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The 5 Reasons Why We OvereatReview - The 5 Reasons Why We Overeat
How to Develop a Long-Term Weight-Control Plan That's Right for You
by Cynthia G. Last
Birch Lane Press, 1998
Review by Margo McPhillips
Jul 4th 1999 (Volume 3, Issue 27)

This was the most exciting, straightforward, and easy-to-follow self-help book I’ve ever read. It was almost a step-by-step guidebook, which is where my personal alarm bells started ringing. Life experience has no guidebooks.

The premise of this book is that Cynthia Last, a seasoned clinical psychologist, journal editor, and book writer, can teach the reader how to create a personal plan to lose and control their weight. It is definitely not a diet book, but if one follows the plan they create using this book as a tool, Last almost provides a written guarantee of success at losing weight. Within five pages I understood that as a result of reading this book, I would either lose weight (and I would like to lose 125 pounds) or there was something wrong with me as a person. It was the hardest book I’ve ever made myself read.

The astute review reader will realize that the book’s premise and my understanding are not in accordance with one another. The book teaches the reader how to create a plan, not how to lose weight. I can create a plan better than most people but, so far, I haven’t be able to lose weight.

The author explains the personal psychology of why one overeats and how to make a plan based on one’s psychological "eating profile," to counteract those habits. The possibility of one’s psychology or habits not fitting neatly into a single profile is well covered too. There is even a chapter at the end of the book on exercise and what exercises might be preferred based on what psychological eating profile the reader fits. Nevertheless, even with some good advice on how to counteract resistance to your plan, the final word is merely, "persevere".

This book cannot teach me about life and losing weight because it is a book. It cannot get enough depth or personalization to know, understand, and interact with my history/Self. However, I like very much that the author tried. Many readers will find, or will act as if, Last and her plan building are enough, and for them, it may be. I think it’s often true that if one is able to make a plan and follow it, success is almost guaranteed. This method has most success working with inanimate objects. For instance, I can read directions and with the right tools and a little skill, build a bookcase.

With this book, Last has given me valuable tools to help me in my struggle to lose weight. Using those tools and my own self knowledge I plan to put what I have learned to personal, practical use to begin losing weight. Because of this book, I am more hopeful now that I can win that struggle.


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