Why You Shouldn’t Buy Lots of Diet Books

By Mike Howard

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Ever felt a sense of deja vu when you are reading the latest diet book? Or get the feeling that you’ve been tricked by some clever marketing?

Here is how many diet books are constructed:

The Name

A captivating diet book starts with an intriguing name.

  • An exotic-sounding city
  • An outrageous and/or exaggerated proclamation: “Change your body in “x amount of days without dieting, exercising or surgery” works well. It also helps if the word “bitch” is in the title.
  • Fear-mongering: Use words like; “kill you” and “heart attack“.
  • A cleaver acronym.
  • The words “ultimate”, “revolutionary”, “hot”, “burn”, and “metabolism”.
  • The words “top-secret”, “cure”, “they”, “don’t”, “want”, “you”, “to”, “know”, “about”.

The Author

Not an absolute prerequisite, but it is helpful if you are;

  • An actor
  • Someone who’s trained an actor
  • A TV psychologist
  • A talk show host
  • A talk show host who’s also a psychologist
  • A former business person who realized there’s a lot more money in weight loss
  • A medical doctor
  • A “doctor” with a degree from an unaccredited school.

The Premise

Alright folks – here’s the meat and potatoes of your content (but skip the potatoes, of course).

  • It’s not your fault (whatever you do, earn their trust here – even if it means lying to them).
  • There is a single or simple cause of why you are fat.
  • There is a simple way to get rid of it.
  • The diet is easy, fast and permanent.
  • Oh, and don’t call it a “diet”, it’s a “lifestyle”.
  • You aren’t fat because you eat too much – it’s hormones, toxins, your blood type or the combination of foods you eat.
  • You don’t need to eat less food. In fact you probably need to eat more food.
  • To the above, tell people calories don’t matter, and then design meal plans that are precisely 1200-1300 calories.
  • Continue to eat your favourite foods (but don’t mention that this is only true if your favourite foods happen to be broccoli, chicken breast and flaxseeds).
  • Bash cardio – tell people it causes injuries, its boring and it will make you fatter.
  • In fact, just tell people to eat meat and vegetables, do HIIT and heavy strength training and/or metabolic conditioning.
  • On strength training – tell them every pound of muscle burns an extra 35-50 calories.
  • Also, tell them 1 conditioning workout will elevate their metabolism for 3 months.
  • Create a quiz or profile and have people eat based on their profile.
  • Give fancy buzzterms to describe the glycemic index of carbs
  • Pursuant to the above, be sure to tell people the glycemic index is crucial.
  • Give fancy buzzwords to an already-existing dietary strategy and pretend that you invented it.
  • Good vs. evil foods: Have a list of “banned foods” and a list of “superfoods”. Assign calories as either “good” or “bad”.
  • Don’t put anything into context. Carbs will make you fat, HFCS should be avoided at all costs, running is bad for the joints. The less qualification here the better.
  • Tell people to eat organic – you can’t go wrong there. Throw in hormone-free and grass-fed meats too.
  • Have an “induction” phase.
  • Make 1/3 of your book recipes.
  • Tell people that everything you’ve heard about diet and exercise is WRONG… all of it.
  • Eat several times a day to keep your metabolism up.
  • Take only a handful of bites of food per day.
  • Use the word “tone”, “shape” and “lengthen” when you are referring to muscles.
  • Include a long list of supplements that you coincidentally sell on your website.
  • Proclaim that “not all fats are bad” like it’s a revolutionary concept.
  • Use the term “clean eating”.

What are your tips for a successful diet book?

10 Comments

  1. Mary

    I hope you’re right about this, Bianca. I’ll tell readers they have to eat their favourite foods for permanent weight loss. I won’t tell them which foods; I’ll leave that up to them.

    Reply
  2. Mike Howard

    But Bianca, the extra “p” is a great angle for diet books! Anyone can give diet “tips”, but you have “tipps” – you could turn this into an acronym!

    Reply
  3. Susan

    Right! That’s because there really is nothing revolutionary that can be published about weight loss. Eat small amounts of healthy foods and exercise!

    Reply
  4. Bianca

    PS: please delete one “p” from tipp!

    Reply
  5. Bianca

    😀 Love it. My tipp – include some naughty food in the plan which is off limits in almost every other plan! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Jim F.

    “Revolutionary” has to be the most overused word. The diet industry has destroyed the meaning. Revolutionary is “something that has a major, sudden impact on society or on some aspect of human endeavour”

    I don’t think we’ve seen any diet books that qualify for that.

    Reply
  7. Spectra

    Hahaha, this is hilarious. It definitely sums up just about every diet book there is out there. Here’s another one to add: If you’re a woman, you need to do cardio but if you do strength training, don’t lift any more than 2 lbs and make sure you do a lot of reps. This way you will get “toned” without getting “bulky”.

    Reply
  8. Paul

    Using the term “miracle” is always good! 🙂

    Reply
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