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Overtired? Overweight? The Solution

Clarion Review (2 Stars)

“This is not rocket science. If you burn up more calories than you consume, you will lose weight,” writes Peter Taylor, explaining his system of dropping pounds and increasing energy. His book, Overtired? Overweight? The Solution, gives readers a pocket-sized reference couched in simple, no-nonsense terms for handy reference.

Taylor is an English health and nutrition counselor who has taught physical education and owned and managed health spas and leisure centers. Taylor says he spent years working with clients who were exhausted, overweight, and discouraged. He developed a regimen for helping them that can also be used as a self-help plan.

There are no shortcuts to his method. In his opinion, there are two kinds of people suffering from weight and energy problems: those who don’t understand the science, and those who understand it but choose not to “make the sacrifice” needed to improve their health. He describes the difference between slow and fast release of carbohydrates in foods, and he advises readers to choose slow-release foods, such as unprocessed high-fiber offerings, and avoid “fast” foods high in sugar and gluten.

With simple charts, he contrasts the nutrition in a diet composed of processed foods with one composed mainly of whole foods. He gives examples of a balanced diet that is low in acidic foods, such as meat, and high in alkaline (potassium rich) foods, such as brassicas (cabbages and mustards). His two-month diet regimen includes muesli (unsweetened granola) for breakfast, vegetable and grain soups for lunch (“you are about to become a soup magician”), and meat or fish, whole grains, and root vegetables for supper. Dessert is off limits. Taylor swears by the efficacy of this regimen, offering glowing reports from those he has treated.

Taylor’s “booklet,” as he rightly describes it, is sixty-eight pages with a few black-and-white illustrations. On the front cover is a color photograph of a large man having his (probably high) blood pressure checked, alongside one of an older man who appears fit and happy, leaping in the air. Point made.

The author uses English terms (“pudding” for “dessert,” “crisps” for “chips”) and spellings (fibre), and it lacks the flash and hype of American diet books, which may mean limited success on this side of the Atlantic.

Overtired? Overweight? The Solution may strike some dedicated readers of diet self-help literature as short on the depth of research or case histories common to the genre. But Taylor’s book is a handy, straightforward reference. He doesn’t waste words, wheedle his readers, or make elaborate promises.

Barbara Bamberger Scott