Marv Leicher spent four years trying different man’s diets while observing his weight fluctuate up and down. Eventually, he figured out the key to losing weight and keeping it off for good.
And he’s not going to tell anyone.
Leicher, a 42-year-old insurance claims adjuster from Iowa, claims that he has wasted enough of his own time trying to follow someone else’s ideal diet regimen. “I don’t want some moron to take my advice and then wonder why it isn’t working for him. The truth is that there is no such thing as a perfect diet. What is effective for one person may not be effective for another”.
Iterating through Different Diets
Leicher began with a low-fat diet. The pounds fell off for a few months. He purchased a new pair of slimmer-waisted pants. However, the bathroom scale’s readings soon began to rise once more. Leicher became discouraged and, on the recommendation of a friend, began consuming high-protein, low-carb meals. Within the first week, he began to lose weight. He returned to donning his new, muscular wardrobe after a four-month break.
“I truly believed, OK, this is it. I’m finally at home”.
Then came the holidays, with office parties and family dinners, and by the end of them, Leicher had gained 10 pounds and was back to being overweight.
“‘Wait a minute,’ I thought to myself. I’m a capable individual. It’s not rocket science. ‘I think I can figure it out”.
So Leicher sat down and jotted down a list of the diet components that seemed to work for him. He reviewed all of the other suggestions he had heard eat breakfast, don’t eat breakfast; pick healthy snacks, don’t eat snacks and added the ones that had seemed to be most helpful.
“I came up with six rules in the end. To be honest, I’d be ashamed to show them to anyone else. But I was confident that I could make those adjustments without feeling as though I was atoning for past transgressions”.
He had lost three months to get back to his college weight. This time, however, he remained. “It’s been almost a year, and I no longer consider myself to be on a diet. This is exactly how I eat”.
How Do Popular Diet Plans Fare?
What is effective? What doesn’t work? There are many options, with about 38,000 diet books currently in print and 2,500 new ones hitting the shelves each year. In addition, magazines regularly feature articles touting the latest fad diet. Researchers have recently joined in on the fun.
Millions of dollars and many years have been invested by the National Institutes of Health and university medical centers across the country to test the Atkins diet against the South Beach diet and the American Heart Association diet against the Zone diet.
Genuine surprises have occurred along the way. The low-fat diet, which is strongly recommended by a number of reputable organizations, hasn’t proven to be as secure or efficient as most experts had originally believed. On low-fat diets, some individuals do succeed in losing weight, but this weight loss is typically slow, occurring only once or twice a month, at most.
Additionally, research indicates that as levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) decline, so do levels of good cholesterol. A common side effect of low-fat diets is an increase in triglycerides, a separate risk factor for heart disease.
Low-carb, high-protein diets of which Atkin’s is the model have proven to be much safer and more efficient than anticipated, much to the surprise of almost everyone. This was a diet that included eggs and bacon and advised people to avoid bread.
Nonetheless, study after study has shown that high-protein/low-carb diets have real benefits for people who are overweight or obese.
The majority of the statistics are pushed in the right direction by these diets, according to Ronald Krauss, MD, a senior researcher at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and a representative for the American Heart Association.
“Triglycerides and LDL cholesterol rise while good cholesterol levels stay high, while body weight and body fat decrease. Low-carb diets also improve insulin sensitivity without causing weight loss, making them more protective against diabetes”.
The best diet news is that people who follow a high-protein, low-carb diet typically lose weight more quickly than people who follow a low-fat diet.
Stanford researchers tested the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and LEARN diets in the latest in a series of studies pitting one popular diet against another. In comparison to volunteers following any other diet, those following the Atkins diet lost twice as much weight after a year.
However, if you want to drastically change your shape, the statistics aren’t promising. The average loss of weight was 10.3 pounds.
In fact, the Atkins diet has won out in the first few months of numerous recent head-to-head comparison studies of popular diets, leading to greater and faster weight loss. Many experts now believe that protein-rich foods are more satiating than carbohydrate-rich foods.
Unfortunately, the Atkins advantage usually fades by the end of the year. For instance, in a 2006 British study comparing four well-known weight loss programs, volunteers lost weight more quickly on the high-protein/low-carb diet.
However, after a year, all four diets had resulted in approximately the same weight loss, 13 pounds. Furthermore, several studies comparing diets have had extremely high dropout rates. Even with scientists watching their backs, it turns out that most diets are difficult to stick to.
Optimal Dietary Strategy
Disheartening? Sure. However, there are some individual success stories and crucial information for anyone looking to lose weight hidden behind the generally depressing news about fad diets and well-liked weight loss programs.
“If you look at all these studies, you’ll see that on almost any diet, some people do very well and others don’t lose any weight at all,” says Janet King, PhD, a nutrition professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
A preliminary benefit for weight loss may come from high-protein diets. However, all diets for losing weight have one thing in common: they all restrict particular food groups, which lowers the number of calories consumed. “Most diets work in the short term because they simplify decisions about what to eat,” says King.
“They eliminate variety from the diet. Some people limit their carbohydrate intake. Some people limit their intake of fat. However, the end result is that they provide a way to consume fewer calories”.
Another straightforward factor that contributes to some people’s success is motivation. According to King, “What really matters is compliance,” which is another way of saying that a person is motivated enough to follow a diet.
In other words, the best diet plan is one that you are most likely to stick to over time. And this is likely to differ from person to person.
Men who are essentially vegetarians will struggle to stick to the Atkins diet. Men who eat steak and eggs are unlikely to stick to a low-fat, mostly vegetable diet for long.
The University of Minnesota’s Kathleen M. Vohs, a psychologist, asserts that it’s critical to pick a plan that most closely matches your eating preferences. She gives an intriguing reason. “Research shows that self-control is a finite resource,” says Vohs.
“People may find it easy to give up something the first time. The ability to exercise self-control, however, starts to deteriorate when people are asked to do so repeatedly”.
In other words, it’s simpler to eat a healthy breakfast than to follow a diet plan once dinnertime arrives, especially if it means denying yourself of foods you enjoy. And consequently, it’s simpler to maintain a diet that doesn’t forbid the majority of the foods you enjoy.
A Man’s Diet Program
That’s a lesson Marv Leicher learned when he decided to ditch popular diets and create his own weight-loss plan. In essence, he says, “I cherry-picked from the approaches that seemed to be the simplest for me to implement.
I religiously stopped drinking fruit juices and soft drinks because it wasn’t a big deal. There are no liquid calories. I’m not the type of guy who can eat only half of what’s in front of him, so I stopped dividing portions. Instead, I decided against dessert.
I used to take trips outside for lunch with coworkers. Currently, I take a cup of yogurt and some trail mix with me, go for a quick walk for 30 minutes, and then eat lunch. That sort of thing.”
Minor details. However, for Leicher, it all adds up to big results. He’s lost 30 pounds in the last year. Most importantly, he’s keeping them off.