Review: The Cheat to Lose Diet by Joel Marion

The Cheat to Lose Diet: Cheat BIG with the Foods You Love, Lose Fat Faster Than Ever Before, and Enjoy Keeping It Off!

If you’ve been struggling to lose fat for a year, say, and someone came up to you and said you could drink a 2L bottle of pop a week, ice cream, cookies, and pizza (my favourite; also note the “and”) and still lose up to 2.5 lbs a week*, would you believe them? I wouldn’t. How many offers do you see on TV and the internets that promise insane losses in insanely short time periods? C’mon! I know better, move on, we don’t want any.

But this is different.

So far, on this diet, I’ve lost 31 pounds in 19 weeks for an average of 1.6 lbs/week. I started on Thanksgiving (the Canadian one, naturally, so beginning of October). My performance in the gym hasn’t waned nor has my size in the right places, which leads me to believe that I haven’t lost much muscle. And, once a week, I can eat whatever I want for a whole day.

It’s a remarkable diet; it works by manipulating the hormone leptin, a hormone at its peak when the body has all the energy it needs, when calories are abundant. Leptin levels decline quickly in the absence of calories, as much as 50% in a week. Therefore, every week, during the core phase of the diet, you get a cheat day where there are few limits on what to eat, to keep leptin at its peak. I’m simplifying of course, the book has far more detail about the how and why, but it is a very simple diet and exercise routine that takes very little time to master if you’re prepared to diet.

Joel writes in a clear, conversational tone throughout the book, making it easy to grasp the ideas and zip through the book, so you can get started pretty quickly after the book arrives. The book is very well researched and has a detailed reference section highlighting all the studies that Joel Marion read if you want to follow up. One thing he does not do, thankfully, is force you to count calories. Instead, he encourages you go by sight which is refreshing, if you, like me, hate counting calories.

One more note about the exercise portion: I made the mistake of assuming I knew better than Joel when it came to exercise. I thought that whatever he recommended couldn’t possibly be better than the weight workouts I’d come up with or follow. When I wasn’t quite getting the 2lbs/week that the diet promises, I figured I’d just have to keep going with weight workouts but push just a little harder. In truth, I didn’t even read the exercise part! What a giant mistake! It wasn’t until my girlfriend pointed out that she does it every week did I listen; she was losing more bulk than I was. So I started on 1 Jan 08 with the exercise routine outlined in the book and I’ve lost 12 pounds since then for a much better average.

I’m someone who loves to eat with a sweet tooth. If this works for me, then it can work for anybody. If you’ve tried to lose weight, but failed, then I can’t recommend this diet highly enough. I saw results after the first week. Do yourself a favour and try this out.