Book Review: The Skinny Rules, by Bob Harper

Bob Harper is a fitness trainer best known for his work on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. He has been with the show since day 1 and has 14 seasons of success behind him.  He has always been a huge advocate of eating healthy to lose weight.  I chose to buy his book because of his years of success on the show and the belief that his advice would help me achieve a sustainable lifestyle change.

The book is well written in plain English. The first 110 pages are the “book” explaining each of the rules. Each of the 20 rules is their own chapter, presented in a common sense manner.  The science behind it is explained and references are provided if you wish to double check the facts.  Each rule is presented with examples of foods that meet the rule.  Issues such as organic vs. non-organic are discussed with solutions that protect your health as well as your budget.  Starting at page 111 you have meal plans for men and women.  The meals are presented by weeks.  The meals are presented as day 1-7 letting you decide which day of the week to eat each.  A mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack is included in the plans so you don’t ever feel like you are starving.  Starting at page 157 are the tools, mainly recipes for the meal plan, but extra recipes are included for recipes lasting until page 260.  Half the book is recipes.  You will not be sending this book to the used book store ever.  The last 2 pages of the book are meant to be removed and hung on the fridge, reminders of the 20 rules and lists of veggies that you can with abandon because the calorie count is so low, e.g. cucumbers.

The meal plan is full of foods you can find in ANY grocery store.  Affordable ingredients such as broccoli, apples, berries, fat free yogurt, and canned tomato sauce, etc. The recipes were easy to make.  The extra recipes include fun things like banana nut muffins, banana blueberry protein pancakes, and a mango blueberry parfait.  I raised my eyebrows at a few recipes, but was presently surprised by the pleasant taste each time.  By week 4, I was a believer.  I still follow the rules as a guideline.

This meal plan pulled me out of a month long plateau.  I lost 10 lbs while on this plan.  I did exercise 3-4 times per week while on the plan and made a point to have a 750 calorie deficit each day.  The meal plan alone would not have gotten those results.

As far as the lifestyle changes, I now enjoy a bowl of strawberries as a snack and don’t really crave candy like I used to.  I now know how to cook vegetables so they actually taste good.  I recommend this book to anyone wanting to make a permanent lifestyle change.

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