Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's easy to be a critic....

When I need to take a break, I spend my time surfing the 'net to see what's going on with the world. Tonight, I thought I'd check out what people were saying about the book I wrote, Women's Health Perfect Body Diet.

So far, what I've seen is that the comments are 50/50 pro/con. Some women LOVE the plan and are so happy that they finally feel full, while others feel the glucomannan is a gimmick and that the plans designed are not customizable at all. This, I find, is a pretty harsh thought, but we're all entitled to our own opinion.

However, with this all said, it's easy to be a critic instead of coming up with a better solution. When I was asked to write a diet book for Women's Health last year, I went straight to the book store and checked out all the other diet books on the shelves. From Protein Power, to Sugar Bustars, to Body for Life, I wasn't sure how the heck I could write a diet book that would be different than the zillions of other diet books out there now!

But, I had just finished a recent research project at UConn the previous year with glucomannan and had been using the fiber myself successfully for two years.So, I thought, "Hey, why not come up with a book about this? No one else has tried to write about the benefits of staying full with a calorie-free fiber!"

Also, I knew from personal and research experience that not all women were meant to follow the same type of diet plan. Some of us do better with more carbs in our diets, some do better with much less. So, that's why I gave two options and had women learn (through the diet challenge) which option was best for them.

At least I tried to give options, where other diet books preach that there's only one way, and no other, to eat right and lose weight. Too boot, some woman out there critisized the book (and me) for only having these two options. I felt like writing her and saying "If this book isn't for you, you have every right to pick up one of the thousands of other diet books out there and find one that does work. No one is making you do this diet. You have a choice and you are the one that knows your body best. So go forth and discover."

Another critique about the book is that it's too structured. Well, when I was asked to write the book, I was also asked to provide weekly diet examples, which I did. It took a lot of though and effort (knowing that most of the women out there would choose their own meals), but it was done. However, the key word in all of that is that the plans are EXAMPLES. They're just to show you what you can do with the food. They're not meant to be the end-all, be-all of what you eat everyday. That would be impossible to do for each and every person!

I'm really sorry if it sounds like I'm ranting, but I needed to convey a few of my thoughts on this issue. If it was really easy to write a diet book that worked for everyone in the world, do you think there would be so many available? This book is just one option and some people find it's a good one for them.

If anything, the book is full of great nutrition information and explains a lot of the reasons why it's hard to lose weight and why our bodies fight against us when we try to do so. When I wrote those topics, I just wanted women to be aware of what they were up against so that they could fight back with the right equipment and thoughts. This way they'd have a better chance at winning.

Since there isn't a formal place yet on the Women's Health Website for women to discuss the book, if you have any questions or need any help with the plan, please email me. I've helped many women so far and I look forward to helping more. There's also a lot of discussion about this book and a few women following it on the Oxygen mag message boards.

Overll, instead of being a critic, try putting yourself in the place of the author. In my case, I wrote a book with the best of my ability. Sure, maybe it's not South Beach or Eat Right for Your Type (some of the best selling diet books right now), but those were already written and I was asked to come up with something new. That I did.

Now, I've got to finish my PhD (and get married this year...). Yikes.

12 comments:

Jaya said...

Cass, keep in mind that innovation is never without controversy!
I can't be an informed commenter, but I can say that for certain I know that this book was not driven by profit, but rather by hard knowledge, strong research and with a sincere will to help women lead better lives. I've read plenty of books (diet and other) that espoused paradigms that I could not reconcile with my personal ideologies, but I always value a book that is well-written and puts health first. I actually saw a glucomannan product on the Shopping Network yesterday, but didn't have a chance to watch..

katiep said...

Dear Cassandra
I can't comment on the diet book because I don't have it but I can comment on your nutrition advice in NROL4W.

I am a chronic dieter living/surviving on 1200 calories a day for the last three years in order to maintain my 20kg weight loss.

I have "done" Weight Watchers, Atkins and BFL. This week I have started eating according to your recommendations in the book and although a scary process, I feel amazing.

I want to thank you providing me with enough faith and hope to give more calories a try. It may be too early to tell but it looks like I may be building some muscle after not getting anywhere for so long.

In my book(!) you know your stuff.
Thanks again for giving me the courage to end the starvation struggle. You've given me a better chance of winning the battle.

Katie xxxx

Big Ed said...

Your husband is a lucky man as you are clearly very bright and straight-forward. Thanks for the rant - it is indeed impossible to write a book that covers everyone - I can't find a programme the same for even two of my clients. Well said and thanks for sharing. Big Ed

GreenYogini said...

Hi C,

I like your book and I like the idea of glucomannan. "Your perfect mannan" was not available until recently so I purchased Jarrow's glucomannan powder and started mixing it inot my foods -- it really thickened things.

My first box of "Your Perfect Mannan" arrived though and the powder in the packets does not thicken my food like the Jarrow brand does. I am pouring/mixing slowly into liquids first but it doesn't seem to work. Have you had this experience? Any other women send you comments on the product? I sent a note to the manufacturer via the website, so I hope to hear something back.

Thanks,
GreenYogini

Cassandra Forsythe said...

Thank you all! You're wonderful. I had to smile all day because of your thoughts.

Green: Email me at my gmail acnt and I'll get this figured out for you. You can get that email from my website cassandraforsythe.com

Ursula Beck said...

Hi there I have just been reading your Blog very interesting. Congrats on your book, would love to put in an order. Might help me with my comp prep's...

Mike T Nelson said...

It is easy for everyone to be a critic and not offer solutions (esp on the internet).

Just keep in mind that those critics can also do a PhD and write their own darn book if they were so unhappy with your work :)

Keep up the stellar work!!
Rock on
Mike N

nonegiven said...

According to my husband, after serving on a jury, 95% of the supposedly responsible adults in this country are only semi-literate. He said, "they aren't like you and me." (I hope it was really only 95% of the people who couldn't get out of jury duty.)

I've noticed in diet and diabetes support groups a lot of people come looking for structured menus instead of wanting to learn how to make their own. This type of person would likely consider an example to be a mandate.

Jimmy Moore said...

I LOVE shirataki noodles as my source of glucomannan and I agree you are on to something that hasn't been addressed previously. THANKS for doing that with your book, Cassandra, and I look forward to reading it.

SweetPea said...

People will always criticize; it's what they do best. For your book to be in a place where it is gathering criticism means that it has been powerful enough to affect people.

As for myself, I have just picked up your book and already appreciate the two different diet approaches. Thank you for writing a book that gives more than one option!

RunGvegas said...

Don't let it get to you too much, Cass. A lot of the feedback - I'd venture to say the majority of the feedback - that I've heard has been positive at best, inquisitive at worst (and when is that a bad thing, right?). I definitely give the plan a strong recommendation. I have a friend who's trying to lose 60 lbs. of baby weight in time for her wedding in October), and I'm recommending it to her, also.

~missprissme said...

I agree with all your points and I don't understand why people can't figure out that "any" book is not a be all end all. Good luck to you. You sound very intelligent and insightful. I don't have your book yet but I am sure it is good. I do have some of the magazines.