I received a free copy of this book for review purposes, but all opinions here are my own.
Last week I received a copy of Become a Fat-Burning Machine: The 12-Week Diet by Mike Berland. Mike isn’t a doctor or a dietician. He’s a pollster and analytics expert. He wanted to know why certain foods help the body lose weight and why others cause the body to store fat. Berland assembled a team of experts to find verifiable data behind the science and mindset of weight loss exercise and nutrition. The Fat-Burning Machine points to metabolic syndrome as the hidden driver of America’s body weight epidemic.
“Finally, I’m a Fat-Burning Machine and I’m not afraid of ‘falling off’ the wagon. There is no wagon. No fad. No extreme protocol. Just a way of life that combines science and practical strategies.”
I found the book to have sound nutritional and exercise advice. It didn’t really reveal much new information for me, but I like the way it was presented. Berland tells of his own weight struggle even as a marathoner. He rejects some popular ideas about weight loss and exercise such as eating fat will make you fat. His plan is simple — each meal should have a protein, low-carb vegetables, a fat option, and a very small serving of carbs (rice, grains, beans, fruit).
There are sample menus and 43 pages of recipes to try. I really like the section on dining out. There are even suggestions on what to order at fast food restaurants.
The part that is hard for me is the exercise section. Berland admits that he loves getting up early and going for a run. I’d rather go to the dentist. But I know this is an area that I need to work on. He suggests incorporating exercise into your life and do the things you love to do, so it will be pleasurable — “not just a grim routine you have to do.” So for me, it’s walking. I enjoy going for a long walk. It’s just hard for me to make the time to do it.
Berland describes something called “Miracle Intervals” which are short bursts of intense exercise followed by long recovery periods — a core component to the Fat-Burning Machine plan. He also suggests morning workouts on an empty stomach to force cells to produce energy via fat oxidation instead of using easy-to-access glucose from a recent meal. He modifies this based on the length and intensity of your workout.
The book outlines some very simple, no equipment required, strength-training fat-burning exercises for beginners. There are more advanced exercises (but still relatively simple) that can be done at home or in a gym with hand weights and an exercise ball. Each week of the 12 week plan has a different exercise routine. I like the variety and how each week builds on the week before.
I look forward to starting this plan next week. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t have a great track record for following any plan exactly, but this one seems very achievable.