New Required Reading for Dieters

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

We are a nation of armchair dieters, who love to curl up (or stand at the kitchen counter) with a good Don't Eat This; Do Eat That guide. Money may be tight. Our pants may be tighter, and still, diet books sell: Master Your Metabolism, a drop-the-flab plan from NBC's Biggest Loser Guru Jillian Michael's has been on the New York Times Bestseller list for Hardcovers (at $26! in a recession!) for 36 weeks. Skinny Bitch, a book that basically berated readers for being big fat lazy slobs was a home run with women. Naturally, marketers of this hard-core in-your-face diet trend view it as much needed medicine for the masses. It's 'bootcamp' model--give a woman a plan, make her do it. She'll love you for the kick in the ass. Americans buy it, yes. Succeed on it? Notsomuch.

A high-performance diet book like Skinny Bitch or anything written by Jillian Michaels is only as effective as the woman holding the pages. She has to be focused and motivated--on a daily basis--to achieve a long-term goal. When I look around, I see very few women hyper-focused on weight loss.

In fact, I see the exact opposite: Women lead incredibly fragmented lives. We're tweeting and texting; we've got multiple accounts and we're crazy-connected. Focused, we are not.
A Polish sociologist named Zygmunt Bauman, dubbed this idea 'liquid modernity" and you can read more about it in a well-done piece on how adaptable and flexible we must be at make matters worse, we are also living in a world of NOW-ism, a term coined recently by to explain how we want everything right now, right here in real time.

I'm no reader of the stars but it appears as though my Fat Butt Planet is about to collide at a really weird angle with my Fat Head, and I am not going to see diet success in 2010.

My question to you: Who is the guru who will change my diet forecast in 2010? Who will write the Holy Grail that changes the mindset of this over-sized, under-motivated country? Maybe it will be the Po Bronson style writers, so successful with books like What Should I Do With My Life? I beg him to write: What Should I Do WIth My Body? this year. Maybe our required reading will come from a business type, someone like John Kotter, who wrote so convincingly about how businesses can lead change without panic in A Sense of Urgency. (I would beg him to write a new title called Leading Body Change: Why You Should Have a Sense of Urgency.)

Those are my fantasy titles, of course. They are all the anti-diet approach, a backlash to The Four Hour Weight Loss Week for Skinny Bitches Who Want Flat Abs trend.

I am pleased to say I think we're moving in a new direction. Michael Pollan's upcoming book, Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, will be published in January. In fact, when he asked for reader feedback on their own rules to live by, he got an astounding 2,500 responses in a matter of days.

Until then, for my mental and physical health, I will be spending hours meditating on new titles while doing the Sun Salutation Series. Not only does it build functional strength, flexibility in your quads and hips and improve your lung capacity--it's like a mental washing machine on stressful days). I do it for 10 minutes straight when I am truly stressed. Check out The Athletes Guide to Yoga, which includes a DVD. To check out reviews: check out Barnes & Noble. Afterwards I'll treat myself to the raspberry sauce in Cook Yourself Thin. Want to try the recipe? What do you consider sane, fresh, new required-diet reading? Let me know here.