When I was at my highest weight, I had a full-blown peanut butter addiction. I would eat jars at a time, and my favorite food was Reese’s peanut butter cups. I had absolutely no control of myself when I ate any of it. When I decided that I no longer wanted to be heavy, I made a point to completely stop eating anything with peanuts or peanut butter in it.
If you've seen the TV show, you get the idea: Six weeks of healthy food and regular exercise is celebrated as a great start to a weight-loss journey – as well as a way prevent or reverse various diseases. Fair enough. Experts determined that the Biggest Loser Diet is very likely to help you shed pounds, thanks to calorie restriction and exercise. To reap the other benefits of weight loss, however, you have to stick with it – something that's a lot harder for average Joes than for TV stars-in-the-making.
Enjoy the rich flavor of sweet potatoes? While home on Sundays, cook up a batch. Wrap each one in foil and bake for about an hour at 425 degrees F, or until their luscious, sweet juices start to ooze out into the foil. At work the following week, just pop one in the microwave for a quick warm-up. They’re loaded with taste, so they don’t need any extra toppings. If you want a little zest, swirl in a teaspoon or two of no-salt-added Dijon mustard or a quarter cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt.
When you’re eating the foods that get you there (more on that in a minute), your body can enter a state of ketosis in one to three days, she adds. During the diet, the majority of calories you consume come from fat, with a little protein and very little carbohydrates. Ketosis also happens if you eat a very low-calorie diet — think doctor-supervised, only when medically recommended diets of 600 to 800 total calories.
I’ve heard of the military diet and have contemplated it, but haven’t tried it as of yet. As I get light-headed very easily, this may NOT be the diet for me to try at all. I know a couple of people who have done it and benefited from it, but they said it was hard in the beginning. For me, the cons outweigh the pros. I just can’t risk any health issues arising from it.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, and author of 2 Day Diabetes Diet and Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, feels similarly concerned. "A restrictive diet that does not promote the nutritional value of foods and is only focused on calories, such as the Military Diet, may promote weight loss at the expense of health," she says. "This diet is not sustainable and any weight loss will most likely be regained quickly." She even cautions that the diet may ultimately lead to weight gain down the road. "A drastic reduction in calories will promote weight loss, however restricting calories this low may promote a loss of both lean body mass (muscle mass) as well as fat mass, which makes it easier to regain the weight as soon as you return to normal eating habits."
The diet doesn't offer balanced nutrition: some of the recommended foods are high in sodium, the reduced calorie intake is below the recommended allotment for both men and women, and you may not receive sufficient fiber, vitamins, and minerals during this three-day period. Prolonged application of the diet may weaken your organs and immunity as well as increase your risk of heart damage.
^ Thomas, Diana; Elliott, Elizabeth J.; Baur, Louise (31 July 2006). Written at University of Sydney, Children's Hospital at Westmead, CEBPGAN (Centre for Evidence Based Paediatrics Gastroenterology and Nutrition. Thomas, Diana, ed. "Low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load diets for overweight and obesity" (PDF). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. USA (published 18 July 2007). 3 (3): CD005105. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD005105.pub2. PMID 17636786.
I know it's cliché, but let me get specific: When I arrive at a party, I don’t go immediately to the food. I first think about how many hours I plan on being there and try to pace myself accordingly. If I know it’s a three-hour buffet dinner, I may not start eating until an hour into being there. I’ll focus on drinking lots of water first and talk to people, so I don’t stuff my face too early and overdo it.