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Resolutions Worth Repeating

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"Why You Can't Lose Weight: Why It's So Hard to Shed Pounds and What You Can Do About It" by Pamela Wartian Smith, M.D., M.P.H. (Square One, $16.95).

It's a tad after the New Year. Do you know to where your weight loss resolutions disappeared? Pamela Wartian Smith, a physician with a master's degree in public health, says if you're not savvy, you may never catch up with them again.

Smith, the author of "Why You Can't Lose Weight: Why It's So Hard to Shed Pounds and What You Can Do About It," ponders on everything from whether your adrenal glands might be fatigued to whether you are deprived of exercise, fiber, sleep or water, or overloaded with stress, food allergies, chronic inflammation, toxins or yeast. To me and, according to the National Weight Loss Control Registry, perhaps the 95 percent of other dieters who find themselves regaining weight after losing it, these are resolutions worth repeating. That's why this is the book I've returned to repeatedly in the past few years for needed advice.

Questionnaires Smith includes that examine your lifestyle and biochemical factors shed further light on whether your problem might be depression, hormonal imbalances, genes, insulin resistance, neurotransmitter dysfunction or pregnenolone insufficiency:

"Earlier in this book," writes Smith, "you learned how hormones like progesterone, estrogen and testosterone each play a role in helping the body achieve a healthy body weight, as well as performing many other important functions. What you may not know is that none of these hormones could exist without the substance known as pregnenolone. Pregnenolone has been called the 'mother hormone' simply because it is used to make so many of the hormones that enable your body to function properly.

"So far, so good.

Your body uses pregnenolone — which is itself a hormone — to produce other hormones, and these compounds help keep you healthy. But there's a catch: Not everyone makes all the pregnenolone they need. In fact, some people make only about 65 percent of the amount required to keep the body on track. The result can be a myriad of health problems, including weight gain and difficulty in shedding extra pounds."

If you think that's an eye-opener, be prepared not to blink for a while. Smith, the director of the master's program in medical sciences, with a concentration in metabolic and nutritional medicine, at the University of South Florida College of Medicine, provides hundreds of not-often-recounted reasons your pudginess may not budge. If not yet flush with happiness over weight loss, you may at least find relief as to the reasons why you couldn't lose it and, most importantly, possible solutions.

They are provided all along, but especially well in a chapter at the end titled "Putting It All Together." Here, similar information you may have heard regarding dietary modification, exercise and supplements takes on new meaning when coupled with all you will have learned about the reasons your body may have been behaving stubbornly.

And, speaking of that, don't skip ahead to the juicier part of this meal. For true enlightenment, be sure to read the first chapter, "What Really Goes on Inside Your Body?" Biological clues to why you are hungry and how you digest what you do eat make for a fascinating first course for those who've been consumed by these issues.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including "Mrs. Cubbison's Best Stuffing Cookbook" and "The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook." She also writes the Creators News Service "After-Work Gourmet" column. To find out more about Lisa Messinger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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