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August 10, 2005

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The fad-free approach to sensible weight loss The fad-free approach to sensible weight loss (August 10, 2005)

Books and Websites offer advice on how to shed pounds in a practical, healthy manner

by Stanford Library

Diet fads come and go and Americans just keep getting fatter. We are bombarded by a plethora of diet choices, all promising weight loss.

We all know that eating right can make us feel better and protect us from a number of chronic diseases, including cancer, diabetes, osteroporosis and heart disease. Low fat, low carb, low calorie - what works? What diet is best for a long, healthy life?

In the short term, many popular diets will result in weight loss. But to maintain that weight loss it takes a permanent change in behavior. People have to eat less and move more. It sounds deceptively simple, but it is tougher than it sounds.

So how does one go about losing weight safely and sanely? There are a variety of resources available that offer the tools needed to help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. Many of these resources can be found at the Stanford Health Library.

The Mayo Clinic on Healthy Weight, by Donald Hensrud, is a good place to start. It includes sections on getting motivated, losing weight and preparing healthy food to make it happen. There is easy-to-understand information to help individuals determine their healthiest weight. One section really sets this book apart: "The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid" is a color-coded guide to eating right. It describes five steps to healthy eating and identifies the "best of the best" foods to eat. The plan focuses on fruits and vegetables, allowing unlimited consumption of these healthy, affordable foods. The Mayo Clinic on Healthy Weight is on the shelves of the Stanford Health Library and is available online on the Health Library Web site ( To access E-books from home, you must create a free account. (Contact the Health Library by phone or e-mail for help in creating your account.)

Another useful tool available at the Health Library is the Real Solutions Weight Loss Workbook, by Toni Piechota, M.S., R.D. Published by the American Dietetic Association, this book is both informative and motivational. It focuses on behavior modification, showing readers how to set realistic goals and to monitor their own eating habits. Exercises are included that aim to change negative thinking and guide readers toward a successful outcome. The workbook also includes basic facts about eating and exercising for weight loss, with calorie tables, food diaries, body mass index calculations and more.

An annual publication from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is the White Paper on Nutrition and Weight Control for Longevity. Based on the latest research, the information contained in this book provides an up-to-date look at all aspects of nutrition and weight control. Among the weight control topics addressed in the 2005 edition are: metabolism; factors affecting body weight; the medical consequences of obesity, and lifestyle, medical and surgical treatments for weight loss. A glossary at the end of the book aids understanding of the sometimes complex research. A listing of health information organizations, support groups and leading weight control centers is also useful.

The Health Library Web site contains links to a number of free resources that can help you lose weight. Go to to see them. There are some other Web sites, that are also of note, for the quality of information they provide. Two sites that allow you to keep a food and exercise diary are: and ( is an award-winning site that provides links to some excellent online resources that can help you lose weight. Be wary, though, there are links on this site that try to sell you products that are of questionable value.

For help with any of the resources mentioned above or to explore further free of charge services, visit, phone or e-mail the Stanford Health Library. Branches are located at the Stanford Shopping Center near Bloomingdales'; on the third floor of Stanford Hospital or on the main level of Stanford's new Cancer Center. Call the Health Library at (650) 725-8400 or e-mail to [email protected]

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