Author: Mario Lopez, with Jimmy Pena

Publisher: Celebra, an Imprint at Penguin Group – 246 pages

Book Review by Nano Khilnani

Mario Lopez, the good-looking and popular host of the hit television show “Extra” presents in this book, over forty delicious and easy-to-follow recipes for burning fat, gaining energy and feeling great.

With the help of exercise physiologist Jimmy Pena and nutritionist Dana Angelo White, the well-known TV star with a great-looking body with his well-developed abs, presents a seven-week plan with “optimal combinations of daily nutrients, transformative eating habits and invigorating mental conditioning tools to redefine your approach to food.”

Mario Lopez, Jimmy Pena and Dana White suggest a simple plan to burn fat, become lean and stay that way for life that consists of balancing daily intake of carbs, protein and fat; practicing portion control and eating frequently the right foods throughout the day.

By eating frequently, that means seven times a day. Get the book and find out why.

They write that as you follow their seven-week meal plan, “your metabolism becomes a fat-burning machine, allowing you to splurge on days, weekends, or vacations with little to no effect on the (weighing) scale.” They indicate that by following for 14 days, their meal plan of eating the right portions of food containing carbohydrates, fats and proteins, you can lose as much as 14 pounds.

This handy book is organized in three simple sections entitled: “The Extra Lean Plan,” “Live Extra Lean Every Day” and “Live Extra Lean Forever.” Its objective is to help you lose weight and keep it off. In the process of changing your eating habits, what you eat, how much of it you eat and how frequently you eat the right combinations and portions of food, you should not feel too full or too hungry. Otherwise, you get out of balance.

The book suggests you eat frequently and present seven meal plans per day for seven weeks. You may think this is counterproductive to your goal of losing weight. But read the book to find out the rationale for this. The authors state that food is a source of energy and vitality for your body. When you look at food in the wrong way – as a source of extra fat that simply remains on your frame – you tend to keep your love-hate relationship towards food.

Mario Lopez states that he loves food, and in his family, eating food is a very enjoyable part of their lives. But because he ate – and continues to eat right, he has developed a healthy relationship with food. This book is his way of sharing that to help readers.

To me the essential lesson of this delightfully helpful and useful book is: eating the right kind of food and in correct portions and frequency helps you develop a simple love relationship with food. When that happens, you transform your looks and your body, gain energy and vitality, and feel good.

The largest portion of the 246-page book is 175 pages of recipes of great meals organized into seven weeks. For each day of each week, there is a Breakfast, Snack 1, Lunch, Snack 2 and Snack 3, Dinner and Snack 4. In short, seven meals for each day of seven weeks.

For each meal, there is a very informative chart that shows you how many calories as well as grams or milligrams of each nutrient you get.

For example the Breakfast on the first day of week 4 consists of Greek yogurt topped with a quarter cup blueberries, one teaspoon lemon zest, one tablespoon toasted wheat germ and one hard-boiled egg. From this meal, you get a total 266 calories. This consists of 6 grams fat, 2 grams saturated fat, 24 grams carbohydrates, 29 grams protein, 3 grams fiber and 148 milligrams sodium. This whole meal consists of 44 percent protein, 35 percent carbs, and 21 percent fats, for a total of 100 percent – the three important elements you need to be aware of as you burn fat and keep excess weight off your body.

At the end of the seven meals for each day, the book presents to you a “Nutrition for the Day” chart, itemizing the number of calories and the total grams or milligrams of each nutrient you got for that particular day. It also gives you a summary of the percentage portion each of three essential elements of food – carbs, fat and protein – you got on that day. This is highly useful – a good summary for knowing that you are getting the right amounts of nutrients and the correct combination of the three essential elements in food.

Get this book and read it to transform your body to the way you want yourself to look. It will also help you change your relationship with food for the good. And feel more energetic, to boot.