Penny Holbrook, a British-born nurse and eating disorder counselor, struggled with weight issues and felt bereft of diet books that met her needs. So, she decided to write Go On, Lose It!, compiling years of experience into a comprehensive reference.
A more appropriate name for this book would be Changing Shape, something Holbrook is intent on helping readers accomplish. Not only does she want to reshape a person’s physique, she wants to improve a reader’s aesthetic, including hair, makeup and wardrobe.
Holbrook’s book is written as though it’s a large to-do list. Many paragraphs consist of only one or two sentences, a style likely to overwhelm those facing weight-loss or self-esteem issues. Additionally, many of her diet and exercise suggestions are unusual and not supported by science. For example, the author recommends small changes to improve fitness, such as “moving your watch from your left to your right wrist,” but the reader isn’t told why. Holbrook also includes many questionnaires, but readers aren’t given methods to evaluate their responses. Her discussion of the glycemic Index is inaccurate, and her mandate to eat a low-salt diet isn’t followed by any explanation of what a low-salt diet entails, suggested foods that might fit the bill, or even why a low-sodium diet is important in the first place. This leaves readers to question more than they learn.
Holbrook was born in England and has lived in Switzerland, according to the bio on the back of the book. To the non-English citizen, her recipes will be confusing. They’re written using metrics and some call for a rasher or knob of a particular ingredient. Further, her suggested meals, including tongue and bologna salad, conflict with her recommendations to eat freshly-cooked foods.
Holbrook certainly has the best of intentions; however, it seems as though her advice would be most effective when given in person; in book form, her counsel begs for clarity.