Book Review: Body Confidence by Mark Macdonald

One of the prevailing attitudes I have to work on is discomfort with my post-weight loss body. I can see the changes and certainly appreciate them, but in some ways, I’m more self-conscious now than I was when I was 100 pounds heavier. Strange, but true. And more than a little sad.

So when I was first asked to join the TLC Book Tour for a book with the words Body and Confidence in the title, I jumped at the opportunity! (As much as one can jump while seated in a computer chair.) I couldn’t respond YES! fast enough!

And then I actually read the book blurb for Body Confidence by Mark MacDonald:

At last, there’s a nutrition and fitness program that doesn’t require you to develop superhuman willpower, shun entire food groups, or devote your every waking moment to the treadmill.

Body Confidence is a revolutionary approach based on three key nutrition factors that stabilize your blood sugar and keep your body in balance:
• Eating at consistent meal intervals
• Absolute certainty in essential nutrient ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates
• Identifying and consuming the right amount of calories per meal

Waitaminute! This isn’t a book about body image; it’s a *diet* book. And I already said I’d review it! Shoot…I must remember that it’s Look first, leap second.

Oh well, in for a penny….

Good news—I didn’t hate it! In fact, there were quite a few things I liked about it. And some I didn’t, of course. Here’s my take on Body Confidence (the book, not the state of mind):

First, a word about the author, Mark Macdonald. He’s one of us. Meaning he was overweight and now he isn’t. In learning how to lose weight and maximize his body potential (and that of seemingly everyone in his family, he created a plan called Venice Nutrition Program which has 300 centers across the U.S. He also gained a famous client in Chelsea Handler, who wrote the book’s foreword and whose bikini- wearin’ Shape magazine cover appears in the book. I don’t exactly know who Chelsea Handler is, but she looks great!

Things I liked about the book:
– I like the balanced approach Macdonald uses, encompassing not only nutrition and exercise, but sleep and stress reduction as well.
– His 3-step plan makes sense: 1) knowing why you want to lose weight/get healthy (eerily similar to my own Reasons Why), 2) developing your plan, and 3) figuring out how to work your plan into your everyday life.
– I really like his “progress checklist” (again, it’s similar to my own) which consists of measuring, among other things, your energy level and the fit of your clothes. Body weight is listed last. :)
– The nutritional plan (balanced as 30%-40% protein, 35% carbohydrates and 25%-30% fat eaten in mini-meals throughout the day) calls for whole foods first, but acknowledges that ‘everyday life’ conspires against us sometimes and includes secondary choices to include some prepared foods.. (The nutritional component is reminiscent of other ‘clean eating’ type programs.)
– There’s a good sampling of menus and recipes included.
– Oh, and there’s a good presentation of the different types and qualities of protein powders.
– I like that the exercise program calls for cardio, strength AND core work.
– A weekly “off-plan” meal is recommended.

Things that made me go *squick*:

– Honestly, the title confuses me. I know firsthand the awesome internal confidence that comes from taking charge of life and creating healthy habits, but that’s separate from issues relating to my body. The repeated promises of having “the body of your dreams” irritates me. That said, there are far more mentions of intrinsic benefits such as health and wellness.
– There are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of “success stories” from MacDonald’s past client base (including his whole family, I think) included in this book. Many people will find that inspirational; I found it redundant and cluttery. (But kudos to all those folks who changed their lives! Woo-hoo!)
– The exercise program recommended in the book seems excessive to me—ranging from 1-2 hours a day FIVE days a week. I’m no professional, well, anything, but I like shorter workouts (sometimes as little as 30 minutes) six days a week.
– He called cycling and ellipticalling inferior! Those are two of my three favorite forms of cardio (walking being the third)! The nerve! And actually, he confused me a bit in the process. He deems running, walking, and stair-climbing (impact exercises) higher quality, but then he writes that low-impact exercises are the best choice overall. Maybe I missed something.

The bottom line:
For this stage in my progress, this book is interesting reading, but it doesn’t really change anything for me. But someone just beginning their quest might find it really useful for the multi-faceted approach, the explanation of blood sugar stabilization, and for the sample menus of balanced meal combinations. Also, the underlying message that there’s an internal confidence to be gained in KNOWING that you’re in charge of your actions and are taking care of your body is one that can’t be stressed enough.

But it’s not a book about body image. :)

How’s your “body confidence”?


TLC Book Tours provided a proof copy of this book for review purposes. (I hope they didn’t intend for me to send in the corrections. Oh well.) No other compensation was offered, requested, or received. The Amazon link is to my affiliate account.



9 thoughts on “Book Review: Body Confidence by Mark Macdonald

  1. I feel that I struggle with body confidence because of my weight, but I think it will be there once I’ve lost the weight as well. Overall, I don’t think very highly of myself (something I’m working on) and it disappoints me to see a book that promotes itself as building confidence when it’s really just a diet book. “Getting the body you want” won’t solve everything, therefore I think it’s sending the wrong message.

  2. Pffffft – cycling is third rate? Whatever. I would like to see him come along with me on a ride then.

    I actually have been struggling a little with body self confidence lately as there is someone new at my gym that just looks great and I find myself comparing, which I really dislike. I need to find a way to break that habit.

  3. I think that most self-help books (of any variety) have both good and not so good advice inside. I’m glad that you found some things here that resonated with you.

    Thanks so much for sticking with it even though it wasn’t what your first expected it to be. :) I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as part of the tour.

  4. Ah, I was hoping it was what you thought it was! It’s such an important concept and I don’t think there are enough resources out there that cover this.

  5. Hi Cammy. I am reviewing this too so I will not say much here but I had likes & dislikes as well – so far – as I am still reading! :-)

    Chelsea Handler – a late night crazy woman – crude as well so I was surprised at the forward from her!

  6. THANK YOU for the review.
    for this misfit the excessive exercise is enough to make it a MUST NOT READ…

  7. Hi Cammy,

    I found your blog after googling “Mark Macdonald Body Confidence.” I’m so happy google sent me your way! I’m researching nutrition books to help in my weight loss journey and wondered if you had any suggestions for something that impacted you. I would appreciate any feedback.

    And congrats on keeping your weight off. Losing the weight seems like the only hurdle until you conquer it and realize how challenging maintenance can be!

    *Ashley

  8. Great review! I was curious about this book. I have always liked the idea of ratio eating so I think that I may check this out.

  9. Great work on this review. Body image is always an issue that seems to come up with weight loss.

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