The Perfect Fit Diet by Lisa Sanders, M.D.

By Lisa Sanders, M.D.
Publisher: Rodale (Jan 3, 2004)

Dr. Lisa Sanders specializes in the treatment of overweight and obese patients. Sanders knew that certain diets worked for some people, but not everyone. She made it her mission to find out how diets really work and why, despite the odds, some dieters are able to take the weight off and keep it off. She’s spent years poring over hundreds of medical studies. She discovered that all diets work, if they are paired with the right people. So how do you find out which diet works best for you? Sanders created a questionnaire that takes away the guesswork and points you to one of three basic diet types, based on calories, fat, and carbohydrates. The Perfect Fit Diet shares insight into each of these diet tips, and also contains menu plans and recipes to get you started.

The first three chapters of the book explain why and how diets work or don’t work. It’s easy for us to recognize that we can’t stick with certain diets, but we don’t always know why. Is it lack of willpower? Not according to Sanders. She points out that food preferences are partially learned, but also partially genetic. Some people are more sensitive to certain chemicals in foods, and their diets reflect this. We must choose a diet that accomodates our food choices, rather than try to adjust our food choices around a diet that may not be right for us. We all fall victim to the media, and make our diet choices accordingly. We follow whatever diet is the most popular at the moment, even if we don’t like it.

"That’s just one reason why accommodating individual food preferences is so important to a successful diet. My research, and that of others, shows that the primary predictor of a dieter’s success is longevity: The longer you can stay on your diet, the more weight you’ll take off and keep off. Deprivation diets only work in the short run; you can only stay on a diet that satisfies your fundamental food cravings. Unless your diet reflects your individual food preferences, it can’t be sustained — because it won’t be satisfying. The Perfect Fit Diet is the first weight loss program that respects this immutable law of human nature."

This is not earth shattering news for us. We’ve known this for some time on 3FC. Many of our members force themselves to go through the motions of the latest popular diet, and then jump to another diet because they don’t succeed. We know that every diet works – if you stick with it. The only trick to successful weight loss is finding a diet that fits your personal lifestyle and tastes, because this is the diet you will stick with. Sanders also recognized this, and she took it further by developing the Perfect Fit Diet.

The questionnaire spans 48 pages and covers food preferences, family history, eating habits, lifestyle, and activity levels. The depth of the questions is eye-opening and really does force us to take a closer look at our diets. Sanders also includes a few medical history questions, and recommends seeking a physician’s advice if you have certain health conditions such as heart disease.

Once you have followed the questionnaire, you will know whether to follow the Counting Carbohydrates plan, the Counting Calories plan, or the Counting Fats plan. Sanders created each of these diets based on her research. She says they are similar to the popular diets of the same type, but hers include a few twists which make them easier to follow and maintain. Each diet carries a similar theme, though, being low in saturated fats, low on the glycemic index, and utilizing fresh and unprocessed foods.

The next section of the book covers the three basic diet plans. Each includes helpful tips, basic nutritional information, sample menus, and even recipes. The plans generally include about 1300 calories per day, which would cause anyone to lose weight. The menus are tailored to each person, so they are easier to follow. As Sanders promised, she included many tips and twists which make each diet plan easier to stick with in the long run. For example, the Counting Fats Diet teaches you how much fat, which fat, and includes tips for reducing fat intake. She also tells us that while this diet focuses on reducing fat, that it’s also important to choose carbs wisely, and opt for more nutrition choices such as whole grains. By including carbs that are lower on the Glycemic Index, we are less likely to get hungry and eat too much.

Many, if not most, diet books cover all of the basics in the first chapter, and the rest of the book is all fluff. The Perfect Fit Diet is different, and includes extremely helpful information from cover to cover. If you find that you hop from one diet to another, or perhaps blamed previous diet failures on lack of willpower, then the Perfect Fit Diet is for you. This is one of the most useful diet books we’ve ever read.


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