Book Review: The Complete Beck Diet for Life by Dr. Judith Beck

I often get asked what weight loss books I recommend to patients, and before last year, I really did not have any. The plethora of weight loss, nutrition, and diet books is so extensive that it is difficult to determine which one is even worth purchasing. My goal with these book reviews is to give you some feedback on books written by people with scientific knowledge on the subject at hand. I also sought out books from which most people could learn something, even if they do not completely agree with the author’s approach.

I was tipped off on the book The Complete Beck Diet for Life by a former patient of mine who said, “You should read her book because what you advise is very similar to her approach.” This spiked my curiosity, of course, so I did what any Millennial would do and ordered it on Amazon. The book arrived on a Tuesday and I had it finished that following Saturday. The book was an easy read, and the author’s approach was so akin to the way I work with patients that I wanted to keep reading. It was refreshing to read about weight loss as a behavioral change and process versus eliminating carbohydrates or going vegan. Dr. Beck’s approach and the way she structured the book, in my opinion, was truly aimed at getting readers to address issues they have had with foods throughout their lifetimes instead of going on another fad diet.

The book is divided into sections. Following the introduction, the first section is completely dedicated to changing behaviors towards food, along with addressing eating patterns, changing mealtime environments, and looking at dietary choices on a deeper level. The author breaks down these changes into stages with each stage building on the completion of the first. Dr. Beck urges readers not to skip any section in order to get to the “how and what to eat” faster, since she views behavioral change as more important than food selection. I strongly recommend this book for that point alone.

Many people are so eager to lose weight and find the magic solution, but few can slow down and figure out what has prevented them from losing weight, or failing to keep it off, in the past. I counsel patients daily on identifying triggers and helping them change pieces of their daily schedule that may be setting them up for failure, but few follow through on some of the basic behavioral exercises I give them, like writing down their goals, reading them daily, or even writing out a weekly grocery list. It is hard enough to convince clients to keep a food log! If weight loss and health and so important to us, then why are we so adverse to spending time on addressing it? I found this book to be inspirational, especially since I know there are other professionals out there encouraging true lifelong change, not pushing the next “get thin quick” scheme. For anyone who has “tried everything” but not fully committed to changing habits and beliefs about food, please give this book a read.

In Health and Happiness, Jessica Murgueytio MS.RD.LD.CDE

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