Q: My struggles started about 10 years ago. I am not a healthy eater, so every couple of years I had about 5-10 pounds to lose. I would stick to the Weight Watchers points system. That was always very successful for me. In 2005, I again did the points system to lose some weight, and I didn’t lose anything. After doing it for 2 months and exercising daily, I still didn’t lose one ounce. I figured I’d try again in a few months. Well again, I tried about 6 months later. I didn’t lose anything. About one year later I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I then decided to go to a medical weight loss center since that was the reason I couldn’t lose. I tried their diet (high protein) and actually gained weight and inches. Not long after that I found out about the HCG diet, and started giving myself the daily injections and sticking to the 500 calorie diet. Again, I didn’t lose any weight. I was very frustrated. I tried eating less and moving more, maybe the stress of trying to lose weight was causing me not to, I thought. That didn’t work. Then I found your book (The Protein Boost Diet). It took me awhile to get the nerve to try it, because nothing else had worked, why would this? But I started it, and now I’m down 12 pounds! I’m so excited to finally have some control over my weight. As far as favorite meals on the diet, I have to say that up to this point I haven’t tried a lot of new things yet. I’ve enjoyed the recipes in the book. Dinner is the hardest meal of the day for me. I make my own taco seasoning for shredded chicken and ground turkey. Taco lettuce wraps are good. I have also made my own onion soup mix to put in my turkey burgers, again I wrap that in a lettuce leaf and add a little homemade ketchup, low fat mozzarella, and avocado. I found a recipe for spinach/cilantro meatballs that I really like. I’ve made a chicken salad sandwich, wrapped in lettuce. But that has a small amount of low carb Greek yogurt in it, which is why I was wondering about the yogurt at dinner.
A: I can guarantee that you are not the only one who has struggled with weight loss resistance when trying different diet programs including Weight Watchers, the HCG diet, the paleo diet, high protein diets, and the South Beach diet. For successful weight loss, one has to focus on several fundamentals. Unfortunately, most diets out there just focus on one gimmicky fundamental such as low glycemic, high protein, or low fat. But for the metabolism regulating hormones to work efficiently in the body and for you to lose weight successfully without severely restricting the caloric intake, each meal has to be structured in a way where you will consume a non-excessive but high amount of a rich combination of proteins.
Another fundamental is the low glycemic component. Eating low glycemic at dinner time is important for speeding up metabolism. Another component that is often forgotten which is one of the pillars of the Protein Boost Diet, is the high fiber content in each meal. A high fiber eating plan not only lowers the glycemic index but also seems to be essential in improving insulin resistance and metabolism regulating hormone efficiency. Consuming good fats such as olive oil while significantly reducing trans-fat and saturated fat intake is another fundamental of the Protein Boost Diet that enhances the effectiveness of a high protein, high fiber, and low glycemic eating plan.
No other diet will combine these eating plan fundamentals that create a lifestyle where your metabolism is constantly operating more efficiently; this is why you, along with millions of other people, have failed the other diets. Of course, being hypothyroid does not make things easy because low thyroid slows down metabolism and you need to make sure that you are perfectly well balanced with thyroid medication at all times and receive the most appropriate thyroid hormone treatment suitable for your own needs. I always found the HCG diet to be quite deceiving because people do lose weight in the beginning, but its efficacy in speeding up metabolism on a long-term basis is questionable. Typically, people will re-gain the weight, and in a lot of cases, may actually gain even more because the system has been challenged and stressed out with caloric deprivation. Indeed, severe caloric restriction makes the body function in survival mode and will make you retain more fat when you eat.
You asked important questions about the cheeses and yogurt. Yes, you can have yogurt and cream cheese at lunch and dinner time, preferably low fat. Dairy is a good source of proteins for both lunch and dinner as long as you use small portions and it is not used as your primary protein source. Also, make sure you do not have any sensitivity to dairy. Do not forget that one of the main protein sources for lunch should be lentils, quinoa, or beans because of their high fiber content. Moreover, these will provide you, in conjunction with another primary protein, the right amino acid profile that will make your metabolism work at a faster pace.