A new year, a new diet? Like most people this time of year, one of my New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. The only difference is that I am planning to start in May after the birth of my baby and some recovery time rather than start in January like everyone else. But that does not mean I am not interested in the new diet books on the shelves this month.
I am not interested in fad diets that promise you will lose 10 pounds in a week. Since it took me several months to put on the baby weight, I’m giving myself a few months to lose the baby weight.
This post is a book review on The Flex Diet by Dr. James Beckerman. The Flex Diet book caught my eye because it promises to help me design my own weight loss plan rather than just present a one-size-fits-all weight loss plan. The "200 solutions" are basically 200 tips on how to eat healthier, squeeze in more exercise throughout the day, and how to change your environment to avoid overeating. Here is a break down of the chapters in The Flex Diet.
Chapter 1: Start with a single pound
The first chapter gave a brief overview of The Flex Diet. In the Today section (chapter 2) you will spend weeks one and two trying to lose 5 pounds. Then, you will spend weeks three, four, and five trying to lose 10 pounds in the Every Day section (chapter 3). Lastly, you will spend weeks six, seven, eight, and beyond personalizing the rest of your weight loss plan in the Your Way section (chapter 4).
Chapter 2: Today
The "solutions" in this chapter emphasize the concept of mindfulness. The idea is that if you are conscious about the hundreds of lifestyle choices you make throughout the day, then you are more likely to make healthier lifestyle choices. There are 31 "solutions" in this chapter. The theory is that if you implement all 31 solutions during the first two weeks of The Flex Diet plan, you automatically lose 5 pounds.
The "solutions" in this chapter are pretty basic weight loss tips that you will find in blogs and magazines. For example, the first solution is to document the starting point of your weight loss journey by taking a photo of yourself. The second solution is to join a support group such as Weight Watchers.
However, the three most interesting "solutions" are the recommendations to take a daily multivitamin,a fish oil (omega-3), and a probiotic. For the last four years, those are the three supplements I take on a daily basis. Even during my pregnancy now I exchange the daily multivitamin for a daily prenatal vitamin.
Though there are people out there who would argue with me regularly about wasting my money on supplements, I know for a fact that the food I eat do not supply me with the recommended vitamins and minerals I need. If you eat a typical modern diet, there’s no way you’re getting enough vegetables, fruits, and healthy omega-3.
Chapter 3: Every day
Chapter 3 offers another 80 "solutions" to help you lose the next 10 pounds during the next three weeks of your Flex Diet Plan. The solutions emphasize small changes you can make when you eat, drink, exercise, daily activity level, and lifestyle choices.
The solutions under the eating category are pretty good. For example, The Flex Diet recommends you "substitute a vegetable for French fries.” I rarely eat French fries. If you look at the calorie count on a box of French fries then you’ll know that they always have just as much calories as the burger. Just by not eating French fries, you cut half your calories when eating a hamburger meal. I know the price difference between ordering a burger and a drink versus a value meal (which includes a burger, a drink, and a side of fries) is less than a dollar sometimes. And I know we are all bargain hunters. But is it really a bargain to eat another 400 to 500 calories?
The solutions under the drink category basically empathize cutting out the sugary and energy drinks.
The solution under the exercise category emphasize exercises such push-up, chest flies, lateral raises, bent over rows, dips, curls, squats, calf raises, etc. These are basic exercises that you should in an exercise routine.
The solutions under the act category (daily activity level) include taking the stairs and walking as much as possible (i.e. during breaks, after dinner, with your dog).
The solution under the live category (lifestyle choices) include better grocery shopping tips, reading food labels, splitting your meals in half when eating at a restaurant, etc.
Chapter 4: Your way
This chapter offers another 80+ solution to help personalize your Flex Diet plan. The solutions are also divided into the five categories mentioned in chapter 3. Once again these weight loss solutions are not earth shattering, but practical advice that we all forget when living our busy lives. In this chapter, The Flex Diet recommends that you develop at least 10 new lifestyle habits based on the 80+ solutions.
The one solution that I have a problem with in this chapter is "use hand weights while you walk." When walking, hand weights and ankle weights can throw off your stride and lead to walking injuries. If you want to add more intensity to your walk, you’re better off walking faster, walking up an incline, or using a weighted vest.
The most amusing solution in this chapter is "turn off the food channel." I have a friend who watches the food channel every day. She’s not much of a cook. But she is overweight. I believe that watching all this yummy food preparation and the commercials making her snack more often between meals.
Chapter 5: If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem
This chapter in The Flex Diet discusses healthy weight ranges and some of the medical complications associated with obesity.
Chapter 6: When solutions are not enough
This brief chapter in The Flex Diet offers a brief discussion on using medical treatment and surgical treatment for obesity.
Chapter 7: What’s your solution?
This chapter on The Flex Diet returns to the idea of your mindset. Before you can lose weight, the idea of trying to get healthier has to come from you first. Remember when I talked about the secret ingredient to exercise motivation? The motivation has to come from you. External forces such as a nagging spouse or a dreaded diagnosis from your doctor are not going to make you put in the effort to lose weight unless you really want to.
Should you read The Flex Diet?
The Flex Diet offers some really practical advice on how to start your own weight loss journey. There are no gimmicks or extreme cutting of calories, carbs, fat, etc. I highly recommend this book for anyone trying to find small steps in changing their lifestyle.
Will you actually lose 5 pounds during the first two weeks and 10 pounds during next three weeks when following the "solutions" in The Flex Diet? Depending on how much weight you need to lose and how sedentary you are, it is possible to lose the weight since the "solutions" ask you to cut out sugary drinks, include some physical activity, and small lifestyle changes. For someone who regularly exercise, eat sensibly, and only have a small amount of weight to lose, I would not see this kind of weight loss from just following the weight loss tips in The Flex Diet.
The only thing I find disappointing about The Flex Diet is the bare minimum coverage of exercise. For the majority of people, making changes to your diet will have the greatest impact on your weight. However, I believe that once you start exercising regularly you will notice a positive paradigm shift in how view your health and weight loss. If you want to include exercise into your Flex Diet weight-loss plan, I recommend you read the New Rules of the Lifting for Women.
Ready to buy The Flex Diet?
- Serotonin Power Diet Book Review
- The Smart Woman’s Guide to Midlife & Beyond – Book Review
- The Great American Heart Hoax – Book Review
- Selecting Wedding Workout and ChaLean Extreme Review
- Brush Your Teeth and other Simple Ways to Stay Young and Healthy – Book Review
- Bob Greene’s Total Body Makeover DVD Review
Like what you are reading? How about subscribing? It's free!