A review of The Mind Body Makeover Project by Michael Gerrish

The key to the effectiveness of Gerrish’s approach is what he terms “UFOs” or unidentified fitness obstacles. These are our personal blocks to achieving your fitness goals. They might be physical, such as a vitamin, mineral or chemical deficiency, hormonal imbalance, allergies or condition like candidiasis or osteoporosis, or psychological, such as work addiction, self-defeating beliefs, snack amnesia or self-sabotage.

Reviewed by Magdalena Ball

The Mind Body Makeover Project:
A 12-Week Plan for Transforming Your Body and Your Life
by Michael Gerrish
Contemporary Books (McGraw Hill)
February 2003, hb, RRP$22.95
ISBN 0-07-138250X

What is it about the concept of a makeover that makes it so appealing? I suppose we all want to be transformed into our perfected twin – the idealised self – slender, gorgeous, super-healthy and radiating energy and joy. This notion of self-improvement is no doubt behind the phenomenal success of self-help books (Today self-help sales are $538-million and account for one in ten titles sold. –The Wall Street Journal, December 8, 1998.) Michael Gerrish’s latest entry to the self-help books deluge isThe Mind Body Makeover Project, a pithy and nicely packaged guide to making the most of yourself. While the book covers everything from attitude and emotions to diet, workout, stretching, nutrition and healing, plus lots of real life examples, it doesn’t pretend that the road to perfection is an easy one. What this book does do is to take a whole body (and mind) approach to fitness and health, first addressing the critical psychological aspects of weight loss, health and fitness, and building the program around that.

The key to the effectiveness of Gerrish’s approach is what he terms “UFOs” or unidentified fitness obstacles. These are our personal blocks to achieving your fitness goals. They might be physical, such as a vitamin, mineral or chemical deficiency, hormonal imbalance, allergies or condition like candidiasis or osteoporosis, or psychological, such as work addiction, self-defeating beliefs, snack amnesia or self-sabotage. It is likely that most people’s UFOs will be a combination of factors. The book begins with a lengthy survey and based on your answers, the program you then follow is customised to address your UFOs. Gerrish provides a very detailed exercise program which includes aerobics, resistence training, stretches and a range of cardiovascular options. Nearly all of the exercises involve the use of machines, so you will either need to be a member of a gym, or have your own equipment to make use of these.

The book also contains a wide range of nutritional guidelines and diets designed to address your particular UFOs. All of the diets are safe and based on very standard and sound nutritional principles, which are also provided by Gerrish. If you take the time to work through the UFO survey first, you may find yourself addressing more than excess weight with these. The diets are flexible and instead of telling you specifically what to eat, they provide information on how many servings of what type of food (eg Breakfast – 1 serving fruit, 2 servings grain and starches, etc) along with a list of foods to avoid, so you can eat normally within those guidelines and just add extra servings for other family members who don’t need to lose weight. There re food and exercise template logs to help you keep track of your progress.

One of the more interesting “tools” provided by this book is the “Energy Block Acutherapy.” I’m a little sceptical myself, but I do know sensible people who swear that this works, and as Gerrish says, it won’t hurt to try. The concept is that you perform a simple test to see if you have an energy block at the root of a UFO and then treat it by tapping a series of acupoints while repeating some simple affirmations. The tapping points and sequence vary depending on your UFOs.

The second part of the book focuses on seven real life makeovers which took place over a 12-week period. There are lots of coloured before and after pictures, journal entries and measurements. None of these people are models – and they all have personal issues to overcome as they move towards their own self-improvement goals. This section is both interesting and inspiring, providing practical examples of how the program helped people who probably had more to lose and more problems to deal with than you do. It also showed some of the struggles, setbacks and achievements of these seven people. If you want to make yourself over, either going the whole hog to change your life totally, or just to make some minor improvement, this isn’t a bad book to use. Once again, you’ll need to be a gym member to take on the full exercise routines, but the book itself is full of good sound advice and most of all, starts with the mind first and only when you know exactly why you aren’t already your best, helps you work through these blocks towards a more lasting self-improvement. It isn’t about discipline or self-control, but about knowing yourself, and what you personally need to get in shape. Most of all, this book is gentle, positive and teaches you to love yourself as you are now, and then move slowly and surely towards being happier and healthier rather than simply getting slimmer. There are no shortage of books to help you make yourself over. This very good looking and comprehensive guide is one of the better ones.
For more information visit: 
Mind Body Makeover Project

Or visit Gerrish’s homepage at: http://www.exerciseplus.com/makeover.htm

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