This common-sense plan is perhaps a little more structured than others, but the more freewheeling plans haven't worked for me (*too* many choices). If you've seen her 90/10 book, which was good, this is much better.
90/10 was 3 meals and 1 "treat" - a more rigid plan where you could either choose ONE treat or ONE healthy snack, but you couldn't have both.
This plan is more realistic and flexible, factoring in 3 meals, 2 healthy snacks, and 1 (optional) treat spaced every 4 to 5 hours - something most people should be able to manage. There are 3 calorie targets: 1,200, 1,500, and 1,800 depending on a variety of factors (such as age and how much weight you need to lose). It's also presented in 3 phases. Usually I balk at diets with "phases" - they tend to start radically low-calorie with elaborate recipes and long lists of forbidden foods, and they go on like that for weeks.
Although Phase 1 restricts carbs from bread, rice, and potatoes, her rationale is to get you eating more vegetables and fruits for a week. She doesn't eliminate carbs completely and the most interesting thing is that Phases 1 and 2 are the same number of calories throughout, so you're not 'starving' yourself in Phase 1.
I disagree that the whole plan involves extensive shopping and cooking - Joy does ask that you follow the meal plan closely for Phase 1, and if you have to brown bag, that's challenging, but Phase 1 is only a week long. (It may be best for you to pick a specific week to start this plan, but that all depends on your particular lifestyle.) The meals cook up surprisingly quickly, are tasty, and for the most part, interchangeable.
Phase 2 is where the sustained weight loss happens - thus it's the longest phase - and although she again provides a grocery list and 2 weeks' worth of menu plans (as in Phase 1), Joy also has guidelines to make your own plan. Phase 3 is a maintenance phase for keeping off all the weight you've lost.
The proposed shopping lists include items that are relatively easy to find in most supermarket chains, and much of it you may already have in your pantry or fridge. I would caution that if you're following the menu plans, review the recipes and menus before you go shopping. In Phase 1, I found at least a dozen items were not on the list and the list doesn't say how much of something to buy (1 cucumber or 3, for example). Also, I bought some items I didn't need because she suggests substitutions within the meal plans.
The plan isn't all about diet - it includes a straightforward circuit workout that can be done at home with a pair of dumbbells and maybe a mat. (There's also a Prevention 3-2-1 workout DVD that preceded the book. The DVD presents a circuit of 3 minutes of cardio, 2 minutes of strength training and 1 minute of ab work just as the book does, so if you follow this plan, you may want to purchase the DVD as well.)
The cover suggests you can lose up to 6 pounds in Week 1. I followed it strictly and lost 7, and then 2 pounds the following week as promised, so I know it works. I even ate out and still lost weight, thanks to her suggestions.
If you try it, I would recommend following it strictly for at least the first week to 10 days. It's really a lifestyle program that gets easier to manage the longer you stick with it.
on January 6, 2008
Joy has written a reference book for weight loss based on balance, common sense, and research. I would recommend reading the whole book before beginning the diet and exercise regime. It takes patience to grasp the 3-2-1 concepts and phases. Also, I found her use of the word 'try' to be annoying - I like action words like 'plan' or 'arrange'.
The food 3-2-1 idea is the easiest to grasp. The 3 meals, 2 snacks, and 1 delicious indulgence sounds like a simple formula - and could work nicely. But following the menus and recipes require shopping, organization, time (not often available on busy days), and cooking skills!! If you're sharing these meals with other family members, you may also need to find more recipes that are kid-friendly or modify those in the book. Joy is realistic about needing to eat out, but you will need to check out menus before picking a restaurant since small portions and simple meats/vegetables can be hard to find. And -- when the weight loss phase is over, you may not really understand where calories come from in your own day to day choices.
The exercise 3-2-1 pictures show a fit younger adult female, so go slowly and be careful per book recommendations. You may be better off with an organized exercise class if you inexperienced or have special needs.
The behavioral 3-2-1 are simple. It really helps to have enjoyable rituals after a meal (like gum or tea), drink non-caloric beverages throughout the day, and have a support person. In my experience working with weight loss patients, many of Joy's strategies are very helpful in sustaining a new daily routine!
Enjoy the book if you are ready to make a serious effort and are willing to study a book first. Be prepared to make choices and complete tasks in the areas of food, exercise, and behavioral change! Joy does warn the reader that this is hard work -- like a marathon. I'm not sure everyone is willing to tackle a book of this complexity. Ellie Taylor, RN, MS Feeding the Kids: The Flexible, No-Battles, Healthy Eating System for the Whole Family (Fork and Spoon Field Guides).
on January 11, 2009
Several years ago I took off 30 pounds doing Atkins, but didn't want to go back to that after putting 15 pounds back on in the last 2 years. Wanted to go with something more balanced and healthy. I found the Prevention 3-2-1 plan to be just what I was looking for to get me back on track and eating healthier. The eating plan is sensible and easy to follow. I like the meal options given in the 3 calorie choices, 1,200, 1,500, and 1,800. The exercise plan is great, but I found it hard to follow just using the book. I ordered the 3-2-1 workout on DVD and found it much easier to use. Great combination...it's working for me.