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Book Review – The Fat Flush Plan

December 18, 2009

About a month and a half ago I was at the end of my rope. As I’ve already mentioned on this blog, I have been battling some kind of allergy or allergies for a while now that have just baffled me. There have been many times that I’ve eliminated something from my diet and I thought, awesome, I feel better!  I’ve figured it out!  And then a couple of days later the problem would come back and I’d find myself back at square one.

In addition to my stomach aches other symptoms indicated that there was something wrong.  I developed some kind of skin problem where I was constantly itchy, especially my arms and neck.  I was also noticing that my jeans were tight and things just weren’t fitting like they used to.  I had trouble focusing.  I was super impatient (more than normal!).  I knew that my eating habits hadn’t changed and there was no reason I should be gaining weight.  Still, something was off and I figured all these issues were related.  After visiting numerous doctors who would prescribe antibiotics, tell me I had IBS, and then say there was nothing more they could do, I finally realized I had to take matters into my own hands.  I needed to “reset my system” or in other words, I needed to detoxify.

Okay, I too immediately associate the word detox with odd concoctions of lemon juice, pepper and maple syrup.  But this is not what I wanted.  I needed something that would restore my health to where it should be without starving myself.  First off I considered Dr. Alejandro Junger’s plan after reading that Gwyneth Paltrow was a fan.  I do love Gwyneth and while Dr. Junger’s plan seemed sound, it didn’t seem like anything more than what I normally do.  I eat healthy.  I don’t use chemicals, etc., etc.  I didn’t think that it was enough to “reset” me.  So I consulted the gospel, aka Amazon.com to see what else was out there.  I typed in detox plan and up came about a million results. After reading reviews for several days, and I mean several days, I came across Anne Louise Gittleman’s The Fat Flush Plan.

First of all, I was really taken by the number of positive reviews for this book.  I almost always consult Amazon.com’s reader reviews before purchasing a book and most of the 270 people had nothing but good things to say about Gittleman’s plan.  That day I went down to the library, borrowed the book, and started reading.

While I enjoy reading, I don’t normally read diet or health books.  But this didn’t seem like a diet or health book as much as a fascinating glimpse into one’s system, with scientific reasoning to back up the author’s research and claims.  I literally read this 254 page book in 2 days.  It is a quick and easy read.

The basics:

1. Phase I – A two-week fat flush aimed at giving your liver some rest.  Gittleman believes that the liver is an important fat-burning organ that needs to be working correctly in order for your overall health to be good.  Phase I is an extremely difficult 2 week system reset.  In a nutshell it emphasizes flax and flaxseed oil, lean protein, eggs, tons of vegetables, 2 fruits a day, 100% cranberry juice mixed with water, and GLA supplements. 

2. Phase II – Another two weeks of Phase I but this phase is different because you can begin to slowly add back things like bread or rice to see how you stomach/body reacts.  This phase is what really drew me to this plan.

3. Phase III – The Lifestyle Eating Plan.  Again, the aforementioned items should be the main part of an ongoing diet but now dairy, bread, potatoes, nuts, etc. can be added back in moderation, if you determine you are able to tolerate them.  Food combination rules are discussed including how eating fruit with vegetables  or more than one protein at a time is not good for digestion. 

4. Exercise – The plan promotes walking and using a mini-trampoline in Phases I & II.  In Phase III the author goes into more detail about weight training and walking for longer amounts of time. 

The Challenges:

For me the first week Phase I was VERY hard.  I almost gave up to be honest.  The things I found challenging were:

  • I found it tricky trying to get everything ready for me to take to work, i.e. the Cran-water, the flaxseed and oil, etc.  Weekends were easier in that I didn’t have to pack and lug a bunch of stuff, but harder in that I couldn’t eat out very easily.  I resigned myself to eating at home for the most part because I could control everything much better.
  • I had to refer to the book about a million times because I kept forgetting how much of what I was supposed to be eating.  The measurements are quite specific…a tablespoon of flax oil twice a day, a tablespoon of ground flax twice a day, etc.  It was a lot to remember but soon became second nature to me.
  • 100% Cranberry Juice is VERY tart.  We’re not talking about anything Ocean Spray makes.  Mixing this stuff with water makes it more palatable but still, having to drink so much of it a day wasn’t easy.  But again, I was soon able to drink this with no problem.
  • Initially all the flax and flaxseed oil were hard to get down.  I quickly became adept at mixing them with things that would make them go down easier.  Salsa is a lifesaver.  You can put it on anything to make it taste good.  But now I actually do like the taste of flax and flaxseed oil!
  • It was hard to feel full on vegetables.  I found that even though potatoes were on the no-no list I had to incorporate them so that I felt like I was eating something more than air.  I would roast them with a tiny bit of olive oil and they really hit the spot.
  • I have low blood pressure so I had to incorporate salt as well otherwise I felt dizzy.
  • It was hard not to do more than just walk.  While I didn’t have the energy to feel like doing more I mentally had a problem with it.  So I incorporated yoga and walking every day with an occasional run and felt better mentally.  I don’t have a trampoline so I didn’t utilize that aspect of the plan.
  • The groceries are expensive.  Cranberry juice is $7.99 for a small bottle!  GLA was $28 at Whole Foods.  I realize now that these things are cheaper elsewhere, especially on the internet, but it takes some planning ahead of time.  In any case I justified the expense by telling myself it was going to help me in the end.  If I spent money on a trainer why not on this?
  • Since I don’t eat meat or chicken I had to eat eggs and fish every single day.  This became really tiresome.  For those who eat meat and chicken this plan will be much, much easier.

The Results:

Since I’d read so many positive reviews of this book on Amazon.com, I tried not to get my hopes up that I would experience results the way other people did.  Some people lost 15 pounds in a week!  Others said it drastically helped symptoms of their various diseases including fibromyalgia, diabetes, and thyroid disorders.  It’s hard not to keep those kinds of things in mind when embarking on a journey like this.  My results were as follows:

  • My skin cleared miraculously cleared up.  I saw my esthetician after less than a month of being on this plan and she was amazed and said she’d never seen such a transformation in a client’s skin in such a short time.  “Remarkable,” she said.  My skin isn’t perfect by any means but other people have also remarked that it is smoother and clearer and the circles under my eyes are better too.   I have always struggled with my skin so this is really quite a compliment.
  • My stomach problems aren’t gone completely but they are much better.  As the author suggested, after the first two weeks I slowly added a piece of bread into my meals to see how I reacted.  I didn’t react well so now I know I can’t tolerate bread or wheat.  I’d always suspected but now I know for sure and this was my reason for doing this in the first place.  I’ve also identified that certain fruits trouble me and that small quantities of milk don’t.  (I used to think that I was lactose intolerant but this may not be the case). 
  • I told myself I wasn’t going to get on the scale, after all, I wasn’t doing this to lose weight.  But of course I did anyway.  I was also supposed to measure myself with a tape measure but I never got around to it.  I can tell my jeans fit perfectly now!  No I didn’t need to lose weight but like I said, there were areas around my stomach and hips that were never there previously and they bothered me.  I knew they weren’t fat exactly and the author talks about “false fat” in the book which is exactly what I believe I had.  The false fat is gone!
  • My overall energy is much better and I am able to think with clarity.  Prior to doing this I was having difficulty concentrating at work and even at home when reading a book or watching TV.  But now I feel like I can actually focus better and I have the energy to do it. 

I certainly didn’t follow the book perfectly but I’d say I did 95% of what Gittleman suggests. Now that I am finished with the prescribed 4 weeks I plan to take on many of the author’s suggestions on a permanent basis.  The GLA supplements, the flax, the cranberry juice are all things I want to keep up.  Minimizing sugar, flour, and too much fruit are also things I want to keep up. 

To be honest, I am just really relieved that I found a possible solution to my stomach problems.  The fact that this plan gave me hope was something no MD  was able to give me.  There is nothing more discouraging than visiting doctor after doctor with no solution.  For that reason alone I suggest that people with health or weight problems check this book out.  At the risk of sounding a touch dramatic, this book certainly changed my life and it is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. December 18, 2009 2:36 pm

    I’m glad that you feel like it made a difference for you. Did you consider getting counseling from a homeopathic doctor as opposed to a traditional MD? I’m sure you’ve already heard of Spark Wellness through Gena, but that might be a good option.

    They will specifically look at YOUR situation and try to help you with diet.

    • December 19, 2009 7:11 am

      I was going to try a homeopathic doctor but they are quite expensive and insurance doesn’t cover it. That is going to be my next move if my problems resurface. Knock on wood though, they seem to be better.

  2. December 18, 2009 5:22 pm

    Wow. I’m usually really wary about diet fads, but I’m glad it worked for you, at least in some areas. Good for you! But is this just a temporary thing, or will you continue with it?

    • December 19, 2009 7:08 am

      Hi – I totally plan to incorporate a lot of the ideas of this plan because they make me feel SO much better and make a lot of sense. It’s not a fad diet actually but more of a health overhaul.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. December 19, 2009 7:54 am

    Hi Ameena,

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I am adding you to my roll, hope you do same when you get one up 🙂
    Its neat that you do book reviews.
    My take on this? Its another plan – and you can find a 100 out there.I guess I am dubious about it all, and believe that simply eating does not have to be structured in a plan or overthought.
    BUT, totally respect that it worked for YOU and that you find it to be of help. That is the point for you.
    For me? No, I avoid these kinds of things. But again, so glad it worked for you, and your review was well-written and informative.
    Have a nice day 🙂

    • December 19, 2009 10:33 am

      Thanks for your comment…I understand what you are saying but after the initial 2 week phase the plan isn’t rigid at all. I actually find myself thinking of food less than ever before.

  4. December 19, 2009 8:19 am

    I remember looking at that book a long time ago. Along with everything else in the world I was tempted to give it a whirl. Luckily I’ve found what works for me without dieting, but I’m so glad you’re on your way to self healing!

    I can only imagine how frustrating it is to go to doctors with no avail!

    • December 19, 2009 10:34 am

      Thanks Tiffanie…I am glad you have found what works for you as well. It is such a challenge!

  5. December 19, 2009 1:32 pm

    Thanks for the book review. I really appreciate that you sum up the main points and then tell your perspective. I do not think I am going to try it, but I enjoy hearing about it. I have been really enjoying experimenting with the raw food diet. I usually go 100% raw one day a week and I find it is a great detox.

  6. December 19, 2009 9:02 pm

    Wow, this sounds amazing. I’ll be honest- I’ve always been a bit hesitant about completely cutting certain foods . Then I tried going gluten free, and I was amazed at the results. I have been doing a similar phase plan with gluten: cut it fully fir two weeks and then try reintroducing it in small doses.

    I would love to try this plan, as the phase structure seems logical and do-able. I’m not sure I would be able to while marathon training though…

    • December 20, 2009 7:35 am

      Hi Yasmin – It is probably not a good idea while training for a marathon because you probably need to eat a lot right now. But if you have allergies like me you might want to try it at some point!

  7. Lynn at The Actors Diet permalink
    December 19, 2009 11:20 pm

    my co-blogger did the cleanse in that book recently:

    http://theactorsdiet.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/christy-i-feel/

  8. December 20, 2009 11:51 am

    wow, I’m impressed you’ve taken on this challenge!

  9. whydeprive permalink
    December 20, 2009 3:35 pm

    Wow – thats quite a the challenge! Its amazing what your diet can do for your body though. When I was younger I had major allergy problems. Took ages to figure them out (one doctor told me to stay away from wine . . . I was 9).
    My parents had to cut just about everything out of my diet. My poor mom had such a hard time with it. But the difference was amazing. My insomnia went away, my migraines stopped, I had more energy.
    Im glad you found this worked for you!

    • December 20, 2009 6:39 pm

      How interesting that your problems started so young! I’m glad that you were able to figure out your allergies too!.

  10. April 16, 2010 4:00 pm

    Wow – I admire your courage to take on such a plan! I always see this stuff but could never do it…oh well…you are tough girl!

  11. September 23, 2010 3:00 pm

    Have you seen her other two books…The Gut Flush plan & The Fat Flush Plan For Life (a year-round seasonal plan)?

    • September 23, 2010 6:42 pm

      No, I haven’t read either! I will look for them at the library.

  12. July 5, 2011 11:56 am

    Rattling wonderful info can be found on web site.

  13. August 19, 2013 5:30 am

    It’s an remarkable piece of writing in favor of all the online viewers; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

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