It’s only taken me about 15 years to figure this out, so hopefully, my revelation can help cut that time down for you.
There are no short cuts when it comes to weight loss.
I know we’ve all heard that before, yet we still buy into it because of so many mixed messages. It’s difficult to decipher what is real and what is marketing hype when it comes to food.
We were living on pre-made dinners purchased at Costco for years. I tried to buy “healthier” ones, but now I know it was CRAP. I’m a busy person, I don’t have time to cook. That’s how I thought, though, until a month or so ago when I finally, FINALLY felt like I understood good nutrition and healthy eating.
A Review of The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper
My husband, who has battled with his weight for many years actually heard about Bob Harper’s new book The Skinny Rules and informed me he was getting it. We’d been trying to eat healthier (read: not as many Costco frozen dinners) for a few weeks. I was doubtful about this book that had the word “skinny” in it. To me, it just seemed like another diet book. (He listened to it on audio, and then ended up buying the physical book so we could use the recipes and refer to the meal suggestions.
I was so, so wrong. I totally judged the book by it’s cover. Don’t let the word “skinny” fool you. The Skinny Rules is actually about eating right. Balanced meals. Good nutrition.
This book has changed our lives – well, as far as eating goes. And dieting, too, since we are both trying to lose weight. My husband has lost almost 10 pounds in the last month, and he is not exercising. He should be, but he’s not. He really likes that he has a set of eating “rules” to go by. I, on the other hand, have lost only a couple of pounds, but I really only have less than 10 to lose, so that’s actually quite a bit considering. I really like having HEALTHY, balanced meal suggestions and recipes. I like eating fresh, and I am LOVING cooking. None of the recipes are complicated at all. I HATED to cook. Now, I am starting to enjoy it. I’ve even made fish! And, now that I know some things about nutrition, I can even confidently make up my own healthy meals.
The Skinny Rules gives you 20 rules to live, er, eat by. Some of them are simple: drink two glasses of water before every snack and meal. But some of them are a little tougher: no carbs after 2 p.m. I’m pretty good at that one – I make a well-balanced dinner with protein and veggies, but then…popcorn. Oy. Popcorn is my kryptonite.
The best thing The Skinny Rules has done for me, though, is help me realize the CRAP I was eating and feeding my son and husband! All the chemicals and unpronounceable words that give us cancer and do other bad things to the human body. I don’t know why I hadn’t realized it – maybe I’d just never really thought about it.
Now, I’d say 90 percent of my grocery bill is spent on fruits and veggies. The rest is meat, fish, dairy and nuts…and maybe 1-2 percent on grains. Grocery checkers comment on how healthy I eat nearly every time I go to the store. It’s kind of nice — it’s like encouragement.
Eating healthier is not easy. But it’s not that hard. You have to think a little more, plan a little more, prep a little more and cook a little more. I make chicken breasts and hard-boiled eggs ahead of time to have ready for salads for lunches. I’ve always been a dinner planner, so that wasn’t hard for me to do. I’m too busy to be able to think up dinner “on the fly.” And Bob (we’re on a first-name basis) has a section in the book that will help you stock your fridge and pantry with everything you need to eat well.
Yes, eating healthier isn’t cheap, but it isn’t that expensive. My grocery bill is about the same as it was before we started this whole nutrition journey. I know, if I were really diligent, I could even cut the costs down. I think just most people don’t want to plan, and then they end up spending more money at the store.
If you want to lose weight; if you want to be healthy; if you want to feel better; YOU HAVE TO WORK AT IT. It’s just like anything. You can’t go out and run a marathon without training. You can’t lose weight without training either — training yourself to eat better.
To me, this book is way more than a set of rules to lose weight by. It’s a way to LIVE by. Here’s an example of what my food looks like on a typical day:
- Glass of water when I wake up.
- Breakfast: 2 glasses of water, 1 slice of Ezekial bread (with the tiniest amount of butter on it), coffee with fat-free half and half (no sugar!), and a smoothie made with water, whey protein, and some combination of fruit (usually half a banana, blueberries and strawberries).
- Morning snack: 2 glasses of water, an organic Pink Lady (apple), and 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter.
- Lunch: 2 glasses of water, a whole-grain tortilla wrap (with Dijon mustard, half a small avocado, alfalfa sprouts, tomato, 2-3 ounces of chicken breast meat, spinach and I throw some basil leaves in there – yum!), and a cup of sliced fruit with a Tablespoon of Greek Yogurt on top.
- Afternoon snack: 2 glasses of water, homemade hummus with half an English cucumber
- Pre-dinner: A handful of almonds
- Dinner: 2 glasses of water, Bob’s stir-fry (made with 1+++ pounds of veggies, olive oil spray, red pepper flakes and lime juice) with tofu. Sometimes I have a glass of red wine.
- Dessert: I don’t usually have dessert, but last night, I used the Yonanas machine to make strawberry sorbet with frozen strawberries and a few dark chocolate chips.
- Sometimes I have popcorn (made with 1 T of oil and 1/8th t of salt), later when I’m not supposed to. LOL
And, in case you are wondering, I am rarely hungry. When I do get hungry, I eat something. I’ll have a hard-boiled egg. Or an apple with a little cheddar cheese. Or a few almonds.
The Skinny Rules and Exercising
The one thing I wish the book touched on a little more is how to properly fuel or refuel if you exercise. Bob doesn’t have you counting calories, but the meal plans put women on about a 1,200-1,300 calories a day. What if I run 10 miles that day? I know I need to eat some more calories. I struggled with this at first. I was trying to eat all those calories I burned, and I was trying to track them and…I wasn’t losing weight. But then I realized, after listening to a Jillian Michaels podcast, that I shouldn’t be eating ALL those calories I burned. So, now, I just eat something reasonable — like an extra protein smoothie after I work out. And voila! that’s working. I’m not tracking calories anymore either. That’s because I’m learning the right way to eat. And I’m losing weight…very slowly, but I know that’s the best way.
I don’t feel like this “review” is doing this book justice. I kind of want to buy a ton of them and stand on the street corner handing them out to strangers! I feel like the book has information about food that everyone should know. Even people who don’t need to lose weight should read this book. That’s honestly the way I feel. I want everyone to feel better. I want everyone to eat right so they don’t get cancer or diabetes or heart disease or…
Do you have questions about the The Skinny Rules? I’d LOVE to answer them! I could go on and on forever about this book!