David Crozier's mailbag is full of books urging new beginnings

PUBLISHED: 10:55 12 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:47 07 September 2010

Ah. yes. January. The month of new beginnings – at least that s what the publishers reckon. That s why every post brings yet another how to lose 15 stone overnight eating only chips type book. In no particular order, then, here s a selection. Some aren

Ah. yes. January. The month of new beginnings - at least that's what the publishers reckon.

That's why every post brings yet another 'how to lose 15 stone overnight eating only chips' type book. In no particular order, then, here's a selection. Some aren't out until later this month but all will have the fit, healthy future you bursting forth with very little effort out of the tired, stressed out current you. Or so they say...

With it's yellow and lime green cover, Jason Vale's Slim For Life (Harper Thorsons, £8.99) screams 'you need me' so loudly that I had a headache before getting even to the first chapter (a chapter, incidentally, called Oh No! Not Another Diet Book!)

Jason Vale is The Juice Master so it comes as no surprise that this book, first published in 2002 and here completely updated, has juicing at its centre. It also contains juicing recipes, and such advice as 'What Juicer Should I Get?' But it's also quite an interesting look at food, why we eat and drink things we know will make us fat and so on. Of course it includes advice which has been around forever - only eat when you're hungry, chew well etc etc - but certainly gives food for thought (juiced up first, of course).

There's a lot of rubbish written about cholesterol so it's good to see someone not only cut to the chase but also present the facts in a bright, readable and affordable way. Cut Your Cholesterol by Dr Sarah Brewer (Quercus, £4.99) is packed with all you need to know not only about what cholesterol is and does but whether you need to lower yours and, if so, how to go about it. It's by turns scary, fascinating and encouraging. And written by a doctor with more than 40 self-help books to her name, it's certainly never boring.

Spark! How exercise will improve the performance of your brain by Dr John J Ratey and Eric Hagerman (Quercus, £12.99) is one of those books which, if you're anything like me, looks irresistible in the shop and then sits on a shelf unread for months. It is, the cover says, the first book to comprehensively explore the connection between exercise and the brain. "It will change forever the way you think about the gym," it says. That's presumably, unless you think, as I do, that the gym's an expensive place mainly for people with too much time on their hands.

More accessible is GMTV regular Pete Cohen's Sort Your Life Out! (Pan Macmillan, £7.99). It's a 21-day programme designed to help you tackle different problems, make lasting changes and get the life you want. Whether you want to lose weight, increase your confidence etc etc, Pete has a plan. Much of it seems fairly obvious (to lose weight, eat less chocolate and do more exercise. You don't say...) but where it does well is in encouragement. I actually began to believe I might be able to do it - which is much of the battle, I'm sure.

The fifth and final book is Get the Life You Want by Richard Bandler (Harper Collins, £9.99). Reading it felt a bit like being shouted at by a particularly irritating American motivational speaker, but I gave up fairly early on so maybe it gets better. Whatever, Paul McKenna recommends him and The Guardian compares him to Leonardo (da Vinci, we must assume, rather than DiCaprio) AND you get a free mind-programming CD. Me? I'll stick to juicing.

David Crozier


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