Ditch those Bridget Jones knickers

PUBLISHED: 09:18 14 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:36 15 June 2010

Review by Di Bowerman I ALWAYS believed a thin person could never really understand the trauma us fatties go through in the quest to shed those extra stones.

Review by Di BowermanI ALWAYS believed a thin person could never really understand the trauma us fatties go through in the quest to shed those extra stones.That is why, when I met the author of the recently launched The Health Compass, a guide to making "permanent healthy lifestyle choices", I was somewhat sceptical.Dr Beth de Sousa is a trim 41-year-old Honiton GP, from Aylesbeare, with an aversion to all ball sports, but a propensity for cycling, swimming, Tae Kwon-do, body-boarding and kayaking.Yet she confesses to being overweight as a teenager and failing at dieting.Her guide, self-published at £17.99, has been endorsed by local Olympian equestrian medallist Mary King. Beth said: "I wanted to put something together to enable patients to make healthy lifestyle changes, but there was nothing on the market that covered all the key areas of healthy eating, weight loss, exercise, smoking and alcohol." So she has spent nearly two years putting together her ring-bound glossy guide, which is on sale in Sidmouth at Paragon Books."I am overwhelmed by the support there has been since the launch. The response I've had to the book has been amazing."Mary King is such an inspirational woman and to have her endorse my book is a great honour."The guide is in three parts. The first tells you all you need to know about those key areas.Two includes life coaching and relaxation techniques, positive thinking and ways of setting achievable challenges. Part three is a personal health plan to chart ideas and progress."People need to be calorie savvy. They need to know what is unhealthy, but I'm trying to get people not to count calories too rigorously or weigh food. I want to hold the hand of the reader."Hers is not a diet, more a way of life, which she, husband Nigel, a GP in Ottery St Mary, and their children Ashe and Fynn live by.While her mission is deadly serious, she uses humour to lighten the message, which is to set small manageable goals rather than tackle those key issues head on."I wanted to make something not only factual but easy to read, to dip in like a cookbook," she said.This guide inspires, encourages and guides, and is backed up by further information at www.healthcompass.co.uk.Beth says we each have the ability to improve our own future. Perhaps this guide will hold the hands of those of us who falter on the road to a healthier lifestyle.

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