It always sounds like losing weight should be simple, right? Just eat smart and exercise regularly. Yet it's so much more darn difficult than it sounds! The Mayo Clinic Diet was recently named one of the best diets by U.S. News and World Report, and now the same editors of that New York Times Bestseller have released The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet, designed specifically for people with type 2 diabetes (although type 1 diabetics can certainly use it, too). It turns out to be a short, colorful, easy-to-read guide for how to jumpstart your weight loss process and then keep it going for lasting change. Gotta love that.
The Mayo Clinic, based in Rochester, MN, is world-renowned for their excellent facilities and physicians, so we were excited to see what kind of advice they had in store. To start with, they've certainly kept their book easy to read, with lots of bullet points, colorful graphs, and short chapters. The whole book is only 220 pages — plus an additional 30 pages on recipes and a food database. The first part of the book is broken into two sections: Lose It! and Live It!, followed by "All The Extra Stuff" — very descriptive, huh?
Lose It! consists of a two-week immersion program in which readers are encouraged to add five new habits, break five old habits, and then adopt an additional five habits. The new habits are fairly basic and nothing unusual: eating breakfast, adding fruits and veggies, eating only whole grains, eating healthy fats, and getting more exercise. The habits to break are also your standard advice: No TV while eating, no refined sugar (only what is naturally found in fruit), moderate meat and low-fat dairy, no snacks, and no eating at restaurants (unless you're lucky enough to be able to restrain yourself from overeating). The ultimatum on eating in restaurants seems pretty unrealistic, though.
The "bonus habits" include recording food and activity, moving even more (because you never get enough exercise!), eating "real" food, and writing down your daily goals. These are definitely great habits to get into, but it's a little bit of a plug here, since the Mayo Clinic emphasizes using their Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Journal, or or possibly your own hand-written journal. Personally, I've founded it easier to use online tools like SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal to keep track of my food and fitness activities, rather than writing everything down by hand.
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The Live It! section is dedicated to tips for continuing your weight loss program, including ideas for how to add more physical activities, suggestions for what to eat, and figuring out your metrics, like how much weight you should lose and what your daily calorie goal should be. The Mayo Clinic has a fairly moderate view on carbohydrates. Their pyramid puts the emphasis on vegetables and fruits, followed by carbs, followed by meat, followed by dairy, and then fats and sweets. They don't recommend a specific number of carbs, but rather that "reasonably adjust the amount of carbs you eat" to fit your diet. Of course that's not so simple for everyone, but they are pointing out that carbs should be limited.
They do appear to have a pretty strict calorie limit, however. For women who are under 250 lbs, they recommend starting off at 1200 calories a day. That is low! You certainly wouldn't be able to get away with too many carbs on a 1200-calorie-a-day diet. Personally, I think that's a little extreme, but I guess 1200 calories works for some people.
The "All The Extra Stuff" section is essentially everything but the kitchen sink: it's filled with recipes, tips on how to find healthy ethnic cuisine, a Q & A section on overcoming weight loss obstacles like resistant family members or finding healthy food without breaking the bank, and support on how to stay motivated when you've slipped up.
One tip that I hadn't heard before is equating your TV time with exercise. I love sitting around watching several favorite programs, but hadn't thought of balancing out my TV time with an equal amount of exercise time. That seems like a great way to reframe my thinking; instead of exercise being a chore in which the results take forever to see, I am immediately rewarded by being allowed to watch my favorite TV show :) .
While none of the advice in the Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet book is necessarily new or revolutionary, the editors have packaged it into a very easy-to-work-with platform that I think will be useful for a lot of people. The book's so easy to read and follow that you could probably skim through the whole thing in just a few hours! And unlike so many diet books that are restrictive and complicated, their advice is rational and common sense. Sometimes, that's exactly what you need to hear.
The DMBooks Giveaway
We're committed to sharing our book finds with our readers, so once again we're giving you the chance to win a free copy of our latest-reviewed book. This month, we're giving away The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet, plus their companion book, The Mayo Clinic Diabetes Diet Journal, so that our winner can go the whole route!
Entering for your chance to win is as easy as leaving a comment.
Here's what to do:
1. Post your comment below and include the codeword "DMBooks" somewhere in the comment (beginning, end, in parenthesis, in bold, whatever). That will let us know that you would like to be entered in the giveaway. You can still leave a comment without entering, but if you want to be considered to win the book, please remember to include "DMBooks."
2. You have until Friday, Nov. 11, at noon PST to enter. A valid email address is required to win.
3. The winner will be chosen using Random.org.
The contest is open to anyone, anywhere. Good luck, D-Friends!