Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Diet du jour

About 18 months ago, I wrote about weeding--the process of removing books from the collection that are no longer useful, current, interesting, or appealing looking. I've been doing some shifting in the 300, 400, and 500 Dewey sections, and now I'm going through the fitness and medicine section for the umpteenth time as I shift and weed to make room for newer items. Weeding--in fact, any part of collection maintence and development--is like housework. It never ends.

Diet books are definitely high on the list of items that come into vogue and then disappear as the next new weight-loss plan comes along. Like death and taxes, a yearly parade of diet "experts" on talk-show couches is a certainty of life. Some things--like Atkins and its low-carb clones--stick around for a while. Many titles just rehash old theories in new packaging. As someone who has fought--and mostly lost--the battle of the bulge for decades, I approach most of these saviors skeptically. For Pete's sake! There's even a new title called "I Can Make You Thin!" Yeah, right.

Still, the spring publishers' announcements show that there are a bunch of new diet books about to hit the stores, so I have to pay attention, because our patrons certainly will. Naturally, I can't buy them all for the collection. I'll use several criteria to make my choices: author's reputation and qualifications, the science behind the claims, and even the size of the first printing, since that's a sign of anticipated demand and interest for the title.

So it's out with the grapefruit diet and in with Your Best Life plan. Dr. Oz is a big deal these days, along with anyone Oprah endorses. Suzanne Somers has moved on from weight to wrinkles (what you get when you lose weight, have you noticed?) You can diet in 4-days or 30-days; at a Texas firehouse, in South Beach, China and the Mediterranean; eat raw foods, high-fiber foods, no meat, no sugar, no gluten, only rice, only dog food (OK, I made that last one up); turn off your genes, turn on your metabolism, rev up your brain.

So it's back to the stacks to weed and shift some more. Come to think of it, all this shifting burns calories, so that may be the best weight-loss technique of all.

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