Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches: A Review

by Jennifer on January 2, 2011

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Happy New Year! I bet there are many of you reading this that are trying to lose weight in an attempt to get healthier right? Well, I am not overweight by definition however, I did have about 7 pounds ‘magically’ appear on me that I am determined to get rid of them. Therefore, when I was offered a copy of the book Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches by Cynthia Sass (who blogs for Shape Magazine), I accepted.

I actually received the book in mid-December and decided to read and give this a try between Christmas and New Year’s. But first, a bit more about the book: Cynthia Sass, the creator and co-author of the New York Times Bestselling Flat Belly Diet presents her new break-through, 30-day weight loss program Cinch! targeted to end overeating, leaving dieters feeling full and satisfied while enjoying the best food combinations to burn fat and boost metabolism.

The program starts with the 5-day Fast Forward plan that ends erratic eating by focusing on five simple foods—spinach, almonds, raspberries, eggs, and yogurt (or vegan-friendly alternatives)—eaten in a variety of combinations. These first 5 days promise up to 8 pounds of weight loss. Each of the five foods is low in calories yet loaded with nutrients and natural satiety-boosters, which allows you to “detox” from junk foods without feeling deprived.

The remaining 25 days of the program are packed with foods that offer maximum fat-burning, improving metabolism while ‘unlocking’ the secret to the body’s satiety center with foods that the latest research shows turn on the body’s “I’m full” signal. As in Flat Belly Diet, all of the meals for the full 30-day program are created for you and are fully interchangeable. As an added feature, vegan and vegetarian options are covered so the plan can be adapted to fit any lifestyle.

My Attempt: In order to get a good feel for this book, I decided to jump in a try the 5-day Fast Forward section although this is optional and you can start on the 30-Day program from the start.  The Five Fast Forward Foods are restricted to: Spinach, Raspberries, Almonds, Organic eggs, and Plain Organic Yogurt.  To be honest, I am not a big fan of raspberries or spinach however, I usually compensate by eating plenty of baby spinach and raspberries in parfaits or blended into shakes. But I still knew that this would be tough so I opted for 3 days instead of 5. This was done for two reasons: 1. Because I knew Christmas Eve would be full of a Portuguese specialities I had to eat or my mother in-law might cry. If I was obese, she would let it slide but to here I am already underweight in their culture’s eyes (and I mean that in a loving way). 2. I also knew I was making lots of the families favorites on Christmas day so I would never stick to the restricted 5 foods…then again, I do not think I would have lasted 5 days on just the 5 foods anyway.  

The three days were a struggle, as I would expect them to be as most of us eat too much and too often. Plus, with food and dieting on your mind, it only adds more stress. The recipe options for the 5 foods were great and tasty but I realized that I am more of the 30-day program type of person.  I did lose 2 pounds so I bet I would have lost a few more if I was exercising and stuck to the 5 days. If you need to get quick results to stick with a diet, the 5-day Fast Forward portion of the plan may be the right step!  A few days after Christmas I began on the 25-day portion of the plan and have lost 2 more pounds.  I did mess up on New Year’s Eve and am pretty much done with the plan as starting tomorrow I am doing the 28-day detox plan via Whole Living Magazine.

The Cinch ‘Core’ is the program you follow for either 30days or 25 days if you did the 5 day fast forward. The foundation of the Core is that each meal is composed of five pieces: produce, whole grain, protein, plant-based fat and either a fruit or vegetable from a provided list.  All of the recipes are provided and you can choose which one you want each time. Note that red meat is not a part of this diet which may make it even more challenging for some people.  Oh, and I must let you know that as part of the program you get to eat chocolate – yes, you read that correctly.  Information on emotional eating and walking is also provided in the book.

Here are my thoughts on the book/diet:

*You can eat normal foods using the provided recipes but on a prescribed schedule which may or may not appeal to you. I also appreciate that you do get to enjoy more ‘normal’ foods than say, a diet if only cookies etc. (you know what I am talking about).

* I do appreciate the book provided education about the nutrients found in the 5 foods included in the fast forward part of the program but there was too much information provided and can get dull.

* The foods in the book are healthy and good for you so there is no buying 300 bars that are only for the diet and not real food.

*If you do stick to this program, you will lose weight as you are restricting calories and drinking plenty of water but as with many diets, be careful when the program ends. You will need to plan ahead on getting back into a healthier lifestyle and make sure you have made the appropriate adaptations so you do not put the weight back on again.

Good luck with your Goals! You can also follow Cynthia Sass onFacebook and Twitter. You can order a copy of the book from Border’s

*Disclosure: The book was provided for an honest review by One2One Network but I was not compensated.

Jennifer January 5, 2011 at 10:44 am

On the 5 day fast forward plan how did you eat the required foods. I mean breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack.

Jennifer January 5, 2011 at 11:11 am

Hi Jennifer -I did the 5 day fast forward, by the book but only for 3 days

Linda January 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

The foods are all great for me, but what can you drink on the 5 day fast forward plan? Green tea? Water? Diet soda?? Skim Milk??

Jennifer January 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

water, calorie free seltzer, brewed or bottled iced or hot tea, unsweetened, 1 cup coffee per day with max 1/4 cup skim or soy milk and recipe for zesty cinnamon tea

Brittany January 9, 2011 at 6:57 pm

Were you able to make/use a dressing on your spinach salad?

GwenEllyn January 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Thank you for this review. I saw her on Rachel Ray and was curious about the program, especially the jump start fasting. I appreciate your candid comments.

Jennifer January 9, 2011 at 7:30 pm

You are welcome Gwen and thank you for coming by – I truly enjoy the core part of the pgm (just ate the spinach walnut feta pita)

Jennifer January 9, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Brittant, you are really only supposed to use vinegar and/or citrus juice (1/4 cup per day) and some seasonings for the first 5 days but after that, you can use some olive oil.

Brittany January 10, 2011 at 10:51 am

Thank you Jennifer! I also saw this on RR, but was concerned about having to eat spinach salad without a dressing of some sort.

momma K January 10, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I am thinking about starting the Cinch Diet- Does anyone know if you can substitite blackberry for raspberries? Allergy issue

Jennifer January 10, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Cynthia Sass is on Facebook and said that she would be happy to answer any questions

Danielle w January 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Hi. I am currently ending day 4 of the 5 Fay fast forward. It hasn’t been too hard although I am pretty tired of yogurt! I have lost 4 lbs already and I’m really excited to get into the core and being able to work out ( it is suggested you do not work out on the 5 day ff bc you are eating roughly 1100 cals). I wanted to let mamma k know that on the cinch! website the author stated you can sub blueberries for te raspberries since they have similar properties. But I would think any berry loaded with antioxidants would be a good choice. I will say eating te same berry 4 times a day gets old quickly! And you should make your own almond butter, it is cheaper and you can insure it only contains almonds! It takes about 12 min for 2 cups of almonds to become butter!

Katina Diep February 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I just began the 5 day fast foward. I am already trained, as I work out about 5 times a week. I didn’t read the ajustment part in the book, that tells you how to control hunger. I am a little hungry but I don’t know how much food of the 5 items I can add. Does any on you know how to ajust the portions based on level of fitness and weight?

Jennifer February 1, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Hi Katina,
Cynthia Sass would be happy to answer your questions on her Facebook page

Lindsay February 23, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I am ending day 3 of the fast forward. I have lost 6 lbs already and plan to see it through. I’m pleased so far even though I’m now sure I was using too much salt and have lost a quite a bit of water weight as part of the 6 lbs. It seems once you get into it’s pretty easy to follow….we’ll see when I start cooking the meals for the family.

Melissa February 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I just want to say how awesome this book is and how glad I am I bought it after christmas.
I did the Fast Forward (as a Vegan) and I felt GREAT. I lost 10 lbs. (most of which was water weight from the heavily processed sodium heavy foods I’ve been eating) and never tired of the foods.
For the Salads I did Balsamic Vinegar or Raspberry Vinegar with some dried herbs on top of extra firm tofu that I pressed and crumbled or baked. It was SO GOOD. I still make the salad a few times a week. The combination of the raspberries and vinegar give you enough of a “dressing” and the herbs with it make it super flavorful.
I didn’t get to do the core plan yet so I’m going to return to the fast forward and try the core plan out next month when I’m not attending so many special events and dinners.
For those concerned with eating the same things all the time, I say switch up the seasonings and you wouldn’t believe how flavorful and different everything tastes. I used different spices in my smoothie and parfet and different herbs on my salad and scarmble. She gives you lots of interesting combinations in the book, and if you are free to get creative with the seasonings. (all vinegar, citrus juice, herbs and spices)

Lori March 7, 2011 at 10:22 am

Is this diet plan safe for Type II Diabetics? I also have slightly high blood pressure. I work out on a fairly regular basis and lost 30 pounds a year and a half ago, but have stopped losing. :o( Frustrated.

Jennifer March 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

Lori, write Cynthia and ask her on Facebook – she will reply!/CinchYourself

denise May 12, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I am completing day 4 of the FF. I am so sick of Spinach and am experiencing constipation. However, I am down a little over 4 lbs. I get hungry about 1 hour after I eat. I will finish the FF but it gets harder each day.

karen November 16, 2011 at 11:27 pm

I put my hard boiled egg….a bit of yogurt….almonds…garlic powder…blk pepper…red wine vinegar and red chile pepper into my food processor and….great dressing for my spinach salad!!!

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