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Title:  The Mayo Clinic Diet: Eat Well, Enjoy Life, Lose Weight

Author:  Weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic

No. of Pages:  256

First Released:  January 2010

Synopsis (Courtesy of B&N):  “From Mayo Clinic, a leading authority on health and nutrition, comes The Mayo Clinic Diet, the last diet you’ll ever need.

Get a quick and gratifying start with Lose It!, the phase of the diet designed to help you lose up to six to ten pounds in just two weeks. Eat the foods you love – in moderation – in the Live It! phase, which is designed to help you continue to lose one to two pounds a week (and keep them off!!).

Finally, here’s the diet that helps you accomplish real and lasting weight-loss. This diet is no fad, but a solid, common-sense approach brought to you by an organization that is an award-winning health information resource. Nor does The Mayo Clinic Diet require expensive ingredients (which can make a diet difficult to maintain in the long run).

Through simple, healthy adjustments to your lifestyle, The Mayo Clinic Diet gives you the tools you need to achieve the success you want. In two easy phases, The Mayo Clinic Diet helps you lose weight and keep it off for life.

Lose It! – a two-week quick-start program designed to help you lose six to ten pounds simply by:
• Adding 5 habits
• Breaking 5 habits
• Adopting 5 bonus habits

Live It! – continue to lose one to two pounds a week until you reach your desired weight – and then maintain it by:
• Using the Healthy Weight Pyramid as your guide to the most nutritious food groups and serving sizes.

In two simple phases, you’ll be on the road to a healthy weight for the rest of your life. Packed with lots of extra encouragement – meal planners, recipes, tips for overcoming challenges, starting an exercise plan, and much more – The Mayo Clinic Diet gives you everything you need in one book.”

Comments and Critiques:  I actually finished this book several weeks ago, but since it is a diet book, how could I rightfully review it without testing out its advice?  I need to lose at least fifteen pounds anyway, so what better way to start the process than by doing the Lose It! portion of the book to see just how easy or difficult it is to follow.  I have had great success with Weight Watchers in the past, but once I figured out how to fool the system, it stopped working for me.  I have tried the Spark diet; I have tried just cutting back on portions myself.  I do a lot of reading about substitutions and ways to lighten up foods.  I work in the food industry.  I am a self-professed foodie.  In other words, I feel very confident in my ability to determine whether a diet plan is worthwhile or not.

In general, what I found is that The Mayo Clinic Diet is really not a diet.  It is a common sense approach to weight loss and weight management.  There is nothing earth-shattering in the advice it gives.  As one would expect, eating lots of fruits and vegetables and exercising are two of its strongest keys to weight loss.  Also at the top of their list is writing down everything one eats and drinks, as well as overall portion control.  The authors address every objection, excuse and myth about dieting and exercise, ensuring that readers literally have no excuses left to avoid getting healthy.

While it might not be rocket science, the beauty of The Mayo Clinic Diet is the fact that it does not rely on food scales or calorie counters.  Everything is an estimate based on guidelines that the authors continually stress throughout the book.  As one who could tell you just how much pasta is in a serving, being able to eyeball is a wonderful piece of advice and definitely makes this plan easier to use.  In my opinion, it is not only easier to follow than other weight loss plans, due to the lack of measuring or calorie counting, there is a lot less guilt associated with the plan.  If one slips up and over-eats one day, you write down what you ate and cut back another day.  The guilt of overeating is typically what stresses me out and causes me to fail in a diet plan, so this lack of guilt was very refreshing.

Let’s face it – there is no such thing as a quick-fix diet that is sustainable long-term.  If one truly wants to lose weight and keep it off, it requires a life-long commitment to balanced eating and exercise.  I found The Mayo Clinic Diet to be a well-researched, more palatable approach to making that life-long commitment. 

As for my personal test, I did follow the two-week Lose It! program.  It requires forgoing sugar, eating a lot of fruits and vegetables and promotes healthy habits to help you get used to them for the long term.  The first week, I went through major sugar withdrawal and felt horrible.  Not only that, but I was pretty awful in regards to my attitude towards others.  It was ugly.  I started feeling more like myself around day five and felt much better after the first full week.  That first week, without exercising at all, I managed to lose 2.5 pounds.  The second week, I did not do as good a job of following the plan because I did not eat as many vegetables as I should have.  I still tried to avoid sugar as much as possible, but I would say I followed the Live It! plan more than the Lose It! plan the second week.  Even then (and again without exercising), I was able to lose an additional 0.5 pounds, which is a completely healthy weight loss for a female. 

Overall, I am satisfied with my results and plan to continue to follow the diet in an effort to get down to where I want by spring.  The Lose It! section is specifically designed to shock your body into losing weight, which it does with great success.  Your body’s reaction to that plan shows you just how much of an impact one ingredient can have on your overall well-being.  The Live It! section focuses on advice for life, again taking the long-term approach to health and wellness that I personally find very refreshing in a diet plan.  I am definitely keeping this particular book on hand for reference and will be going back to it to refresh my memory and try out a few of the recipes they include.  To me, The Mayo Clinic Diet is definitely worthwhile.

Thank you to Anna Suknov from FSB Associates for the opportunity to review this book! 

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