Health & happiness

My go-to diet to lose weight

Like most people, I sometimes gain a little weight. Most often after going on vacation or after a lazy period where I don’t feel like working out as much. Also, I love to cook and try out new recipes, sometimes about five a day, which is a fantastic way to gain weight. I never worry too much about it because I have a go-to diet I always follow when I want to lose a few kilos.

When I went to university I gained a lot of weight, from eating fast food almost every day and drinking lots of alcohol (also almost every day). That was the first time I tried a few diets to lose weight, but none of them really stuck because I was starving all the time. I love bread, pasta and fruit and most diets I tried were low-carb: little to no bread, pasta and fruit allowed. That just doesn’t work for me.

Fit for Life

My mother introduced me to the Fit for Life diet, which got her back in shape after four (!) pregnancies. The diet was created by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond in the 1980s. The best thing about the diet is that you can eat whatever you feel like (including carbs); the most important rule is food combining. If you feel like eating potatoes, or fish, or pasta, or rice, that’s totally fine. But couple them with veggies, not each other. Simply put, you can’t combine carbohydrates with protein in one meal. So pasta with a tomato sauce or grilled veggies is fine, pasta with meat or fish is not fine. Dairy is something that is completely left out.

The Fit for Life diet is basically a vegan diet, but it’s a little stricter. Vegans can eat pancakes with fruit, and potatoes with bread or rice, but Fit for Life does not allow that. Eating the right combination of foods is crucial and if you want to lose weight you have to be really strict about this. As for fruit: this should only be eaten on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning and as a snack at least three hours after your last meal. If you want maximum weight loss you can include an “all-fruit day” in your diet, but this is something I never do.

Fit for Life and exercise

Fit for Life is not strict when it comes to exercise. Of course working out is recommended, but it’s not not necessary. Just get moving: even a short walk is fine. The way you eat is really what makes you lose weight. The first time I tried this diet, I lost over 10 kilos effortlessly, without working out at all.  It’s the food!

Besides being a matchmaker in what you eat, drinking lots of water is also recommended and most importantly: don’t overeat. In fact, Harvey and Marilyn Diamond devote a whole page of their book to this rule. My rule is to eat one plate of food and not go back for more. This has always worked fine for me. One full plate of pasta, risotto or baked potatoes with lots of veggies. And no dessert – if I am really hungry I’ll have some fruit later in the evening.

Be strict!

Fit for Life is the reason I never worry about weight gain; I know I’ll lose it easily within a few weeks. I am strict though – I don’t stray at all. I drink very little alcohol, am careful with how much oil I use and I only snack on fruit. If I’m really hungry, for example before a work out, I’ll have a spoonful of peanut butter. Nothing else.

If you’re like me and love your bread, pasta and rice, this diet is perfect. It’s still a diet, so you’ll have to make some concessions and suffer a little bit, but it’s only temporary and it’s worth it. Once I reach my goal weight I allow myself to have bigger portions again, eat dessert and drink alcohol. Also, I stop worrying about matching my foods. If you’re already a healthy eater, you won’t gain the weight back, I promise! I really love this diet and highly recommend it to anyone who loves carbs as much as I do.

Emmelyn X

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