Just Tell Me What to Eat!: The Delicious 6-Week Weight-Loss Plan for the Real World


Dr. Timothy Harlan has counseled thousands of overweight patients searching for weight-loss answers. He noticed that patients were usually told what they could not eat, rather than all the wonderful foods they could eat. Now, physician-chef Harlan provides a solution: an exact prescription for what to eat, how to cook it, when to eat it, and, best of all, why eating great food is the best health decision you will make.

Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a medically based weight-loss ...

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Just Tell Me What to Eat!: The Delicious 6-Week Weight Loss Plan for the Real World

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Dr. Timothy Harlan has counseled thousands of overweight patients searching for weight-loss answers. He noticed that patients were usually told what they could not eat, rather than all the wonderful foods they could eat. Now, physician-chef Harlan provides a solution: an exact prescription for what to eat, how to cook it, when to eat it, and, best of all, why eating great food is the best health decision you will make.

Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a medically based weight-loss plan for the real world, for anyone tired of dubious fad diets, restricted meals, and unappetizing strategies. It emphasizes a Mediterranean diet with high-quality calories and home cooking whenever possible. Dr. Harlan offers a "food mantra" for each day, paired with a menu and easy recipes. By the time you incorporate all the lessons in your diet, you will have naturally slimmed down and changed your eating habits for the better

With chapters like "What You Should Eat for Breakfast," "How to Arrange Your Dinner Plate," and "Carbs are Good for You Too!" this unique day-by-day plan will help even the most frustrated dieters achieve a slimmer, healthier, and happier lifestyle.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Library Journal, 5/1/11
“Offers a different approach than other diet books on the market in addition to valuable health information. Recommended for…anyone looking to lose weight and adopt healthy food practices.”

Publishers Weekly, 5/2/11“The first recipe in this food-focused title—fettuccini Alfredo—should reassure readers that [Harlan’s] six-week diet (with eight weeks of meals and recipes) is not about deprivation. In this accessible guidebook, Harlan helps readers to achieve daily goals…as they learn to cook tasty Mediterranean diet dishes, a variety of ethnic favorites, and comfort foods. While Harlan's suggested two- to four-pound loss per month might pale before fad-diet promises, his solutions are simple…and his recipes, satisfying.”
Kirkus Reviews, 6/1/11
“A winning, easily implemented blend of medically sound weight-loss advice and recipes for delicious, nutritious food…Clear, simple directives tell readers not only what to eat, but when, how and why…Recommended for those who need meal-by-meal guidance and aren’t willing to forgo their favorite foods—the perfect marriage of medical knowledge and gourmet cooking.”
TheSpiffyCookie.com, 5/3/11
“Filled with recognizable, family-favorite meals, and realistic healthy options for those times when eating out and convenience foods are unavoidable…A great book.”
EveryDiet.org, 5/30/11
“When you get to the end of Just Tell Me What to Eat!, you will have dramatically changed your eating habits and naturally reduced your weight.” 
Newsday, 6/14/11
“Harlan has a different emphasis than most diet-book writers…His Big Easy background means recipes are anything but bland.”
Internet Review of Books, 6/15/11
“Chef-turned-doctor-turned-author Timothy Harlan is in a position to know the ins and outs of healthful eating. He not only tells us why certain foods are good for us, but he provides menus and shopping lists to help us stay on track…[Harlan] even knows which foods you can get away with eating more of.”
Blogcritics.org, 6/11/11
“If you like deprivation diets, then this book is NOT for you. Rather, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is so chock full of deliciously healthy recipes, I feel as though I'm getting away with something every time I crack open the book. Who wouldn't want to follow a six-week plan that not only delivers the goods, but does it in a way that leaves you feeling satisfied?...If you're looking for a simple, medically-based action plan, then Dr. Gourmet's delicious prescription was written for you.”

DietsInReview.com, 6/7/11“Offers a refreshingly real approach to eating healthier and losing weight…Dieters will find that this book offers everything needed to get healthy and start eating well…Anyone that doesn’t mind cooking and that has a desire to lose weight can benefit from this book.”

FamilyCircle.com, 6/22/11
“Dr. Harlan is trying to simplify the confusing dieting guidelines out there, and he manages to do it without limiting our options.” 

Asbury ParkPress, 6/25/11
“There are only about 63,000 diet books…But this author is both a physician and chef and tells us bluntly what food to buy, how to cook it and when to eat it.”
Publishers Weekly (Twitter post), 6/25/11
“[Harlan’s] cooking demo has librarians eating it up.”
Technorati.com, 6/27/11
“Filled with useful tips to help dieters stay on track…Amazingly, some very popular dishes often thought to be off-limits for dieters are included: pizza, cheese steak, sloppy joes, spaghetti, ziti, crème brulee (!), fried chicken. With choices like these, dieting is suddenly more appealing.”
EatDrinkBetter.com, 6/20/11
“With nearly sixty dinner recipes, this is as much a cookbook as a diet book.”
Two Belles, Four Biceps and the Pursuit of Fitness, 6/23/11
“Offers a practical and achievable solution designed to fit into event the busiest of lifestyles…Delicious recipes…Laid out in an easy-to-follow, easy-to-read manner.”

Tucson Citizen, 7/1/11
“Dr. Harlan shares delicious recipes from a variety of cuisines including Italian, Mediterranean, Spanish, French, and American. They range from a tasty Herbed Zucchini to a White Bean Chili, a delightful change of pace from the red bean and meat variety.”

InfoDad.com, 7/7/11
“An exceptionally clever idea.”
BestOfYouToday.com, 7/14/11
“Harlan has an interesting perspective on the whole notion of eating well.”

Kingman Daily Miner,
“An outstanding feature of this book is that in simple terms you are shown how to change your eating habits by putting a variety of healthy food items into meal planning…Just Tell Me What to Eat! is just what the doctor ordered.”

DeseretNews, 7/20/11
“If you are looking for a diet that includes fettuccine alfredo with shrimp and broccoli, barbecue chicken pizza and chocolate cheesecake, look no further…This diet is not a short-term fad; it’s a lifestyle change. If you are looking for guidelines and tips to healthy eating based on current scientific knowledge and an emphasis on plant-based whole foods, this book is worth looking at.”

New OrleansMagazine, July 2011
“Takes a crack at making dieting goof-proof.”
January Magazine, 7/20/11
“What Harlan does is revolutionary…yet stunningly simple. Just Tell Me What to Eat! isn’t a diet plan or fad diet. It just looks at good, wholesome food and how to prepare it and what it’s made of and how it will manifest inside your body…Great, easy to follow recipes indicate that this one should be added to many people’s cookbook shelves. If you have more questions than answers about diet and dieting, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a terrific idea.”
Bookviews, August 2011
“An informed and informative book about dieting that should prove helpful to take its advice and stick to it.”
MidwestBook Review, August 2011
“An encouraging, supportive guide dieters will relish.”

WomanAroundTown.com, 9/20/11
“A six week weight loss plan for those of us who have to exist in the real world. What’s special about this book are the tips on how to read a label, how to understand dietary cholesterol, and the fact that he provides info on meals you can eat in restaurants without going off the plan. Recipes like Roasted Yams With Rosemary help ease the way to healthier eating.”

Suite101.com, 9/25/11
“The easy-to-follow menu guide approach for weight loss makes Just Tell Me What to Eat a great one for those who have never put a menu together, let alone one for healthy cooking…The recipes include a wide variety of cuisines…so there is no flavor burnout during the 6-week diet plan.”

Gumbo Entertainment Guide, January 2012
“Shows just how you can eat food you love and still lose two to four pounds per month.”

Taste for Life, March 2012“Not a fad diet or a typical weight-loss plan, this book offers a solution for those who are tired of being told what they can’t eat.”

Portland Book Review, 1/11/13
“Harlan’s book is comprehensive, offering menus, name brand food options, and cooking techniques. Each recipe shares nutritional information, and breakfast, lunch and dinner options abound. There are many good pieces of advice in this book—from how to read labels, ingredients to steer clear of, to understanding cholesterol. If you are truly ready to commit to a healthier lifestyle, including eating better, Just Tell Me What to Eat! is a must have for your shopping list.”

Portland Book Review, March-May 2013
“Offers long-term solutions to weight control…Comprehensive…There are many good pieces of advice in this book…A must have.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780738215594
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 408,983
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

The medical director at Tulane School of Medicine, Timothy S. Harlan, MD (aka Dr. Gourmet), is a doctor, chef, columnist, and Emmy-winning television personality. He lives in New Orleans.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Week 1 Goals 15

Day 1 Eat Whole Grains with Some Protein and Fruit for Breakfast (and Don't Skip Breakfast!) 18

Fettuccine Alfredo with Shrimp and Broccoli 23

Day 2 You Must Make Your Own Lunch 25

Roasted Salmon and Corn Relish 27

Day 3 Arrange Your Dinner Plate 29

Lentil Chili and Salad with Tomato-Chive Dressing 32

Day 4 How Much Should You Really Weigh? 34

Blackened Redfish, Dirty Rice, and Maple-Sweetened Collard Greens 38

Day 5 Set Realistic Goals and Put Your Goals in Motion 42

Leftover Lentil Chili and Salad with Tomato-Chive Dressing 46

Day 6 Readjust Your Goals over Time 47

Asian Peanut Chicken with Noodles 49

Day 7 Keep a Diet and Exercise Diary 51

Barbecue Chicken Pizza 53

Chapter 2 Week 2 Goals 59

Day 8 Plan Your Meals 62

Fettuccine with Roasted Eggplant and Broccoli 64

Day 9 Just What the Heck Is a Calorie? And How Many Do You Need? 66

Garlic-Lime Flank Steak, Mashed Yams, and Herbed Zucchini 69

Day 10 Eat Fewer Calories, Lose Weight! 72

Cashew Chicken 74

Day 11 Embrace Healthy Fats 76

Whitefish in Foil with Vegetables and Tomato Sauce and Caesar Salad 80

Day 12 Reduce Your Saturated Fat and Eliminate Trans Fats 83

Philly Cheese Steak and Waldorf Salad 86

Day 13 Carbs Are Good for You, Too 89

Salmon-Squash Risotto 92

Day 14 Double Your Fiber 94

Leftover Salmon-Squash Risotto 95

Chapter 3 Week 3 Goals 97

Day 15 Read Every Food Label Carefully 98

Sloppy Joes and Salad with Thousand Island Dressing 104

Day 16 Hold the Salt 107

Black Bean and Corn Taco Salad 109

Day 17 Look at Sodium on Food Labels 111

Pizza with Thai Peanut Sauce and Scallops 113

Day 18 Cholesterol Is Okay! 115

White Bean Chili and Salad with Thousand Island Dressing 120

Day 19 Measure Your Ingredients 122

Grouper with White Beans and Tomato Vinaigrette 124

Day 20 Portion-Size Yourself 125

Leftover White Bean Chili and Parmesan Squash 129

Day 21 Clean Out Your Pantry 130

Pumpkin-Crusted Trout with Lemon Sauce, Wild Rice, and Roasted Tomatoes 132

Chapter 4 Week 4 Goals 137

Day 22 Go Mediterranean 138

Oven-Fried Chicken and Roasted Corn on the Cob with Pan-Grilled Broccoli 143

Day 23 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Make a List of the Vegetables You Like, and Eat Them 146

Eggplant Parmesan 149

Day 24 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Fruit and Nuts 150

Shrimp Fried Rice 155

Day 25 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Cereals and Whole Grains 157

Spring Barley Salad 162

Day 26 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Legumes 164

Seared Salmon and Chickpea Salad 166

Day 27 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Fish 168

Oven-Fried Fish with Yam Home Fries and Pan-Grilled Asparagus 173

Day 28 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Reduced-Fat Dairy 176

Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles 180

Chapter 5 Week 5 Goals 183

Day 29 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Olive Oil (and Other Healthy Fats) 185

Seared Halibut with Basil Oil, Savory Lemon Rice, and Side Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing 189

Day 30 The Dr. Gourmet Pantry: Eat Meat the Mediterranean Way 192

Leftover Beef Stroganoff with Egg Noodles 196

Day 31 How to Make Dinner When You're Busy 197

Shrimp Enchiladas 199

Day 32 Drink Alcohol If You Like, but Only in Moderation 201

Portobello Burger and Spiced Snap Peas 204

Day 33 What About Dessert? 206

Paella and Crème Brûlée 208

Day 34 Snacking Is Essential-Just Keep the Right Snacks on Hand 212

Baked Ziti 214

Day 35 Your Key to Eating Healthy Is Understanding Taste 216

Leftover Paella 220

Chapter 6 Week 6 Goals 221

Day 36 Don't Eat Fast Food 222

Leftover Baked Ziti 225

Day 37 Drink Coffee or Tea: They're Good for You 225

Red Beans and Rice 228

Day 38 Don't Drink Soda. Drink Water 230

Spaghetti and Meatballs and Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing 232

Day 39 Limit Convenience Foods 235

Sweet Red Pepper Barbecue Tuna, Cheesy Quinoa, and Roasted Cauliflower 242

Day 40 Eat Healthy When Dining Out 245

Leftover Spaghetti and Meatballs and Salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing 248

Day 41 Eat Healthy When You Travel 249

Salmon with Caper Mayonnaise and Savory Quinoa 252

Day 42 Get Your Vitamins from Real Foods, Not Supplements 254

Pizza with Tomato, Basil, and Roasted Garlic 257

Chapter 7 Weeks 7 and 8: More Great Meal Ideas (And Dessert) 261

Appendix: Food Diary 253

Notes 295

Index 301

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