THE BLOG

Pick A Diet, Shut Up and Stay On It

07/08/2012 11:06 EDT | Updated 09/08/2012 05:12 EDT

The Fat Diaries went on a brief diet strike but is back in full swing. It turns out that I maintained my weight throughout this unformatted period just as if I was counting every carb. But I did it without all the mental turbulence from scale readings and the tumult of second-guessing every food decision. And now I am back on program to lose some weight. So let's go!

Before I tell you how I've already started to lose weight, let me direct your attention to this interesting study from the New England Journal of Medicine titled Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. This study compared the results of four different types of diets:

  1. 20 per cent fat, 15 per cent protein and 65 per cent carbohydrates (low-fat, average-protein);
  2. 20 per cent fat, 25 per cent protein and 55 per cent carbohydrates (low-fat, high-protein);
  3. 40 per cent fat, 15 per cent protein and 45 per cent carbohydrates (high-fat, average-protein); and
  4. 40 per cent fat, 25 per cent protein and 35 per cent carbohydrates (high-fat, high-protein)

To employ the scientific method, you'll read that blinding was performed -- which I think was awfully extreme and unnecessary for a diet study. Oh sure, blind a rabbit and PETA is all over your ass. But a person? Crickets.

Anyway, the results are fascinating in that they aren't so fascinating really. Guess which group lost the most weight?

All of them.

Guess which group had the most dropouts?

All of them.

The fundamental truth here is this: If you are someone who can follow any diet, then shut up and just pick one! You WILL lose weight.

But the other truth is this: matching people with the diet most likely to be successful for them is still an art. That is, if you are someone who can follow a diet, but not just any old diet, then if you happen to pick a diet that is compatible with your food likes and dislikes, you will stay on it and be successful. Hooray! But if you pick the wrong diet for you, you will be miserable and eventually drop out. And if you pick another diet and THAT one also doesn't work well for you, you will be even more miserable and not only drop out, you will start to lose hope.

The other message here is this: If you have lost so much hope, or you never had self-control to begin with, you are not capable of following any diet. Then guess what? You are so SOL. You are doomed, my friend.

For the practitioner, herein lies the art: How do you guide your patient to choose the diet they are most likely to be successful at? Is there a test that can magically predict which one will be the best? See how I used the word "magic" there?

For me, I decided on a diet that doesn't belong to any of the test groups. It's more of high-protein, low carb diet and it's called Lindora. Mrs. Fat Diaries has already lost over 20 pounds, another friend has lost over 25, and I am happy to report that even on my third day, I am already at a weight you never saw during all of my previous blogs, 229.9

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The program works like this: For three days you eat nothing but small portions of protein (3-1/2 oz of chicken). Try to keep your carbs at a bare minimum. You can eat Lindora's packaged food or real food. Then you start on a more balanced program, still with small portions, but now you introduce 50-70 grams of carbs a day, plus small fruits and enough veggies to make a decent salad. The point of this is to set your body into dietary ketosis where your body shifts its primary source of energy from carbs to excess stored fat.

The bio-feedback indicator of how much your body is in dietary ketosis requires one to pee on a stick and then not be colorblind in order to notice a slight change in hue. (Because I scored a 340 on this colorblind test where zero indicates perfect sight, I'm in the top 1 per cent. Back off, Occupy Pee Stick.)

Will this diet work long-term? How do you maintain and not yo-yo back the weight? What about plateaus? How can you exercise with so little food? And why am I getting a shot everyday?

Stay tuned next week where I will answer these questions and more.