The 12-week Fitness Project Book Summary - The 12-week Fitness Project Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The 12-week Fitness Project summary

Rujuta Diwekar

Going Beyond Weight Loss for Better Sleep, Energy, and Bloating

4.2 (254 ratings)
16 mins
Table of Contents

    The 12-week Fitness Project
    Summary of 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    Why diets fail: the biology of starvation

    During World War Two, starvation resulting from disrupted agricultural cultivation and supply chains was a near-global phenomenon. But the long-term effects of human starvation weren’t very well known. So in 1946 an American scientist, Ancel Keys, recruited healthy volunteers for a year-long study on the subject. The healthy young participants ate normally for the first three months, then for another six months they were restricted to just two meals a day to simulate starvation, along with required daily walks of several kilometers.

    Within weeks of this restriction, the volunteers reported their energy levels plummeted, their muscles felt weak, and they were tired all the time. Mentally, they felt complete apathy, detached from the joys of everyday life, but were overwhelmingly obsessed with food. Even worse, they eventually thought of those around them as too fat, rather than themselves as too thin – a dysmorphia common to those with anorexia nervosa.

    When the six months were over, they’d lost 25 percent of their body weight – but the long-term effects were just starting. Some participants reported that after the six months of restriction, they ate five times more than they had before. Given the study was published years later, in 1951, it also recounted how many had an increased appetite no matter how much they ate, even years later. Many participants described the study as the worst thing they’d ever experienced.

    These brave participants highlighted the real costs of starvation, revealing how crash diets and poor nutrition are so damaging. From no energy or sex drive, they bottomed out, and their mental obsession with food during and after restriction set them up for continued misery. 

    That’s to say nothing of how far away this focus takes us from the nutritional advice we were given by our mothers and grandmothers. Traditional ways of eating a variety of foods from local sources, taking the time to enjoy them in peace and mindfulness, and enjoying the slow path to sustainable health can connect us to the land, to community, and to culture. Food can be a focus of celebration and joy, and feed us in more ways than one.

    To counter the faster-is-better approach, let’s dive just a bit deeper into what sustainability means for health – not just our own, but the health of our communities and environment, too.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The 12-week Fitness Project?

    Key ideas in The 12-week Fitness Project

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The 12-week Fitness Project about?

    The 12-week Fitness Project (2021) offers an alternative to restrictive diets that addresses health beyond the scale, creating sustainable change that draws on time-tested wisdom to improve overall well-being.

    Who should read The 12-week Fitness Project?

    • Frustrated dieters wondering why restriction seems to work against them
    • Wellness seekers looking for better sleep, more energy and better digestion
    • Those looking to incorporate more variety in their diets while creating sustainable lifestyle change

    About the Author

    Rujuta Diwekar is an author and influential nutrition expert, as well as a leading sports science and public health advocate in her native India.

    Categories with The 12-week Fitness Project

    Books like The 12-week Fitness Project

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial