, bribes schools to sell children soft drinks, and bombards children with junk-food ads from the moment they leave the womb. The authors recast the usual diet-and-exercise discourse in the rhetoric of social justice, calling for a grass-roots mobilization to fight Big Food, a "national strategic plan," and specific measures like junk-food taxes and banning ads that target children. Libertarians may consider this the worst kind of victimology. But the evergreen subject of American gluttony and sloth brings out the best in scientist-advocates, and the authors, while drawing on a mountain of statistics and studies, make their indictment both funny and appalling.


"I'm, Like, So Fat!": Helping Your Teen Make Healthy Choices about Eating and Exercise in a Weight-Obsessed World
by Dianne Neumark-Sztainer PhD

Hit the gym for a workout—but sit for hours at your computer. Supersize your value meals—but downsize your waistline. Today's media-saturated teenagers are bombarded with mixed messages that distort their self-image and lead many to overeat and others to starve themselves. When "I feel fat" becomes a teen's common refrain, how can worried parents respond constructively? With "I'm, Like, SO Fat!" Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer shows parents how to strike the difficult balance between bolstering self-esteem and offering constructive advice. Drawing on her landmark study, Project EAT (Eating Among Teens), and her experience as a mother of four, Neumark-Sztainer offers a wealth of science-based, practical ideas for instilling healthy eating and exercise habits, educating teens about nutrition and portion size, and talking about body image. Here is a rock-solid foundation that parents everywhere can build on to help their teens stay fit, eat well, and feel good about their looks in a world where too-perfect bodies are used to sell everything from cosmetic surgery to fast food.