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Warning: If you follow Dr. Berg's plan properly, you will need to cut out alcohol, coffee, tea, processed foods, sweets, pastries, breads, grains, potatoes (i.e., most carbs), and junk food of any kind, i.e., 90% of what makes up the average American supermarket, and average American diet. Can you handle it? This book might not be for you.
On the good side, you do not need to cut calories, you can eat fatty foods like avocados and olive oil, don't need to worry about the fats in meats (within reason), eat as many eggs as you want, you must not let yourself get hungry, don't necessarily have to exercise that strenuously or that often, and when you reach your goal, you can add back some of those foods you cut out originally (except the really bad stuff).
I learned about this book because my chiropractor uses it. The title emphasizes fat-burning, but early on he makes it clear that gaining weight is just one of many symptoms resulting from a body out of health, because one or more of your organs are unhealthy and poorly functioning. He focuses on adrenal glands, thyroid glands, the liver and ovaries. This state of poor health is due to the average American diet - high in refined carbohydrates and toxic chemicals added to the meats and vegetables we eat, and to our over-stressed life-styles and sleep deprivation.
Over the last few years from my mid 30s to mid 40s, I've had a number of annoying symptoms building up more and more that doctors have shrugged their shoulders about and sent me on my way: chronic sinus headaches, allergic rhinitis, ringing ears, gradual development of food sensitivities (can't eat bread or anything with wheat now), endometriosis and ovarian cysts, chronic fatigue, chronic anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and weight gain around the middle are a few. I tried following the reduce-calories-and-exercise-more doctrine for the weight gain, and after a year I was exactly the same weight as before. None of these things made any sense, based on all the stuff I was reading about how to lose weight. I couldn't figure out what to do about the other stuff either. So when I read Eric Berg's book, I could not put it down!! He explained every one of those symptoms - why they happen, and what you can do about it! I was so excited! Finally! Someone understands!! So I'm not going crazy! It was almost like he knew me!
The book is very clearly written and very easy to follow. The author does tend to be repetitive, though. Some people might be put off and think there is too much to wade through, but actually, a lot of it is just explaining the same thing over again in a different context.
You need to determine what body type you are at the beginning: adrenal/ovary or liver/thyroid. You do this by taking a questionnaire of your symptoms. Weight gain is one of the symptoms, and the shape of your body is indicative of which glands or organs are not functioning well. Then you follow the meal plans and exercise for that body type. What is interesting is that if you are an adrenal/ovary type (like me) you shouldn't do high impact exercise if you're trying to lose weight as that will stress the adrenals more, and is more likely to lead to more fat being deposited rather than fat burning. Instead you should do a low impact, aerobic workout. So that explains why I was never able to lose weight with exercise until now.
I have been following the diet for 3 weeks now, starting with the 14 day Liver Enhancement diet, which is supposed to be almost entirely raw vegetables and fruit. Reading all the reviews other people wrote, I think most people are not as bad as I am with their adrenal function, because after 3 weeks I only lost 3 lbs of water-retention, and no fat loss. He explains that adrenal types tend not to lose too much weight right at the beginning and explains why. However, my body's pH went from a 5 (way too acidic) to a 7 (perfect!). He explains why you need to have a more alkaline (pH 7) body for long-term health and weight loss. No long-term weight loss unless you take care of the pH problem, folks. And it is eating all that veg that does it (plus the cruciferous supplements if you want to speed the process along). I should add that the only reason I know about my adrenal fatigue and pH values is because my chiropractor and holistic MD did tests.
One further word of advice for anyone who tries this who is also suffering from adrenal fatigue. You might feel really exhausted, heavy-limbed and light-headed when you start the Liver Enhancement diet. Some people from the other reviews seem to have felt better straight away. You might not. For some people it might take a while. That's what happened to me. I had to add meat back in in order to make it from day to day, which is what he suggests for the adrenal/ovary types. However, I do now have much better sleep!!! and my sex drive is back, and I am amazed to say I am not craving chocolate and cookies with tea/coffee any more!! I couldn't go through a day without a chocolate and tea break. So just bear that in mind. You might think you could never stop drinking coffee or eating bread, but you might be surprised... Any way, the nice thing is, once you have reached the state of health and weight loss you want (could take a few months, don't expect instant results) you can start adding those things back into your diet again if you want - though he points out that most people are less interested in junk food once they are healthy as it is being unhealthy that makes you crave these things in the first place.
I would suggest everyone should read this book. Whether you follow the plan or not is up to you, but you should be aware of how and in what way our diet and life-style can cause us ill health and weight gain, and know there is something you can do about it if you choose to.