[Book Review] Lose It Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind by James Fell

loseitrightDo you know how much the diet industry makes each year in revenue?

Twenty billion dollars. Each year. Just in the U.S.

And do you know how many people in the U.S. are on a diet right now?

One-hundred and eight million. Again, this is just in the U.S. And according to these stats, dieters typically attempt a diet roughly five times a year.

Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

There are a lot of reasons why we’re overweight and why diets fail, and James Fell does an excellent job of explaining them in his book Lose It Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind. As James puts it, “obesity is a multi-factorial condition. That means it has more causes than Cosmo has freaky sex tips.”

And that’s just one of the reasons why I love about this book. Instead of telling you to eat this, not that; exercise like this, not that — James actually explains, in plain language (that’s full of his usual humour and wit), WHY we’ve gained weight, WHY we’re struggling to lose it and WHAT STEPS we can take to get ourselves back on track.

The first section of the book, Stage I, is dedicated to helping you understand the science (and pseudoscience) behind obesity. The next section, Stage II, helps prepare you for change by explaining food and metabolism myths, how to set goals, the science behind behaviour change and what you need to have in place before you start, such as a good support system and a way to manage your time. The topics covered in this section are so important to a successful weight-loss program, and are something I find is missing from most other diet books. And you wonder why diet failure rates are so high.

The final section of the book, Stage III, is where James and his co-author Margaret Yufera-Leitch, PhD, tell you what to do the drop the pounds for good using something they call The Virtuous Cycle.


The Virtuous Cycle is basically a positive feedback loop that starts with a self assessment, then finding an activity or two that you actually enjoy doing. And it doesn’t have to be a typical exercise like running or weight lighting — it can be anything, like walking, hiking, skating, dancing or yoga. Once you find something you like, start doing that activity regularly until you form a habit, then check in on your progress after a period of time to see how far you’ve come. Nothing is more motivating than realizing you were better, faster or stronger than you were two months ago.

The next part of The Virtuous Cycle focuses on taking baby steps with nutrition, such as drinking diet soda instead or regular pop, swapping regular chips for natural chips without a million ingredients, and eating fruit instead of cookies when you want something sweet. The cycle continues from there, with each level and step building on the next. Have you really enjoyed swimming? Take it to the next level now by joining a club or working on improving your stroke. Do you find you’re not craving sugary sweet diet pop anymore? Replace it with fruit-diffused water or green tea. As James point out, this cycle can continue for a very long time until you’re ready for the next level, which is becoming a workout warrior and eating for excellence. If you don’t get to this part, that’s fine. But if you’re comfortable with where you are and you’re ready to “run a longer race, faster […] be even stronger, kick even more ass”, James lays out the tips to help get you there.

As someone who has reviewed and edited more self-help books than I can remember, I honestly don’t have any criticisms of this book. Everything you ever need to know and do to lose weight is in this book. Seriously. Just go spend the 20-ish dollars and buy this book instead of the latest bullet proof/paleo/anti-gluten/Dr. Oz magical solution diet plan, useless supplements and detox juices. There; I just saved you like $500.

Disclaimer: Though James is a friend and mentor, I bought this book from him because it’s awesome. I was not asked to review it. I reviewed it because it’s the only “diet” book you’ll ever need to read.