I picked up Body Love by Kelly LeVeque because it was getting rave reviews from my favorite ~wellness~ websites. Known around town as Jessica Alba’s nutritionist, LeVeque supposedly has the secret to solving health problems, losing weight and avoiding dieting forever.
In this book, LeVeque lays out a strict low-carb diet (without calling it that), including limiting your daily serving of fruit to 1/4 cup. The diet is based on her “Fab Four” smoothie, which isn’t as Beatles-inspired as it sounds. Instead, it combines fat, fiber, greens and protein, all with very, very little fruit. She claims just eating this for breakfast every day will make you lose multiple pounds per week. I tried it a couple times and found that it makes the tiniest, oddest-tasting smoothies ever. I couldn’t stomach them without adding at least double the fruit. Beyond suggesting you eat this smoothie for one if not two meals per day, she also tells you to cut out all snacks, claiming they’re for children.
I’m sure that for her Hollywood clients, the advice she lays out in this book is life-changing. Going from living on melba toast, cigarettes and LaCroix to avocados and organic meats is a step up. But for the average person, it feels very strict.
There’s a lot to be said for eating a diet high in healthy fats, eliminating simple sugars/starches and rethinking the products you put in your home. What I couldn’t stomach was the idea that this program would lead women who’ve struggled with food to truly love their bodies, as the title suggests. If she had just come forward and said, “these are dietitian-approved ways that Hollywood women lose weight,” it would have felt more honest than claiming it’s about loving yourself and freeing yourself from “food drama.” Trust me, undertaking her pre-drinking regimen will look quite dramatic to your loved ones.
I couldn’t help but compare this book to the Whole 30’s manifesto, It Starts With Food. In it, Melissa and Dallas Hartwig work hard to distill the best nutrition advice they’ve learned into a regimen that actually feels like a lifestyle. Eat as much as you want, pay attention to what’s in your food and stick to whole foods. When it comes to the actual 30-day plan, it’s meant to be strict on purpose. The Hartwigs deliver it with a fair amount of tough love and honesty, claiming that it’s hard, but not nearly as hard as say, fighting cancer or having a child.
Listening to LeVeque’s bubbly presentation of her even stricter regimen just didn’t work for me. Body Love‘s program is a diet, even if she promises to free you from something as gauche as counting calories. As I tried to measure out her “Fab Four” smoothies, I couldn’t help but think how much simpler counting calories is than constructing such a liquid meal.
If you’re totally new to the world of nutrition, Body Love is a solid primer. But you probably don’t need to work this hard just to love your body.