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Publisher's Summary

In this eye-opening audiobook, New York Times science writer Gina Kolata shows that our society's obsession with dieting and weight loss is less about keeping trim and staying healthy than about money, power, trends, and impossible ideals. Rethinking Thin is at once an account of the place of diets in American society and a provocative critique of the weight-loss industry. Kolata's account of four determined dieters' progress through a study comparing the Atkins diet to a conventional low-calorie one becomes a broad tale of science and society, of social mores and social sanctions, and of politics and power.
Rethinking Thin asks whether words like willpower are really applicable when it comes to eating and body weight. It dramatizes what it feels like to spend a lifetime struggling with one's weight and fantasizing about finally getting thin. It tells the little-known story of the science of obesity and the history of diets and dieting: scientific and social phenomena that have made some people rich and thin and left others fat and miserable. And it offers commonsense answers to questions about weight, eating habits, and obesity, giving us a better understanding of the weight that is right for our bodies.
©2007 Gina Kolata (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Kolata may be the best writer around covering the science of health...This book will change your thinking about weight, whether you struggle with it or not." ( Publishers Weekly)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By iBeth on 08-15-07

worth listening to

This book surveys the latest scientific obesity research--it is not a motivational diet book. In fact, other diet books seem rather naively hopeful once you hear this one. I have much more sympathy for severely obese people now, and I am more skeptical of panicked news reports about the obesity epidemic. Kolata never mentions the National Weight Control Registry, and I wondered why. She does very clearly outline complex information about genetic and hormonal influences on body weight, and the research stories are fascinating. This book is read well, though I preferred the reader for Kolata's earlier book, Ultimate Fitness.

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27 of 27 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 01-17-11

more than willpower

this book is about the neruoscience behind our BMI. most people stay within a 20-30 pound range for most of their adult lives without giving it much thought. for others, losing 20-30 pounds wouldn't even be that noticible. to sum up what the author is getting at, i'll give two of my own examples. first) when most people go sightseeing in a major city, they look at the buildings and shops, ect. when they get hungry, they begin focusing on the resturants where they are likey to eat a little too much. but after eating, they generally don't think about food again for hours. for really fat people (like myself), the resturants are what grab our imagination first. even if it's only been a few minutes since the last meal, our minds will focus on the all the tastes that there are to explore. thus even if we do succeed in losing weight, it becomes a 24/7/365 inner struggle not to gain it back. like a recovering alcoholic, the desire to relapse, to go binge, is always there, nagging loudly like a spoiled child. second) at the other end of the spectrum you have people like sylvester stalone. he did a movie once where he had to let himself go. stop working out and gain several pounds of fat. he's said it was one of the hardest things he's ever done. for him, the inner nag kept telling him to go workout. once filming was over, he lost weight and got back in shape with a speed almost everyone would envy. this book is about the emerging science and psycology that is trying to explain why stalone can't help being in shape; and why people like john candy have such a hard time simply losing weight. if i had one book i wish everyone would read, it's this one. it's not offering excuses or permission to be fat. rather it is trying to explain that for many people, changing their bodyweight takes more than willpower.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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