We have already reviewed the most popular weight loss diets and today we add another diet review to our existing collection and this is the flex diet review. Our experts outline and explain what you need to know about the flex diet and help you decide if the flex diet is suitable for you. If you are interested in diets you can also read about the effectiveness of quick weight loss diets.
Handsome, male, young doctor? Check! Eye catching cover? Check! Magical properties? Not very sure about that… Promises weight loss without fail? Of course!
One more well marketed book came in the weight loss world in 2010. The flex diet, as it is called, has been created by cardiologist Dr. James Beckerman, who also acts as an expert in WebMD. As with many other diets before it, it guarantees weight loss and a life change. In its essence the diet claims to provide 200 ways to lose 200 pounds.
The flex diet details
The flex diet is divided into 3 phases which are the ‘today’, the ‘every day’ and the ‘your way’.
The today phase lasts for 2 weeks and the main aim is introducing small changes. It essentially consists of a list of 30 ‘solutions’ which dieters can follow during those 2 weeks. Some of the solutions suggested in the ‘today’ phase are: keeping a diary, taking a multivitamin, getting more sleep, apples, grapes, close the kitchen after dinner, wear a pedometer, don’t use exercise as a punishment, try taking whey protein after exercise, blog, call your doctor, become someone’s coach, follow people who inspire you on twitter do calisthenics and so on.
The every day phase is about making every day changes in diet and lifestyle and lasts 3 weeks; according to the flex diet it takes 21 days for behaviours to become habits. Dr Beckerman recons that there are 5 senses of wellness and changes are meant to be made in each of the senses. The 5 senses are eat, drink, exercise, act, and live and the book provides lists of ‘solutions’ for each sense such as:
Eat – eat breakfast every day, avoid bagels, switch to a healthier cereal, use spreads sparingly, use microwave meals, eat tofu once a week, eat salad most days of the week,
Drink – limit alcohol to once a week, switch to skim, save your starbucks don’t drink fruit juices etc.
Exercise – curls, lateral raises, push ups, the fly, chair dips, split squats etc.
Act – walk after meals, walk your dog, etc
Live – read the labels, in restaurants ask questions, make your Mexican food healthier etc.
The your way phase for infinity and consists by more than 100 lifestyle changes and solutions for every day. Like the ‘every day’ phase changes are made in the 5 senses of wellbeing.
The advice is to pick 2 solutions from every category to follow. If possible pick more solutions; however, the author explains that not all solutions are for everybody thus and it is a ‘flexible’ diet. Dieters are advised to make the diet and lifestyle changes as it suits them.
Something new? Something borrowed? Something blue?
Has the flex diet got anything new to offer? Well to be honest there is probably nothing you haven’t heard before. It is a collection of all the usual things which majority of weight loss professionals, doctors, nutritionists and so on, have said over and over again until they have turned blue in the face. Make lifestyle changes, follow a healthy diet, exercise and try to do it for life in a way that it fits your lifestyle. No doubt it is the right way to go, but is nothing new I would say.
The book does contain some valuable tips (or solutions as Dr Beckerman names them) which can help in achieving a healthier diet and lifestyle. However, that all it is. It does contain some recipes which dieters can use as a guide and also some workouts. I would not go as far as to call it a diet, but I would call it a weight loss tips guide. It does cost to buy and you could possibly get a lot of that information from a number of free weight loss/health/fitness websites, magazines, newspapers and so on.
To the point. Does the diet work?
The flex diet could be described as the cross between a self help book and a weight loss tips manual. Will it help you to lose weight? In theory if people make simple changes to their diet and life style should be on the right way in losing some weight. However, it feels as if the flex manual fails to see diet, lifestyle and behaviours as a whole one picture and suggests that a couple of remedies will solve all the problems. I would question if choosing 2 tips from each category and nothing else, will necessarily work in achieving weight loss (see example box).
The point I am trying to make is that weight loss is not as simple as choosing 10 random tips (2 from each category). Possibly, if you follow each and every one of the 200 tips in the book then you may see some results.
Each tip is explained and backed with scientific research; however a lot of the areas explained are seen in isolation. I would personally question the validity or effectiveness of some of the things he suggests, but overall there is nothing too extreme. Dr. Beckerman seems to not have taken into account the multiple and interrelated factors which can affect weight, metabolism, and behaviours. He does say ‘make the changes as its suit you’ but I wonder if just that is sufficient to account for individualism and individual needs.
Moreover, not all changes are health appropriate for all the people, not every exercise is safe for everybody (see example box 2) and also research cannot always be generalised.
The author does say inform your doctor as a tip in the 1st phase and I could not stress enough the importance of seeking the appropriate professional’s advice. Certain people for example those of older age or those who are obese and/or morbidly obese, and those with specific health conditions may need more specialised advice than Dr. Beckerman’s 200 tips. The complexities involved with some specific populations may be they cannot be covered only by just 200 general tips.
Who is it for?
If you are looking for somewhere to start from and are none the wiser in filtering the plethora of tips and information from other sources then you will find the book helpful. Also if you belong in the category of people who don’t like to follow specific diets and are just looking for a couple of ways to make a few improvements, then you may find it helpful as well. If you use the flex manual as a supplement to a weight loss diet and implement a few changes which you feel comfortable with, that may work as well.
If you are looking for a specific diet then this book is probably not for you. If you still have the trampoline, the Wii-fit games, the hand weights or the fitness video sitting along with the last revolutionary diet you bought, well you can try some of the tips in the book and find those who suit you. On the other hand there may be a reason why none of the previous diet and life changes worked. A good start would be to find that reason.