by Robert E. Thayer Oxford University Press, 2001 Review by Liz Bass on Jul 3rd 2002
Energy is a weight loss
book that takes a scholarly look at the subject. Rather than hammering away at
all the "dos" and "donts" of fitness, Professor Thayer
takes the high road and tries to help the reader understand the way moods can
affect patterns of behavior, particularly when it comes to ingesting food. He
goes even further and suggests that once a person understands how moods
operate, he or she can regulate them to the extent that they do not become a
factor in over-eating.
He goes over some familiar territory when
he writes that over-eating is one way of reducing the tensions associated with
boredom, anger, and loneliness. No news there. But Thayer takes the reader
further by developing some interesting constructs that can help understand the
physiologic relationship between those tensions and the bodys attempt to
mitigate their impact by replenishing the energy they deplete. That
replenishment often comes in the form of food, but it can also come in the form
of exercise. Not unexpectedly, the Professor suggests that exercise is the
wiser choice because it is the one that will lead more quickly to a desirable
state of calm energy, which by its nature, holds hunger at bay.
Thayer also suggests some conventional
weight loss strategies -- such as daily diary entries, a reasonable exercise
regimen, and targeted, distractive thinking -- but he does it in a way that
encourages a reader to give these methodologies a second look through the focus
of mood regulation. The Professor suggests ideas in the way that the best
teachers do -- thoughtfully, gently, and with respect toward the student. The
charm of Calm Energy lies in the
authors attitude toward the subject and, most importantly, toward the reader.
He seems genuinely interested in both, and the reader gains confidence from the
message he sends.
Be forewarned that Calm Energy contains fifty-two pages of notes following the text,
and another nineteen pages of references. For the general reader, I think that
level of scholarship may be over-the-top. In any event, aside from some
repetition in the main text, this book has much to recommend it. Its best idea
is that if a person will take the time to understand what is occurring within
himself or herself, that person can -- with work -- change negative,
destructive behavior to behavior that results in positive outcomes.
And that is certainly something worth
thinking about when those dark moods descend upon us.