Book Review: "The Reverse Diet"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 - 10:56am

By Allison Stevens, MS, RD

In order to lose weight, something has to change. In The Reverse Diet, that change is a complete reversal of your meal pattern. I often find myself eating a larger breakfast and lunch and smaller dinners, as it makes sense to me to fuel my body throughout the day, and not at night before going to bed. So I was intrigued by the idea of a diet book that touts a reversed diet pattern. The Reverse Diet puts forth a compelling argument that in addition to breakfast being the most important meal of the day, perhaps it should also be the largest.


After reaching a top weight of nearly 300 pounds, chronic yo-yo dieter Tricia Cunningham finally decided to "reverse" her weight problem once and for all by changing her eating habits. Her self-devised plan follows the principle: breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper. Cunningham's drastic dietary changes eventually resulted in her current weight of a healthy 130 pounds.

Reverse Your Diet

Cunningham teamed up with nutritionist Heidi Skolnik to write The Reverse Diet based on the plan that led Cunningham to success. The book outlines a healthy pattern of eating. Similar to other diet books, The Reverse Diet is split into three phases, each with their own food list. I was pleased to see that the food list for each phase is simply a list of healthful foods (think fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean meats) and excludes processed, refined foods (think sugary sodas and calorie-packed desserts). There is nothing new to this approach, as a surefire way to lose weight is to choose healthier foods and cut out the junk.

A Multi-Faceted Approach to Weight Loss

Any diet plan needs to be about more than losing weight, so I was pleased when I read that The Reverse Diet also focuses on reframing your approach to eating. Many essential components of an effective weight-loss plan are included. For example, key issues such as improving body image, goal setting, and handling holidays are addressed.

One Size Fits All?

Cunningham provides her meal plans as an example to the reader. The strength of the meal plans presented in this book is that they have been proven effective by the author. The weakness of the plans is that they may not be appropriate for someone who differs from Cunningham in height, weight, sex, and activity level, so are only relevant as examples of what a meal plan could look like.

Bottom Line

Grab a copy of The Reverse Diet and be inspired by Cunningham's success. Follow her lead by reversing your eating pattern, eating enough early in the day to fuel your body and then eating lighter later in the day. Make sure to also change from processed, refined foods to nutritious, whole foods and you are on your way to a reversed diet and a healthier you!