Read an Excerpt
Now You Can Jump-Start Your Diet
There just may be one person in a million who hasn't yearned to lose weight at one time or another. We are a society concerned about being overweight, dieting, and body image. In fact, dieting, for many, is a way of life, and marching right alongside is the concomitant complaint: "I've tried dieting and it just doesn't work for me." Sound familiar? If you're reading this book then probably you've said that more than once. Likely you may have consulted nutritionists, diet centers, doctors, books, or followed the advice in your favorite magazine. You have understood--and agreed--that a sensible diet, one that works to change bad eating habits, is the best way to go. You've dutifully done all the right things: Perhaps you've counted calories, or maybe you've added up fat grams, or possibly you've measured portions, followed a point system, balanced protein against carbohydrates, or traded a favorite sweet for a plateful of pasta. There seem to be as many ways of dieting as there are stars in the sky--but yet none of them seems to work for you.
Or you may grudgingly admit that those good-little-girl diets do work, but at what feels like an excruciatingly slow pace, perhaps taking off one or maybe two pounds each week. No doubt that after a few weeks of feeling denied and unloved (we know food is love), you give up and go back to eating the foods you enjoy, saying to yourself, "Forget it! Diets just don't work for me."
This is especially true if, after two or three weeks of dieting, you look into that unfriendly mirror and see no change. And if that mirror isn't evil enough, there are those skinny jeans that have been hanging in your closet for months--the ones that were on sale and can't be returned. They didn't exactly fit when you bought them, but you were sure that after that diet which assigns points to every food item they would look just great on you. May as well give them away, right? You hate to see them every time you open the closet door since they're a constant reminder of your failure to lose weight.
Diets That Work . . . and Work Fast
If that scenario sounds familiar, here are two things you should do:
1. Don't give up on the jeans.
2. Try one of the marvelously effective short-term programs from this book that can jump-start your diet!
We are not talking here about diets to follow for many weeks or months. Many of these diets require a commitment of only a few days and should not be followed beyond the recommended time. They are intended to give your long-range dieting plans a jump-start--something a sensible weight-loss program often needs. The quick results these diets offer prove that you can lose weight. Instead of losing two pounds in two weeks, you just may lose five pounds in two days!
You will finally believe that your bathroom scale isn't broken, and that the numbers can move down as well as up.
Special Weight-Loss Needs
There may be other reasons why you want to jump-start your diet. Maybe you're going to a beach resort, and you want to wear a bathing suit cut up to here and down to there, or perhaps you're a member of a wedding party and you want to look almost as good as the bride when you walk down the aisle. If it's not a job interview, vacation, or wedding, your plans may include a very special party. Whatever the event, you know that losing weight is crucial to your confidence and ultimately your happiness. Of course, some people might not call these "good" reasons to follow a quick diet plan--but they are not in your shoes or your mind, and they are not aware of how far a little weight loss can go to boost your self-confidence, mental health, and self-esteem. It is important to understand and remember that none of these jump-start plans should be followed for a long time. We are talking about short-term dieting that can answer immediate needs and provide the incentive for you to start a slow--but healthful--diet plan.
Talking to Your Doctor
While many doctors would say that it's not healthy to lose weight too fast, you should realize that these jump-start diets last only for a few days. It's unlikely you can hurt yourself by lowering your caloric intake for a short time unless you have a medical condition that requires a certain diet. Certainly any of these diets is better than bingeing or starving yourself.
Before you embark on any of the following jump-start diets, you must talk to your doctor. Be honest with him or her and with yourself. Explain why you want to lose weight quickly. This is the moment for revelation and plain speaking. There's nothing shameful about your need to lose weight.
"I went to a shrink for a year," said Annabelle, a stockbroker, "but I was afraid I'd sound like a bimbo if I told him how important losing weight was to my psyche. It took me a long time to admit to him--and to me--that a slim body is a top priority to me."
Looking good and feeling good about your appearance is not a frivolous desire. When you talk to your doctor, mention which of the jump-start diets you are considering, and then let him or her tell you if this diet is safe for you. Don't start any diet without checking with your doctor first.
The Temptation of Dieting
Maybe you never thought you'd be tempted to stay on a diet, but one that takes off pounds quickly can be very seductive. As you lose two or five or ten or even more pounds in days rather than months, you might be tempted to stay on one of the diets that follow beyond the number of days suggested.
Don't do it! Jump-start diets are intended to be of short duration. They don't offer the complete nutrition that you need for good health. Use a jump-start diet as an inspiring beginning--a time of instant gratification that will act as an incentive for a long-term plan that will take off pounds slowly and safely.
"I kept telling myself that I wanted to lose weight," said Jeanine, 25, a nurse, "but did I really? I was a secret snacker. When no one was around I'd eat constantly--cookies, potato chips, ice cream--whatever was around. It took me a long time to admit that I didn't really want to lose weight--those extra pounds protected me from becoming involved in the dating game. Who needs guys, anyway? Besides, if someone really loved me, he'd love me fat or thin. Yeah, right. Except that before someone got to know me, he'd have to get past the fact that I was fat. Sure, I was a beautiful person within--but who knew about all that inner beauty? Once I faced the reality that looks do count, I was able to jump-start my diet. With a five-day plan during which I ate nothing but protein, I went down from 150 pounds to 140 pounds. I'm a little over five foot two, so those 10 pounds really made a difference. After that, I went on a plan where I lost a pound a week. I'm down a total of 20 pounds and I feel good about myself."
How Much Weight Will I Lose?
The amount of weight you will lose depends on the basic you: how much weight you need to lose; your metabolism, level of activity, bone structure, occupation; and, most important, your ability to stay on the jump-start diet of your choice. Yes, one cookie does count, as does just one tiny teaspoon of ice cream. Because jump-start diets are of such short duration, any cheating will make them ineffective.
Some jump-start dieters lose two pounds in two days, others lose five, still others find that eight unnecessary pounds have slipped away. Fasts--see the water fast and the juice diets--work more quickly than others.
While Dieting . . .
Don't cheat by eating some little thing that's not on the diet. A candy bar can make all your efforts worthless, as can skipping one of the recommended meals or substituting an inappropriate food. Do that, and the entire plan unravels. One skipped meal can make you inordinately hungry, and that can undermine the entire diet.
Choosing the Diet That's Right for You
You've checked with your doctor, looked into your soul, did one final check in the mirror, and you've decided to go on a jump-start diet. Now the only decision you have to make is to choose the diet that's right for you. Here are some considerations:
A jump-start diet is not meant to create stress but rather to relieve the despondency you experience when you get on a scale, look into a mirror, or try on slim jeans. You know yourself better than anyone: what you like to eat, how much tolerance you have, what your schedule is like, and what your body needs. Based on all that, you should be able to figure out which of the jump-start diets is right for you at this time. You are being offered a lot of choices, and you probably will find more than one diet appealing, but not every diet is right for everyone.
For example, included here is a water fast and diets that are based on liquid meals. Could you limit your intake for 24 or 48 hours to water or juice? If you are thinking "No way, no how," you know these diets are not right for you. However, if it's summer and you can't seem to get enough of melons, berries, and other luscious fruits, take advantage of a "fruit only" weekend.
The second main purpose of a jump-start diet--the first obviously is to lose weight--is to make you feel good about yourself. If you start out by thinking that a diet will be impossible for you to follow, then it probably will be. Don't embark on a jump-start diet if just thinking about it makes you shake with negative vibes. Do that, and you're programming yourself for failure.
Before you start on any of these diets, read about them. More than one diet will be appealing and seem doable for a short time. For example, if hamburgers and steak are some of your favorite foods, try the Argentine Diet, which comes to you from that beef-loving country. However, if you wrinkle your nose at the idea of meat and love all kinds of fish and shellfish, the Think-Fish Diet will be easy to follow. And monodieting may be just the thing for those who love starchy foods. Choose the diet or diets that you find most appealing and in sync with your tastes and lifestyle.
From the Paperback edition.