A friend of mine was taken to the hospital for being out of breath last Friday. Before the day was over, it was determined that his heart was beating out of rhythm, was enlarged, and three arteries were severely blocked. The doctor asked him if he felt bad. He responded by saying, "Not until I came here."
After all was said and done, a heart catherization was done, surgery considered, and a treatment plan was created for him. One thing he has to do is lose weight. I shared the plan that I followed, as I have successfully lost 50 lbs. on it with no hunger pains and a constant feeling of fullness; I could eat all I wanted. As I put this information down for him, I thought I'd share it with those of you who have thought about losing a few pounds but couldn't quite start out. Here are the rules:
- Eat no more than 20 grams of fat per day - This alone will start you toward thinness. Check the packaging on food items. There are books that list the fat grams in generic types of food. Counting fat grams is much easier than counting calories. You only have to count to twenty so you can use your fingers and toes if you have to (Yep, guys, you get to keep your clothes on). When you reach twenty, you can still eat. Just switch to fat-free foods (No, not the fat-free cookies. Good try, though. We'll get to those in a minute). Brown rice, vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans all have little to no fat in them, so eat all you want. No more walking around being hungry.
- Eat at least 30 grams of fiber per day - This keeps you full during the day so you don't feel hungry. You can eat more fiber if you want, just get at least thirty grams.
- Begin a moderate exercise regimen - Nothing out of this world; a simple walking program will do. It keeps the metabolism up to burn that fat. I'll have to confess that I am very sedentary and didn't do this component of the program (Long work hours with little time for exercise). Even so, I still lost 50 lbs. I keep thinking how much faster I would have lost it if I had exercised. Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program, especially if you're sedentary like me!
It's that simple! Now wait...I can see the gears turning in your head! You're thinking, "When I consume my 20 grams of fat, I can switch to fat-free cookies, cakes, etc." Sorry, there's one more rule that fixes that. The rule is if a serving size of your fat-free food item (or any food item for that matter) has less than one gram of fiber, you must count that serving as a fat gram, even if there is no fat in it. So you can't run and grab the fat-free ice cream and eat the whole carton! Sorry!
Follow this diet and you'll be eating more healthy, as your diet will consist mostly of beans, rice, whole grains, vegetables, and whole fruit. However, nothing is off limits as long as you count the fat grams and stay below twenty.
BONUS! - This diet comes with a bonus. If you eat three meals a day for seven days, you have eaten 21 meals, right? If you stick to this diet for 19 of those meals, you can have two meals where you can forget counting and eat anything you want. Just don't over do it. My wife and I stuck to this diet during the work week and dined at nice restaurants on Friday and Saturday nights. Doing this, I got to eat at Outback, Macaroni Grill, Red Lobster, Village Tavern, and any other restaurant I wanted for those two evenings and never had to count anything. Honestly, I never felt like I was dieting.
This diet was developed by Dr. Gabe Mirkin and was the one that Larry King went on to lose his weight following his heart attack. I gave you a quick overview, but if you'd really like to try it, get Mirkin's book, The 20/30 Fat & Fiber Plan for all the benefits, details, and scientific explanations as to why it works.