There are so many different diets out there and everyone has a say about what they think is the best way to eat and lose weight.
If you’ve been searching for a diet that let’s you eat actual food, you’ve probably come across Natalie Jill.
If you’re anything like me, the thought of only drinking shakes or soup seems like torture.
The Natalie Jill’s 7 Day Jumpstart is quite popular, I suspect, for this very reason.
There are a lot of success stories out there. But is it really any good or is it all just hype?
Welcome to the Natalie Jill diet review. I look at the nutritional value of the food, how tasty it is, and whether this diet actually works.
What Is The Natalie Jill 7 Day Jumpstart?
The 7 Day Jumpstart is a diet plan that gets you started on your weight loss and lifestyle change journey.
The main point of this diet is to get you into eating unprocessed foods. This is absolutely something I support. There is so much processed junk in the grocery isles. Fast food places are a dime a dozen.
Obesity rates have increased dramatically since the invention of processed foods. So we could all do with eating fewer processed foods.
Who is Natalie Jill? – Is She Legit?
Natalie Jill is a certified functional fitness trainer and licensed sports nutritionist. The information that she gives in the book about why we need to eat unprocessed food is certainly sound.
Despite financial troubles, having kids, going through a divorce, and being in her 40’s, she has managed to turn her life and health around. This program is one of the ways she is helping others.
She even became a fitness model at 39.
Now, she still looks great in her late 40’s. I won’t lie, that certainly makes the prospect of “dieting” a lot more exciting.
But how sound is the actual jumpstart program?
The book is filled with a lot of information on healthy eating, specifically unprocessed food.
Natalie Jill also has celiac’s disease. So there is a lot of information on celiac’s disease and going gluten-free. She also tells you her personal story at length, but it’s relatable in many ways.
You get a seven-day eating plan with alternatives if you don’t like the suggested meals.
You get a shopping list for all the ingredients you will need for your meals and snacks. But be aware that the list is long.
You might want to shop specifically for the meals you want to make. Otherwise, you end up with a lot of excess food.
There are many recipes for when you complete the seven days so you can keep on preparing healthy meals that benefit your body.
She says to follow the eating plan exactly. Other than that:
- Don’t stay hungry, don’t get full. Stay satisfied.
- Eat when you’re hungry and don’t eat when you aren’t hungry.
- But never eat less than the recommended food for that day.
Foods not allowed:
- Unprocessed foods
- Ingredients you can’t pronounce
- Meals in a box or plastic tray
- Gluten-containing foods
- Processed soy
- HFCS and table sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Trans fats
- Processed junk cheese
- Cream or sweetener in coffee and tea (stevia is the exception)
- Fruit juice except for small amounts squeezed or juiced by yourself
Once you finish the jumpstart and continue on your own with what you’ve learned, she recommends an 80/20 split.
Stick to healthy unprocessed foods 80% of the time and keep your treats for the remaining 20%.
She also mentions that some people may still struggle to lose weight using the 80/20 approach. In this case, switch to a 90/10 or 95/5 approach.
I generally eat a lot of real food. So this wasn’t too much of a stretch for me.
But during these strange times, I have found myself eating more and more processed foods. After all, they don’t require a lot of effort to prepare.
And as much as I hate to admit it, my junk food has reached an all-time high. It has all been delicious. But it’s also wreaked some havoc on my body and mindset.
I welcomed this challenge.
As a vegan, I found sticking to the exact 7 day jumpstart meal plan very challenging. So in all honesty, I didn’t follow it 100%.
The recipes that I did follow were delicious. Soup is great and keeps well. The weather is just right here for soup.
I also enjoyed smoothies with added pea protein powder and oatmeal for breakfast. I had no problem following the snack guidelines. The pancakes are vegan and were very yummy.
On days where you just don’t want to cook, getting there can take a lot of self pep-talking I found!
My gut behaved a lot better when I ate the healthier meals and snacks. As I have gotten older I find that meals with too much sugar, unhealthy fat and simple carbs don’t sit well.
My skin looks and feels slightly better after drinking more water, drinking antioxidant-rich herbal teas, and upping my veggie intake.
I was however concerned about my protein intake, so my portions of beans were higher and I did eat grains.
This Plan Advocates Eating Healthy Unprocessed Foods
Ultra processed foods is what I mean here. Mechanically processed foods such as when vegetables are chopped or cooked, meat is ground and cooked, etc, isn’t unhealthy.
It’s when chemicals and artificial flavors, colors and preservatives are added. When most or all of the nutrition is stripped from the food.
These foods are packed with sugar, fat, and salt in unhealthy quantities.
Natalie Jill does have a point with grains. Most grains have the husks and bran removed. While brown rice, for example, isn’t so much a problem, gluten-containing foods often are.
White flour and the foods made from it will spike your blood sugar. They also have had the naturally occurring iron and B-vitamins removed with the bran.
This 7 day jumpstart excludes all gluten-containing foods. Not because gluten makes you gain weight, but because the foods that contain it generally are highly processed.
But Natalie does say that going for the occasional treat is fine. Having some cake or gluten-containing muffin every now and then is fine.
But even better would be if when you do choose to eat these foods, you stick to the wholegrain versions.
Not really an easy feat with cake. But bread and pasta is available in whole grains varieties.
The Meals Are Flavorful
The use of herbs and spices is encouraged and salt is permitted. She is right in that salt can form part of a healthy diet.
What she doesn’t say is that you need to make sure you consume more potassium if you’re eating more salt.
The jumpstart is packed with potassium-rich foods, however. Non-starchy vegetables are unlimited which helps a lot too.
Once you up your intake of carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables such as sweet potato and potatoes, you will find that it’s not hard to get all the potassium you need.
Low carb diets, especially very low carb diets like the ketogenic diet, do cause your body to expel more sodium. This may be the reason she freely uses salt in her meals.
The Meals Are Filling
Each meal and snack is designed to provide fiber, protein, fat, and low to moderate amounts of carbohydrates.
These macronutrients fill you up. If you are hungry, add extra non-starchy veggies to your meals or snacks.
The higher fiber content along with the fat and protein will be satisfying all without raising the calorie content too high.
It Doesn’t Leave You Feeling Deprived
As I said, the food is delicious. There are even dessert and comfort food recipes in the book. However, there aren’t many during the jumpstart week. But 7 days is doable.
Nonetheless, this is as it should be when you take this way of eating on as a lifestyle.
I am fully behind this.
Eating healthily does make you feel much better and the occasional treat really does feel like a treat.
It Uses Easy To Find Foods
The foods in this eating plan are mostly easy to find in grocery stores and farmers’ markets.
Some Days on the Eating Plan May be Too Low in Calories
Women are advised not to go below 1200 calories per day and men no lower than 1500 calories per day.
This is because your body needs these calories simply to keep you alive. We are all different. Your BMR (basal metabolic rate) depends on your height, weight, age, sex, and muscle mass.
This diet plan falls short of 1200 often. That is if you follow the exact recipe and serving size for each meal.
- Day 1 the intake is approximately 1336 calories
- Day 2’s intake is around 1050 calories
- Day 3’s intake works out to around 965 calories
- Day 4’s intake is approximately 1384 calories
- Day 5 is about 1073 calories
- Day 6 is around 1080 calories
- Day 7 is around 1218 calories
Be aware of this as you put together your meals. In the informational part of the book she does give serving sizes which is relative to your size:
- Fist sized portions of protein (4-6 oz)
- Thumb sized portions of fats/oils
- Two portions of starchy carbs per day (1 portion is a small sweet potato for instance)
- Unlimited raw or steamed veg which also includes berries
You may want to track your calories to make sure you don’t go below your BMR too often, and preferably not at all.
It’s only a week, and then only certain days, so you won’t do too much damage. But undereating should never be encouraged.
If you exercise regularly, especially intense exercise sessions, you do need to eat more. Even when eating for weight loss.
While she is teaching healthy eating, the major selling point of this program is losing 5 to 7 pounds in one week. This is less than some of the most unhealthy fad diets out there.
But it may still be extreme, particularly if you are only slightly overweight.
The Jumpstart Program Doesn’t Really Cater for Vegans
It’s not very vegan friendly and even vegetarians may find it challenging at times.
There is a section in the book where she explains that vegan diets are too high carb. You can follow program fairly well as an ovo-vegetarian since eggs are used frequently.
But the intake of common plant-based protein sources such as beans and soy doesn’t feature.
The carb intake are low on the jumpstart and doesn’t allow grains. This eliminates high protein grains like quinoa and millet.
There are recipes that are vegan, however, such as the applesauce overnight oats.
There is even a delicious chocolate avo pudding which is 100% plant-based.
You can include these grains in moderation after the jumpstart and still enjoy a healthy unprocessed food diet.
Doesn’t Alert You to the Danger of Keeping Plastic Water Bottles in the Car
The recommendation of drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water is great. Keeping water bottles in your handbag, car, home and office is a good tip.
But, storing single-use plastic bottles in your car can cause the chemicals to leech into the water due to the heat.
Even though many water bottles are now BPA-free, plastic still contains other chemicals. Check out steel or glass water bottles. Or rather move more by getting up to refill your glass.
Some Food Recommendations Are Expensive
Foods that use gluten-free flours are a lot more expensive.
If you don’t struggle with gluten-intolerance or celiac’s disease, using more expensive alternatives seems nonsensical.
What Are Other People Saying?
Many people found that they did drop weight and learn to eat better. There are some reviews about this way of eating being beneficial for inflammatory autoimmune diseases in general.
However, for many people who already keep processed foods to a minimum the book didn’t offer much new info. There were also those who found this way of eating expensive.
Many also found that cooking the meals was hard to fit into their busy lifestyles. The book is also filled with a lot of Natalie Jill’s biography instead of being solely the eating plan and related tips.
Interesting Points I Found With The Program
The program has a holistic approach. Natalie gives tips on goal setting and understanding the reasons behind your decision, in other words, the why, that will keep you going.
She also has a section on exercise. The sessions are short but effective. This eliminates the excuse of having too little time to exercise.
She gives tips on mindful eating which we could all use. It’s much better to chew more, not mindlessly eat at our desks or in front of the TV.
That way we listen to our bodies better and enjoy our food more.
Who Is this Program For?
Anyone who wants to lose weight by eating healthy but tasty food.
Is it very restrictive?
Only if you are vegan or don’t want to go low carb. There are a variety of recipes and the only rule really is to avoid highly processed and artificial foods. It’s only a week.
You can bake your own desserts and comfort foods that family and friends will enjoy.
Will you really lose 5 to 7 pounds?
You may. But a lot of it will likely be water weight. If you don’t have that much weight to lose, you may only drop a pound or two during the jumpstart.
Eat enough calories to cover your BMR. You may drop weight quickly eating less, but this may also be reducing your muscle mass.
Everyone is different, calculate how many calories you need to cover your BMR with an adjustment for exercise.
Is it really healthy?
Personally, I feel like there may be an excess of saturated fat. As someone that struggles with high cholesterol, keeping my saturated fat intake very low is important.
There is controversy surrounding saturated fat intake. But Natalie Jill clearly sides with the side that believes we don’t need to restrict it.
But other than that, if you good quality free-range meat and poultry, this is a healthy diet.
Hear Natalie Jill Talk About Her Book and Diet Plan for Yourself
Natalie’s reasons for creating the plan is discussed in this video. Some of her meals are tried out as well. She keeps it real about issues that many of us face.
But as with any entrepreneur, she does bring attention to her book and recipes.
I don’t feel like she’s trying to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes. I just don’t like that she promises such big weight loss results in a week on her book.
My Verdict – Does 7 Day Jumpstart Really Work?
Yes, it does. I don’t know that you will lose as much weight as she says.
However, I did lose 1lb. But I don’t have that much to lose in the first place.
It may well reduce your bloating, whether caused by an unhealthy gut or water retention.
That’s where some of the weight will come from. But you do need to be consistent to keep losing weight. It needs to be a lifestyle change.
A cheaper alternative, is Metabolic Cooking.
Metabolic cooking provides a host of tasty recipes right at your fingertips.
Most recently, I got it for 50% off. You will get to eat delicious fat burning foods, still all real food. Your friends and family will love these meals too.
Where To Buy?
You can find Natalie Jill 7 Day Jumpstart at Amazon and other popular online bookstores. Or check your local bookstores.