Beyond Body is Beyond Horrendous
This Beyond Body review contains my professional opinion about Beyond Body.
Beyond Body is a personalized diet book that promises to help you lose weight and ‘improve your relationship with food.’
I’ve had a lot of people asking me to do a Beyond Body review, probably with good reason: when I search Beyond Body reviews, mostly positive things come up. The Beyond Body ads are everywhere, and apparently there are a ton of influencers promoting it on social.
I’m going to just blow my entire review right now, because I am so f*cking angry:
DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK.
I literally feel like crying as I’m writing this, because I’m offended and disgusted beyond belief with Beyond Body.
Beyond Body was actually developed in part by an RD named Cristine Zalnieraite. I’m naming her here because I think it’s embarrassing and unprofessional for any regulated health professional to be associated with this publication.
When I didn’t immediately buy the book, I started to get spammed with auto emails signed by ‘Christine,’ who I’m assuming is the same person, telling me how much I need Beyond Body and offering me deeper and deeper discounts on it.
I noticed something weird, though.
The emails I was getting from Christine, ‘Head of Nutrition at Beyond Body,’ were almost exactly the same as the emails I had gotten from ‘Christine, the Head of Nutrition at Colon Broom,’ when I took their quiz in order to do a Reel about that product.
Check it out:
How can this person actually be an RD?
The addresses of the bottom of the emails match, too – 315 Montgomery St., 9th and 10th floors, in San Francisco. That’s apparently a Regus coworking space.
It looks like Christine Zalnieraite is the brainchild behind a lot of unscrupulous diet content *ahem* has a thriving business acumen. *ahem* In 2019, she also developed an intermittent fasting app called ‘Do Fasting,’ whose absolutely disgusting ads have been called out by me and also by Shape Magazine for promoting fasting to potentially millions of kids on TikTok. Their Twitter is a total dumpster fire as well.
Here’s Christine promoting DoFasting supplements! They have ACV gummies and ketones. Both have no evidence supporting their use for weight loss or health.
Christine is also Head of Nutrition for Keto Cycle, a keto app. What a surprise!
It looks like all of these apps, and Beyond Body, are created on the exact same platform. They all have similar quizzes, they all seem spammy. Not okay.
The Beyond Body Quiz.
To ‘personalize’ your Beyond Body book, you first have to take an online quiz. It asks the usual questions (I take a fair number of these quizzes in order to write diet reviews) about height and weight and medical issues and diet restrictions and activity levels.
When I take these sorts of quizzes, I usually try to game the system so I can see if it catches red flags. I’ll check off some medical conditions that I don’t have so I can see what their recommendations would be compared to what I’d recommend as an RD.
Of course, if there’s an option to check off that I have an eating disorder (which I don’t IRL), I usually do that, to see if the app or quiz throws a red flag. I think 99.9% of people would agree that any weight loss program should immediately reject a potential customer who admits to an ED.
It’s just the ethical thing to do. Unfortunately, companies like Beyond Body and the people behind it don’t seem to feel as though they’re morally obligated to do the right thing.
Not only did I check off in the quiz that I have bulimia nervosa, I also gave the quiz a pretty unreasonable weight loss goal, which it did flag at the end as being too low on the BMI chart.
At the end, I was still allowed to purchase the book with this exact weight loss goal – to lose 38 pounds in 28 days.
When an email with my quiz results came back, I got this:
I can shape and slim my ‘problem areas’ and deal with my bulimia nervosa. Imagine that.
You should be angry about this. I know I am. Never in a million years, under any circumstance, should this happen.
But I wasn’t prepared for how much worse it was going to get.
The spammy emails that I got to convince me to buy the book were relentless. I sometimes got up to three a day, each offering me a deeper discount, telling me that ‘if this doesn’t work, nothing else will.’
Are you f*cking serious right now, Beyond Body? That language is extremely low-bar.
There was also the obligatory countdown timer in each message, telling me that I only had X minutes to take advantage of this limiting time offer. Classic marketing ploy that was obviously untrue, since the longer I waited, the larger their discounts got.
Maybe Beyond Body isn’t selling as well as they want everyone to think?
Let’s hope so.
I finally bit the bullet and bought the book, and was just gobsmacked – there’s really no other way to describe it – at what I found.
Let’s go through the book.
Pages 11 and 12 are titled, Before Our Program.
On this page, we learn about BMI, which is a useless, outdated metric that Beyond Body uses to determine how healthy you are.
Read about the origins of BMI and why I think we shouldn’t be using it.
Beyond Body uses your height and weight from their quiz to come up with your BMI.
They then somehow came up with my body fat percentage, using only the ‘hourglass’ body shape I had selected in the quiz, and my BMI, age, and gender.
Beyond Body gave me a body fat percentage of 32%, which is what they say is ‘obese.’
While there is nothing offensive with being classified as obese, my weight and body fat are not even close to that category.
Even writing this, I have to pause and take a breath. The thought of how incredibly inaccurate this equation and number is, and the possible implications it can have in people who have eating disorders, body dysmorphia, anxiety, or basically any sort of problematic relationship with their bodies, is really, really disturbing.
Remember, I told Beyond Body that I have bulimia nervosa.
The fact that this is where we are at the starting point of this diet, is a grim predictor of where this whole thing is going.
Page 13 and 14 tell me to ‘embrace my beautiful body shape,’ while letting me know that compared to the inverted triangle or pear body shape, I ‘don’t have that many problematic areas.’ They then tell me the most flattering way to dress for my shape.
If I’m supposed to embrace my body, why are they telling me how to dress? The shaming of this is sickening.
Hey Beyond Body, it’s the 21st century. We can wear whatever we want.
Pages 16-26 are about sleep and stress and how they relate to weight gain and loss. There’s a lot about negative self-talk and forgiving yourself for not being able to say ‘no’ to certain foods, how stress affects us (not saying, of course, that diets can be a huge source of stress).
Page 29-30 are where the 28-day Beyond Body nutrition program really starts. On page 30, we’re treated to a lovely section about how to avoid societal pressure to eat. One example they give is how ‘satisfied’ you’ll feel when you go for pizza with your friends and say no to eating the pizza versus how eating it will result in self-loathing the next day.
You can’t make this up. It’s just….wow.
What Beyond Body is telling us here is essentially a spin on the disgusting saying that ‘thin tastes better.’
Despite implying or outright saying that the program can help our relationship with food, Beyond Body seems to be about teaching readers to lose weight through strict dieting (the book calls the program a diet) and avoidance of eating.
In order to avoid eating, Beyond Body tells us to ‘drink a glass of water and think about how having one bad meal will affect your progress.’
They tell us to say, “I wanna retake control of my habits, not letting my habits to control me” to people who offer us ‘junk food.’
They suggest we give this whole exercise time to ‘prove how strong we are.’
Because obviously, lose weight is about mental toughness, right?
I know. I can’t believe it either. This is all classic diet culture nonsense, the type of which is responsible for decades of messing up peoples’ relationships with food and our bodies.
Yet Beyond Body is still using this narrative in 2022.
Later on in the book in a section about what to do if you aren’t losing weight, Beyond Body makes this suggestion:
“If you are measuring your ingredients but still can’t lose weight, chances are that you need to either increase your physical activity or decrease the number of calories you eat. The weight loss program we created for you should ensure both of these things, but whether you follow it correctly is totally up to you. So, do yourself a favor – measure your ingredients, strictly follow your weight loss plan, and soon you’ll be celebrating groundbreaking results!”
I just can’t. I’m going to remind you again that I told Beyond Body that I have bulimia nervosa.
Even if I hadn’t, all of this would still be inappropriate advice.
How can I reduce the amount of calories I eat? And won’t exercising more just make me hungrier? Why are they blaming the reader for their ‘failure,’ rather than blaming the diet?
Beyond Body makes me feel like I’m back in 1990.
The next couple of pages are about weighing and measuring your ‘problematic areas.’
Again, what century are we in?
The training guide is next, which I’m not going to review because I’m not an expert in exercise. I just want to comment on this one sentence in the exercise section:
“After the so-called honeymoon period, you’ll probably develop a love-hate relationship with exercise anyway. That’s totally understandable and there’s no need to be too hard on yourself.”
Instead of teaching you to love exercise and encouraging you to choose something you enjoy, Beyond Body preps you for hating it. I’m not sure why they do this, but it feels really wrong.
On page 48, we finally get to Beyond Body’s Healthy Eating Essentials aka the diet.
I find it very interesting that an entire page in this section is dedicated to why we shouldn’t skip meals, telling us how it can ‘slow metabolism’ (untrue, according to research) among other things. But on the other hand, Christine has a fasting app that essentially teaches people to skip meals.
Which one is it, Christine?
The nutrition section provides cooking tips like this one cautioning people not to fry their food:
“All those fresh vegetables and lean meats are worth nothing once you toss them in a hot pot of oil.”
This is absurd. Oil doesn’t cancel out the nutrients in food.
“Consuming uncooked salt has been linked to heart disease and kidney problems, so if you are one of those people, it’s time to break this unhealthy habit.”
I’m not sure what cooking your salt has to do with anything, so this is absurd.
“We hate to break this to you, but if you want to keep your waistline slim and your heart healthy, you’ll have to say no to butter. It might make your dishes taste 10 times better, but it can also impede the productivity of your circulatory system and add a few unwanted pounds in the long run.”
Oh hey, Beyond Body, welcome to the 21st century, where we’re allowed to enjoy our food, and we also know that butter, used in moderation, is completely fine. And about these ‘unwanted pounds’ – eating fat doesn’t automatically make you fat. Maybe we thought that in the 80s and 90s, but now we know better.
Beyond Body assigned me a budget of 1200-1350 calories each day. I got three meals of around 350 calories each, and two snacks that top out at 135 calories each.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that not only is this calorie level too low for most active people, it’s also unlikely to result in long-term weight loss.
After 28 days of eating 300 calorie meals, I’d hoover everything in sight. Oh, and Beyond Body doesn’t have a re-integration plan (not that it would make this diet any better).
The last part of the book is all the meal plans, which I want to address, but I also need to say something about the ‘Getting Back on Track’ page that you see below.
All I have to say is, what the f*ck kind of morality-based, shaming, mind-messing, condescending garbage is this?
Beyond Body tells us that the meal plans are created by ‘professional nutritionists,’ which may be true, but that doesn’t make them any better.
You get to mix and match your ingredients, but there’s no getting around it: you’ll be weighing and measuring until the end of the 28th day.
The recipes are basic and spartan. Day 4’s plan has my first snack as plain fruit, and my second one as something the plan calls ‘tuna salad’ but is really a tablespoon and a half of tuna mixed with 4 black olives and 6 tablespoons of kidney beans.
Remember, I’m supposed to have an eating disorder. If you don’t, Beyond Body seems to set you on that path.
The whole ‘personalized’ selling point of Beyond Body seems to me like a bit of a ruse. Sure, you fill out a quiz that ostensibly collects data to personalize your diet and exercise plan. One of my followers told me that their plan included foods that they checked off as ‘do not like’ in the quiz.
The illusion of personalization is a big wellness marketing tactic right now, but it rarely means you’re getting content or products that you actually need.
I talk about personalized vitamins here.
In my professional opinion, Beyond Body is nothing but a program that’s very low in calories, and absolutely seething with often outdated, often offensive, and often non evidence-based nutrition information.
Here’s some tips the program has for dealing with cravings: drink water, go to bed earlier, or brush your teeth. Anything to prevent us from actually eating.
This advice is prehistoric, non-intuitive, and disordered.
The fact that Beyond Body sold me a diet to lose 38 pounds after I told them that I have an eating disorder, is incomprehensible and dangerous.
Not to mention that losing 38 pounds in 28 days is f*cking impossible for someone of my stature.
Christine is still emailing me to try and get me to buy the Beyond Body app – supposedly I can lose weight even faster with it!
I hope they enjoy the FTC complaint that I made about them.
Beyond Body is Beyond Garbage.