Don’t Call it a Diet, It’s To be Fit

There are so many ways to lose weight. You can try the Beverly Hills Diet. Or eat like a cave man. Why not subsist on liquid protein alone? Or sip cold coffee throughout the day like a certain ELLE fashion assistant, who nibbles off a bit of rice cake only when he feels faint. Restrictive diets are all the rage.

With that said, crash diets rarely work for me. During a recent Master Cleanse—you know, the one where you drink nothing but water laced with maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and lemon—I undid each day of starvation with a late night bodega binge. Editor’s note: Don’t try this at home.

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What you should try, is this new program Fit For Life, created by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. When a friend called Harvey “Blimpo,” he was inspired to ditch the punishing diets that had made him lose and just as quickly gain weight, and really change his life. Harvey’s story resonates because not so long ago, my own recent weight gain was brought to light by a friend who pointed it out, publicly.

“I’ve never seen you eat so much,” she said, as I sliced what would be my second avocado of the day in my boyfriend’s kitchen. “Intimacy looks good on you.” What she meant was intimacy looks heavy on you. “Don’t worry, you’ll lose the weight.” And just like that, I realized that no, I didn’t wash my jeans on high heat. The dry cleaner doesn’t shrink dresses. Salt isn’t to blame for my swollen face. I had simply gotten a bit fat. For me, at least.

If I wanted to go from “Blimpo” to Brooke Shields by fall, I needed a new plan. No more quick-fix fad diets. I needed something that would work longterm. Enter Fit For Life, based upon the principle that the body functions best when “natural cycles” are adhered to. Noon to 8 p.m.. is appropriation (eating and digestion), 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. is assimilation (absorption and use), 4 a.m. to noon is elimination (of waste and food). Simply put, eat and excrete at a certain time and your body will feel better forever.

There are a few key rules to living by Fit For Life, including:

Eat your water: According to Diamond, nothing, not even water itself, hydrates the body like fruits and vegetables, which should make up 70 percent of your daily intake. The other 30 percent is comprised of “concentrated foods” like nuts, grains, and lean protein. Which brings me to Diamond’s next point…

Handle protein with care: Americans are obsessed with protein, but most eat too much, he says. While FFL discourages eating meat (it’s often injected with hormones), lean protein is allowed in small doses when eaten alone.

Be a matchmaker: Meat and potatoes, fish and rice, cereal and milk are all bad couples, but take apart each pair, add a green vegetable, and you’re Diamond-approved.

Fruit needs alone time: According to Diamond, “fruit rots and turns into acid,” when combined with other food in the stomach. According to Fit For Life, fruit is for breakfast and a mid-morning snack, but after 12 p.m., fruit should only be eaten on an empty stomach, except for on all-fruit “for maximum weight loss” days.

Exercise: Just move something. Even a 20 minute walk will do.

But whatever you do, do not overeat: Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Do not overeat. Because everything, even vegetables can be eaten in excess, and excess leads to weight gain.

There goes my voluminous baby carrot habit. Yes, when it comes to diets, I have always gravitated to plans with some kind of “all you can eat” component. Often it’s vegetables or one specific fruit. Maybe Tab or sugarless iced tea with Sweet’N Low. Sometimes, and I’m not proud of it, an entire pack of Bubble Yum. But, Diamond isn’t about that binge life. He’s about being fit. Here, a loose adaptation of the program.

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