Written on September 9, 2014 at 8:20 am , by Family Circle Momster blog
By Karmen Lizzul, Family Circle creative director
I was really excited to try Dr. Fuhrman’s Eat to Live diet, as I had thought of doing it a couple of years ago when I first heard about it. Back then, I was moving and things got really hectic and I totally forgot about it.
The plan has so many of my favorite foods. I love vegetables and fruit and, as suggested, ate as much as I wanted during mealtimes. (Dr. Furhman recommends fasting between meals.) The six-week plan does not include meats or dairy. A salad and four fresh fruits are suggested daily. I loved eating all the fruit I wanted, but I did miss some stuff, like olive oil. I love my olive oil. And I am a creature of habit, so I missed my go-to dishes like poached eggs with whole wheat toast and grilled chicken. I did create a flexible new staple dish where switching up the vegetables let me change the flavor: a stir-fry with light coconut milk, Thai green curry and tofu. I would have it with a salad, and organic fruit for dessert. For a treat, I would bake an apple and sprinkle cinnamon on it.
It was hard at times, I won’t lie. One particularly tough day I was at the shore with friends and everyone was getting ice cream. I admit it: I caved. Dr. Fuhrman would not have been proud. But I still lost weight. I think that’s why this is a way to live more than a diet. It’s not as if I want to go back to eating processed foods, saturated fats and antibiotic-soaked meats. I like knowing that everything going into my body is clean. And even if I detour once in a while, it’s not as damaging as the way I ate before.
If you’re looking for a lifestyle change and a way to eat clean and healthy food, I highly recommend this diet. But I wouldn’t call it a diet. It’s really a new way to look at food and honor your body so it can take you on a long and happy journey.
Have you ever tried the Eat to Live diet? Post a comment and tell us about it.
Written on September 4, 2014 at 10:30 am , by Family Circle Momster blog
By Jill Feigelman, Family Circle assistant web editor
There’s nothing I love more in the summer than going to the beach and relaxing when I get home. But two Sundays last July were different. I had a new agenda: preparing my breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next day. Why? Because I was starting the Hungry Girl diet.
As a first-time dieter, I took to the Hungry Girl approach because it was about portion control and eating real food.
While I prepped the lunch—plus my separate snacks of kale chips, broccoli and nuts, and tilapia for dinner—one thing struck me. Some of the portions seemed so small! Was I going to be starving? How is 4 ounces of turkey—just one slice—going to sustain me?
I also wondered how long I would be able to keep this up. I went to bed that night thinking about all the food I’d had at the beach that day and how I wouldn’t be able to do that come tomorrow.
Fast-forward to the end of my two-week trial: I am 9 pounds slimmer and not afraid of what a portion size is or should be. The first week, I was actually stuffed during the day. Sometimes I really had to force myself to eat the three snacks and meals. But you have to eat them all.
Although I’m a pretty fit person, I’d started to slack off about a month or two ago. I wanted to do this diet to get back to eating healthy. And while the diet was easy, I have to say that if you’re a busy person it does involve a lot of planning and shopping. I love to cook, but the recipes in this book sometimes were a bit too easy and simple in flavor for me, so I added a bit more spice than what the recipes called for.
Even though I’m off the diet, I continue to Hungry-fy some meals. I love the Crunchy Beef Tacos (top photo), Girlfredo Broccoli Slaw Bowl (above), Tropical Yogurt and Carrot Fries. Still, it’s nice not to have to worry about being so strict when I dine out now. I also think this diet would make me feel even better if I were exercising too.
Some of the biggest surprises: 24 pistachios is a serving size, and drinking hot lemon water in the morning really does curb your hunger. It’s not a myth. A myth is that you have to be hungry when dieting—which is absolutely not true where Hungry Girl is concerned.
Have you ever tried the Hungry Girl diet? Post a comment and tell us about it.
Written on September 2, 2014 at 8:30 am , by Family Circle Momster blog
By Lisa Kelsey, Family Circle art director
Let me start by saying I’m from an Italian family. In other words, pasta and bread were like a religion when I was growing up. Since my folks were from the north, in addition to olive oil, butter was used liberally and, of course, cheese was on most things we ate. My mother, from Florence, used to say people from her fair city were called “mangia-fagioli”—bean eaters, so those were on the menu a lot. And don’t even get me started on the vino!
To go on the Paleo Diet I would have to give up all that—grains, dairy, beans, alcohol—in addition to sugar and anything processed or pickled, like salami and peperoncini! You might say trying the Paleo Diet would be a form of foodie suicide. Me being on this diet would be pretty much like dropping a giraffe in the middle of the Antarctic to see how it fares.
So why did I choose it? I wanted to see if I really would feel different if I eliminated dairy and wheat from my diet. I wanted to lose a little weight, have more energy and try to lessen some stomach problems I’d being having on and off. Plus I just love a foodie challenge.
The first week, as prescribed by the book, was all about getting into the right mindset for the big change. I almost skipped this part, but since it was going to be so daunting I thought I’d better take the opportunity to psych myself up. As suggested, I started a Pinterest board and filled it with images that represented what I wanted in my life; photos of activities I look forward to, such as hiking and open-water swimming; and favorite inspirational quotes, like this one from Marcus Aurelius: “When you arise in the morning think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive—to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” I wanted to get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning refreshed.
The cover of Paleo for Beginners promises “117 Paleo foods you can eat.” Since I can probably name that many cheeses I like to eat, I knew I would feel limited and was going to want to eat as many of those foods as possible. In addition to more than the usual amount of seasonal (and organic) vegetables, my shopping list included some things I wasn’t used to, like quinoa, coconut oil, plantains and almond milk.
With no sugar allowed, I wanted to make sure I could satisfy my sweet tooth, so I stocked up on fruit. I went for snackable fruit, like cherries and berries. Knowing that I would be eating more meat on this diet, I was excited to try some of the game that’s mentioned in the book, including ostrich and alligator. Although a local grocery listed these items on their website, when I got to the store I found you had to special order them, so instead I went for grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, bison and lamb. Those meats were more expensive, but my grocery bill wasn’t higher than usual since I skipped all the chips, drinks and other packaged foods I would normally buy.
Taking a lead from the recipes in the book, I came up with my own versions. My first breakfast was something I’d never made before: plantains fried in coconut oil sprinkled with flaky sea salt. I had fun experimenting with almond milk, which I put in my coffee along with honey. I was slightly put off by the curdled look, but it tasted fine. I made a side dish of sautéed kale with walnuts and red onion, and had my husband grill marinated lamb. I made a cold salad of quinoa with toasted almonds and dried cranberries. I was so proud of myself that I started sharing my #paleo experiments on Instagram and Facebook, and it wasn’t long before friends were asking me if I was painting bison on the walls of my basement (inspired by Paleo’s other name, the Caveman Diet) or posting “What’s for dinner tonight, Wilma Flintstone?” on my Facebook wall.
As long as I planned ahead, I didn’t have that much trouble sticking to the diet. The challenge was being out and about, like when my daughter wanted to go to Five Guys Burgers and Fries and I had to eat my burger with no bun. No bun = no fun.
Afterward we stopped at Starbucks. I had a black iced coffee while my daughter slurped up her whipped-cream-topped cookie-infused Frappuccino. Also not fun. After working late one night, I was running through Grand Central and trying to grab dinner for the train. The only Paleo-friendly thing I could find was shrimp cocktail.
All in all, though, it went pretty well. I didn’t feel hungry all the time, my energy was up and I was starting to lose a little weight. Also—no stomach problems. Could I stick with this diet forever? No way. But I will incorporate elements of Paleo into my regular diet. And as much as I love ‘em, I’ll definitely cut down on the pasta and bread.
Have you ever tried the Paleo Diet? Post a comment and tell us about it.
Written on August 27, 2014 at 1:06 pm , by Family Circle Momster blog
By Danielle Hester, Family Circle web editor
I love diets. In fact, dieting is one of my many hobbies—something I proudly have in common with Mindy Kaling. From Dr. Ian’s 4 Day Diet to the Whole30 program to juice cleanses, I’m not one to stick to a set routine.
So when I volunteered to test out a weight-loss book for an upcoming story and the health director gave me a list to choose from, it wasn’t surprising that I’d already tried four of the eight options. At random, I chose Lisa Lillien’s The Hungry Girl Diet. The title was appealing and the tagline even more so: “Big Portions. Big Results. Drop 10 Pounds in 4 Weeks.” Count me in!
For the first week, I was kind of a diet snob. I didn’t jump on the Hungry Girl bandwagon right away. I didn’t particularly care for her substitution options. Liquid egg whites? No, thanks! And there were a lot of behaviors required that I already exhibited, like drinking lemon water every morning and substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream. Aside from giving in to my dinosaur-sized sweet tooth, which requires I have at least one sugary treat a day, my eating habits are consistently healthy. I told everyone the recipes weren’t challenging enough, that my food intake was very similar and I wouldn’t lose much weight.
But Lillien slowly started to win me over. I found two recipes that I really enjoyed: the Mega Fruit ‘n Yogurt Bowl and the Crunchy Beef Tacos. (I substituted ground turkey for beef.) Many of the suggested snacks were store-bought, grab-and-go options. And the portion sizes were filling, so much so that I struggled to consume the required 1,200 to 1,300 calories per day. I was beginning to think maybe there really was something to this eat-more-weigh-less concept.
By the end of the challenge, I started to appreciate the Hungry Girl diet from a different perspective: Just because it wasn’t the right diet for me (I lost only 3 pounds), doesn’t mean it isn’t a great program to follow. My coworker lost 9 pounds on Hungry Girl.
Overall, I think this diet is best for people who want to change their eating habits and make better choices when it comes to food selection and portion control. I also think it’s best for people looking to lose a significant amount of weight. For someone like me, who has a consistent and balanced diet of fruits, veggies, protein and healthy fats, the Hungry Girl diet didn’t take me out of my comfort zone, like, maybe, the 10-Day Detox diet would have.
Hungry Girl also requires a lot of food preparation. It was hard for me to balance long days in the city with long nights in the kitchen preparing six meals to take with me in the morning. I think stay-at-home spouses or someone who works from home would love this diet.
The major plus: I was able to step away from my indulgences, cleanse my body and even lose a few inches off my waistline! Now on to my next diet. Any suggestions?
Have you ever tried the Hungry Girl diet? Post a comment and tell us about it.
Written on August 26, 2014 at 9:30 am , by Family Circle Momster blog
By Lisa Mandel, Family Circle digital director
I’ve found myself in dressing rooms all over the tri-state area vowing to start a diet this very second about a million times. Okay maybe two million. But I usually lose my mojo by lunchtime the next day. A good run would take me through the work week, but I’d never survive a weekend. So nobody was more surprised than me to find myself at the 14th day of a two-week commitment to road test The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy—and ready to stick with it for another 14 days!
It all started three weeks earlier, when my prep for the diet began. I read The Fast Metabolism Diet and started to visualize myself following the plan, losing weight and finally slipping easily into my cropped white jeans. All that mental exercise propelled me, a few days later, to Sunday evening, which I spent shopping and preparing several staple foods so I’d have them at the ready.
I wanted to do all I could to set myself up for success this time, so:
1. I told a bunch of people I was doing this diet. I wanted to be accountable to others. Layer on that I’d be dieting for a story in the magazine and alongside seven colleagues. We’d be able to support and encourage one another, and maybe even compete to stick to our respective plans.
2. I allowed myself some caffeine and alcohol. The diet requires you to completely avoid dairy, wheat, corn, refined sugar, caffeine and alcohol. I decided to take the low road and drink one cup of organic coffee each day with a splash of rice or almond milk. I do have to live among other people, so being a complete and total bear will not fly. Caffeine was reduced, not eliminated. And on gorgeous July evenings when the sun set well past 8 p.m., I would not “cheat” but rather “allow” myself to have a few glasses of wine (not all at once) and enjoy lean meats that might have been marinated in something other than lemon juice and organic broth.
3. I changed my definition of success, which can be measured in more than just pounds lost. An equally important goal for me is to just plain feel better. I want to wake up energized and refreshed. I’m hoping that taking a break from processed foods and empty carbs will result in some type of change.
Clearly, I was not a religious convert to the Fast Metabolism Diet, as many people are. For me there was a lot to remember: Cauliflower is okay, but only in phase 3. Yes to watermelon, but only if it’s a phase 1 or 2 day. But I did carve out a version of the diet that I could manage and that I was dedicated to sticking to. And I liked it. And I lost 4.8 pounds. And, here’s the best part, I felt great. Not because I looked less fat—although it feels pretty good to zip my jeans and not see the dreaded spillover.
I felt great because I was proud of myself for sticking to the goals I’d set. I slept more soundly, I felt more clearheaded and I had noticeably more energy. I was suddenly game to clean out the linen closet. On a weeknight. After work. (Who does that?)
After I’d survived a friend’s backyard party and managed to eat 4 ounces of boiled shrimp, salad and crudités, eschewing absolutely every other extremely delicious thing served except two glasses of Chardonnay, I noticed I felt satisfied and victorious. I knew from that moment on I could do it again, at the next dinner or the next time there were cupcakes on the free table at work. (You try working at a magazine where the fabulous desserts you see in our pages are tested and tested again and then given to staffers at right about 3:30 p.m.— just when your sweet tooth is sweet-talking you.)
Bonus outcome: I made some changes in food choices for the diet that I’m guessing will be lifelong changes for me–and for my kids. We all loved quinoa and wild rice just as much as white rice and couscous. Turns out roasted sweet potatoes are delicious (and much sweeter) than less-nutritious white potatoes. But nothing is sweeter than success!
Have you ever tried the Fast Metabolism Diet? Post a comment and tell us about it.
Written on August 20, 2014 at 11:30 am , by Family Circle
By Tina Anderson, Family Circle photo director
I’ve always been told that one shouldn’t go on a diet because inevitably one goes off a diet. Instead you should make healthy overall lifestyle changes. I’m generally a healthy person: I cook at home and exercise regularly. But recently I was completely off the rails, which happens to a lot of people around the holidays. I was eating and drinking (for no apparent reason) like I was a college kid with a metabolism to match. So when I heard our health director was looking for volunteers to be diet guinea pigs, I said, “Yes, please. Where do I sign up?”
I followed the Super Shred diet, which is intended to be a temporary solution (four weeks max) for someone looking to drop weight quickly for an event like a class reunion or a wedding. Or life. This diet road test was the perfect excuse for me to put the brakes on my crazy consumption. I followed the diet’s directions exactly and lost 4 pounds by the end of the first week and 3 pounds the next. Not bad, huh? Hold on. It took a ton of planning. I had to go grocery shopping three times in the first four days because I hadn’t purchased enough snackable food to get me through the week! (The plan consists of mini meals and snacks that you eat at specifically timed intervals throughout the day.) And trust me. You don’t want to eat the same snack six times in a row. Yawn.
Speaking of snacks, Dr. Smith provides you with a list of nearly two hundred 100- and 150-calorie options ranging from hard-boiled eggs to nuts to frozen grapes. Too boring? Don’t worry! There are also suggestions like ½ cup canned crabmeat or 2 ounces cooked mussels. Because those are snacks that you would totally carry around in your purse, right?!
Dr. Smith does take care of your calorie counting for you, so you can choose what you like from his list and keep it moving. Just don’t bother trying to go out to eat. This diet doesn’t accommodate for that. I personally got really tired of his repeated meal suggestions of smoothies, protein shakes and soups, not to mention his detailed daily beverage list of unlimited plain water, 1 cup of lemonade, 1 cup of unsweetened iced tea, 1 cup juice and 1 (12-ounce) can diet soda. I also didn’t understand why it’s okay to have lemonade but not sweetened iced tea. I’m pretty sure that lemonade has sugar in it, otherwise it would be called lemon water. And diet soda? Don’t get me started.
In spite of my various issues with this diet, it forced me to rethink what I hadn’t been thinking about. At all. I was in a rut of mindless eating, and by participating in this diet, I was forced to hit pause. I think that any diet plan could have done that for me. I just needed someone else to tell me how to do it.
Have you ever tried the Super Shred diet? Post a comment and let us know.
Written on August 19, 2014 at 10:30 am , by Lynya Floyd
For the feature “Losing It!” in our October issue, writer Sheryl Kraft chronicled the weight-loss journeys of Family Circle staffers who agreed to try out six popular diets. But we put more than six plans to the test! Check out how one of our editorial assistants fared on a doctor-approved detox.
The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet
Best for: Moms who are committed to change and can afford the essential supplements required
Tester’s Weight Loss: 5 pounds
Reducing insulin levels is the key to losing weight, says Mark Hyman, MD, creator of this “reboot” diet that claims to bring your metabolism back into balance and activate your body’s ability to burn fat. Sugar and carbs are enemy territory, causing everything from type 2 diabetes to sexual dysfunction, he explains. Based on whole foods high in fiber and low in sugar and starch, the diet—which asserts you can lose an average of 8 pounds—eliminates gluten, grains, dairy, alcohol and caffeine. Instead, it stresses good-quality grass-fed animal protein, nuts, seeds, tofu, fruits and veggies.
Typical Meal: Skinless, boneless chicken encrusted with red chili pesto; sautéed spinach
Shopping List Surprises: Raw nut butters, tahini, Kalamata olives, almond milk
Supplements: Our friends at The Vitamin Shoppe helped Lauren pick out the best brands for all the pills the diet required, including vitamin D3, alpha lipoic acid, green tea catechins, PGX fiber and more.
Ease of Use: 3 (5-Very Simple, 1-Just About Impossible)
Taste Factor: 4 (5-Every Meal Was Great, 1-It Was Barely Edible)
Time Factor: 3 (5-Putting Meals Together Was a Snap, 1-It Was Too Much Work)
Hunger Factor: 1 (5-Very Satisfying, 1-Stomach Always Growling)
Although our editorial assistant Lauren knew she needed this “kick starter” to lose the extra weight she’d recently gained, her admitted lack of self-control made her a bit nervous. But Lauren’s motivation to improve her overall health and get back in shape helped her stick with it, even though that involved spending lots of time in the kitchen. “Everything needs to be homemade,” she notes. Lauren liked the idea of detoxing both her mental and physical health with this plan, but in the end found some requirements—like eliminating caffeine, alcohol, gluten, dairy and sugar —too restrictive. “I am a firm believer that moderation is key,” she says.
Biggest Hurdle: The expense of the supplements
Simplest Challenge: Prepping the lunch salads