00-The Science of Dieting Weight Loss Program

Anyone who has dieted before knows that diets don’t work long-term.  And yet, time and time again we continue falling for them thinking that THIS TIME WILL BE DIFFERENT, THIS TIME WILL BE THE ONE (Table 00.1).  Most diets are not designed to work, they are designed to be “easy” and offer a compelling narrative of why they are different from the rest.  If you’ve tried multiple fad diets and failed, don’t beat yourself up for trying them.  There are millions of marketing dollars, compelling testimonials, and “evidence” to show that each fad diet works.

Table 00.1. A Rough Timeline of the Most Popular Fad Diets Across Recent Decades.

Knowing that fad diets don’t work is easy (you’ve been there and tried that) but SCIENTIFICALLY PROVING they don’t work (or aren’t as effective as they claim) is much more challenging.  At The Science of Dieting, we’ve made the painstaking effort to curate, categorize, and analyze over 5000 scientific research papers on over 1000 categories on weight loss, metabolism, and fad diets.  Our goal was to provide you with the evidence to show that fad diets don’t work (it’s not your fault) and to help you build a diet program that gives you the best chance of success.  We have made the research papers we found and categorized available in a website called The Paper Database.

If you are interested in diving into the scientific literature to see what the experts say about weight loss, be our guest.  But not everyone wants to nerd out on research.  Some people just want to know what to do.  We’ve done our best to summarize what we feel gives you the best shot at weight loss success (Table 00.2).

Table 00.2. The Science of Dieting's Weight Loss Program
Table 00.2. The Science of Dieting's Weight Loss Program

Based upon our research of the academic literature on weight loss, your weight loss journey should be broken down into three phases:

  1. Phase #1: Primary weight loss phase lasting up to 8 weeks (4 – 8 weeks) and focusing on portion control. We recommend you eat a combination of portion-controlled low-calorie breakfast items, meal replacements, delivery, kits, TV dinners, and some snacks to keep your calorie total between 800 – 1200 calories/day.
  2. Phase #2: Secondary weight loss phase lasting up to 8 weeks and focusing on meal planning and home cooked meals. We recommend you eat home cooked meals for an additional 4 – 8 weeks and aim to achieve 1200 – 1800 calories/day.
  3. Phase #3: Reassess and determine what is next. Here you will begin weight maintenance, continue phase #2 or re-enter phase #1.

During each of these three phases it will also be important for you to

  • Start Exercising with the goal of completing 300 minutes of exercise/week. Do not increase your total exercise by more than 10% each week to prevent injury.
  • Self-Monitor Your Food/Beverage Intake (i.e., Track Calories).
  • Weigh Yourself at least weekly.

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