Cook Yourself Thin, cover

Channel 4 TV programme, Cook Yourself Thin

With its Channel 4 TV programme, Cook Yourself Thin is not just about losing weight and diets. It shows how to lose weight and still enjoy tasty and satisfying food.

Many have tried and know weight diets may result in short term weight loss but are not sufficiently enjoyable to stick at for the long term. As result the diet is dropped and the weight, and often more, soon returns. Channel 4’s programme and this book Cook Yourself Thin aim to change eating habits in a way that is sustainable over the long term so that weight is kept down. Cook Yourself Thin shows how it is possible to eat satisfying and tasty food and still lose weight or as the subtitle suggests: The Delicious Way to Drop a Dress Size.

Not a Diet Book but a Book of Everyday Tasty Recipes

Cook Yourself Thin claims to not be a diet book but a book of tasty and healthy recipes. Certainly the recipes tried work well and were indeed satisfying and tasty. They were good enough to be used as the basis for an informal supper party with non-dieting friends. The ones tried were:

  • Fennell and Lemon Baked Sea Bass
  • Strawberry and Honey Cream Tart
  • Lemon Meringue Mess in particular was excellent and is worth cooking even if not on a diet.

Many of the recipes are reworked versions of well-known dishes so the reader does not have to give up their favourite meals to lose weight. The book is well produced on heavy paper, important as Cook Yourself Thin is likely to be in frequent use and will need to stand up to everyday wear and tear.

Encouraging a New Attitude to Food and Cooking to Help Weight Loss

The first part of the book details the causes of weight gain and why so many people struggle to keep their weight under control. In that respect it does feel a little traditional but Cook Yourself Thin soon moves on to explaining how a change of attitude to food and cooking will help the reader to lose weight.

A key problem is that many people do not take control of what goes into their food. Restaurant, take-away and ready meals tend to be highly fattening. Low-fat options tend to compensate with increased sugar to maintain flavour. It is not helpful that the description on menus and packaging is complex and unclear – 90% fat-free means that the dish can be 10% fat for example. Cook Yourself Thin gives many other examples of misleading descriptions.

Quick and Easy Weight Loss Recipes for Busy People

The answer according to Cook Yourself Thin is to take control of making one’s own meals. The authors recognise that people have busy lives, as the authors do, and cooking can seem too much effort at the end of a busy day. The answer, they suggest, is not a ready meal but to buy the basic ingredients once a week so that a healthy meal can be prepared in minutes from the contents of the cupboard or refrigerator. Many of the everyday recipes in Cook Yourself Thin can be cooked in less time than it would take to queue for a pre-prepared meal.

The approach in Cook Yourself Thin is not to go on a diet but to tweak one’s diet and take more control of what one eats. It is a sensible, and more importantly, a sustainable and healthy lifestyle choice to be thinner without sacrificing the enjoyment of food.

Healthy Weight Loss and the Enjoyment of Food are Both Possible

Cook Yourself Thin is the healthy choice and provides the double benefit of being able to lose weight and get more enjoyment from food even with a busy life. Cook Yourself Thin is not a book about dieting, it is a book about eating well in every sense of the word. The suggested small changes to the way the reader thinks about food and painless changes to behaviour should provide huge benefits. Cook Yourself also recognises occasional indulgence, as shown in the attached photograph, is an essential part of sticking to a sensible weight diet.

The reader should not be put off by the idea of cooking. The recipes are straightforward, easy to follow and only need basic equipment. If there is a criticism it is that some of the quantities seem overly precise and whilst others are rather vague. However the recipes work so the new cook should not worry about it.

The approach of minor changes to ones approach to one’s diet, rather than dieting as a one-off exercise, works and is sustainable over the long term as enjoyment of food and healthy weight loss are both possible. The reviewer had already successfully adopted a similar approach and will be using Cook Yourself Thin to expand his repertoire of quick and tasty food.

Cook Yourself Thin, The Delicious Way to Drop a Dress Size (2007. ISBN:9780718153519) by Harry Eastwood, Gizzi Erskine, Sal Henley and Sophie Michell is being republished in paperback by Penguin on 9 August 2010 in conjunction with the second series of the Channel 4 Television Programme Cook Yourself Thin.


First appeared on Suite101

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