The Phacts of Life


110 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-88902-994-6




Reviewed by Ann Tudor

Ann Tudor was the former Managing Editor of Canadian Book Review Annual and had her own Toronto-based crafts company, Honest Threads.


A “phact” (a portmanteau word derived from physical activity) represents a packet of 25 calories “that can be accumulated throughout the day... for small amounts of physical activity, such as stair climbing or walking [and] for eating less between meals” (p.8). The basic principle of the book is easy: E.L.M.M. (eat less, move more).

The most annoying thing about this book is the cute spelling (Phit Phacts, Phat Phacts, Risk Phactors). I found it almost impossible to read for that reason, since I was continually put off by the foolish (phoolish) spelling.

Beyond that annoyance, however, is a helpful, if somewhat simplistic, book. The “phact plan” awards phacts for small activities performed and for snacks not consumed. Ten phacts a day means 250 calories a day — which means 25 pounds lost in a year. A usually sedentary person who has a coffee break with a danish every morning can earn three phacts by having carrot sticks instead of the danish (and no cream or sugar in the coffee), four phacts for a two-kilometer lunchtime walk, and three more phacts for having fruit for dessert at dinner — an easy ten phacts.

The refinements in succeeding chapters show how to earn even more phacts per day, how to involve the whole family in the program (Phamily Phacts), and how to make compromises with the program.

The advice given is good. Because the book is “Fitness Canada’s Official Guide to Permanent Weight Control, Improved Fitness and Health,” it is cautious in its approach to fitness (there’s a separate chapter on “Low Back Phacts”). In all, a good, safe guide to becoming fit. It makes sense, and it will work for those who work at it — like most regimens. Now if they could just learn to spell...


Collis, Martin, “The Phacts of Life,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 12, 2024,