People who suspect they have a skinny person (or at least a fit and trim person) hidden inside can turn to dietitian Joy Bauer’s diet and exercise plan and book, Your Inner Skinny, to learn how to make the changes that lead to weight loss and let the smaller you out.
“Registered dietitian Joy Bauer has written a book with an online program that includes recipes, a menu planner with a shopping list, customized fitness plan, calorie and activity calculator, weight and inch tracker, nutrition look-up, online support group, and a food log,” says registered dietitian Denise Barratt, RD, owner of Health Concepts Nutrition Therapy in Asheville, N.C. Barratt emphasizes that all these tools available through the book and the Web site are particularly helpful for dieters trying to come to grips with making healthy (and needed) lifestyle changes. (JoyBauer.com is part of the Everyday Health network.)
Joy Bauer’s Your Inner Skinny: How Does It Work?
Her book and program divides dieting into four steps. The four basic steps of the Joy Bauer program are:
Release (Stage 1). This is an intense week to eliminate all “bad” food habits from your life.
Relearn (Stage 2). During this time, you will start to practice new diet habits.
Reshape (Stage 3). This period lasts until you are satisfied with your weight-loss results. This is when you make a regular habit out of the new healthy diet and lifestyle choices emphasized by Bauer.
Reveal (Stage 4). At this point you can enjoy your new weight while continuing to practice your new habits.
The book contains many strategies for weight loss, including:
- Exercise — 30 to 60 minutes daily
- Identifying and avoiding trigger foods
- Turning off the TV (or at least not eating in front of it)
- Stocking up on healthy snacks and foods
- Planning and shopping for healthy meals in advance
- Ending your loyalty to certain types of foods or certain ways of eating, if those loyalties continue unhealthy habits
Joy Bauer’s Your Inner Skinny: Sample Diet
On this diet you will be eating three meals a day and one afternoon snack. Bauer recommends eating within 90 minutes of waking up in the morning and not eating after 9 p.m. The following foods are emphasized:
Good carbohydrates. These come from foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans.
Healthy fats. In moderation, you can have olive oil, canola oil, nuts, flax, walnuts, and avocados.
Lean protein. Bauer recommends lean proteins, eggs, fish, chicken, soy, beans, lentils, and low- or non-fat dairy.
Unlimited snacks. For those who want to snack between meals, Bauer provides a long list of “unlimited” snack foods (non-starchy vegetables) and beverages (zero-calorie drinks and coffee with milk). As you progress toward your weight-loss goal, more options for healthy snacks are given.
The diet provides lots of variety. Bauer recommends filling up with her vegetable-rich salad or vegetable soup before meals, especially early on in the diet. After one of these appetizers, dinner might feature poached salmon and steamed broccoli.
Joy Bauer’s Your Inner Skinny: Pros
There are several benefits to Your Inner Skinny:
Healthier eating. Joy Bauer’s emphasis on healthy fats, whole foods (fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), and better snacking habits can improve your diet, even if you aren’t concerned about weight loss. The diet is based on foods that are readily available and affordable. And “a host of useful and tasty recipes are included,” says Kievit.
Exercise emphasized. Following Bauer’s exercise recommendations helps speed weight loss and puts you ahead of national recommendations to get 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
Dining out advice. For people who eat out a lot, Bauer includes tips on sticking to the plan at a restaurant or fast-food chain.
Weight-loss success. “Those just starting and sticking to Joy’s plan will lose weight without exercise as the daily caloric intake is low in the beginning, then increases with weight loss and weight maintenance,” says Robyn L. Kievit, RD, FNP-BC, an eating consultant for eMindful.com and in private practice in Boston. “Joy’s book and plan are for lifetime weight loss and weight maintenance.” You don’t have to put the book away once you’ve reached your goal weight.
Mindful eating. Bauer emphasizes changing your outlook and your relationship with food. “By using the skills associated with mindful eating, individuals learn what is happening to them in the present moment when they are craving food and might not be truly hungry,” explains Kievit.
Joy Bauer’s Your Inner Skinny: Cons
Joy Bauer’s method has a few drawbacks you should be aware of:
Carb control. While Bauer’s listing of foods appropriate for each stage of the diet is helpful for most dieters, “certain carbohydrates can only be eaten in Stage 3, which may be difficult for some people,” says Kievit.
Body image worries. Seeking the inner skinny may set someone up for unreasonable expectations. “Most of us are concerned with our physical appearance, but I think that the focus on our health is most important,” says Barrat. “Many of us may not reach an ideal BMI, but we can move toward becoming a more healthful person.” (Prior to becoming Your Inner Skinny, the diet plan was called Joy’s LIFE Diet.)
Cooking. The diet does not leave a lot of room for prepackaged foods (although you can eat one frozen meal per week as long as it is less than 350 calories), so you can expect to be preparing most meals yourself. However, there are easy-to-fix recipes for days when you are short on time or energy.
Your Inner Skinny: Short- and Long-Term Effects
The diet has not been tested clinically, but weight loss is likely for most people who stick to the plan. Over the long term, Joy Bauer’s guidelines match up with U.S. government recommendations for eating to prevent heart disease and manage other chronic diseases like diabetes. While these guidelines have not been specifically shown to improve long-term health, long-term weight loss and weight maintenance can contribute to your overall well-being.