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Customer Review

38 of 46 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The "Code" works, but the meal plans are not good, April 8, 2008
This review is from: Crack the Fat-Loss Code: Outsmart Your Metabolism and Conquer the Diet Plateau (Dieting) (Paperback)
I am currently five weeks through the plan. In five weeks, I have lost 10 pounds. I am not the kind of person who loses weight easily. I have had insulin resistance, and may still have it to some degree. I lost 10 pounds prior to starting this diet and it took me a year. I do not "diet" well and find that sticking to planned meals is very difficult. At the beginning of this I was at the very top of my "acceptable weight range," and I want to lose another 20 pounds or so. Despite my difficulty with general dieting, I have found that sticking to the carb counts listed has been pretty easy. I have only gone slightly over a few times. The "carb cycling" part of the diet gets five stars.

The actual meal plans and details of this book get one star. This book was tedious to read and the nutritional information is sketchy at best. The plans are not laid out in a clear manner, and they are very restrictive. There are little mandatory commands of the diet, like "you must eat a cup of broccoli every day," which are mentioned one time in the whole book, and not included in the meal plans themselves. Was it too much trouble to just lay everything out in weekly plans, like in other diet books? I've read MANY diet books, and this is by far the least clear plan I've ever read.

The limited plans that are given are not realistic for someone wanting to learn life-long eating habits. Nor are they nutritionally sound according to the most recent research coming from people who are learning to be skeptical of the whole "lipid hypothesis." The author is fat-phobic and the meal plans feature protein shakes at least once a day. Who wants to eat shakes for the rest of their lives? Who even has access to a blender throughout the day? The meal plans also have a lot of egg whites, instead of just using whole eggs. This is like what body-builders would eat, and I do NOT want to look like a body builder. Toned and slim is far different from that look. Oddly, the book does not include anything about exercise recommendations other than vague references.

I ignored the meal plans and recipes and just kept to the carb counts listed. I have even been very bad, and on the "unlimited carb days," I've been eating more like you could eat on a "cheat day." It's kept me motivated, and since I've still been losing about two pounds a week that way, without being hungry, I'm very happy.

Since the carb-cyling has worked for me, I really wanted to give the book five stars...but since I'm only following about three pages of the book, I have to attribute my success to my own plan that I made using the carb recommendations, and not to a bizarre eating plan that involves a lot of eggs whites and protein shakes. Yech.

UPDATE: I'm updating my review now, a few years later. Long term weight maintenance is really what qualifies as "success" in a diet, at least to me. So, how have I done? Well, I ended up losing close to 20 pounds total with this, which was fantastic and I looked pretty good. I maintained my weight for 9 months, and it was pretty effortless. When I felt fat or saw the scale creep up, I watched the carbs better for a couple of weeks, cycling up and down. Then got pregnant with my third child and was able to keep my pregnancy weight gain within recommended ranges. Now my baby is almost two months old and I'm allowed to actively work on losing weight again (if you've never breastfed a baby, just know that you CAN'T restrict calories for the first 6 weeks without risking your milk supply). My husband and I picked this diet up again together now in an active attempt to lose weight. I have about thirteen pounds of baby weight left, and I'd like to lose another 10-15 after that just to be in fantastic shape. We're combining this diet with P90X, because I don't think that the P90x diet plan will work for me. We'll see how that works and I'll try to update when we're done with that.

This time around, I HAVE bought some whey powder to make protein shakes, and we've been enjoying some of that during this first week. We add it to steel cut oats and also to water and ice for a drink to kill off hunger during the lower carb days. It kills hunger well. The protein powder is making it easier to start this off and stick to it. I'm not so sure about long-term nutrition with protein powder. We try, as much as possible, to eat foods that are not processed. I lost 5 pounds the first week and my husband lost 7. So, a nice start.

I still think that this is a fantastic idea and a fantastic diet, with poor execution in the book for long-term use and incorporation into family life. I've got three kids now - they're not going to eat anything like the menus provided, and I seriously am NOT cooking different meals for me, my husband, and the kids! However, the book really helped me to create something that would work for us and has been incorporated into our family meals.

Despite my criticism of the editing in the book, and the sustainability of the given meal plans, I have to thank Wendy Chant for getting this book out there because it has been the only thing that has worked for me.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE TO MY UPDATE: Since writing my last update about a week ago, I learned that Wendy Chant passed away from cancer not that long ago, while still in her 40s. Who knows that cause of it, but when someone who looks so healthy gets a disease like that, you have to wonder if diet has something to do with it. I still have to stand by my initial opinion that being fat-phobic is not a healthy diet. Your immune system needs fat. It NEEDS it. If you are trying to lose weight, the high protein and lower fat, and even lower carb diet will work. I don't think that the evidence is showing that that's a healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life. Slim down, then eat protein, some healthy carbs (much lower than government recommendations if you tend to be overweight at all), and for goodness sake eat enough of your good fats, also get plenty of Vitamin D, and enjoy life.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 9, 2008, 4:46:54 PM PDT
Karen Rhine says:
I wouldn't complain about two pounds a week, especially since you're a slow loser. It seems to me that the plan, even though you're not following it completely, is helping you. I've been on this plan for five months and have lost fifty pounds. I feel better than I've ever felt in my life. Oh, and by the way, you don't have to eat eggs every day or eat shakes for the rest of your life. There's plenty of options. All you have to do is follow the plan until you've reached your ideal weight and then you can mix the food up. I bet you would have lost a lot more weight in five weeks if you had followed the plan.

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2008, 9:54:46 AM PDT
Lisa says:
Don't get me wrong - the carb cycling itself gets 5 stars. The book is in desperate need of a good editor - the menu plans are not laid out in a clear manner, and it does not teach lifelong eating habits but rather shows a "diet." So, I had to lower the overall star rating.

I might have lost more weight in the first five weeks, but I would have been on a "diet" and not been changing my eating habits to something permanent. I've been able to incorporate the carb cycling pattern into my daily eating habits, and that's a lifetime change of diet, not a temporary diet that I'm sure to gain all the weight back as soon as I go off the "diet" of protein shakes and egg whites.

I am disappointed that the book was not better written, because I think the idea behind it is fantastic.

Posted on Aug 26, 2012, 11:06:01 AM PDT
oolala53 says:
How are things going? Has the program influenced your present lifestyle? As you say, long term maintenance is the real measure of success of a plan. If it's not sustainable, what's the use?

Posted on Jan 25, 2013, 1:36:14 PM PST
C Smitty says:
Hi. You said in your first "UPDATE" that you're doing it "a few years later," then you give an update to an update. Well, you mentioned Wendy's passing of cancer in the 2nd update (a week later from your first). Unless we can't count, your review was in APRIL 2008. According to an obituary, Wendy passed NOVEMBER 2009.

What few years are you referring to? That's only 17 MONTHS from your review to her passing. Secondly, even healthy people die of disease so we don't know if she had cancer in her family or what--we should not presume OR even IMPLY as you have that it had to do with a healthy lifestyle. Many a young marathon runners have died of full blown cardiac arrest---younger than Wendy.

Let's get the facts. I don't know her and haven't ordered the book (yet), but ANYONE who makes a noble and honest attempt to improve the quality of people's health and take chunks of their precious time and resources in doing so should be commended, not criticized. :-). Alot of times, it's not the author's fault that something doesn't work, many times it's OUR fault b/c we aren't following the guidelines fully, etc....(learning curves are always an exception--which takes some time).

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 25, 2013, 2:39:26 PM PST
Lisa says:
This is a response to a couple of posters. My initial review was in 2008. My updates were in 2012. That's a few years. I didn't know Wendy (sadly) died until 2012.

I'm taking chunks of my precious time and resources to review a diet that I tried.

This is not a healthy diet as-is in the book. Marathon running is also not healthy. Fat-phobia and stressing the body is not healthy. There is a ton of research out there on this. Yes, it's work to slog through it.

Besides pregnancy gains and losses (through three kids, where I gained and lost a doctor-recommended 19-33 pounds with each!) I've maintained a 40 pound weight loss since 2008. That's from my heaviest weight, before I got pregnant with my first.

You know what? That's pretty good. I wear a size 8 and I'm tall. I've kept this up for four years. How many people maintain weight loss for that long? Not that many.

The P90x diet did not work for weight loss for me. The program is not for weight loss, so no surprise there. I made it halfway through before going back to my normal healthy-ish way of eating.

My normal healthy-ish way of eating is a bit Paleo-lite with carb cycling and a lot of allowances for the occasional ice cream and Oreo cookies. This, obviously, is maintainable for me. For four years.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 26, 2013, 3:41:09 AM PST
oolala53 says:
Thank you for updating us. I'm glad you've found something livable that got you such great results, especially through pregnancies. You sound pretty relaxed about it and that is a boon for kids to see, I think.
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