Marilu Henner Diet: Total Health Makeover

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)


Television celebrity Marilu Henner experienced many years of being overweight and feeling stifled by poor health. In Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover, she takes readers through her own personal journey of discovery to achieve good health through trial and error, observation, knowledge and understanding.

Henner encourages us to develop a ‘sense’ of our body’s needs and to avoid the quick-fix approach to dieting. She places a great deal of emphasis on the importance of detoxification and has created a ten-step program that will help dieters to achieve this goal.

She claims that by following her Total Health Makeover program, not only will you lose weight, but you will also live longer, feel more alive and have clearer skin without the need for rigorous exercise.

Marilu Henner Diet Basics

Marilu-Henner-Diet-Total-Health-MakeoverHenner has named her plan B.E.S.T, which is an acronym for Balance, Energy, Stamina and only using Toxin-free foods and products.

The Total Health Makeover program is based on ten principles:

  1. Eliminate chemicals in the foods you eat.
  2. Eliminate caffeine and nicotine from your system.
  3. Replace processed sugar with natural alternatives.
  4. Limit or eliminate red meat.
  5. Avoid dairy products.
  6. Practice food combining for efficient digestion.
  7. Reduce your intake of fat.
  8. Exercise every day and practice stress reduction.
  9. Get enough sleep.
  10. Do everything with Gusto!

Although Henner’s dietary recommendations are fairly strict she says that adjusting your food intake will help to recondition your palate as well as to help you to learn to look at your life from a different perspective. Her wish is that you will not only lose weight but also change your relationship with food.

The Total Health Makeover is an advocate of food combining and recommends eating fruit alone and avoiding the combination of protein and starches in the same meal. The general structure of the diet is similar to that advocated in the Fit for Life program.

Recommended Foods

Fresh fruit and vegetables, salmon, tuna, chicken breast, egg whites, nuts, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal, whole grain pasta, tofu, nondairy cream cheese, maple syrup, raw honey, blackstrap molasses, brown rice syrup.

Sample Diet Plan

On arising

6 oz fruit juice or 1 piece seasonal fruit




Blackened ahi tuna salad

Afternoon Snack

2 handfuls raw veggies


Low fat Caesar salad
Tomato mint pasta

Exercise Recommendations

Exercise is recommended primarily as a beneficial way to reduce stress.  The Marilu Henner Diet says that vigorous exercise is not necessary in order to lose weight and stay healthy.

Costs and Expenses

Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover retails at $15.

Also available is The 30 Day Total Health Makeover, which includes recipes and a meal plan.


  • Encourages dieters to eliminate unhealthy habits such as caffeine and nicotine.
  • Holistic approach that emphasizes creating balance in many aspects of lifestyle.
  • Includes unique information about the dangerous effects of chemicals, additives and preservatives.
  • Addresses the importance of sleep for good health.
  • Some dieters experience relief from digestive problems when practicing food combining.


  • Restrictive and eliminates many foods.
  • Recommends a lot of soy products, which many health experts do not recommend to be consumed in large quantities.
  • Dieters may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache and fatigue when eliminating caffeine.
  • Advocates food combining which is unsupported by scientific research.
  • Does not include a meal plan or recipes.


The Total Health Makeover offers readers a balanced dietary and lifestyle approach to weight loss that acknowledges the importance of developing a healthy relationship with food and learning to listen to the needs of your body.

What is most lacking in Marilu Henner’s Total Health Makeover is a structured meal plan to assist dieters to incorporate her dietary suggestions into practice. This has been addressed with Marilu’s release of the book The 30 Day Total Health Makeover.

 By Mizpah Matus B.Hlth.Sc(Hons)
  • Pam

    What if you do not eat fish and you are on day 5, what can you replace instead of Salmon?

  • dorra

    very interesting :) !

  • barbara garner

    I love Marilu – she’s spunky, apparently healthy, happy, and encouraging. I watched her on Dr. Oz today and was shocked that she recommended PEANUTS. Legumes are useless, can cause Leaky Gut Syndrome, are loaded with dangerous lectins, have a poor Omega 6/Omega 3 ratio. The only legumes that are useful and safe are GREEN BEANS and PEAS.
    Also, beware of eating too many grains (even if they are brown). grains also contain lectins. Small amounts, and not daily, are best, if you have to have them.
    Soy is unhealthy. 1 cup of soymilk a day can cut a male’s sperm count in half! Soy should be avoided or used sparingly.
    But honestly, I am inspired and energized by Marilu!

  • Mary

    Watched the Dr. Oz today and can’t wait to check out this healthly eating style. Very interesting!

  • beth

    i’ve ordered Marilu’s Body Victory a couple of years ago and lost the Marilu’s pantry favorites list. Does anyone still have it to share? thanks

  • Laura

    I LOVE Marilu Henner and have read both of her books and did the 30 Day Total Health Makeover. It was awesome! I am trying to incorporate her program on a simpler level. I found that the further along in the 30 days I got, the more time intense and complex the meals became, not to mention very expensive. I was spending $15 – $20 per day on the fish she reccomends. I work full time and just don’t have the time to spend preparing meals. Any suggestions on how to simplify this program would be helpful.

  • karin

    looking to feel terrific and loose a few pounds

  • Beth Stolte

    I started the Body Makeover (Body Victory) 5 years ago and lost 20 lbs and have kept the weight off for the entire 5 years. Marilu’s food combining works and her tips for every area of life are excellent. I look 10 years younger and have never felt better. Noone believes that I turn 50 this year. She does provide a meal plan for even eating out in her Body Victory Program. I give her program a 5 star!!

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