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21-Day Wonder Diet ... too good to be true?!!
on 12 August 2012
OK, so the title and the claim hooked me, why wouldn't it? Having decided I'd a bit of weight to shift, I was pulled in by the claim plastered on the front cover 'lose up to 10kg (that's 22lb) in three weeks'. Sucker! I should know better, I DO know better, but ... this claim coming from such a prestigious group as the Australian Women's Weekly, had to be worth investigating.
So, pulled in with the cover hype I finally got to the nitty gritty on page 8 of the book. Yes, lose up to 10kg in 3 weeks, however, a very important little fact they forgot to tell me on the cover. Quote from the book (8 pages in!): "The diet is for TWO people" (not the recipes are for two people) ... ah ha! So we are not talking a weight loss of up to 10kg (you did know that was going to be too good to be true, didn't you?!) for just one person, silly me, but a possible combined weight loss of up to 10kg for TWO people - well, that's ok then :( Shame they omitted to tell me this on the cover, but then of course I'd not have bought it. If this 10kg value isn't for TWO people dieting then I'm not sure where they've got this value from. The book cites two testers, one losing 5kg and one losing 5.5kg (both working for the AWW test kitchen).
On page 8 it also says: "This is a serious weight-loss diet that will supply your body with around 1,000 calories per day". You're telling me it's a serious weight-loss diet, a calorific intake of that amount for that period isn't usually recommended.
So, let's get to some positives. The book is very nicely presented, as you'd expect from AWW publications. The recipes are nicely laid out, giving all the essential information regarding calories per portion, fat content, etc, etc. So, the recipes can easily be used if you are following a low-fat or weight-loss diet.
It's a 3-week programme following a daily plan, so the book tells you what to eat and when to eat it. I knew that. I don't like that part of it, but I'm prepared to swop and change - as a non-fish eater I have to. Many people will like to follow a rigid plan.
This book is the UK version, with examples of fat content eaten in an average daily diet, and various other things, given as UK values. However, they've failed to just double check the UK ingredients. Day 1 breakfast ... 200g rockmelon. Eh? Not a huge buyer of melons so maybe it's just me, but had to look on the web to find out that rockmelon = canteloupe melon! Talking of Day 1 Breakfast, the ingredients are (bearing in mind the recipe is for 2 people) 200g of rockmelon (canteloupe as I now know it), 200g of honeydew melon & 200g watermelon. We have to wait until Day 9 before melon is mentioned again - snack is 200g watermelon. Strikes me that if you rush out and buy ingredients to follow the plan on a daily basis that's a huge amount of melon gone to waste!!
So, do I recommend this as a diet plan to follow? Absolutely not.
Do I recommend it as a nice, low-fat cookbook? Well, yes, guess I would but am sure there are others that may prove better - seems to be a lack of use of seasoning and herbs.
If you want to follow a weight loss plan, then I'd look no further than Ms Conley's GI diets (see my other reviews about a couple of her books) ... use the daily calorie amounts and use the recipes from this book. I do believe 1,000 calories for 3-weeks is insufficient.
What I do like about the recipes given is bread isn't a no-no. There are a number of meals using bread, albeit rye bread.
Another downside to the book is lack of prepare ahead lunches. If you are at home for 3 weeks so having access to a cooker and you really do want to be told what to eat and when to eat it, and you don't have any foods you dislike and you don't mind huge waste of melons, oh, and you have someone to share the recipes with, then this might be the diet for you, but I'd say check out Ms Conley's first. We know hers work, she takes great pleasure in telling us they do by giving huge lists of successful dieters in her books - this one appears to have been tested by just two people.
Needless to say, I've not followed the diet, the fact it's 1,000 calories per day is enough to put me off. I am sure you will lose weight, how could you not, but I'm sure I wouldn't last the 3 weeks on this calorific level. I have used some of the recipes though, and they've been fine.