The Cruise Control Diet is a trending approach for weight loss.
You can lose an average of 30 pounds in 8 weeks in this way, without relying on pills, gimmicks, restrictions or protein shakes. The weight loss is also sustainable.
At least, that’s what the marketing says.
It sounds amazing. But, does the Cruise Control Diet work? That’s what we’re looking at in this review. Read on to find out what the diet is and what you can expect.
In a hurry? Skip straight to the answer!
What is the Cruise Control Diet?
Well, for one thing, the 30 pounds in 8 weeks claim isn’t accurate for everyone. Instead, the amount of weight loss depends on how much you have to lose (as it normally does).
That’s manipulation – and most people doing the diet won’t want to lose 100 pounds. And, if that’s the case, the 30 pounds in 8 weeks isn’t an average anyway, it’s the best possible outcome.
The basic concepts are similar to intuitive eating. This includes listening to your body, as well as eating healthy foods and avoiding processed alternatives.
Signing up costs $39.99 (so, $40 basically) and gets you a physical version of the core program book, along with a cookbook and a jumpstart guide. You also get a digital version (of the core book) once the order has been made. This basically gives you a digital and a physical version of the same book - which is convenient.
You pay $9.99 shipping if you’re in the United States or Canada, more if you’re overseas. This gives a total price of around $50.
If the system works, then a one-time fee of $50 isn’t horrible. Still, it’s fairly expensive for a book. There is little information about how big the book is or what it actually contains.
Who Made the Cruise Control Diet?
While the approach sounds powerful, there are some red flags from the beginning.
For one thing, the website offers little information about the company or person behind the diet. We’re told that the creator is James Ward. But, nothing much is said about who James Ward is and even whether he is a real person.
The most information I could find is the image below, which is pretty useless.
Contact information is provided, including a mailing address (in Billerica, MA), a phone number and a contact form. That’s about it.
This isn’t much information about who created the approach. There’s no way of knowing whether they have any skills or background in the field.
Instead, the website mostly feels like someone is trying to cash in on the weight loss trend.
Cruise Control and Slimbiotine
I also want to point out one odd pattern.
The Cruise Control Diet is promoted as a powerful way to lose weight and includes the idea of focusing on food, not supplements. Yet, the site’s sidebar includes a link to a 20-page special report that promotes SlimBiotine.
This product is a “probiotic slimming solution”, and is basically a probiotic with a few extra ingredients (including cinnamon extract). Probiotics can be powerful for health and may even offer some weight loss benefits.
But, that’s beside the point. There are countless probiotic supplements out there and you can also turn to fermented foods for the same benefits.
I’m more concerned about the way this is being promoted, which includes phrases like this:
That’s a concerning pattern for a site that offers a food-based weight loss approach.
What the Diet Involves
The underlying concepts of the Cruise Control Diet are incredibly simple. The company’s site breaks these down into four areas:
- Eat natural foods that help fat burning
- Avoid processed foods, packaged foods and other foods that cause fat storage
- Allow yourself some treats
- Don’t count calories, don't keep food journals and don't do anything similar. Instead of those techniques, focus on the way that your body responds and on your hunger
The site claims that the first three approaches here are common across weight loss programs – while the last one is unique.
It’s easy to see why this concept would be appealing. The diet isn’t very restrictive. You’re not cutting out any food groups or avoiding specific types of food.
Instead, the emphasis is just on healthy foods, particularly ones that you cook for yourself. Focusing on hunger is a powerful tool and the idea can work well.
Cruise Control Meal Plan
The site for the Cruise Control Diet is intentionally vague. So, beyond the idea of ‘natural foods’, there isn’t much information about what you are eating.
There also isn’t a meal plan as such. You are meant to simply be focusing on whole and healthy foods, which includes avoiding processed options. This also means you’re mostly cooking meals yourself.
The foods that you focus on include the following:
You’ll notice that the choices are mostly conventional ‘healthy foods’. This means you are still consuming carbs and grains. Likewise, the diet isn’t suitable for vegans.
Reviews for the Cruise Control Diet
There are surprisingly few realistic Cruise Control Diet reviews, which is an immediate indication of quality. I did find some reviews that suggest the program works well. At the very least, you do seem to get the physical book and it does teach some weight loss concepts.
The reviewer goes on to mention email support being sent most days. That would be a key advantage and the feature is highlighted on the site as well.
Other people also mentioned that the diet worked for them and they lost weight.
These are great outcomes. They’re also not surprising, as many of the concepts are legitimate. Even so, I found no more than half a dozen reviews that seem to come from actual users. That’s not encouraging for a diet that is meant to be incredible.
There are also indications that the book itself is poor quality. The sites Consumers Compare and Birth Order Plus both highlight this aspect. They refer to reviews for an Amazon product that has since been removed.
Given the nature of Cruise Control Diet’s site, I would be surprised if the book were high quality. This is a serious problem because most of the information can easily be found elsewhere.
Cruise Control versus Intuitive Eating
Despite claims of uniqueness, Cruise Control is just a variation on intuitive eating.
Intuitive eating has become popular recently and there are many sites and books out there that focus on it. The concept is that you’re supporting and nurturing your body, responding to its needs – rather than trying to follow a strict diet and arbitrary restrictions.
Because intuitive dieting sounds so good, many sites have published articles detailing exactly what you can (and cannot) expect. One example is Dr. Axe, who has a fascinating breakdown of the idea.
This style tends to be more sustainable than most diets. And, like the Cruise Control site claims, it can work well for yo-yo dieters.
The advantage is that this isn’t an all-or-nothing approach. That means you can never fail at the diet. You don’t even have cheat days because eating ‘bad’ food is a standard part of the diet.
For people who struggle to stick to a diet, this aspect is powerful.
Intuitive dieting suggests the main reason people aren’t losing weight isn’t food at all. Instead, it focuses on emotional concepts and the way we often eat based on how we feel, not what we need. Key advantages include:
- Less stressful. With no counting or calorie control, intuitive eating and the Cruise Control diet are easy approaches to follow.
- No guilt. The approach allows for ‘guilty pleasures’, so there is no sense of blame if you decide to have ice cream for dessert (or even for breakfast).
- Psychological benefits. The idea helps break the idea of ‘good food’ and ‘bad food’, along with the deprivation effect. This should help promote a healthy relationship with food. It also means you’re not likely to binge on chocolate because it is forbidden. Many people find that allowing treat food actually decreases the chance that they will eat it.
- Can be inexpensive. There are no specialized foods to worry about and no need to source obscure ingredients. This makes the diet cheaper than most other alternatives.
- Can be tailored. The idea of healthy food can be interpreted in many ways. This allows you to alter the approach so it suits your own needs and choose the food that makes you feel good.
- Enjoyable and satisfying. Intuitive eating has a strong focus on enjoying food and listening to your body. This can be satisfying. It’s a key reason why the approach is so easy to follow.
- Supported by research. There are many studies that suggest intuitive eating can work well. Benefits include weight loss, improved psychological health (1), better self-acceptance and satisfaction (2), increased physical activity (3), improved overall health and decreased risk of eating disorder symptoms (4).
Many authors support the idea or similar approaches, such as in this article from Refinery 29.
Limitations of the Idea
In principle, intuitive eating and the Cruise Control Diet are both solid concepts. Like most approaches, they do work for some people and they can be powerful.
Simply eating good food and listening to your body should be enough to promote weight loss. But, if that were true, people wouldn’t struggle with weight loss so much.
Instead, there are some reasons why intuitive dieting often doesn’t work. These include:
- Easy to overeat. Like the idea of moderation, intuitive eating is a vague concept. It’s easy to eat too much high-calorie food or to eat too frequently. With no counting and tracking, you may not even realize you’re doing so.
- Hunger signals aren’t always accurate. Listening to your hunger is great – but it won’t always work. For example, some hormonal issues or health problems can mean people feel hungry even when they’re not. Other issues can also present like hunger.
- Making good food choices is tough. The general concept here is that you’re choosing healthy food. But, definitions of what is healthy vary. Many recipes with healthy ingredients are also high in calories. Balancing your food intake is not easy when most of the guidance you get is vague.
As The F*** it Diet points out, intuitive eating can also be a very bad fit for some people. It can make them obsessional about hunger and create additional eating issues.
Overall, there are more advantages than disadvantages. Even so, the concepts don’t work for everyone. Some people will struggle with the ideas and may even gain weight rather than losing it.
For that matter, intuitive eating is often promoted as having mental and emotional benefits first and foremost. While many people do lose weight, weight loss often isn’t the main goal.
Does it Work?
The general principles behind the Cruise Control Diet are largely sound and you could lose weight this way. The approach relies on the principles of intuitive eating and has most of the same advantages and disadvantages.
With that in mind, the Cruise Control Diet works best for people who need to improve their relationship with food and those who struggle with restriction. If you need more guidance and specifics, then the idea may not suit you.
If you do like the idea, Cruise Control isn’t the only option. You can learn the same approaches by picking up a book on intuitive eating (like this one) or finding articles on that topic.
I recommend doing so over choosing the Cruise Control Diet.
There simply isn't any evidence that James Ward knows what he is talking about. The site is incredibly vague in most areas, which isn’t encouraging at all.
On the other hand, there are many intuitive dieting experts out there. They are likely to offer more support and guidance than you could ever find through Cruise Control. They will also have a better sense of how to best approach this concept.
And honestly, intuitive dieting is harder than it sounds. If you want it to work, you are going to need more support than the Cruise Control Diet can ever offer.
One final note - the underlying concepts can also be applied to other diet types.
For example, Healthy Gamer Girl talks about how intuitive eating can be relevant to the keto diet. The idea is often combined with intermittent fasting as well, especially for people who fast some days and eat ‘regular’ food other days.
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