The Equilibrium Plan

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Edward’s diet plan includes a cardboard gimmick called the Equilibrium Plan Slide Guide. One side of the guide shows how many calories are expended in various physical activities, based on a person’s weight. The other side tells how many calories are in various foods and indicates nutrient and fat levels. The book explains how to use this slide guide to balance diet and exercise. The guide quickly proves to be insufficient, though, and the reader must use the book’s appendix to find listings for additional foods and exercises.

The diet part of the Equilibrium Plan involves keeping track of how much fat is in one’s daily foods, reducing salt intake, avoiding simple sugars, caffeine, and alcohol, eating more complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables, grains, and fiber, and drinking eight to twenty glasses of fluid a day. It is a sensible, well-balanced plan for a lifetime of nutritious eating. The exercise portion of the Plan, too, follows a moderate, reasonable approach. Edwards notes that there are different levels of fitness, and the beginner is not expected to keep up with the marathon runner. She suggests certain warm-up exercises and then expounds on the benefits of various sports and job-related physical activity.

The main drawback of the Equilibrium Plan is that it requires numerous calculations to figure one’s caloric input against energy expenditure. Such precise figuring is probably not necessary or desirable for the average person, who can simply choose to increase physical activity to combat weight gain, but it may be a good starting point if exercise has never been a part of one’s weight control plan.

Another drawback is Edwards’ recommendation of checking the pulse at the carotid artery following strenuous exercise. This practice has proven to be dangerous (on rare occasions, even fatal) and should not be followed.