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The Today Show 's nutrition and health expert, Bauer offers an upbeat, workable and still palatable weight-loss system designed for long-term healthy living. She asserts that starting her four-step program ("Release, Relearn, Reshape, Reveal") is not an "act of defeat" for the severely overweight but a determination to change one's life, even in small increments over several years, as the 20 profiles of success stories scattered throughout her work attest, many of whom have lost well over 100 pounds. The first week requires the most stringent rules (no sugar, salt, alcohol or starch), somewhat relaxed over the next weeks, and there is an extensive "Allowed at Meals" food list, though you are encouraged to swap dishes among categories in her menus and indulge in snacking from her "Unlimited Foods" list whenever you want ( i.e., all the non-starchy vegetables you care to eat). Some key points include eliminating from sight "trigger foods," using healthy (not "toxic") fats and seasonings, consuming three meals and an afternoon snack every day, and drinking two glasses of water 30 minutes before lunch and dinner. There are numerous recipes for each section, while one chapter ("Recreation") addresses an exercise program; however, the profiles really bring home the key link between losing weight and a liberating mobility. The recipes attempt to keep a nice balance between flavor and calories, and Bauer's tone is even and encouraging. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.