I just jammed through one of the best “diet” books I’ve ever read: The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Rules for Getting to Thin, by Bob Harper, trainer from The Biggest Loser.
True, I’ve not read that many diet books, but then, after this one, I don’t think I’ll need to. At least not until science changes, which it is bound to do. Then there will be some other set of rules to follow. But for now, the 20 outlined in this book will work just fine.
What I like:
- Harper has a nice tone. He knows what he’s asking you to do isn’t necessarily easy, but he makes it clear it’s necessary. He strikes an easy balance between empathetic and no-nonsense.
- The book is strongly supported by research, but Harper doesn’t weigh readers down with too much technical jargon. He gives just enough information to be credible, and to help readers understand he has good reason for the rules he’s dictating, but not so much it gets tough to follow.
- The rules are simple, non-gimmicky, and realistic. Harper isn’t asking readers to take crazy supplements or set strict mealtimes. He emphasizes natural, “clean” eating for health rather than quick-fix drop 20 lbs. in 20 days tricks. He’s advocating lifestyle changes here. Real changes real people can make forever.
What I don’t:
- Not much, really.
A few of my favorite rules:
- Drink a Large Glass of Water Before Every Meal–No Excuses! I’m working on this one myself. While I don’t drink soda, juice or other caloric drinks (except for non-fat milk and adult beverages–of course!), I also don’t get enough water. This rule is more challenging than you might think, but after just three days of adhering to it, I do notice a difference in how I feel.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories
- Eat Apples and Berries Every Single Day. Every. Single. Day. I love this rule! The fact that it’s telling readers to eat something, rather than cut something out is very effective. It’s a simple, action-oriented goal. Plus, these are fruits I actually like.
- No Carbs After Lunch. Don’t let this one scare you away. I have never been a fan of rules like this one. I clearly remember telling clients that rules like this were silly. “Calories are calories and it doesn’t matter when you eat them. Your body doesn’t suddenly turn carbs to fat just because it’s 7 pm. Blah, blah, blah.” But that’s the thing about the body; we know what we know until we learn something different. Scientists are discovering loads of interesting things about how the body processes sugars, and the impact it has on our ability to lose weight. Because I’m intrigued by the science here, and because I’ve found that eating carbs later in the day tends to make me sluggish and bloated (TMI?), I’m giving this rule a go. Once you wrap your mind around the idea that dinner doesn’t have to include carbs, it’s really not that hard. Full disclosure though, I’m not going to be crazy strict about this rule. There might be some quinoa or the occasional whole wheat tortilla sliding past the noon hour.
- Eat a Real Breakfast. Here’s another thing I’ve been telling clients for years, but unlike the last rule, it looks like this one still stands. The research on eating breakfast and weight loss just keeps getting stronger. If you want to lose weight, you MUST eat a breakfast that includes protein. A maple and bacon donut doesn’t count.
There. That’s just five and already you’ve got a solid blueprint for making healthy changes. Think what you could do with 15 more. In addition to the rules, Harper includes sections with sample meal plans and some of his favorite recipes. I’ve tried the “Makes Me Happy” Tuna Salad and Mustard Vinaigrette (I put it on steamed broccoli), and both were great.
As usual, I didn’t get anything out of highlighting this book except the thrill of sharing what I consider a high-quality resource. Buy it, don’t buy it, makes no difference to me. But if you’ve been looking for something clear and easy to cut through all the diet noise out there, this might be just what you need.