Cruise Control Diet – How It Aids Weight Loss, Foods To Eat, And Benefits

Medically reviewed by Merlin Annie Raj, RD (Registered Dietitian) Merlin Annie Raj Merlin Annie RajRD (Registered Dietitian) facebook_iconlinkedin_icon
Written by , MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Charushila Biswas MSc (Biotechnology), ISSA Certified Fitness Nutritionist Experience: 6 years
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The Cruise Control Diet is one of the most effective diets for weight loss. James Ward created this diet, and it has helped many to not only lose weight but also maintain it. Its success lies in the emphasis on leading a healthy lifestyle. If you struggle to keep the stubborn flab away, try this diet. You will get amazing long-term results for sure. Read on to know how this diet works, what to eat, recipes, benefits, and what to expect. Swipe up!

What Is The Cruise Control Diet? How Did It Start?

The Cruise Control Diet is an “all natural whole foods” approach to weight loss. It helps burn fat effectively without imposing too many restrictions. It helps the dieters incorporate a newer and healthier lifestyle, which is far more effective in shedding pounds and weight maintenance.

James Ward, the creator of the Cruise Control Diet, was a yo-yo dieter, i.e., he would be on a diet and lose the weight but regain the weight soon after going off the diet. After trying various diets, he knew that he needed a sustainable diet plan – one he could follow continuously without depriving himself of the foods he loved to eat. And that is when he created the Cruise Control Diet. The official website was up in 2011, so it is safe to say that the diet has been around for more than half a decade now.
But why is this diet so successful? Well, the answer lies in the four principles the diet follows.

How The Cruise Control Diet Works

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The Cruise Control Diet works on the following four principles:

  1. Consume natural, whole foods that will keep you satiated and burn excess fat.
  2. Avoid consuming processed and packaged foods.
  3. Don’t restrict yourself from consuming chocolate, cookies, and candies. Enjoy them once in a while.
  4. Do not count calories or even maintain a food journal. Let your natural instinct guide you on what you should consume and how much of it.

These principles, to some, might seem odd as we are so used to highly restrictive diets that do not allow consuming anything that the dieters want. But that’s also the time when many dieters drop the diet. The point of the Cruise Control Diet is to not hinder the natural hunger and keep eating healthy. What the Cruise Control Diet restricts are foods that are not natural. Take a look at the following section to get a clearer picture.

Foods To Eat

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  • Veggies – Broccoli, carrot, tomato, kale, spinach, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, cabbage, purple cabbage, radish, turnip, pumpkin, beans, drumsticks, collard greens, radish greens, Swiss chard, potato, sweet potato, okra, brinjal, bitter gourd, squash, bottle gourd, striped gourd, snake gourd, bell pepper, scallion, bok choy, edamame, and peas.
  • Fruits – Watermelon, banana, apple, peach, plum, pomegranate, dates, orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, pluot, apricot, papaya, pineapple, grapes, blueberries, strawberries, gooseberries, star fruit, blackberries, cranberries, and sweet lime.
  • Protein – Free-range eggs, wild-caught fish, chicken, grass-fed beef, pork, lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, soy chunks, soy milk, tofu, and mushroom.
  • Dairy – Grass-fed cow’s milk, cheese, butter, and ghee.
  • Nuts And Seeds – Almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts, pine nuts, macadamia, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, and flax seeds.
  • Fats And Oils – Olive oil, rice bran oil, coconut oil, peanut butter, butter, ghee, cheese, and almond butter.
  • Beverages – Water, fresh coconut water, freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juice, and homemade buttermilk.
  • Herbs And Spices – Cilantro, dill, rosemary, thyme, mint, curry leaves, oregano, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, garlic, onion, ginger, mace, saffron, clove, cinnamon, parsley, dried red chili, cayenne pepper, chili flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, fennel seeds, black pepper, and white pepper.

Foods To Avoid

  • Potato wafers
  • Energy drinks
  • Soda
  • Packaged fruit juice
  • Fried foods
  • Added artificial flavors and colors
  • Salami and sausage
  • Frozen foods

Now that it is clear what you need to buy the next time you go to the supermarket, here’s a sample diet chart.

Sample Cruise Control Diet Chart

Meals What To Eat
Early Morning (6:00 – 7:00 a.m.)1 cup water with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Breakfast (6:45 – 7:45 a.m.)1 boiled whole egg (or ½ avocado) + 1 cup milk (or soy milk) + 4 almonds (or 1 small cup sprouted Bengal gram)
Mid Morning (9:45-10:30 a.m.)1 cup green tea or 1 glass fresh coconut water
Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m.)1 small cup brown rice + 1 medium bowl lentil soup + 1 cup vegetable curry or sauteed veggies
Snack (3:30 – 4:00 p.m.)1 cup black coffee (or cappuccino) + 6 almonds
Dinner (7:00 – 7:30 p.m.)3-4 oz grilled steak/ ½ cup sautéed mushroom + 1 cup blanched or sautéed veggies
Bed Time (10:00 – 10:30 p.m.)1 cup milk (or soy milk) with a pinch of turmeric or a piece of dark chocolate

This diet chart will keep you satiated for a long duration and also keep you from feeling deprived of the delicious foods. However, you must stay away from trans fats and processed foods and consume only homemade food. Having said that, we understand your busy life. And that’s why we have a few easy, quick, and delicious recipes for you. Check them out!

Cruise Control Diet Recipes

1. Breakfast – Vegetarian Avocado Toast

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time – 5 mins; Cooking Time – 3 mins; Serves – 2

  • 4 slices of brown bread
  • 1 medium-sized avocado
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • ½ cup homemade ricotta cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Juice of half a lime
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Scoop out the avocado flesh and mash it with the back of a fork.
  2. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice. Mix well.
  3. Take a tablespoon of the mashed avocado and spread it on a slice of brown bread.
  4. Top it with tomato slices and ricotta cheese

And your breakfast is ready!

2. Lunch – Vegan Tofu Salad

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time – 5 mins; Cooking Time – 10 mins; Serves – 2

  • 6 oz tofu, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes, thick slices
  • 1 ½ cups chopped lettuce
  • 1 cup cucumber slices
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon white sesame seed
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
How To Prepare
  1. Add salt and allspice to the cubed tofu.
  2. Heat the pan, add olive oil, and cook the tofu for about 3 minutes.
  3. Toss all the veggies in a large bowl.
  4. Add salt, black pepper, and lime juice.
  5. Add the cooked tofu, sprinkle some sesame seeds, and garnish with chopped cilantro.

3. Dinner – Rice Noodles And Shrimp

Image: Shutterstock

Prep Time – 10 mins; Cooking Time – 10 mins; Serves – 2

  • 1 cup rice noodles
  • 1 oz cleaned shrimp
  • ½ cup sliced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced yellow bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 inch ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ lime
How To Prepare
  1. Bring two cups of water to a boil and add the rice noodles.
  2. Switch the burner off. Cover the pot and let the rice noodles cook in the hot water for about 2 minutes.
  3. Discard the water and add a little oil to the noodles so that they do not stick to each other.
  4. Heat a pan and add olive oil.
  5. Toss the garlic and ginger. Cook on high flame for about 10 seconds.
  6. Add the white part of the scallions and the bell pepper slices. Stir-fry for about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the shrimps and cook for 2 minutes.
  8. Add the soy sauce, honey, and vinegar. Stir well and remove the pan from the flame.
  9. Mix the rice noodles and prawns.
  10. Sprinkle the green part of the scallions, and your dinner is ready.

Apart from eating whole foods, the Cruise Control Diet also inculcates healthy habits – one of which is regular exercise.

Cruise Control Workout Plan

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  • Warm-up
  • Neck tilt – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Jumping jacks – 1 set of 30 reps
  • Ankle rotation – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Spot jogging – 2 minutes
  • Alternate leg kicks – 2 sets of 15 reps
  • Jump squats – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Burpees – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Hip thrusts – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg up crunches – 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Bicycle crunches – 3 sets of 25 reps
  • Push-ups – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Russian twist – 3 sets of 20 reps
  • Dumbbell lunges – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Dumbbell chest flys – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Lat pull down – 3 sets of 15 reps
  • Tricep extensions – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Skull crusher – 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Dumbbell bicep curl – 3 sets of 12 reps

Cool down

Stretch your arms, legs, obliques, calves, neck, thighs, and groin area.


You may dance, walk, go cycling or swimming to burn the calories.

Tip: Never miss warming up or cooling down before and after working out.
Now, let’s take a look at the benefits of the Cruise Control Diet.

Cruise Control Diet Benefits

  • Helps burn calories and aids weight loss.
  • Improves body composition.
  • Increases energy levels.
  • Helps improve sleep.
  • Increases stamina.
  • Improves digestion and gut function.
  • Lowers stress.
  • Improves lifestyle.

So, you see, there are many health benefits of the Cruise Control Diet. But it is only humane to be skeptical about a diet that does not feel like the traditional restrictive diets. So, is this diet safe?

Is The Cruise Control Diet Safe?

Yes, the Cruise Control Diet is safe. Initially, you may overeat and may think this diet is not working. But as you start avoiding the processed foods and fried foods that contain a truckload of calories and added sugar and salt – you will start losing the excess weight naturally.
So, does that mean that individuals with overweight BMI can go on this diet? How do you tell if this diet is for you?

Is The Cruise Control Diet For You?

The Cruise Control Diet is for yo-yo dieters. If you lose weight when on a diet and gain the flab back once you stop following the diet, this diet will put an end to your body weight fluctuations. Here’s what you should keep in mind.


Talk to your doctor before trying this diet. Whether it works for you or not depends on your age, BMI, medical history, current weight, etc.


The Cruise Control Diet is highly effective for weight loss. And the best part is that you are under no restriction and may consume foods that are healthy. It is best for preventing weight regain. We strongly suggest you work out regularly to keep yourself fit. Go ahead with this diet if your doctor approves it, and you will see a change in your physical and mental health in no time. Take care!

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Merlin Annie Raj
Merlin Annie RajRegistered Dietitian Nutritionist
Merlin Annie Raj is a Registered Dietitian based out of Hyderabad, India. She has 14 years of experience in Clinical Nutrition as well as teaching Nutrition and Dietetics to undergraduate and postgraduate students. She was awarded the ‘President’s Award’ at the 47th Annual National Conference of the Indian Dietetic Association, 2014.

Read full bio of Merlin Annie Raj
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