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WITHIN by Dr. Habib Sadeghi: A Study in Self-Love or Hooey?

Before I get into this, I want to ask you to take a few deep, slow breaths. Grab your hippity-dippity hat, maybe also a cup of herbal tea. Partly because, well, those are nice things to do anyway, but mostly because this book gets real hippity-dippity real fast, and I want you to be in the right frame of mind for it.



WITHIN: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss by Dr. Habib Sadeghi (who is a doctor to Gwyneth Paltrow and she wrote the foreward, and I couldn’t help but feel bad for Dr. Sadeghi about the timing of this book coming out and Gwyneth’s split … but that’s really neither here nor there) is not really a weight-loss book, despite the title. I mean, it touches on weight loss, but really, losing weight is just a side effect that comes along with what Dr. Sadeghi is preaching. Let me explain.

At its core, WITHIN is about how everything in life — scratch that; everything in the world — is basically comprised of energy, just at different vibrations, which is what makes me Kristen and my SUV a vehicle and the ocean wet. But you’re not trapped at your current vibration. You can train your thoughts and your energy to be different — more positive, happier, even thinner, according to the book. You know how sometimes you get a bad vibe from someone, and even when they’re nice to you, you just feel uncomfortable and think they’re kind of creepy? Dr. Sadeghi says that’s because you’re actually feeling the vibration of their negative energy.

See why I wanted to get you in the proper state of mind?

I’ll be honest — some of what I mentioned above was a little out there for me. It’s difficult for me to wrap my head around the idea that if you could just think like a thin person, you would be a thin person, and that some folks seem to be able to eat whatever they want and not gain a pound because that’s just who they are at their very essence, on the cellular (but not necessarily genetic) level.

(Here’s where I want to interject to say that Dr. Sadeghi shares a powerful story in the book of rejecting traditional Western medical treatments when he was diagnosed with cancer, instead striking out on his own to find a way of healing that felt right to him, and he is still with us and cancer-free. Should you ever find yourself sick, by all means explore all available options, but be sure to find what jives with your own beliefs — don’t choose or reject a treatment because a celebrity does or does not endorse it.)

I was also put off by his suggestion of picking out a person you really admire — a celebrity, a mentor, whatever — and to try to be like them, if that’s who you want to be. I understand wanting to change yourself when you’re unhappy with your current situation, but I feel strongly that it’s far more important to look at the why and use that as your guide for change rather than basing your goals and actions on someone else.

However, there was plenty that I did agree with and understand. When it comes to energy, I do believe that what you put out there matters. If you’re constantly thinking negatively about your weight (or your job, or your self worth, etc.), I don’t know that it’s changing the makeup of your cells, as the book says, but I do believe you are setting yourself up for failure when it comes to change. When you believe you’re worth it — whatever it is — you’re much more likely to be presented with, and then take, the steps necessary to reach your goals. This has been true in my life to an astonishing degree.

The book delves deep into epigenetics, which is essentially the changing of cells not due to a difference in DNA, but even if that’s not your bag, there’s a lot in there to be learned about the importance of self-love and self-acceptance — always good lessons in my mind. And that’s why this really didn’t come across as a weight-loss book to me. It’s more of a, “Hey, let’s figure out where you’re stuck and what’s keeping you from being truly happy, and then, let’s fix it!” type of book.

In addition to the above, WITHIN also offers suggestions for different exercises you can do to enhance and embrace your capacity for self-love and tangible change, as well as a 40-day plan at the end including exercises and dietary suggestions.

Fit Bottomed Line: This could be a great book for open-minded folks who want to better understand the emerging field of epigenetics and how they can harness the power of positivity to create change within themselves. There’s a lot to learn, and Dr. Sadeghi shares interesting stories and studies to better get his point across. But I would strongly suggest reading up on the book first to make sure it’s what you’re looking for, and also to do your research regarding certain methods, particularly if you’re treating a diagnosed illness. If it’s right for you, it’s going to be an amazing fit, but if it’s not, you’re going to have a hard time keeping your eyes from rolling out of your face. Think The Secret, but more … secret-y, I guess.

What are your feelings about the tangible power of self-love and positivity? Has it been a factor in your life? —Kristen

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  1. I vote “hooey” myself, even if there may be some valid stuff in the book as well. I find as soon as I read anything that seems like bullsh-t in a book that means to give me advice, then I stop trusting the author and can’t even absorb the worthwhile stuff it might contain.

    Thanks for the review, good to know I can skip this one!

  2. kimberly says:

    Thanks for the review. I recently ran across the title and was looking for something like what you shared to give me more insight into the book. I will add it to my future reading list.

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