Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review - The Digest Diet

It's rare that I read a diet book and like it.  I'm cynical by nature; plus, I've been dieting for so long that most "new" diets seem either like too much effort, or else too crazy with the food and/or restrictions.  But I am here to tell you that I really liked The Digest Diet, by Liz Vaccariello.  As I read the book, I kept thinking “I could do this” – me, the person who, a year ago, declared herself done with dieting.  That’s how appealing the diet in this book sounds.  The premise is pretty simple – they offer a 21-day fat release plan, broken down into three parts:  Fast Release, Fade Away, and Finish Strong.
Shots of the plan and some recipes - click the picture to enlarge.

Fast Release is a four-day fat releasing jump start, where you eat mainly shakes (they give you a master recipe with suggestions for variations) and soups…this is obviously the hardest part, but it’s only for four days, which keeps the suffering to a minimum (we dieters know all about the suffering, right!?).  Then you switch to Fade Away for 10 days – along with one shake per day, you transition into lean protein and greens.  Finally, you move on to Finish Strong for the last week, where you focus on balanced, healthy meals.  I liked that this does not seem like an extremely stringent diet, and they focus on real food.  No artificial sweeteners, no Frankenfood.  Just the real deal...food that if you aren't eating yet, you probably should be.

The book has several success stories interspersed throughout, showing people of all ages losing a normal amount of weight for the three weeks they followed the diet.  This was another plus for me – no wildly trumped up weight loss, but very attainable numbers, varying from 8 to 26 pounds.
This success story is 48 years old...hmmm, wonder why I chose to spotlight her??

The book also gently encourages you to get some exercise in, but it's nothing horribly difficult - some walking, with a short Fat Release workout added in the second and third weeks.  Remembering back to when I started my diet, exercise was not on my agenda.  Dieting was hard enough, and my overweight body was not ready for anything too strenuous - but honestly, I could have done what this book suggests, or at least most of it, without a lot of agony.

So am I going to do this diet?  Not right now.  While taking off a few pounds wouldn't kill me, what I'm eating right now seems to be working well for getting me through my long runs, and as I ramp up to 13 miles, I don't want to mess with that.  But I plan on giving this a go once we're finished with our half marathon racing season - just because it would be interesting to see if I could get my stomach smaller.  Even though I'm done with dieting, I could do this for three weeks - and hey, if I saw enough of a change, I'd even continue it!

The Digest Diet will be available in October.

FTC disclaimer:  I was sent a copy of this book for free.  Review and opinions are all mine.


  1. To me it sounds like extreme calorie reduction for a short time, which will encourage rebound eating and weight gain. It will sell well but I don't think it will help many people in the long run.

  2. I'm glad to hear you're not going to attempt this while training for your race. I've always felt that dieting during half or full marathon training was a terrible idea. Maybe by waiting until afterwards you will be able to avoid the small uptick in weight that happens to a lot of folks as they reduce their running and try to figure out how to reduce their food intake to match.

    1. Great point on using this as a transition back into regular eating once racing season is done!

  3. Like you I'm done with dieting but I have to say the book looks good, it looks fresh and the food is photographed very appealing.

    But ... I wouldn't buy it because I'm done with planned meals.

  4. That book looks good. I reviewed one earlier in the year that once you took out the extreme low calories 'fast start' was actually well balanced and made sense. Nice to see more of these books come out. I think people just need meal ideas to follow. Otherwise they just do lean cuisines and tuna and then give up, which I don't blame them for.

  5. The Readers' Digest magazine highlighted this book and plan in their April 2012 issue and it sounded good and reasonable there. I trust your judgement about the book, Shelley. Perhaps I will look into it, though there is plenty of good info in that April issue alone. Thanks!


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