Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Diet" Book Review: RevItUp!

Hopefully this post will be the first of many diet book reviews!  As a Registered Dietitian, I am always looking to keep up with the latest nutrition literature to discuss with my patients.   There are many fad diets that are "quick fixes," such as the cabbage soup diet, the eat 3 grapefruits per day diet (Note: please do not do this without consulting your doctor/pharmacist grapefruits can actually counteract many prescription medications!), and the "Biggest Loser Diet," but what about a lifestyle diet that actually sticks?

January 17th is known to be the day that most people "drop" their New Years Resolution, which means people "give it a go" for only about 16 days.  Sound familiar?  If you, or someone you know, is looking for a great book that encourages more of a healthy lifestyle change and making changes at a reasonable pace then please pass this review on!

RevItUp! The lifestyle that diet puts you in the driver's seat by Tammy Beasley, RD, CSSD, LD is, in my professional opinion, a great book to help us get rid of the "diet rules" in our head, and replace them with factual nutrition information and science.  It is also an easy read with analogies that make you smile.

My first introduction to RevItUp! was at a conference in July 2011 where I saw Tammy speak.  She was a wonderful public speaker who was very engaging in describing to an audience of Health Coaches how her book on lifestyle change really works.

In Tammy’s book RevItUp! She describes a healthy lifestyle change that encourages mindful eating, exercise and journaling.  Tammy outlines an 8 week plan and encourages readers to log their foods/exercise/hunger/fullness in the log provided in the back of the book.  The 8 weeks are divided up into two phases both using the four F’s (food, fluid, foundation and fitness), Phase #1 Let’s get started, and Phase #2 Let’s accelerate! Tammy does a great job in the book of using the analogy of a car in relation to your own body’s metabolism and your new healthy lifestyle.  This analogy is very applicable to most people and she does a great job of making a linear connection between the importance of fueling your body correctly and fueling your car correctly. 

Have you ever thought about why you eat?  Do you eat because it is time to eat?  Or because you are at a party?  Phase 1 describes how recognizing your hunger and fullness is just as important as listening to your cars fuel gauge, in that it communicates to you when it needs fuel and when it is indeed full.  This is your foundation.  

I'm sure you have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day since grade school.  In the book, breakfast is compared it to “turning the key” in a car.  She explains that breakfast is “the key” and eating it is the act of “turning it.”  She asks readers to think about how they expect their body to “back out of the garage”(starting the day) without turning the key (eating breakfast)?? 

She then goes on to discuss “fuel groups” (food groups) and how to design a healthy meal.  She does a great job of keeping it comical and light by saying “proceed with caution” on high sugar/high fat foods such as bacon, alcohol and fried foods.  “Watch the speed limit” discusses the speed at which we consume meals/snacks and “Paint Your Portions” talks about how to use the portion plate in regards to fruit and vegetable intake.  Concerned about starting an exercise plan but know it is something that will make you healthier?  Check out the "Warm up your motor" section where the book breaks down exercise into a warm-up, exercise and cool down.  Examples of stretches are given along with tips of how to stay on track with your exercise goals!  The book encourages starting small, and building up to a certain exercise or a certain duration.

I have found many "diet books" have many rules, but one must ask what is the reward for following these rules?  Tammy also does a great job of encouraging readers to set rewards for themselves.  There is a page called “victory lap” where a reader can write down their accomplishments and awards.  Phase 1 also discusses the ever so confusing topic of carbohydrates, and breaks it down in way we can understand and also gives some examples of healthy snacks.  Fats are also discussed and their relationship to your cholesterol (if cholesterol is something you are watching).

Phase 2 is called “Let’s Accelerate!”  It's always great when books or providers can give information on healthy foods and exercise, but what about when "life happens?"  Tammy reviews some challenges such as dining out and skipping meals, and lists some healthy choices when tough real-life situations arise.  So you CAN go on vacation and still keep up with your new healthy lifestyle!  

Overall, this book is a great description of a what a REAL lifestyle change looks and feels like.  The author does a great job of using analogies that many can understand as most people deal with driving a car (and the complications thereof) each day.   In my opinion, the most important part of this tool is the final maintenance chapter/maintenance log, as it signifies that at the end of the book the “diet” does not end!  It is a lifestyle change and having a maintenance plan prevents the reader from falling back into hold habits.  This book works great to “break” the food rules that other strict diets do not allow and uses small steps to work towards a healthy lifestyle, healthy weight and body acceptance.  

All of the images in this post are from Tammy's website, which can be found at: You can also follow her on Twitter @TamBeasRD!

Have you read this book?  If so, please share in your comments below.  What are your favorite "diet" books that you have read?  Please share your comments below and maybe it will be featured on the next diet book review!

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