I must have said it 1,000 times as I read, “Why did it take me so long to finally read this book?” Sean Croxton‘s The Dark Side of Fat Loss is the book everyone needs to read before they go down the yo-yo dieting, over exercising route of insanity that is the norm for so many people with fat loss goals. Oh, the the time and tears that could be saved!
I’ve known Sean for a little while now, but I’ve followed his work from nearly the beginning. Sean was the first guy that I ever knew of who posted regular YouTube videos with nutrition/health/lifestyle information. He is one of the first guys I would call a leader in this paleo, primal, ancestral, or whatever movement that has taken the world by storm.
Sean didn’t ask me to write this review. After seeing him a few months ago at Paleo FX, I realized, much to my own embarrassment, that I hadn’t read The Dark Side of Fat Loss. My email to him a few weeks ago began with an apology for coming around so late, but Sean graciously sent me a copy and I dug in.
What a gem of a book this is! Sean begins by dispelling the myths that are so ingrained into our society. You know the ones: calories are the only thing that will ever matter, cardio and starvation is how you lose weight. I sometimes wonder if we will ever really win this battle in my lifetime, but it’s great to know that there are guys like Sean Croxton out there in the trenches fighting this battle in the name of health and sustainable fat loss.
When you are done reading the first 3 chapters of this book, you will have an excellent understanding of why we gain unwanted fat and how a healthy body should work. This information can set you free. When you know what’s going on from a physiological and biochemical perspective, you can make smart decisions about how to get healthy instead of making silly decisions that lead to temporary weight loss and deleterious effects on your metabolism, among other things.
From there, Sean walks us through his guide to JERF (Just Eat Real Food), telling us how to make healthy food choices instead of eating according to the demands of your food scale. I love how thorough he is in this section, starting all the way down at the soil in which our food and our food’s food grows. He also gives us some basic guidelines to recognizing real food, he touches on the idea that real food is too expensive, and then he covers every category of food you might ask about when making major dietary changes.
Then he almost lost me. Chapter 5 is Sean’s 30 day JERF challenge, and it’s probably no mystery to those of you who follow my work that I don’t love challenges. But I have to admit that Sean has done a great job with his challenge by making it feel sort of like an exploration of what will work for you in the long run. Most impressive indeed is his Body Language Log which we are encouraged to use as a way to track what we eat during the challenge, not so we can become neurotic about food, but so that we can make note of how we feel when we eat various foods. Nutrition will never be a one-size-fits-all subject and the Body Language Log is a fantastic tool for getting to the bottom of what works for us as individuals. To be perfectly honest, I wish I would have thought of it.
The remaining chapters delve into the other essential components of a healthy lifestyle and Sean has you well covered. His chapter on stress is phenomenal, he breaks down sleep so that it can no longer be taken with a grain of salt, and his chapters on gut health and toxins are extremely informative. However, as awesome as those chapter are, I am thoroughly impressed with Sean for including his Do It chapter and delving into a bit of the psychology behind making lifestyle changes in the name of improved health. It frustrates me to know end that my industry is largely driven by people who are only giving the fitness and nutrition consumer a list of rules to follow without ever considering the psychological obstacles that cause most to fail. However accurate our information may be if, it will all be irrelevant to most people if they can’t actually make the necessary changes. Sean understands the importance of this stuff that sometimes sounds a little crazy. He knows very well that major change attempts without the right perspective will usually end in failure. I commend him for sharing his wisdom with you and not leaving this subject out.
If I haven’t convinced you that this book is well worth reading, just do me one favor. Go to the book’s website and watch Sean’s video at the top of the page. You will see his passion for what he does and I believe you will feel the need to learn more from him. I’m anything but new to this stuff and even I learned plenty as I read this book. If I’m wrong, come back to this post and give me a ration of what I deserve in the comments. I think you will be happy that you took my advice.
Go forth and be awesome.