If you’re not losing weight fast enough
If you’re not losing weight fast enough, switch to 400-600 calories a day for a week. Most patients lose about a pound a day on 400-600 calories a day and they can handle doing this for 1-3 weeks. Half of my patients prefer to eat just canned poultry and fish (chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, shrimp, lobster, carb, clams, mussels, sardines) every day. The other half of my patients alternate eating 400-600 calories of canned dead animals with 400-600 calories of fresh fruit (apples, oranges, bananas and pears are 100 calories each). It’s not a bad way to lose 5-7 pounds a week. When you can’t do this anymore, go back to basic Every Other Day eating. One day, eat what you want (don’t go crazy), the next day eat 400-600 calories of fresh fruit.
Patients who get in trouble on their eating day
Patients who get in trouble on their eating day tend to overeat on the same groups of foods. These are foods that provide way too many calories, way too fast. The most common overly eaten problem foods are nuts, cheese, red meat, butter and oil. Interestingly enough, sugar is not usually a problem – it’s the fat that is eaten with sugar that creates too many calories. Switching to low fat ice cream can eliminate 30% of excess calories. Switching to low fat cheese can eliminate 30% of excess calories. Eating the pie filling and leaving the crust can save 75% of excess calories. Using “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” instead of Butter can save 60% of excess calories.
Your diet day is easy on the road
Limiting yourself to 400-600 calories is remarkably easy on the road. You can almost always pick up apples, oranges and bananas at airports, 7-11s and gas stations when a grocery store is not available. You can almost always order a giant salad without dressing, croutons, meat or cheese at a fancy restaurant or at Denny’s. You can almost always also order baked potatoes at fancy and fast food restaurants and top them with ketchup (about 100 calories each).
Eliminate certain food groups on your eating day
Eliminating certain food groups on your eating day can help you lose weight. If you are not losing weight as quickly as you would like dieting every other day, try a week of not eating dairy products on your eating day. Butter, cheese and ice cream can provide way too many calories, way too fast. You can also try a week eliminating nuts and red meat on your eating day. Once again, nuts and red meat can provide way too many calories, way too fast. Also helpful is to try a week avoiding butter, oil and margarine on your eating day. The idea is to create rules so you can lose weight eating as much as you want of whatever you want on your eating day, with easy restrictions that significantly eliminate calories.
Measure for a day
Unlimited raw and steamed vegetables (no butter, oil or margarine – no peas, potatoes or corn) can be a way to eat as much as you want on your diet day. Unlimited melon, berries, grapefruit and pineapple can also be a way for unlimited eating on your diet day. The first time you try this, use a measuring cup to keep track of the amount you eat. Most patients naturally stay within 400-600 calories eating as much as they want of these specific vegetables or fruits. But you cannot freely feed on both vegetables and fruits on your diet day or you will likely go over 400-600 calories.
Another advantage of Every Other Day dieting
Another advantage of Every Other Day dieting is that patients soon realize that they feel better on their diet day because they are not eating any crap. It’s amazing how quality of life can improve if every other day you’re not poisoning yourself. Many patients rapidly begin eating much less crap (sugar, processed meats, etc.) because they realize how much better they feel on their diet day. Every Other Day can be a powerful way to clean up your diet, whether you are motivated to eat less junk or not.
Unlimited eating on your Diet Day
If you stick to just steamed vegetables without butter, margarine or oil – broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, green beans, carrots, bok choy, etc. – you can probably eat as much as you want on your Diet Day and stay within 400-600 calories. You can also stick to just raw vegetables with diet dressing (no more than 10 calories per tablespoon) – lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, onions, sprouts, spinach, cucumbers, etc – and probably eat as much as you want and be within 400-600 calories.
Every Other Day is perfect for all-you-can-eat vacations and cruises
On vacations and cruises, Every Other Day is as easy (actually easier, you don’t have to shop for food) as it is at home. On your food day, you eat what you want (within reason). But on your food day, also try to eat at least a dozen (2 dozen may make you even less hungry) egg whites without the yolks., or one quart of fat-free Greek yogurt or fat-free cottage cheese. The protein will make you far less hungry. Take it easy on nuts and cheese and red meat, as they provide way too many calories, way too fast. Another helpful tip is that you can have alcohol or dessert but not both. On your diet day, unlimited buffets make your 400-600 calories very easy. Green salads and raw vegetables are unlimited, as well as brocolli, cauliflower, carrots, green beans and kale without butter, margarine or oil. Freely feeding on unlimited fat-free raw vegetables and steamed green vegetables and cauliflower, is one of the easiest ways to eat 400-600 calories on the planet. Unfortunately, you can’t eat unlimited fruit (calories can go way above 400-600 way too quickly, but unlimited 5% vegetables (Google this) works for almost everyone. If you want to eat fruit, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and pineapple are 50 calories a cup. Cherries and grapes are 100 calories a cup. Use an empty coffee cup as an approximate measure.
If you feel you need a break from Every Other Day dieting
If you feel you need a break from Every Other Day dieting, your protein intake probably isn’t high enough. A trick that helps patients get on track again is to eat 2 – 80 grams of protein feedings a day for 2 or 3 days. The best way to do this is to eat a dozen egg whites (fried or hard boiled, pitch the yolks) twice a day. Your second best way to eat 80 grams of protein twice a day is to eat a quart of fat-free Greek yogurt twice a day. Or eat a quart of fat-free cottage cheese, twice a day. Don’t eat regular fat-free yogurt as it isn’t high enough in protein.
400-600 calories a day is fastest
Fastest weight loss (often a pound a day for awhile) is on 400-600 calories a day until you can’t stand it anymore. When you can’t stand it anymore, eat 400-600 calories one day and eat what you want (within reason, don’t go crazy) the next. Most patients eat 400-600 calories of canned chicken or tuna every day until they can’t stand it, or alternate eating 400-600 calories of canned chicken or tuna with 400-600 calories of fresh fruit. When patients can’t do 400-600 calories a day anymore, pound a day weight loss stops, but the good thing is that weight is not regained on every other day dieting.
Another advantage of Every Other Day
Another advantage of Every Other Day (intermittent fasting) is that there’s no calories counting, no carbohydrate counting no weighing, no measuring, no writing down what you eat, no meetings, no phone app, no support system crutch. All you need to do to lose weight is to eat 400-600 calories of fruit one day, and eat what you want (within reason) the next.
What do I eat on my food day?
Patients also want to know what I eat on my eating day. Generally speaking, I eat anything I want with a couple of adjustments to make sure my protein is as high as possible and my protein calories are as low as possible. Protein gives me sustained energy and makes me feel full and satisfied so I eat less throughout the day. I often start my eating day with a dozen eggwhites (120 calories, 84 grams or protein) fried in Land O Lakes Butter, Olive Oil and Sea Salt. Or I’ll eat a quart of Chobani fat-free plain yogurt (480 calories, 88 grams of protein). After I eat my protein, I generally eat anything I want, as much as I want, as the protein generally keeps me feeling full and in control all day.
What do I eat on my diet day?
Patients always want to know what I eat on my diet day. As a male, I can eat up to 600 calories and I usually eat close to this number. I usually eat 4 pieces of fruit, some combination of 2 apples and/or 2 oranges and/or 2 bananas. I also usually eat 1 or 2 servings of vegetables, usually kale or asparagus without butter or oil to keep the calories as low as possible. Occasionally I’ll eat a 250 calorie bowl of Andersen’s Pea Soup. Google “Andersen’s famous split pea soup vintage recipe”. I order the peas from Andersen’s. The soup tastes better when made with Andersen’s peas rather than with peas (both organic and not organic) I can get locally.
An easy way to lose 1-2 pounds a week
Many patients are able to lose 1-2 pounds every week, dieting Every Other Day, simply by eating 12 egg whites every day. This 84 grams of protein and 120 calories makes you feel full and helps decrease out of control eating (Bozo eating) on your food day. Instead of 400-600 calories of fresh fruit only, you eat 120 calories of protein (egg whites) and 300 calories of fresh fruit. Eat your egg whites fried or hard boiled. Pitch the yolks. Interestingly enough, the addition of egg whites to both your diet day and your eating day does not slow weight loss for most patients.
Close the barn door before the cow gets out
On your eating day, it can be helpful to make your first meal a massive amount of very low calorie, low fat or fat-free protein – 80-100 grams or so. This can help keep you feeling full all day. You can also repeat this 80-100 grams of low calorie protein later in the day to keep you out of trouble. Proteins of choice are the usual suspects – egg white, Eggbeaters, fat-free Greek yogurt, fat-free cottage cheese, shrimp, crab and lobster.
Summarizing protein and your eating day
The goal is to give you the experience of eating anything you want, as much as you want on your eating day. The most helpful strategy is generally 80-160 grams of very low fat or fat-free protein to make you feel as full as possible all day. Eggwhites, Eggbeaters, fat-free Greek (not regular) yogurt, fat-free cottage cheese, shrimp, crab and lobster are your best bets. Protein to carbohydrate proportion is also be important. In general, the amount of protein you eat (by volume) should be about the same size as the amount of carbohydrate you eat with it (rice, potatoes, pasta, etc.) You are probably okay with maki sushi, but with uramaki sushi and nigiri sushi, you may have to scrape off half the rice on each piece. When you eat too much carbohydrate at a feeding on your eating day, you can go into feeding frenzy. Not what you want. The whole idea is to be able to eat 2 or 3 cookies, not the whole bag.
More on protein to carbohydrate ratio
The goal is for you to freely feed on your eating day and continue to lose weight. You should have the experience that you can eat as much as you want of whatever you want and still be in control. You may have to fine tune your protein to carbohydrate intake to prevent binging and out of control eating. Naked carbohydrates (carbohydrates without protein or fat) are the usual culprit that send patients into a feeding frenzy. When you eat carbohydrates, you may need to eat (in the same meal) an equal volume of protein or (second choice) fat (because fat has almost twice the calories of protein) to stay full and satisfied without binging. Read the sushi example in my previous blog. The goal is for you to feel in control. The secret of staying in control on your eating day is usually very low calorie protein (egg whites, fat-free Greek yogurt, fat-free cottage cheese, shrimp, crab, lobster, white flesh fish), 75-150 grams of protein a day.
Getting into the weeds – protein to carbohydrate ratio
Adjusting your protein to carbohydrate ratio can be very helpful on your eating day. This means that instead of eating sashimi, you may be better off eating sushi. Eating carbohydrate with protein makes you feel fuller and more satisfied. The amount of carbohydrate per feeding that works best for most patients for satiety is roughly 50% by volume. This means that when you eat sushi, the amount of rice you eat should be approximately the same as the amount of protein. This means that most patients do better eating maki sushi rather than uramaki or nigiri sushi, as the uramaki and nigiri have a higher rice to fish ratio. Google the difference between maki, uramki and nigiri sushi if the last sentence doesn’t make sense to you. Most patients feel less hungry and more satisfied pitching the top slice of bread on sandwiches, as this increases the protein to carbohydrate ratio. Most patients feel better and do better eating equal size portions of chicken or fish in combination with rice or potatoes.
More foods to take it easy on, on your eating day
Butter and oil can be real disasters. Patients use less Land O Lakes Butter, Olive Oil and Sea Salt – because it’s salty and packaged in half sticks. Liquid calories are problematic as you don’t chew so they provide less satiety. Stay away from juice and sugared drinks as much as possible. Once again, way too many calories, way too fast. Red meat at 80 calories per ounce can be a problem. Barbecued ribs at 3000 calories a slab can be devastating. Mayonaise at 120 calories a tablespoon can be a problem. Peanut butter can be less problematic, if you up the protein by adding peanut powder to peanut butter.
Foods that do the most damage on your eating day
It’s almost impossible to lose weight eating any significant quantities of nuts and cheese. Both provide way too many calories, way too fast. A handful of nuts can contain 600 calories. Ditto a couple of thick slices of cheese. Real salad dressing can contain 120 calories per tablespoon. Restaurant salads can contain 500-600 calories of salad dressing in addition to another 500-600 calories of meat and/or cheese. California Pizza Kitches sells more than a dozen 2000 calorie salads. Cheesecake factory sells 1500 plus calorie slices of carrot cake and chocolate cake. Juice also provides way too many calories, way too fast. You can drink 600 calories of orange juice in a minute. It takes 15 minutes to eat 6 oranges, and you’ll have a stomach ache.
What patients ask most about Every Other Day dieting
The most common question I’m asked about Every Other Day is what strategies work best to limit calories on the eating day. My first suggestion is always to make sure you are eating plenty of carbohydrate on your diet day (400-600 calories of fruit is all carbohydrate) to prevent liver glycogen depletion and binging on your eating day. Low carb on your diet day tends to set you up for failure on your eating day. My second, third and fourth suggestions are always about ways to limit calories on your eating day. sugar-free Popsicles, s;ugar-free Creamsicles and no sugar added Fudgesicles are always near the top of the list. Followed by egg whites, fat-free Greek yogurt and fat-free cottage cheese. Then shrimp and crab and lobster. The key is to keep you protein intake as high as possible on your eating day, and your fat intake as low as possible.
Intermittent fasting prevents weight regain
Because the diet you lose weight on is maintenance, dieting Every Other Day prevents weight gain. As long as you continue to eat 400-600 calories of fruit every other day, you won’t regain weight that you lose. Thc challenge is to devise a strategy that allows you to continue to lose weight dieting Every Other Day. 50% of patients lose 1-3 pounds a week without doing anything else. The intermittent fasting works perfectly for them out of the box. The other 50% of patients need to strategize their eating day to keep calories under control. They need to tweek what they eat on their feeding day to keep their calories low enough to continue to lose weight.
The craft of controlling calories on your eating day
Most people have a weight problem because they overeat just 2 or 3 foods. Figure out what your problem foods are and a way to control your eating of them, and you won’t have a weight problem anymore. The trick is to find a way to control your problem foods on your eating day without feeling deprived. Switching classes works best. Switch from 300 calorie bagels to 200 calorie baguttes. Switch from regular fat-free yogurt to fat-free Greek yogurt, which is 30% higher in protein so you’ll feel more satisfied eating much less. Switch from 2% skim milk to fat-free skim milk. Switch from Carvel to Dairy Queen. Figure out what foods you absolutely can’t eat without binging and don’t eat them.
Fat-free Every Other Day
Another approach that works well for many patients is eating fat-free, Every Other Day. On you diet day you limit yourself to 400-600 calories of fresh fruit. On your eating day you eat (within reason) anything you want without fat: Fat-free Greek yogurt, fat-free cottage cheese, egg whites, cereal with fat-free skim milk, baguettes with jam, fruit, vegetables, etc. The key is to keep your calories under control on your eating day, and at the same time have the experience that you are eating as much as you want of permitted foods and you feel satisfied.
Low sugar Every Other Day
A low sugar Every Other Day works well for some patients. You eat 500 calories one day and you eat what you want the next day. But on your 500 day, you keep sugar to a dull roar to feel at your best. And on your eating day, you also keep sugar to a dull roar to avoid feeling terrible and binging. A dull roar on your 500 day means no more than about 200 calories of sugar. A dull roar on your eating day means no more than about 500-600 calories of sugar.
Half the time, Every Other Day dieting works perfectly, out of the box
The other 50% of patients need to tweak Every Other Day dieting for themselves, until their eating day calories are low enough for steady weight loss. It’s worth trying Every Other Day, because there’s a 50% chance it will work perfectly for you in it’s plain vanilla edition. One day, eat what you want, don’t go crazy The next day limit yourself to 400-600 calories of fresh fruit. If you are in the lucky 50%, you won’t have a weight problem once you begin Every Other Day dieting. If you need to tweak the program to get it to work for you (weight loss in general needs to be 2-3 pounds a week or you won’t stick with the program), the challenge is to figure out how you can limit your calories on your eating day to 2000 (woman) – 3000 (men), without making it feel you like are consciously limiting anything. The most helpful strategies usually center around limiting or eliminating fat intake. Switch to fat-free or low fat foods on your eating day, and see if this is enough to start you losing weight Every Other Day.
Why I don’t recommend a low carb eating day
It’s way too easy to eat way too many calories, way too fast on a low carb eating day. You can be well over 3000 calories in a heartbeart. Fatty red meat and cheese and nuts are all 100 calories per ounce or more. Besides, if you try to eat low carb on your eating day, you will deplete your liver glycogen which leads to binging and cravings. You can never get enough of what you really don’t want. Low carb dieting was the grand 100 year experiment that really doesn’t work. It sets you up to spiral out of control.
Fat-free feeding day
Another trick to limit calories on your food day is to go fat-free. Eggwhites, fat-free cottage cheese, fat-free Greek yogurt, air popped popcorn, fruits, vegetables, baguttes with jam, oatmeal, fat-free skim milk, fat-free cheese, etc. The key is for you to feel like you are freely feeding like a king or queen, but keeping calories under control. On your diet day, your 400-600 calories of fresh fruit make this easy. On your eating day, the challenge is to come up with a way to eat that’s satisfying, so you can eat as much as you want – that does not take your calories to stupid. In English, calories to stupid means women should ideally be not much over 2000 calories on your eating day and men not much over 3000 calories.
Favorite ways to alternate 400-600 calories for fastest weight loss
On your 400-600 calorie protein days – 12-36 egg whites (fried or hard boiled) – 1 quart of Chobani fat-free Greek yogurt – 1 quart of fat free cottage cheese – 3 – 5 ounce cans of water packed tuna – 3 – 5 ounce cans of chicken – 3 – 5 ounce cans of shrimp – 3 – 5ounce cans of crab.
On your 400-600 calorie fruit days – 2 apples and 2 oranges and 2 bananas – 1 canteloupe and 1 honeydew and 1 pint blackberries – 1 pound grapes and 2 bananas – 1 small watermellon and 1 quart cut up honeydew, canteloupe, strawberries, pineaple.
The advantage of intermittent fasting
Eating 400-600 calories of fresh fruit (pure carbohydrate) every other day keeps liver glycogen up, so there are fewer cravings and less desire to binge. Binging, in general, is replenshing liver glycogen. Patients generally do better eating 400-600 calories of protein one day and 400-600 calories of fruit the next day, compared to trying to eat 400-600 calories of pure protein every day.
More quick weight loss diets for you eating day
Many patients do well on 1-2 quarts of Chobani fat-free yogurt (480 calories per quart, 88 grams of protein) on their eating day, nothing else. Add artificial sweetener and vanilla extract, or strawberry (or whatever) preserves. Another popular option is 1-2 quarts of fat-free cottage cheese (roughly same protein and calories) on your eating day. Add fresh or water-packed fruit. The advantage of these 500-1000 calorie eating day diets is that they really speed up weight loss by limiting calories and loading you with protein on your eating day.
My best quick weight loss diet
My best quick weight loss diet is 12 egg whites – once, twice or three times a day. You will be so not hungry, you won’t believe it. Land O Lakes butter with olive oil and sea salt (use as little as possible) is the favorite way to fry egg whites for most of my patients, and salt liberally after cooking before eating. Or hard boil a dozen eggs, pitch the yolks, and eat with as much salt as you like – once, twice or three times a day. You can add Tobasco sauce to your egg whites to liven them up if you like.
Weight loss has to be rapid
Weight loss has to be rapid or you won’t stick to any diet. Unless you are losing at least 2-3 pounds every week, the bet is you are not going to continue to follow any diet program. The deprivation has to be worth the reward and the results need to be near instantaneous. So the best thing you can do if you want to lose weight is to lose weight quickly. Quick weight loss keeps you motivated and keeps you losing. The quickest weight loss is on 400-600 calories of protein only a day.
Every other day as maintenance
Some patient use every other day as maintenance. They lose their weight as quickly as possible on up to 400 calories of protein only. Egg whites are best for fastest weight loss. Egg whites contain 10 calories and 7 grams of protein each. Next best is fat-free Greek yogurt or fat-free cottage cheese (500 calories and 90 grams of protein per quart). Fastest weight loss, usually 1 pound a day or more, is on protein only for as long as you can stand it. When you can’t do protein only anymore, switch to accelerated every other day. One day eat 400 calories of fresh fruit and the next day eat 400 calories of protein. When you can’t alternate 400 calories of fruit and protein anymore, one day eat what you want and the next day 400 calories of fruit. Average weight loss, eating what you want one day and 400 calories of fruit the next day, is at a minimum 1 pound a week for most patients. 1 pound a week weight loss is not fast enough weight loss to keep most patients on a diet, but it is perfectly fine for maintenance for most.
The tyranny of calories
As near as makes no difference, there’s no caloric advantage to following a low fat or a low carbohydrate diet. Weight loss is caloric deficit. Every other day dieting makes it easier to cut calories, because the fruit on your diet day keeps your liver full of glycogen, so you are far less likely to go into feeding frenzy and binge on either your diet day or your eating day. This is the reason that patients generally do best eating 400-600 calories of fruit or Amy’s Kitchen TV Dinners on their diet day, instead of a low carb or high protein diet day. When your liver glycogen level drops, you will self medicate with carbohydrates. But when you keep your liver full of glycogen by eating pure carbohydrate on your diet day, you are likely to do better on both your diet day and your eating day.
Some patients lose weight spectacularly, eating what they want to eat every other day with a few simple rules thrown in. Some patients eat what they want on their food day, but only allow themselves to eat sugar once a week. Other patients lose weight eating what they want every other day, but only allow themselves to eat red meat once a week. Other patients lose weight eating dairy products only once a week. It’s a dance. Figure out the rules that work best for you, and you can be thin again.
Weight loss must be rapid
Weight loss must be rapid or you won’t stick to the program. In general, patients must lose 2-3 pounds every week in order to feel that the sacrifice is worth the results. The less you eat, the faster you lose weight. Eating less on your eating day is the key to success. 100 ounces of calorie free fluid every day helps you feel full. 80-160 grams of very low calorie protein (preferably egg whites) helps you feel full and eat less too.
Intermittent fasting is incredibly healthy
I tell all my patients over 50 that the best thing they can do for their health and wellbeing is to stop eating every day. Spend 5 minute and Google Intermittent Fasting. The health benefits range from anti-cancer to anti-Alzheimers to life extension to protection against heart disease. There aren’t enough studies yet, but I’m excited by the possibility that fasting (eating 400-600 calories) every other day may allow you to eat food that’s bad for you (sugar, processed meats, etc.) without the health problems associated with what I call eating poison. Intermittent fasting may reverse the damage of eating junk food. It may be that you can have a free lunch, but you just can’t eat it every day.
Pounding protein on your eating day helps
Many patients start their eating day with a 12 egg, egg white omelet. At 120 calories and 84 grams of protein, this is your best caloric bargain. To put this into perspective, 1 quart of Chobani fat-free Greek yogurt contains 88 grams of protein and 480 calories. Egg whites are always your best bet. Protein makes you feel full and helps you eat less on your eating day. Remember, the goal is for you to have the experience that you can freely feed on your eating day and still lose weight. Very low calorie protein really helps.
Another strategy for your eating day
Another strategy to keep your calories under control on your eating day is to divide your food into 2 eating days. For example, on Monday you eat the cheese, peperoni and mushroom topping on your pizza, and on Wednesday you eat the pizza crust. Or on Monday you eat the apple pie filling, and on Wednesday you eat the apple pie crust. The idea is to keep your calorie intake as low as possible, while keeping you feeling satisfied.
Diet day is seldom a problem
Most patients do not find it difficult to eat 400-600 calories on their diet day. The most popular choices are fresh fruit and TV dinners. Patients tend to get into trouble when they try to do 2 diet days in a row, so this is not recommended. The 5-2 approach (fast 2 days a week, freely feed 5 days) to intermittent fasting is not particularly successful in that it usually requires a calendar to keep track of whether you are on an eating day or a fasting day. Patients also get into trouble when they try to eat nothing at all on their fasting day, as opposed to 400-600 calories. As near as makes no difference, eating 400-600 calories is like eating nothing, so there’s no reason to totally fast.
More tricks for your eating day
The trick is to incorporate small changes on your eating day that cut calories without making you feel deprived. Toss the top bun on hamburgers and hot dogs, and get rid of the top slice of bread on sandwiches and save 100 calories. No cheese and no mayonaise (secret sauce) on fast foods saves another 100 calories. Substitute veggies for meat on pizza and save several hundred calories. When eating ice cream, switch to a wafer cone instead of a cake cone or waffle cone, or pitch the cone and eat your ice cream from a dish and save another 100 calories.
Fastest weight loss
Fastest weight loss is always on 400-600 calories of protein only a day for as long as you can do this. When you can’t do protein only (egg whites are you best source, by far) switch to hardcore Every Other Day, eating 400-600 calories of protein on day and 400-600 calories of fresh fruit the next. When you can’t do this anymore, switch to classic Every Other Day. Eat what you want (within reason, don’t go crazy) one day and 400-600 calories of fresh fruit or TV Dinners (Amy’s Kitchen is the most popular in my office because they do not taste like TV Dinners) the next.
Get your protein intake right on your eating day
When you get your protein intake right on your eating day, you will have the experience that you can eat as much as you want without going crazy. Protein makes you feel full and keeps you satisfied. The key is to maxmize your protein intake with the fewest calories possible. The more protein you eat the less hungry you will be and the fewer cravings you will have. The suggestion I make to many patients is to start their day with a 12 egg white omelet. A 12 egg white omelet contains 84 grams of protein and 120 calories. To put things in perspective, one quart of Chobani fat-free Greek yogurt contains 88 grams of protein and 480 calories. And one quart of Breakstone fat-free cottage cheese contains 80 grams of protein and 560 calories. Your next best protein choice after egg whites is shrimp or crab or lobster, which are all about the same for protein and calorie content. One medium shrimp contains approximately 1 gram of protein and 6 calories. I do not recommend fake crab and lobster which contain sorbitol and can cause projectile diarrhea if you eat any significant quantity.
The easiest way to Every Other Day
The easiest way to Every Other Day on your diet day is to eat some combination of apples, oranges, bananas and pears. Don’t go over 400 (women) – 600 (men) calories on your diet day and you’ll be fine. If you’re traveling, you can always pick up an over-priced apple in an airport. On your eating day, the secret is to find a way to feel like you are freely feeding, that feels like you are eating as much as you want, but keeps your calories from going to stupid. For most patients, this means 80-150 grams of fat-free or very low fat protein on your eating day to keep damage from recreational eating under control. On your eating day, you can eat whatever you want. A protein load tends to minimize Bozo out-of-control calories.
Calorie counting doesn’t work.
There’s no calorie ceiling for eating days. Calorie counting doesn’t work. Neither does portion control. After you’ve eaten 2000 calories, what’s another 200? After you’ve eaten 3 bagels, what’s another bagel? If you are not losing weight (2-3 pounds a week), the best strategy is to switch classes of food on your eating day. Instead of a 3 egg omelet (350 calories), have a 12 eggwhite omelet (120 calories). Instead of bagels (300 calories) eat baguettes (180 calories). Instead of Carvel (200 calories per half cup) eat Dairy Queen (140 calories per half cup.) You can never get enough of what you really don’t want. But a switch from Haagen Dazs vanilla (170 calories per half cup) to Breyers lower fat vanilla (100 calories per half cup) or something works for most patients.
The strategy that stops binging
Because no foods are forbidden on Every Other Day, it’s important to have a strategy to avoid feeding frenzy and binging. Protein intake is the key. If you find yourself spiralling out of control after eating certain foods on your eating day, the strategy that works best is to increase your protein intake. For patients who find themselves spiralling out of control after eating trigger foods, what generally works is to make sure that they have eaten 70-80 grams of protein before eating foods that send them over the edge. Egg whites, Egg Beaters, fat-free cottage cheese and fat-free Greek yogurt provide the greatest amount of protein for the least number of calories. A quart of Chobani fat-free plain Greek yogurt contains 480 calories and 88 grams of protein. A dozen egg whites contain 120 calories and 84 grams of protein.
An interesting side effect
An interesting side effect of Every Other Day dieting is that often food sensitivity goes away or becomes far less symptomatic. When patients stop eating foods that they are sensitive to for 2-3 weeks, they are often able to begin to eat these foods again, in moderation, every other day. The most important thing is that a food to which a patient has been sensitive must not be eaten every day. I have seen patients with food sensitivity to wheat and dairy able to eat wheat and dairy again, once they have been off wheat and dairy for 2-3 weeks. Surprisingly often, patients are able to eat foods that they have never been able to eat without food sensitivity (fatigue, irritability, depression, etc.) as long as they avoid these foods for 2-3 weeks and then eat them no more frequently than every other day.
50% of patients are lucky
If you are lucky, you are in the 50% of patients for whom Every Other Day dieting works “out of the box”. Eating 400 calories of fruit one day and what you want (within reason) the next allows you to lose weight. If you are not lucky, you are in the 50% of patients who require tinkering or personalization. The goal is to have the experience that you are eating what you want (but not freely feeding), and losing weight. Alcohol is a weight loss stopper in some patients, as it can quadruple fat storage, so they only drink one day a week in order to lose weight. Sugar is a weight loss stopper in other patients, as it can trigger feeding frenzy and binging, so they only eat foods with added sugar once a week. portion control in general doesn’t work. It’s way too easy to eat 3 bagels instead of 2. Instead of portion control, find lower calorie versions of the foods you crave. Eat baguettes instead of bagels and save 50% on calories. Eat I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter and save 60% on calories. It’s almost impossible to lose weight eating significant quantities of nuts or cheese as both contain way too many calories, way too fast.
Diet Every Other Day Masterclass
Keep your protein insanely high (150 grams or so) on your food day and you’ll feel fuller and eat less. The best source of protein is egg whites or Egg Beaters, fat-free cottage cheese and fat-free Greek yogurt. These proteins are 10 calories per ounce compared to 30-40 calories per ounce for protein from fish and poultry. Fat-free Greek yogurt is better than regular fat-free yogurt because it has 25% more protein. Allow yourself to eat sugar (foods with added sugar) only once week. Saturday or Sunday, depending on your every other day cycle, works best for most patients. Sugar is poison. We are not designed to eat it. Way too much insulin and feeding frenzy, way too fast. But I don’t expect anyone to stop eating sugar. It feels good and besides, Dairy Queen is not going out of business. Switching from butter or margarine to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or a very low calorie butter substitute helps decrease fat calorie damage on your eating day. Switching from bagels to baguettes, saves 50% on bread calories. Avoid butter, oil, margarine, fat and dead animals on your food day as much as possible – except once a week.
The fastest way to lose weight on Every Other Day
The fastest way to lose weight on Every Other Day is to eat 400-600 calories of fresh fruit one day and 400-600 calories of canned poultry or canned fish the next. Average weight loss is 10 pounds the first week and 5 pounds every week you are able to stay on this most drastic approach. After 1-2 weeks alternating fresh fruit and poultry ord fish, most patients switch to 400-600 calories of fresh fruit one day and 400-600 calories of TV Dinners the next day. Amy’s Kitchen is the most popular brand of TV Dinners in my office as Amy’s makes several 200-300 calorie meals, almost all of them are low fat and vegetarian, and they don’t taste like TV Dinners. After 1-2 weeks alternating fresh fruit and TV Dinners, most patients switch to classic Every Other Day, eating 400-600 calories of fresh fruit one day, and eat what they want (within reason) the next.
Low carb dieting doesn’t work because calories get out of control very quickly. It’s way too easy to eat thousands of calories a day of dead animals and cheese and lose no weight. You need a strategy to help you limit your calories on your eating day. portion control doesn’t work well for most patients. It’s way too easy to decide that you really need to eat another bagel. The secret is class substitution. Dairy Queen soft serve has 140 calories per half cup compared to Carvel soft serve at 200 calories. Baskin Robbins Rainbow Sherbet has 100 calories per half cup compared to their 170 calorie per half cup vanilla ice cream. Think about your favorite foods and come up with lower calorie substitutes you can live with.
Most people have a weight problem from just 3 or 4 foods
Figure out what your danger foods are and figure out a strategy to limit them on your food day, and you can be thin again. It generally works better not to eliminate your problem foods but to find a strategy that allows you to eat them. This prevents you from trying to eat your last pizza in a blow out binge, and doing this several times a week. In general, switching to another similar food in the same class works better than trying to limit quantities. for example, instead of trying to limit yourself to 2 bagels on your eating day, you’re probably better off eating baguettes (at 50% of the calories). Instead of trying to limit yourself to 2 scoops of ice cream, you’re probably better off switching to low fat ice cream with 50% of the calories. Instead of trying to limit yourself to a quarter stick of butter, you’re probably far better off switching to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Etc.
Quick switches for your eating day
Switch from butter and margarine to I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and save more than half on fat calories. Switch from regular ice cream to low fat and fat-free ice cream and save another 50% on calories. Switch from regular hot dogs to low fat or fat-free hot dogs and save another 50%. Switch from bagels to baguettes and save 50%. Eat frozen fat-free yogurt and frozen fat-free Greek yogurt instead of ice cream and save another 50%. Eat fat-free ham and turkey and chicken instead of regular dead animals and save 50%. Eat air popped popcorn instead of microwave popcorn and save 50%.
Weight loss on Every Other Day is about controlling calories on your eating day
You need to come up with a strategy that gives you the feeling that you are eating as much as and whatever you want on your food day, and that at the same time keeps your calories from going to stupid. Counting calories and carbohydrates doesn’t work for most patients . Limiting food groups and/or food choices is far more successful and much easier. It also doesn’t matter how many meals you eat or what time you eat. In general, the most popular and successful strategies involve limiting fat and/or limiting sugar and/or limiting dead animals and/or limiting flour products and/or limiting dairy. Many patients do well with very simple programs that avoid one or two foods.
For patients who want the fastest way to lose weight
Most patients who want to lose weight as fast as possible are able to stay on 400-600 calories of fruit one day and 400-600 calories of canned poultry or fish the next day for 1-2 weeks. It’s important that the poultry or fish comes from a can box or bag to lock in calories at 400-600. Weighing and measuring is not recommended as studies suggest you’ll overeat by as much as 40%. When you can’t alternate 400-600 calories of fruit and fish/poultry anymore, the secret to continued rapid weight loss is a strategy or strategies that keep your total calories on your eating day as low as possible. 50% of patients are able to lose 2-3 pounds a week, eating what they want (within reason) on their eating day. To increase the odds that you will continue to rapidly lose weight, try freely feeding for one day, and two days of fresh fruit. The problem with this approach is that many patients don’t feel as well on two days of fruit compared to fruit every other day, and some find it necessary to keep track of one day eating and two days dieting on a calendar. So I always recommend Every Other Day approaches, as opposed to what are known as 5-2 approaches. To keep your calories as low as possible on your eating day, try going lacto-ovo vegetarian (no dead animals) and see how you feel (and how quickly you lose) with your protein only from fat-free Greek yogurt, fat-free cheese, fat-free cottage cheese and egg whites. Keep your fat and sugar intake as low as possible, especially your fat intake. This is my favorite recommendation for patients who want to lose weight as quickly as possible, yet feel like they aren’t on a restrictive diet.
Fastest weight loss on Every Other Day
Fastest weight loss is on 400-600 calories on your diet day, because if you try to totally fast and eat nothing, studies suggest that you will cheat and binge and go off the diet after 2-3 days. Patients do not do well on total fasting. But because eating 400-600 calories is almost the same as eating nothing, 400-600 calories of fresh fruit allow most patients to successfully follow an intermittent fast.
Don’t forget your one minute of exercise a day
You don’t need to exercise for an hour. Exercising for an hour could possibly slow your weight loss by making you more hungry. But 3 – 20 second high intensity intervals a day can speed your weight loss, especially when coupled with NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). In English, get out of your chair and move around as much as possible. Watch “The Truth About Exercise” on www.vimeo.com.
More tips to speed weight loss
The idea is to find a way to easily and automatically limit your calories on your eating day without feeling deprived. Fat calories do the most immediate damage (about 25o calories per ounce) compared to protein and carbohydrate calories (about 110 calories per ounce). This said, sugar calories can throw you into feeding frenzy. One way to deal with sugar and fat is to only allow yourself to freely feed on sugar and fat one day a week. This means that on most eating days, you consciously limit your intake of sugar to almost nothing (no added sugar foods, use artificial sweeteners all you want) and fat (no dead animals, egg whites and fat-free dairy only). One day a week allow yourself to eat all the sugar and fat you want within reason, but don’t go crazy. The secret is to find a way to keep your total calorie intake down to a dull roar on your eating days without feeling like you are depriving yourself.
More ways to speed weight loss
The secret is to comfortably structure your eating day so you are as satisfied as possible without taking the calories into stupid. Eliminating fat calories as much as possible works best for most patients. Fat has 9 calories per gram. Protein and carbohydrate contain 4 calories per gram, so the biggest bang for your caloric restriction buck is usually cutting fat calories. Bagels are another potential problem at 300-400 calories each. A whole baguette (La Brea Bakery from Kroger are my favorite, Panera is a distant second) is usually 900-1000 calories. And putting 10 calories of jam or I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter on your baguette is a lot better than 200 calories of butter.
More on speeding up weight loss
If you’re not losing as quickly as you’d like, there are a handful of other strategies that may help. First, make sure you’re not going over 400 calories on your diet day if you’re a woman, and over 600 calories on your diet day if you’re a man. The trick is to find a way to keep your calories under control on your food day, and still make it feel like you’re (almost) freely feeding. Stay away from cheese and nuts as much as possible. Both provide way too many calories, way too fast and can make it very hard to lose weight. Think of and use cheese and nuts as a seasoning, not a food. Switch to diet salad dressing instead of the real stuff. Switch to lower fat or low fat or no fat dairy products (I’m talking yogurt and ice cream). No red meat. Use I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter instead of butter or margarine.
To speed up your weight Loss
If you’re not losing weight fast enough dieting Every Other Day, there are several strategies to try. The first thing to try is to eat fruit for 2 days in a row and eat what you want on the third day. This usually solves the problem. If you don’t like two days on, one day off – the next thing to try is to significantly decrease your fat intake on your eating day. The easiest way to do this is to stop eating dead animals and get your protein mostly from Greek yogurt, egg whites and cottage cheese. significantly cutting fat intake on your feeding day (also eliminate butter and oil as much as possible) works well for many patients who are not losing fast enough.
The every other day diet never stops. You’re starting on maintenance. Once you get down to your desired weight, you can eat a little more on your food day and still maintain your weight. Another approach is to double your fruit calories to 800-1200 on your diet day, but I don’t recommend this. Most patients do better just increasing their calories on their food day when they want to stop losing weight.
If you have trouble with fruit
If you have trouble with the acidity of fresh fruit, or you don’t feel terrific on fresh fruit, give yourself 1 week to adapt to 400-600 calories of fresh fruit everyday other day. If you’re not feeling reasonably terrific after a week, try a week on 400-600 calories of canned fruit in water every other day. You can get pears in water, peaches in water, fruit cocktail in water, grapes in water, pineapple in water, etc. If you’re still not happy, switch to 400-600 calories of TV dinners. I recommend Amy’s Kitchen brand, because to me, they don’t taste like TV dinner hell. You can eat half a 600 calorie dinner twice a day, or 2-300 calorie dinners a day.
If you’re not losing fast enough
If you’re not losing weight fast enough on every other day, and most patients lose 2-3 pounds every week, you can speed things up for a week or two by alternating 400 calories of fresh fruit with 400 calories of canned poultry or fish. One day eat 400 calories of fruit, the next day eat 400 calories of canned poultry or fish. After 1-2 weeks, go back to the basic every other day and eat what you want, within reason, every other day. Unfortunately, you’ll do better if your chicken or turkey or fish or seafood actually comes from a can because you can safely and effectively limit portions this way. Left to your own devices to weigh and measure, studies suggest you’ll overeat by 40%. So your poultry and fish is best from a can.
To make every other day dieting work as efficiently as possible, I recommend 1 minute of exercise every day. That’s not a mis- statement. I want 1 minute of exercise every day. Just 1 minute. You can do an hour if you like, but I want 1 minute. Watch “The Truth About Exercise” on vimeo.com for how I want you do this minute. “The Truth About Exercise” also talks about NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, which is neat way to burn an extra 500 calories a day.
It’s almost impossible not lose weight
The animal study with intermittent fasting suggesting rats cannot eat enough on alternate day fasting to maintain their weight is interesting. Researchers took a group of rats and let them eat all the Purina Rat Chow they wanted one day, and no food the next. Over a very few weeks, it became very clear that all rats were losing weight. They could not or did not eat enough rat chow on eating days, to make up for not eating on fasting days. What I really want to see is a repeat of this study on what is called Super Market Diet. The diet was born in the 70’s, when a group of researchers created the fattest lab rats ever (at the time, we’ve created much fatter rats since with genetic modification) by feeding them unlimited M&M’s, raisins, salami, crackers, cheese and cookies. I want to know if rats will still continue to lose weight on an alternate day Super Market Diet and fasting. It’s interesting that when alternate day eating (intermittent fasting) was studied, patients lost significantly more weight eating whatever they wanted on their food day, compared to eating a low fat diet on their food day. The theory is that you can never get enough of what you really don’t want, so subjects were more satisfied and did less recreational eating (and cheating!) on an every other day diet.
The Obesity Medicine Association jumps on board
In April 2018, the Obesity Medicine Society presented their first presentation on intermittent fasting, so word was finally out. And I made up my mind to get off the low carb bandwagon and finally preach the truth. Low carb dieting doesn’t work, because people will not consistently stick to it. There is way too much food distraction out there. McDonald’s and Baskin Robbins and Dairy Queen aren’t going out of business any time soon, and whether stressed or celebrating, people are not going to stop eating ice cream and cake. The reason I recommend nothing but fresh fruit (no more than 400 calories per day for women, and no more than 600 calories per day for men) for intermittent fasting is based on three things. (1) When it’s been studied, there’s no significant difference between weight loss on 400 compared to 600 calories a day. So, there’s a fudge factor. You don’t have to eat nothing, you can eat a little and still lose weight. (2) Fresh fruit only keeps your liver glycogen level at its max, so you don’t go into low carb fatigue, low energy, lethargy, depression, binging and carbohydrate cravings. When you liver glycogen level is up, carbohydrate cravings are under control. It’s only when glycogen levels plummet that you go into feeding frenzy. (3) Clinically, patients (and I!) do much better on fresh fruit only, compared to adding protein, fat and other carbohydrates to the mix.For some reason, patients feel better and do better on 400-600 calories of fresh fruit only, compared to 400-600 calories of Lean Cuisine or Healthy Choice or Amy’s Kitchen. I’m not sure why. I think it’s the full liver glycogen level.
Intermittent Fasting is not new. My grandfather, who was born in 1882, went to the Kellog Sanitarium in Battle Creek Michigan at the turn of the century with my grandmother for the fasting cure. He also continued to fast on and off during the course of his very long life. I remember in the 1960’s he would go down to Florida once of year for a fasting cure, living on just fruit and vegetable juice for a month. He would return to Michigan 30 pounds lighter and invigorated. He would slowly regain the weight over the course of a year, and then return to Florida for another month of fasting. He did this every year for more than a decade. He lived to 92.
Things became personal
3 years later I came down with testicular cancer, and the radiation therapy killed the cancer (I’m 9 years cancer free), but the radiation did something to my metabolic rate. I discovered that I could no longer eat (even low carb) every day, and not gain weight. As a diet doctor, I can’t be fat. So I began eating every other day. It was the only way I could maintain my weight and not get fat. But I continued to preach the gospel of Atkins (low carb dieting) to my patients. And at the same time, deep down inside, I knew that it was hopeless. Low carb was not going to work. There was way too much fun food in the world, and patients were just not going to pitch buns and not eat dessert.
Eating every other day break through
My breakthrough happened 12 years ago on Vail mountain in one of the giant cafeterias on the mountain. It was lunch time and the room was packed with skiers, all chowing down on hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, French fries, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies and ice cream cones. Like everyone in the industry, I was preaching and practicing serious low carb dieting at the time. I taught biochemistry before medical school and I used to hang out with Bob Atkins. Looking at the mob of skiers, many, many of them fat – I came to believe it was hopeless. There was no way that the average person was going to toss the bun on the hamburger or cheeseburger, or just eat the cheese on the pizza. Looking around the room, I was certain that low carb dieting was hopeless. People were just not going to do it, consistently and long term enough to lose weight and keep it off. There had to be a better way.