By Joy Bauer, MS, RD, CDN
Collins Living (2009)
Reviewed by Suzanne Farrell, MS, RD
LIFE in the title stands for "Look Incredible Feel Extraordinary." In addition to weight loss, this diet claims to lead to better sleep, more energy, increased strength and stamina, less bloating, greater self-confidence, fewer mood swings, better memory and greater overall enthusiasm.
Synopsis of the Diet Plan
This plan is broken down into four key steps:
- Release: This week is designed to help you reduce any cravings and identify and let go of negative eating behaviors. It is the strictest of all the steps and it introduces the reader to "Food Rules: Do's and Don'ts," a food list of "allowed" foods, "unlimited" foods list and the first week of menus and recipes.
- Relearn: This step is two weeks long and its goal is to "help you to reprogram your appetite and discover the joys of healthy eating." The food list is expanded, a list of "LIFE Healthy Extras" (no more than 150 calories per serving) can be incorporated and starches are still banned at dinner.
- Reshape: This step lasts until you reach your goal weight. It incorporates additional flexibility with more extensive and specific tips for restaurant eating. One starch serving is permitted at some dinners.
- Reveal: The reader is ready to enter the fourth step upon reaching the desired goal weight. This is the most flexible of all the steps and it is the transition into maintenance. There are no "don'ts" recommended in this phase and tools and strategies are recommended to help the reader personally identify ways to keep the weight off.
This book also addresses exercise with a comprehensive LIFE exercise program and diagrams of recommended exercises.
This diet is a very structured guide with specific meal plans, food lists and "Food Rules." Steps 1-3 have specific food "do's and don'ts," meal plans/menus, including nutritious snack lists, a variety of recipes, meals that can swap out for each other to offer more flexibility within the plan, suggested time saver tips for meals, tips for eating out during each step and specific food lists with recommended portions.
Nutritional Pros and Cons
This diet plan provides structure and direction that many people seek to initiate and jump start the weight-loss process. There are specific meal plans to follow with numerous nutritious recipes, but there is flexibility by being able to swap meals. Besides the actual diet, key components of making lifestyle changes are addressed: emphasis on portions and portion control; eating regularly throughout the day; pre–planning; education on making healthier food choices like limiting saturated and trans fats and including moderate amounts of unsaturated choices; identifying and including high fiber; nutrient-dense carbohydrates; sources of lean proteins; tips for eating out and a comprehensive physical activity plan. Personal stories after each chapter also offer additional motivation for readers.
A nutritional concern is that men and active women are instructed that they may eat "unlimited" portions of protein at meals during each step. Additionally, some daily menus are low in starches, particularly whole grains. Starches are banned from the dinner meals for the first three weeks (steps 1 and 2) and 1 serving is permitted on some of the dinner menus during step 3.
A reader could be successful with this plan as long as you follow it as directed and commit to the plan. It offers calorically reduced healthy meals with advice for regular physical activity. I would recommend this book to those who are in search of a specific diet plan to jump-start weight loss.