Harley has a solid education in fitness and nutrition, and a long list of celebrity clients. He doesn’t let you forget it either. The book is sprinkled with tips from stars, and he does some serious name dropping: Halle Berry, Alicia Keys, Kanye West, Mandy Moore…the list goes on. He even says the diet is “Hollywood’s hottest eating plan.” He’s not a humble man, I’ll put it that way.
There was a time in my life when I devoured diet books like many consume celebrity gossip rags on vacation or cheap T-shirts at Old Navy. I could spend hours reading the latest weight-loss book at Borders, scribbling notes on a pad of paper so that I, too, could drop 15 pounds in 14 days without the $19.99 sticker price. Oh, how much time I wasted, fixated on how I looked instead of how I felt and what this fit bottom of mine could do.
Nowadays, I’m in a much better place; I’m happy with my body, my diet and my workouts, sans the obsession to be perfect. However, I still enjoy perusing the diet section of the bookstore now again, just to laugh at the unrealistic promises—and my naïve self. And there are some good books out there that can really help people.
I recently bought an iced coffee and snuggled in Border’s comfiest chair (old habits die hard) with Harley Pasternak’s recent offering, The 5-Factor Diet. A follow-up to 5-Factor Fitness, I think it’s safe to say that Harley is stoked about the number five. The whole plan is based on el numero cinco. You eat five meals a day, there are five components and ingredients to each meal, prep time for food is just five minutes, and you work out—you guessed it—five times a week.
The book does include good information on nutrition. There’s an entire chapter on popular diets and how they falter. There’s also a healthy-eating shopping checklist, recipes and a detailed exercise plan with Harvey performing the exercises. It’s an easy book to read, but it’s not dumbed downby any means, and he touts the importance of eating regularly and getting your nutrients from food, not supplements.
Despite this, a few things bothered me. I’m no registered dietitican, so this is only my fit-bottomed opinion, but he recommends a “cheat” day, where you can eat whatever and whenever you want. I know many people allow themselves a cheat day, and it works for them. But for me, when I restrict what I eat for six days, on day seven I freak the heck out and eat and eat and EAT. Also, he says to include five things in each mini-meal: protein, carbs, fiber, healthy fats and a sugar-free beverage. However, his recipes don’t always include these five components. What’s up with that, Harley? And don’t even get me started on how his fitness plan barely includes any cardio…
In five words, here’s what I love about Mr. Pasternak’s book: It’s not a dumb diet.
In five words, here’s what I disliked about Mr. Pasternak’s book: It’s still just a diet.
Feel free to leave your own five words (or more!) below. —Jenn