A lot of my patients don’t believe I was ever overweight (or “heavy” as my parents used to say) because of how I look today. But believe me, it was indeed my reality, once upon a time.
But what comes as an even bigger shock to most people is that I never regained any of the weight I lost.
We’ve talked a lot about yo-yo dieting. So you know how common it is. In fact, The A-List Diet has a whole program specifically tailored for Diet Challenged individuals — people who have lost and regained weight over and over again.
But I’m living proof that as common as it is, you don’t have to regain weight once you lose it.
The biggest challenge for any dieter after they’ve achieved their weight-loss goal is to figure out how to make dieting a way of life — not something you go on and off.
Quite simply, diet must equal lifestyle.
In chapter nine of The A-List Diet, I give you guidelines that you can easily stick to for the long haul. Here are a few of the main takeaways in regards to making the best food choices to maintain your weight loss:
- Protein: After you’ve achieved your weight loss goal, a good rule of thumb is to eat one gram of protein per pound of body weight daily.
- Complex carbs (certain vegetables, legumes, and beans): You’ll find a chart listing the specific foods included in this category on page 148 of The A-List Diet. But in general, it includes different varieties of squash, various kinds of beans, and lentils.These should slowly be introduced back into your diet after you’ve met your goal. Start with ½ cup cooked twice per week for month one of maintenance, then three times a week during the second month. You can increase slightly as you see fit — just be mindful of how they make you feel and the effect they have on your weight. However, keep in mind these aren’t foods you’ll ever be able to eat in unlimited quantities.
- Complex carbs II (other legumes and tubers): Again, you’ll find the full list on page 149 of The A-List Diet, but in general this this group includes more starchy complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes, beets, yams, peas, corn, plantains, and some beans (navy picante, red, red kidney, pinto, white, and black).These foods should be used sparingly. Eat them only after you’ve stayed at your goal weight for at least a month. Monitor your weight closely if you decided to re-introduce them to your diet.
And keep in mind, legumes and beans should never serve as your main source of protein and amino acids — they’re incomplete and an inferior source of protein.
- Grains: I don’t actually recommend re-introducing grains into your diet, even after you’ve met your goal weight. There are dozens of reasons why grains aren’t fit for human consumption — not the least of which is that most grain crops are treated with dangerous pesticides, which make their way into our foods.That said, if you do choose to eat them, I outline the “best” choices on pages 150-151 of The A-List Diet. If you do opt to include them, I recommend limiting your consumption to 1/2 to 1 cup per week. If
- Dairy: Obviously, you can keep eating the kinds of dairy that were “approved” on the weight-loss phase of The A-List Diet. But once you hit your goal, you can also include some of the “sweeter” forms of dairy, which I outline on page 151 of The A-List Diet.However, I do recommend taking it easy on these, and limiting consumption to just a couple of ounces at a time, once or twice a week.
- Fruits, nuts, and seeds: I give a full rundown of the specific items you can re-introduce into your diet during the maintenance phase on pages 152-153 of The A-List Diet.In general, keep in mind that fruits contain sugar. So there are some you will have to limit more than others.
For sweeter fruits — all types of oranges, apricots, mangos, cherries, grapes, bananas, figs — you’ll want to limit your intake to a few times a month, as an occasional treat.
There are fruits lower in sugar you can have more frequently (a few times a week). They include peaches, tangerines, tart cherries, kiwis, green bananas, pomegranates, nectarines, Asian pears, as well as half-servings of grapefruits and apples.
- Condiments: I list the condiments you can re-introduce into your diet after you’ve hit your weight loss goal on page 153 of The A-List Diet. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way with these. Use them sparingly, as many contain sugar or are made from carbs.
When you get right down to it, there’s one general rule of thumb for any food you re-introduce into your diet during maintenance: The less of it you eat, the easier it will be to maintain your weight. That’s not to say you can’t have these foods. It’s just a reminder to take it easy and pay close attention to how your body responds.
The main takeaway here, which I talk at length about in The A-List Diet, is learning how to be successful for a lifetime…not just in the first few weeks.
We recently had an A-Lister write into our Facebook page with a question. Feel free to drop us a line sometime!
With all of this cold weather, I’m craving soup! I love your recipe for bone broth, but want to switch it up with some beef and barley soup. Would a small amount of barley be okay to use in this case? -Lisa G.
Thanks for writing! I recommend avoiding grains as much as possible. Especially if you’re still in the weight loss phase of The A-List Diet.
If that’s the case, you may be able to mimic the texture of barley by using “riced” cauliflower, which you can find in most supermarkets. (I’ve seen it both in the produce section and in the frozen foods section.)
If you have met your goal and are in the maintenance phase of the A-List Diet, you may be able to incorporate barley sparingly into your diet. It’s one of the few grains I think are OK to eat on occasion, since it’s high in vitamin B, selenium, and manganese. (Others I consider to be healthier options are: freekeh, ancients wheats, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, and teff.)
But keep in mind, if you’re trying to maintain weight, stick to only ½ cup to 1 cup of any grain per week. You don’t want to ruin the results you’ve worked to achieve!
Personally, I leave grains for very special occasions.
Recipe of the Week
Speaking of soup, here’s one of my favorite recipes that’s sure to warm you up and keep you feeling full.
Swiss Cauliflower-Emmentaler Soup (page 183 of The A-List Diet)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ounces Emmentaler cheese, cubed
- 2 tablespoons minced chives
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, toasted
- In a medium stockpot, heat the vegetable broth over medium heat but do not boil. Add the cauliflower and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to a blender and puree. Add the nutmeg and cayenne and then season with salt and black pepper.
- Pour the soup into a large serving bowl. Add the cheese and chives and stir until the soup is smooth.
- Garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.