Read an Excerpt
Get on the Fast Track!
Each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand mediocre minds appointed to guard the past.
What if you could lose 3 to 8 pounds in a single day?
What if that nearly instant weight loss made you feel lighter, freer, cleaner, and more energized?
What if that one day of weight loss could help jump-start a long-term weight-loss plan? What if that single day began a healing, cleansing, revitalizing process, raising your awareness of the poisons that pollute our environment and purging your body of the toxins that set you up for weight gain, fatigue, and a host of deadly, debilitating diseases?
Well, that single day is here. It's called the Fast Track One-Day Detox Diet. It's safe. It feels terrific. And it works.
A One-Day Miracle Diet:
Too Good to Be True?
Who doesn't like quick fixes and magic bullets? They're the reason that weight-loss products promising instant results have become a multibillion-dollar industry that's growing every year. The fact that most of these trendy diets don't work, don't last, and often put us at risk for serious health problems seems less important to many desperate dieters than the glittering promises these plans make.
As a nutritional maverick, I have always bucked the system Yet for more than twenty years, even I believed that there's no such thing as a magic bullet—although my internationally best-selling Fat Flush Plan has certainly come close! Throughout my hands-on experience with thousands of patients and clients in the public health arena (including a stint as the chief nutritionist for the pediatric clinic at New York City's Bellevue Hospital) and in the private sector (several years as the director of nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica, California), I've always advocated long-term lifestyle changes, avoiding the one-shot answers that seem so popular in the weight-loss world. Although many diet gurus preached the gospel of exercising more and eating less, of cutting out fats, or—more recently—of eliminating carbs, I've always understood that our bodies and metabolisms are too complex for such simple solutions.
When I introduced my two-week program in Beyond Pritikin nearly two decades ago and then brought out a more extensive version of that diet in The Fat Flush Plan, I helped revolutionize weight loss by introducing the concept of detox to the diet world. Years before Atkins, South Beach, and the Zone, I predicted that the low-fat, high-carb diets so popular in the 1980s were actually creating weight gain, sugar cravings, fatigue, and diabetes—health concerns that have taken on epidemic proportions today. I was the first to point out the importance of the essential fatty acids for weight loss as well as for overall health and beauty, a recurring theme in my two dozen books. My millions of readers around the world, and the millions more who visit my Web site (www.fasttrackdetox.com), have always known that they can count on me for sound, well-researched nutritional advice based on both real-life experience and scientific evidence.
Then, in November 2003, Woman's World magazine came to me with an unusual request. They wanted a one-day juice fast, the recipe for a special brew that would enable readers to quickly lose 3 to 5 pounds so they could fit into that special outfit or take off that holiday weight.
A fast can be a terrific weight-loss method because during a fast, the primary source of fuel for the cells is fat. Of course, I'd known for years that an improperly done fast can actually sabotage weight loss by disrupting your metabolism. The wrong kind of fasting can also threaten your health by stressing your liver, clogging your colon, and flooding your bloodstream with the oil-soluble toxins that your body had been storing in its fat.
On the other hand, a fast done right—with your body prepared for fasting and properly supported during the regime—can flush the accumulated toxins from your cells, accelerate your weight loss, cleanse your body, and combat the effects of aging. Periodic fasting of this type can clear up skin conditions, boost your energy, and put a sparkle in your eyes.
Moreover, a properly done fast offers you a chance to detoxify your body. A body overloaded with toxins and pollutants suffers from a weakened immune system, a stressed-out liver, and, in all probability, a malfunctioning colon. Such "toxic" bodies are far more vulnerable to disorders great and small, ranging from colds, flu, and fatigue to arthritis, asthma, and allergiesall the way up to autoimmune conditions, heart disease, and cancer. In other words, properly done fasting is the missing link to better health.
And fasting and detox have one more benefit, perhaps the most dramatic and the least well-known of all. Fasting is the missing link to long-term weight loss. That's because detox and weight loss go hand in hand. So the more toxic your body becomes, the more difficulty you will have losing weight and keeping it off.
Weight Loss and Toxicity:
The Missing Link
The connection between weight loss and toxicity is so important, I'll say it again: The more toxic your body becomes, the more difficulty you'll have losing weight. Does that sound like an extreme statement? Then consider for a moment the "obesity epidemic" that you've no doubt read about. We now know that more than sixty diseases have been linked to obesity. More than 80 percent of Americans are overweight, while at least 30 percent of U.S. adults are obese—and close to 20 million children. Think of it—a whopping eight out of ten Americans face a weight gain that might literally kill them by setting them up for diabetes, heart disease, and other deadly conditions.
Now recall the almost daily warnings about the growing amount of pollutants, toxins, and synthetic chemicals in our food, water, and air. The use of pesticides alone has doubled every ten years since 1945. Every day, corporations, cars, and homes release 700,000 tons of pollution into our air. Farmers spray seventy-two different pesticides on our fruits and veggies. Our cows and sheep are injected with estrogens to fatten them up and then stuffed with pesticide-laden grains to satisfy their artificial hunger.
Well, I'm here to tell you that there's a connection. Based on my twenty years as a practicing nutritionist, I see a clear link between rising levels of obesity and the fact that most of us are becoming more toxic every year.
1. Our bodies are staggering under the enormous load of industrial toxins that have entered our food, water, and environment—and these toxins are making us fat. First, we ingest the hormone-laden foods meant to fatten up cattle and sheep for market. Then our hormones are further disrupted by the pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and heavy metals that these poor animals consume with their feed. Finally, our poor polluted planet bombards us with new toxic invaders every day, from the methyl mercury in our fish, to the solvents in our acrylic nails, to the rocket fuel, of all things, that has seeped into the groundwater of twenty-two states. These toxins are in our homes, our workplace, our cosmetics, and our food. They're deadly to our health and disastrous for our weight.
2. Most of us eat far less fiber than we need and consume far more sugar, refined flour, saturated fats, and protein than we should. In this toxic era, we need fiber more than ever, to help us neutralize the toxins and scrub them out of our system. A diet rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and fresh vegetables offers us plenty of fiber—but how many of us eat that way? We're more likely to consume fatty, sugary, and floury foods or to go on the low-carb, low-fiber diets like Atkins and South Beach. Previous generations of Americans ate twenty to thirty grams of fiber per day. Our current average has dropped to less than twelve. So the food we eat sits in our colons for weeks, months, even years, where it slowly putrefies, bloating our stomachs and poisoning our bodies. Our poor, overloaded livers are supposed to detoxify our bodies, but they can't keep up with this toxic challenge. They do the best they can, but how can they properly metabolize fat when they're assaulted by this daily dose of toxins? Once again, we gain weight.
3. Low-carb diets are adding new stresses to our liver, colon, and entire digestive system. Some people can lose weight on low-carb diets—I'll be the first to admit it. But the long-term consequences of low-carb diets can be disastrous for both health and long-term weight loss. First, low-carb diets like Atkins and South Beach steer dieters toward high-protein foods like beef, chicken, fish, and pork—the very foods simply loaded with the toxins we've just discussed. Then they urge dieters to avoid the fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that might help purify and eliminate those toxins. Finally, they load us up with so many proteins that we can't produce enough stomach acid to digest them all. Stress, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and poor eating habits have already deprived most Americans of the stomach acid we need. So we end up with an acid reflux epidemic while the undigested meat and cheese rots right there in our gut, overloading our liver and intestines with such poisons as indican, ammonia, cadaverine, and histidine. And—you guessed it—our weight continues to rise.
Clearly, we Americans are sorely in need of both diet and detox—a safe, effective way to lose weight based on supporting our livers and colons. Maybe, I thought, the one-day weight-loss miracle that Woman's World had requested would allow me to kill two birds with one stone. With the right fast, dieters could lose significant amounts of weight virtually overnight, and they could also take advantage of fasting's age-old ability to cleanse and purify our bodies. A one-day fast would give both men and women a sense of how satisfying good nutrition and cellular cleansing can be. People who successfully completed a properly done fast might even move on to long-term lifestyle changes.
The key would be to develop a fast that provided dieters with adequate nutritional support, particularly for their livers and colons—our major detox organs. So I drew on my years of research, writing, and counseling to come up with a plan. The results were astounding.
The One-Day Detox Diet:
A Proven System
First, the one-day fast I developed did indeed achieve immediate weight-loss results. Woman's World readers reported losing 3, 4, even 5 pounds in a single day. The special "miracle juice" I created for dieters to drink while they fasted successfully staved off hunger pangs, maintained metabolism, and provided the nutritional backup fasters need to support their livers and colons.
But my fast went far beyond simple weight loss. It also allowed dieters to taste the delights of detox, the enormous health benefits we can achieve by ridding our bodies of the toxins that bog them down.
Sure enough, the first people who tried my fast reported quick weight loss, no hunger, and vastly increased energy. As they told Woman's World:
My stomach wasn't bloated anymore. Within a few hours of starting, a friend told me my face looked thinner.
—Jackie Neal, thirty-two; lost 3.5 pounds
Now my favorite black pants are loose in the waist and hips. I've never had results like this before!
—Maureen MacArthur, thirty-six, a mother of three; lost 4 pounds
The day I did it, I was wearing a pair of drawstring pants. By the end of the day, they were practically falling off . . . I did it on the weekend, when I normally sit around and watch TV. Instead, I cleaned my whole apartment.
—Anastasia Signoretta, twenty-seven; lost 3.5 pounds
Thrilled by these responses, I posted the Woman's World article on my Web site (www.annlouise.com), where it's not unusual to get more than 30,000 visitors in a single day. Suddenly, I was deluged with feedback. Dozens of dieters wrote me about their success on the one-day program, how they were losing pounds gained during travel or the holidays, how they could finally fit into that special size 8 dress or skinny pantsuit, how they were breaking through their dieting plateaus. They told me they felt lighter, cleaner, more energized. Some of them even told me they had started having better sex!
I heard both from my veteran Fat Flushers who wanted to shed some extra weight and from new dieters looking to ease into a healthier lifestyle. Some of the newbies told me that, indeed, my One-Day Diet had enabled them to make a new commitment to healthy eating for the first time in their lives, thanks to these impressive, instant results.
Here, I realized, was the opportunity I'd been seeking for a long time—a chance to combine my lifelong commitment to detoxification with an innovative approach to weight loss. Here was the next wave of health and healing, the missing link that could help women lose weight, regain their vitality, and glow with good health.
So I expanded the Woman's World plan, creating an entirely new way to combine weight loss and detox. This book is the result.
Losing Weight, Gaining Energy
As I started to come up with an improved and expanded version of Fast Track, I believed that my new plan would continue to offer the dramatic benefits that Woman's World readers had experienced with the earlier program. But like any good clinician, I wanted to test my hypothesis. So I shared this developing detox program with my own Fat Flushers as well as with more than 100 dieters in Syracuse, New York, under the guidance of a registered dietitian. The Syracuse group was composed of men and women ages sixteen to seventy, all of whom had struggled for a long time with weight loss and healthy eating.
And the program worked! In fact, the results were even better than my initial estimates, causing me to revise my prediction of the upper limit of one-day weight loss from 5 pounds to 8 pounds.
Most striking was the experience of Michael Pankhurst, a fifty-eight-year-old who had struggled with his weight throughout his life. Before starting the one-day fast, he pronounced himself "dubious." But by the end of the day, his doubts had vanished with his fat.
"I lost eight pounds," he enthused. "My mental clarity during the day was greatly improved. So was my energy level, despite a preexisting throat condition. And I wasn't even hungry. I think I will try to do it frequently, to boost mental clarity and weight loss."
As Michael discovered, the benefits of the One-Day Detox Diet went far beyond weight. Other dieters experienced the same lightness, energy, and mental clarity that the Woman's World dieters had felt. They also reported that the Fast Track got them back on track for healthy eating, enabled them to shed extra holiday and vacation pounds, and helped them break their dieting plateaus. They were impressed with their greater alertness, glowing skin, sparkling eyes, and toned, tight feeling. Many of them told me that they wanted to make the Fast Track a special ritual or a regular part of their routine—once a month or during the change of season—to regain that cleansed, energized feeling and sense of emotional and physical well-being. (And some of them, too, reported better sex after cleansing!)
I also noticed that some of the Syracuse fasters experienced some symptoms—headache, irritability, fatigue—that I knew resulted from caffeine addiction and insufficient liver support from their previous diet. With what I learned from their experience, I went on to design that expanded, fully supportive program that you see in this book.