The Christmas cookies, the candy and cake, the rich meals, the freely flowing booze, the confetti, the sheer indulgence of the holidays. Now it’s January, our annual diet month when the tighter the jeans, the stronger our motivation. Gym membership soars and we are all looking for the magic bullet, the antidote to holiday excess.
I got a jump on the holiday weight gain syndrome in early December when the director of my gym, a blog follower, tipped me off about a new diet, perfect for women over 50: The Fast Metabolism Diet. Created by Haylie Pomroy, a registered wellness consultant, it is a system of meal placement and timing that creates a workout for the metabolism. Rather than waiting til after the holidays, I started right away and am glad it did.
No big surprise, but our metabolism slows significantly as we age, 5% each decade after 30, and more rapidly after 50. At the same time, we are losing muscle mass by 10% per decade. It’s a double whammy that causes us to stop burning and start storing fat as we age. Like we need another problem! So increasing the metabolism is the most effective method to control weight gain and cause weight loss. This diet is focused totally on effecting this change through eating, (as opposed to most diets which are all about NOT eating) with exercise on the back burner.
“This is not a book for first time dieters. This is a book for last time dieters.” Or so says Haylie, and she has hit on something that worked for me like nothing else has: a steady loss of ½ lb. per day when I adhered religiously to the eating plan.
Here’s how it works: You eat a systemic rotation of targeted food on specific days at strategic times. You eat in 3 different ways each week, changing every two days, fueling the metabolism. You repeat the cycle or phases, each week for four weeks. The fact is, starvation and stress =slower metabolism. Calories don’t count here—burn rate does. So we eat to increase the burn, with different food lists for each phase. You may even eat more than usual on this diet, but since the eating is strategic, you still lose weight.
This is not a diet for the casual. I had to really pay attention to the time I ate and the food lists specific to each phase. All fruits are not created equal on this diet, nor all proteins or grains. This is for a person with self control and focus.
Three meals and two snacks daily at approximate 3 hour intervals.
Phase 1- Monday and Tuesday
Breakfast: High glycemic fruit, grain, and low fat protein
Lunch: Grain, protein, vegetable and fruit
Dinner: Grain, vegetable, protein
Note: Grain consists of sprouted wheat or spelt bread, oatmeal, quinoa, brown or wild rice, brown rice pasta. Nothing white, nothing wheat.
Exercise: Do cardio exercise one day of Phase 1.
Phase II: Wednesday and Thursday
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: High protein and vegetables
Note: This is the toughest phase for me. I miss my fruit and sprouted wheat bread! But hang in there, the weekend is the most liberal.
Exercise: Do strength training one day of Phase II. Heavy weights and low reps. Major fat burning is happening.
Phase III: Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Breakfast: Grain, healthy fat, protein, low glycemic fruit and vegetable
Snacks: Protein/ fat (nuts, seeds, hummus, almond butter, avocado)and vegetable
Lunch: Same as breakfast
Dinner: Grain, protein/fat and vegetable
Note: This is the phase that doesn’t feel like a diet (except for the lack of alcohol). “Ironically, eating fat after NOT eating it for a few days makes you start burning fat like crazy.” (HP)
Exercise: One day of stress reducing activity like yoga or massage. I can handle this!
1.Do eat 5 times a day at 3 hour intervals.
- Eat within 30 minutes of waking.
- Stay on plan for 28 days.
- Stick to the foods allowed in your phase.
- Do phases in order.
- Drink half your body’s weight in ounces of water daily.
- Eat organic whenever possible.
- Measure hips, waist at belly button, thighs and upper arms and compare after one week.
- No wheat except in sprouted form.
- No corn, dairy, soy, refined sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dried fruit or fruit juice.
- No artificial sweetener except Stevia.
- No fat free food.
I kept a daily food diary and weight record while on this plan and continue to follow the precepts with modifications (allowing myself a glass of wine on the weekends, for example, or a bit of cheese). I found that though I wasn’t quite as strict during holiday soirees, I kept the weight off and survived the holidays without my usual “porking up.” Once I reached my goal, I found it so easy that I continued and consequently am at my lowest weight in many years. Next week I will continue my report on The fast Metabolism Diet as we move on to maintenance and working this plan into your life.
*For full details and food lists, I recommend acquiring the book or visit your local library for a copy.