In recent years, there's been a backlash against short-term diets and a move toward making small, sustainable changes to lose weight. It's a good idea, but it doesn't always lead to success because weight drops off too slowly to keep you motivated.
Arithmetic is at the root of the problem. For example, forego your favorite 300-calorie snack every day and a week later you've lost, at best, just over half a pound. It takes some perseverance to skip that treat every day-especially when the reward, unlike your waistline, is pretty slim.
"Everybody nowadays is impatient-they want quick results," says Andrew Ordon, MD, author of Better in 7: The Ultimate 7-Day Guide to a Brand New You, and co-host of The Doctors. With that in mind, Ordon has designed a safe, nutritious seven-day diet that can help you lose seven pounds (or more).
Why 7 Days?
"It's a quick start to get people motivated," says Ordon, "to see some change that inspires them to make the bigger lifestyle changes." And in medicine, he says, seven days is long enough to bring about physiological changes. For example, antibiotics generally take seven days to knock out an infection, and after cosmetic surgery, the majority of swelling and bruising goes away after one week.
Perhaps most important, however, is the fact that people who follow this diet achieve the expected results. But is it right for you? If you suffer from any medical conditions, check with your doctor. Otherwise, there's little to lose-except unwanted pounds.
Why It Works
The 7-day plan is, not surprisingly, a low-calorie diet that triggers your body to burn fat. But its cornerstone is another feature that jump-starts weight loss: herbs and water-rich foods that are natural diuretics.
"You're flushing the system out," says Ordon, "getting rid of stagnant water and replacing it." His choices of fruits and vegetables are strategic, to help eliminate and replace fluids and provide plenty of fiber. Popular "diet" veggies, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, can cause bloating and are, therefore, excluded (only for one week, not forever).
It's also important to drink plenty of pure water, as well as a daily cup of coconut water. During the diet week, you will definitely be visiting the bath- room more often, but it's a flushing-out process, not a dehydrating one. The result is loss of fat and a healthier body. Feeling and looking better is great motivation to keep your fingers out of the cookie jar.
How to Do It
The 7-day diet can be done up to twice per month. On the first day, weigh yourself naked right after waking, and write down the number. Stay away from the scale until you wake up on the eighth day.
For maximum weight loss, follow the 7-Day Plan in the chart (below). But if it looks too daunting, or if you prefer a more gradual approach, add one or more of the foods in the Modifications section. Ideally, you should also walk and/or do other exercise.
The Daily Routine
With breakfast and lunch: Take 250-500 mg of dandelion leaf to increase water loss and eliminate sodium from the kidneys, and 200-1,000 mg of uva ursi to reduce bloating. Or, take an herbal diuretic formula that contains both herbs, one serving with breakfast and another with lunch.
With breakfast only: Take a high-qualitymultivitamin/multimineral supplement. If you usually take your multi in two daily doses, take it with breakfast and lunch.
Water: Make sure to drink the amounts noted, but feel free to drink more at any time, flavored with lemon juice if you prefer. (Lemon is a must only first thing in the morning.)
Between meals: If you feel hungry between meals, it could be thirst masquerading as hunger, so try drinking water before you reach for something to eat. If that doesn't help, munch on carrots or other vegetables that are included in the plan, or eat a small amount of lean protein, such as two ounces of water-packed tuna, without added oil or mayo.
For a more gradual or longer-term weight-loss approach, add one or more of these options, based on your personal needs and preferences:
- Add hard-boiled eggs to your breakfast menus.
- At lunch, replace eggs with baked or broiled fish, chicken, or very lean red meat, and add similar proteins to veggie-only dinners.
- Eat more vegetables with or between meals, but to avoid bloating, stick to those included in the plan.
Dr. Oz's Best Weight-Loss Supplements
During the past year, Dr. Mehmet Oz has featured numerous weight-loss supplements on his popular television show. Each one works in a different way and should be used with a healthy diet and exercise. These are some of the most popular:
7-Keto Enhances Metabolism
Our bodies make 7-keto, but natural levels drop after age 30, slowing down metabolism. Studies show that the supplement (also called 7-keto DHEA) increases the rate at which we burn calories around the clock. When taken with a diet and exercise program, compared to a placebo, 7-keto has tripled the amount of weight loss.
Take: 100 mg morning and evening.
Try: Enzymatic Therapy Naturalean with 7-KETO
Green Coffee Extract Tames Sugar Roller coaster
Sugar and starch cause blood sugar to skyrocket and crash, and this roller coaster effect promotes fat storage and cravings. Green coffee extract slows down or stops the cycle. In studies, including one done by Dr. Oz on his show, the supplement produced an average weight loss of 1-3 pounds per week, without a diet or exercise program.
Take: 400 mg, 30 minutes before meals, three times daily. On labels, look for Svetol, GCA, or Coffeegenic extracts.
Try: Olympian Labs Ultralean3 (with green coffee bean, African
mango extract, and raspberry ketones) Raspberry Ketones Break Down Fat
Compounds responsible for the distinct aroma of red
raspberries, raspberry ketones break down fat, according
to animal and test-tube studies. And the ketones stimulate secretion of adiponectin, a hormone that regulates fat storage. Higher levels of adiponectin correlate with less stored fat.
Take: 100-200 mg with breakfast and lunch.
Try:Nature's Answer L-Carnitine, Raspberry Ketones & Green Coffee Bean Satiereal Curbs Stress Eating
Carbohydrate-rich snacks are an all-too-popular stress reliever because they trigger feel-good hormones. Satiereal, a patented saffron extract, does the same job without the calories. In one study, taking Satiereal for 8 weeks reduced snacking by 55 percent, between-meal hunger by 84 percent, and cravings for sugary snacks by 78 percent.
Take: 89 mg before meals, twice daily.
Try: Re-Body Hunger Chews GLA Shrinks Fat Cells
GLA (gamma linolenic acid) is a healthy fat found in black currant, borage seed, and evening primrose oils. It's an omega-6 fat, one of the two types of essential fats we must get from our diet. GLA stimulates fat cells to release fat, making them-and your body-smaller, and in one study, it prevented weight regain after a successful diet. Plus, it helps fight inflammation.
Take: 800-900 mg of GLA daily.
Try:Udo's Choice Udo's Oil 3-6-9 Blend (with GLA)
The 7-Day Plan
Fruit Salad Options
Choose one of the following combinations:
- 1 large navel orange, 1 Granny Smith apple, and ½ cup of fresh raspberries
- ¼ cantaloupe, 1 cup of fresh pineapple chunks, and ½ cup of
- ½ grapefruit, 1 pear, and ½ cup of sliced strawberries
Season with salt-free herbs and spices, and lightly spritz with a vegetable cooking spray, if you like. As an alternative to steaming, cut veggies into bite-sized pieces and stir-fry for 6-10 minutes with a vegetable cooking spray and a little water.
Better in 7 Days-More Ways
The Better in 7 book includes 7-day programs for thinner thighs, a flatter tummy, bigger breasts, better sex, less cellulite, better sleep, more energy, fewer wrinkles, and more. Men, too, can do applicable programs. For access to exercise videos, "Like" facebook.com/betterin7.