Dr. Liz on the Fast Metabolism Diet
My interest in trying the Fast Metabolism Diet came from 2 things: first, several patients bringing it up to me, and second, many of my patients telling me they want to lose weight only using food. Up to now my biases have been these: due to my personality and my super busy life, I DO like meal replacements – shakes, bars, etc, and I DON’T like counting anything – calories, points, etc. Let me clarify that Haylie Pomroy does sell her own shakes and bars, and I will most likely try these at some point, but I was determined to not use them in order to really try to use only food and see how I felt.
The Fast Metabolism Diet was developed by celebrity nutritionist Haylie Pomroy to help people out of a metabolism slump. I watched Haylie on The Dr. Oz Show earlier this year, and Dr. Oz did a great demonstration of why metabolism slows down. He had a spinning wheel which at first spun around easily and fast, similar to many people at younger ages who could eat all sorts of things and not gain weight (I was in this category but many of my patients are not). As we get older, our hormones go out of balance and start to slow things down – he put up a sign on the wheel that started to slow it down. Then we go on diets (he added another sign to the wheel), and this often slows down our metabolism even more and can even have the paradoxical effect of causing weight GAIN! Then, as Dr. Oz says, you throw in a couple of bad habits (third sign onto the wheel), and the metabolism slows down even more.
The Fast Metabolism Diet is basically as follows: 3 phases in a week, repeated for 4 weeks. Each week goes like this: Phase 1 on Monday and Tuesday favors complex carbs, with lots of fruits, which is aimed at soothing the adrenals (the main source of food cravings). Phase 2 on Wednesday and Thursday favors proteins, which is aimed at unlocking fat stores. Phase 3 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday includes carbs and proteins and adds healthy fats and oils, which is aimed at increasing burning of your own body fat as fuel. You don’t have to do the Phases on these exact days, but she suggests it and it does make it easier. Also, you end up eating lots of good stuff on the weekend which works for me!
Each phase has an assigned exercise or activity. In Phase 1 (complex carbs, “unwind” adrenal stress) you do at least one aerobic workout – we had fun doing a kickboxing and jump-roping session in my garage! In Phase 2 (proteins, “unlock” fat) you do at least one weight lifting session – again I did this in home-style fashion with free weights. In Phase 3 (healthy fats, “unleash” fat burning) you do yoga, meditation or even get a massage in order to lower the stress hormone cortisol and increase the circulation of fat-burning enzymes all over the body.
So what’s my experience with this 4-week program? Well, after the first week of eating what seemed like a LOT of food, and doing more food prep and cooking in one week than I have ever done before in my life, I was happy to have lost 2 pounds in this first week. I followed Haylie’s suggestion of cooking extra the first week to freeze for this week. Because of following her advice, the thought of non-stop food prep and cooking in Week 2 was much less daunting. During Week 2, we discovered the iPhone app which was incredibly helpful for the rest of the time we did the program.
Also speaking of food prep, I would not have been able to stick to this program if it weren’t for the special man in my life who did the program with me and is extremely good at being organized, following a program, and is a great cook. So, you might ask, how did he do in the first week on the program? My friends, he lost 13 POUNDS in ONE WEEK! I know, it really is unfair, but it’s just true that men’s bodies are designed to release weight, and women’s bodies are designed to hold on to weight. As I often say, thinking back to our cavemen and women ancestors, men’s bodies are designed to chase the tiger, and women’s bodies are designed to make new people (doesn’t even matter if we do these things or not!).
One more note: the Fast Metabolism Diet also includes exercise – aerobic exercise for Phase 1, muscle-building exercise for Phase 2 (for example, something involving weights or resistance), and a calming (cortisol-lowering) activity for Phase 3 (can be yoga or even a massage). I like reading Haylie’s information on this topic because it fits with my clinical experience that overexercising or lack of exercise variety can impair weight loss efforts.
Overall I felt really good on the program due to eating even more cleanly than I normally do (and I do not usually eat the S.A.D. – Standard American Diet!). I did not feel fantastic on days when it was hard for me to stick to the schedule, and I know the importance of eating regularly throughout the day in order to stimulate metabolism. I stuck to it the way Haylie Pomroy designed it and gave it a decent effort, only falling way off the wagon over Halloween.
It turned out just as Haylie promised: eat a lot of food and still lose weight. I became friends again with food groups I had grown apart from (fruit, hummus, avocados and nuts, to name a few) which was delightful. The hormone balancing work that I do with my patients does not make up for eating foods that don’t work well with our metabolism. My work just sets the stage for a good response to our own efforts to eat cleanly.