Review: The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start and Simple Swaps

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A few weeks ago, when I began my weight-loss efforts, I ordered two Biggest Loser books — 30-Day Jump Start and Simple Swaps.  I haven’t completely finished either of them yet, but I’ve read enough to know what I think about them and I thought I’d share my opinions with you in case you were considering them for a Christmas present for yourself.

Biggest Loser 2

If you watch Biggest Loser, you may remember a couple of seasons ago when half of the contestants got sent home at the end of the first week.  The contestants had come to the ranch as teams of two.  One person from each team — except for two, one who had earned immunity and one who had the highest weight loss — was sent home for 30 days.  At the end of that time, if the at-home contestant’s partner was still on the ranch, he or she got to come back.

Each of the players who went home was sent with a plan — what ultimately became the book, 30-Day Jump Start.  This book is filled with testimonials, many of them from recent contestants, encouragement, meal plans, exercise ideas, recipes and motivation.  My favorite part has been reading the motivation from some of my favorite Biggest Loser contestants.

I haven’t been especially impressed with the recipes or the exercises.  The exercises start out slow, more what I’d consider stretches.  The workout schedule is kind of helpful though, encouraging you to increase a little each day until you’re at a full workout schedule.  The only problem is, once we resume school, it would be awfully hard to maintain an hour plus workout schedule each day.

The recipes in 30-Day Jump Start leave something to be desired.  The ones I’ve tried have been very tasteless and bland.  They’re all about retraining your palette.  I’m more about a little retraining and a lot modification of my favorites.  After a couple of recipes from Jump Start, I was a little afraid to try any others.  I do, however, appreciate having the meal plans to use as a model.

Through these two books, I’ve learned to try to include a protein and a complex carbohydrate with each meal, along with at least one serving of a fruit of vegetable.  That one tip has gone a long way toward curbing my hunger between meals.  I’ve also learned the value of quality snacks between meals.  Learning to spread my calories more evenly between three meals and two or three snacks has been (or  “is becoming” since I’m still learning to do this effectively) very beneficial in handling my hunger throughout the day.

Simple Swaps is easily my favorite of the two books.  It, too, contains the recipes and motivation found in 30-Day Jump Start, however, Simple Swaps main goal seems to be educating the reader about food and nutrition.  It breaks down the components of a healthy diet — such as proteins, complex carbohydrates, grains, etc. — and explains the value of each, as well as the job it does for your body, nutritionally, and where it can be found.

The main components of healthy eating each get their own chapter, along with a chapter for what is identified as the biggest saboteur of a healthy diet, the “white stuff.  In these chapters, you learn more about each and get ideas for where to find them and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Throughout the book, you’ll find:

  • “Simple swap” ideas, not all of which are food related, which give you ideas on small changes you can make that can go a long way toward helping you reach your weight-loss goals
  • Grocery Store Tour, which educates you about foods with which you may be unfamiliar or whose nutritional value you may not understand
  • Tips from trainers, Bob and Jillian, and from former contestants
  • Spice It Up, which explains how to use spices, rather than extra calories, to increase the flavor in foods
  • Budget Tips to help you learn to eat healthier without breaking the bank
  • Charts to educate — one of my favorites is the hunger chart which helps you learn to rate your hunger on a scale of 1-10 to avoid overeating or waiting too long to eat

If I had to choose just one of the books to purchase, it would be Simple Swaps.  I feel like it’s really helped me to understand more about food and how to make healthier, wiser, educated choices.  It’s the one of the two books that I can see myself referencing frequently in the weeks and months ahead.

To my friends at the FTC:  I purchased both of these books on my own.  I have not been compensated in any way for this review.  This post is simply a sharing of my opinion about two books that I own because people have asked me what I thought of them.

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  1. Ohh, most weightloss shows talk about replacing the fat with flavor so that you feel satisfied. Fat helps carry flavor so when you reduce the fat, you need to up the flavor. Like when I do breading for oven frying, I dredge in equal parts dijon mustard and egg white (you can do all mustard if your family likes mustard – mine doesn't). The dijon adds a ton of flavor but very little added calories (or less calories than milk). We do chicken tenders and pork chops this way, they taste fried but they aren't.

    I am one of those people that hates the meal plan – any meal plan. I would rather be told to figure out what to eat within certain perimeters – i.e. breakfast is 400 cal with 7 gm of protein etc.

  2. Oh, I'm becoming a big fan of Dijon mustard. I baked some chicken with a glaze of Dijon, light mayo, and lime the other night and it was *really* good.

    I think I'm like you. I'd rather just have the guidelines and fix things that I like within those guidelines. That being said, I'm trying to be brave about trying new things. I'm having spaghetti squash for lunch today. I'll have to post the verdict later this week.

  3. I've been waiting for this post! Thank you for always being honest in your reviews. I think I'll wait on the Simple Swaps and get it from the library. Right now, I'm waiting for a copy of the BL Fitness book because if I like it then I can use my Swagbucks at Amazon and buy it for myself. The waiting is really trying my patience!!

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