I still get hate mail for an article I wrote about holistic nutritionists for the LA Times over four years ago.

Designations and education are not always the ultimate arbiter of knowledge and capability. Recently, Cracked.com had a piece entitled “20 uneducated dropouts who changed human history.” But still, it often helps if a person has the right education for the job. This is why I’m not really a fan of someone with a weekend personal training certification giving nutrition advice.

I don’t give detailed nutrition advice to my clients. I do discuss eating behavior, and that’s because I apprenticed to a woman with a PhD in the psychology of eating behavior. I use the word “apprenticed” because, while I didn’t study it in a school, we spent two years working on a book together and I received a valuable education about how people can control their consumption; an education that few people ever get. We also had the book vetted by a registered dietitian, because RDs are almost always the best choice when it comes to seeking out nutritional advice. When one of my clients needs detailed nutritional counseling, I almost always send them to an RD. And while there are examples of RDs who have gone to the dark side, the majority of them are solid. (And just because their association commits some nefarious deeds don’t make the mistake of believing that the members aren’t horrified.)

Anyway, this isn’t about my book. It’s about a book by another registered dietitian: Georgie Fear, who recently made a list of some sort. Georgie’s book is called “Lean Habits for Lifelong Weight Loss: Mastering 4 Core Eating Behaviors to Stay Slim Forever.”

Looking at the cover, you can see that the author walks the talk in terms of following habits that make one lean. It is somewhat reminiscent of a Jillian Michaels book cover, with the exception being that Georgie doesn’t make outlandish weight loss promises, has far more education than some bargain basement certifications, doesn’t fat shame people, and doesn’t write like she’s been given a frontal lobotomy.

I’m not going to go into a lot of details about Georgie’s book because I’m lazy, and I always hated doing book reports in school. As a matter of fact, you may have noticed that I almost never do book reviews on this site. I need to be pretty impressed in order to do so, and Georgie impresses me. Registered dietitians receive far more extensive training than your typical nutrition coach. They earn a four-year bachelor of science degree in nutrition from a real university, followed by a one-year internship. Then there is a qualifying exam, as well as annual continuing education requirements.

Georgie and I have been Internet friends for a while, and I’ve followed her work and recommendations, and she never fails to impress. Yes, I give Georgie Fear, RD, my endorsement. As I mentioned above, I learned a ton from my co-author (the one with the PhD in the psychology of eating behavior) about – you guessed it – eating behavior.

And that is what Georgie’s book is about: the eating habits that allow you to get and stay lean. This is an area that I know a lot about and I couldn’t see a single habit I disagreed with. Reading through the book it was a lot of head nodding and saying “Yup” time and again. Side note: It was also cool that a person I’ve interviewed – Olympic gold medalist (and one of Georgie’s clients) Chandra Crawford – wrote the forward to Lean Habits.

As I mentioned in my caloric deficit cheat sheet, any diet will help you lose weight it is allows you to stay in a caloric deficit. It’s whether or not your habits, food choices and style of eating allow you to battle hunger and cravings. That is what this book is all about.

Here’s a quick example of some of the habits:

  • Eat just enough
  • Eat vegetables, and lots of them
  • Minimize liquid calories
  • Be 100% aware of the treats you eat

Now as you no doubt noticed from the cover, Georgie is ripped, but this isn’t all or none. If you master all 16 habits in the book you’re going to have a lot more success than in you only master 8 of them. But these are things you can work on one at a time and build upon your success. Unlike people such as Jillian who make outlandish weight loss promises of quick and easy, Georgie understands that learning the process of living lean is just that: a process.

No one transforms all their eating habits for life overnight unless God threatened to shove a lightning bolt up their ass if they didn’t lose weight. So it’s important to know that no one excels at all of these right away. You practice and you practice and over time you get better.

That’s how lifestyle change works.

Anyway, go buy the damn book.

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James S. Fell is an internationally syndicated fitness columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Lose it Right: A Brutally Honest 3-Stage Program to Help You Get Fit and Lose Weight Without Losing Your Mind, published by Random House Canada. He also interviews celebrities about their fitness stories for the Los Angeles Times, and is head fitness columnist for AskMen.com and a regular contributor to Men’s Health.