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People frequently ask me what exercise DVDs I watch or diet books I’ve read. I’ve compiled all my favorite products on this page, which you can purchase via Amazon. Yes, I get a small commission on every sale, but I’ve only posted products that I myself have used and enjoyed. So it’s still shilling, but it’s really ethical shilling.

Scales & Gadgets

BF679W Scale plus Body Fat Monitor
with Body Water %

I sometimes refer to my fancy scale that measures my body fat. This is it! The Tanita scale not only weighs you but sends a teensy, tiny jolt of electricty through your body to estimate your body fat and hyrdation levels. It has a 300 pound weight capacity, so if you’re morbidly obese you should wait until you get into the 200’s before purchasing this model. (Tanita now offers a body fat scale that measures up to 330 pounds, the BF683W, see below.)

Tanita BF683W Body Fat/Body Water Monitor

Tanita now makes a body fat scale that measures up to 330 pounds! Cool beans! I haven’t used this model myself, but my other two Tanita scales are still working great after 3 years and hundreds of weigh-ins. If you are in a higher weight range and want to know what you body fat percentage is you should consider this scale.

Omron HR-100C Heart Rate Monitor

I love gadgets! This is a simple heart rate monitor that I use to see how hard I’m running. The included manual explains the several heart rate zones – fitness, aerobic, anaerobic and more – which have different benefits. It comes with a band you wear around your chest which sends signals to a watch. I wear this out on the trail sometimes. I use the watch to time my runs as well as keep track of the time and monitor my heart rate. You can also set an alarm to go off if you go above or below a certain heart rate.

GoWear Fit and Bodybugg

The GoWear Fit and the Bodybugg are nifty little gadgets that estimate how many calories you have burned in a day. Strap the device to your upper arm and it will monitor your body temperature, sweat levels, motion and more. I tested the Bodybugg and thought it was an interesting tool, as long as you don’t get too obsessed with your calorie burn numbers. You have to pay a monthly subscription service to access your stats.

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Exercise DVDs

Pilates – Beginning Mat Workout & Pilates Intermediate Mat Workout<

I love Pilates! These DVDs guide you through a Pilates mat workout that builds lean muscle, increases flexibility, and improves your posture. Ana Caban is a friendly, encouraging teacher, though you will probably hate her anyway because she can bend her body in ways only circus people can. Start with the beginner’s work-out and then move on to the intermediate. The key is to keep doing the routines every other day or so. It took me six months before I could do the teaser.

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Cook Books

15-Minute Low-Carb Recipes: Instant Recipes for Dinners, Desserts, and More

I hated cooking when I first changed my eating lifestyle. Dana Carpender’s book was a lifeline, filled with low-carb recipes that didn’t take half an afternoon to create and didn’t require a list of exotic ingredients like rhino penis. The “Parmesan Chicken Breasts” recipe was a big hit with my mom’s church group. Also be sure to try the “Chicken Breast Italiano” which is quick, easy and tasty. This was also the book that taught me how to make an omelette, a yummy and filling way to start the day.

The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook: 200 Delicious Recipes Ready in 30 Minutes or Less

You don’t have to be on the South Beach Diet to enjoy the recipes in this book. If you want to cook something fast that’s also tasty, you’re sure to find something in here. The “Baked Sweet Potato Fries” recipe was worth the price of the book alone. The “Mini Cocoa Swirl Cheesecakes” are one of my favorite desserts. I particularly like the “Buttermilk Waffles with Jam,” but I don’t have a waffle iron so I cook them as pancakes with some blueberries thrown in.

500 Low-Carb Recipes: 500 Recipes from Snacks to Dessert, That the Whole Family Will Love

What I like most about Dana Carpender’s cookbooks are that she gets right to the point. Recipes are easy to read and there are tons of them included in this book. I like to make the “Tuna Melt Casserole” and pack some slices for lunch at work. The “Crispy Parmesan Fish” is quick and tasty way to cook up some Orange Roughy or Flounder or whatever fish you choose. I also like the “Noodleless Lasagne”

The South Beach Diet Cookbook

My mother adores the “South Beach Meat Loaf with Vegetables” recipe included in here. It’s replaced her old meatloaf recipe. Each recipe comes with the nutritional information printed on each page. There are some goodies in here if you’re willing to put in a little more time in the kitchen. The “Chicken Capri” is one of my favorites.

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Diet, Fitness & Nutrition Books

The South Beach Diet: The Delicious, Doctor-Designed, Foolproof Plan for Fast and Healthy Weight Loss

Here’s the book that changed my life. One diet won’t necessarily work for everyone, but even if you don’t do South Beach this book teaches you how your body processes different kinds of foods and how that affects your mood and health. If you don’t know much about nutrition like I did, this is a great primer that will help you start to figure out what “eating healthy” really means.

The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person

Dr. Judith Beck takes a cognitive therapy approach to teaching you how to change the way you think about and relate to food. Each day you undertake a different step to slowly change your life. She even anticipates all your bullshit excuses for not doing the steps and gives reasons why you shouldn’t beleive your own excuses. A good supplement to any diet plan.

The Volumetrics Eating Plan: Techniques and Recipes for Feeling Full on Fewer Calories

Volumetrics teaches you what foods will fill you up, leading you to eat less calories without going hungry. There is a lot of overlap between Volumetrics and South Beach. If you’re hesitant to jump into one of the popular “fad” diets, you might like reading about volumetrics principles. Newsweek called it “the most popular diet you’ve never heard of.”

Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think

Maybe you don’t need to go on a diet, you just need to get smaller plates. Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, reveals the environmental and social cues that lead us to overeat. He also plays tricks on people involving endless soup bowls and stale popcorn, all in the name of science. A fun, easy, and eye-opening read that might have you dying your Jell-O to get new flavors. The money I’ve saved buying store brand soda has more than paid for the book itself.

The Complete Book Of Running For Women

A very thorough book covering everything you need to know about running – from what sports bra to wear, what shoes to buy, running during pregnancy or menopause, injuries, racing, and why running’s so great. Well-organized with lots of section headings so you can easily find the information you are looking for. It’s also peppered with sidebars featuring more information on topics and essays by other runners on why they love the sport.

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Other Books

Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

Think the last 20 pounds are the hardest? Try the last 200.

At age 24 and 372 pounds, Jennette Fulda thought maybe the best way to lose weight was to have her gallbladder removed. Then she decided to work her ass off—literally. In her journey from full-figured to half-assed, she stops only to knock her cat off the treadmill.

Follow Jennette as she loses over half her weight without losing her sense of humor in this light-hearted and inspirational tale. You’ll only put it down because you’ll want to get up and exercise.

(Oh yeah, did I mention that I wrote this? Not that I’m biased in any way.)

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. That’s the basic thesis of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, a best-selling book which explores what we should eat and where our food comes from.

The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl (US Edition) | (UK edition)

From across the pond, fellow blogger and super-loser Shauna Reid shares her experiences of losing half her weight, traveling around the world, and meeting the man of her dreams. I related to a lot of what Shauna shares in her funny and heartfelt memoir, but I will never understand her love of Nutella. Sorry, Shauna, that stuff is just nasty!

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist’s Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer

Jen Lancaster will make you cry with laughter in this hilarious body-positive memoir about her failed and successful attempts to lose weight.

Tales From The Scale

Fellow blogger Erin Shea edited this collection of tales from the scale. If you’ve ever struggled with your weight (and honestly, who the hell hasnt?) you’ll find truth in these funny and touching essays.

I’m Not the New Me

Wendy McClure’s body memoir takes a humorous look at the difficulties of weight loss and all the pain and ambivalence that comes with it. The story is told through vignettes about Wendy’s life that avoid the typical fat girl clichés and easy endings. Many of them had me laughing out loud, particularly the one about cancer, because we all know cancer is hilarious, right? Wendy is an old-school blogger who started Poundy before I even knew what a blog was.

Fat: The Anthropology of an Obsession

A collection of essays about fat from an anthropological perspective. An interesting look at what drives our society’s obsession with fat and the different ways it materializes. Some of the topics include how SPAM’s popularity in Hawaii has led to obesity in that state, how women bond by talking about their body fat, and a country where fat is considered attractive.

The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life

I love the title of this book, though I felt very self-conscious reading it when I was still morbidly obese. But I figured, “Hey, I weigh almost 400 pounds. Why shouldn’t I be reading The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life?” Wendy Shanker’s book relates her own fat experience and after that is basically a guide on how to rock your fatness. Shanker has a good sense of humor and is not overly political or thin-hating, though her frustration with a world that hates fat people shines through. Her message that you should love your body can be equally applied to fat girls or thin girls or, as she calls them, “Fat girls” with a capital F.

Fat Pig

Can a thin man date a fat women despite the ridicule it brings him from his friends? This play by Neil LaBute isn’t a feel-good read, but it sheds light on the uncomfortable reality of how fat people are treated in our society.

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Man looking into telescope

Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

Disclaimer: I am not responsible for keyboards ruined by coffee spit-takes or forehead wrinkles caused by deep thought.

Lick the Produce: Odd things I've put in my mouth
Half-Marathon: Less fun than it looks
European Vacation

"What distinguishes us one from another is our dreams and what we do to make them come about." - Joseph Epstein

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