- Diet & Weight Loss
The Digest Diet Review - the First Four Days
In the past year, I've gained approximately 15 lbs, mostly from inactivity but also due to my no longer needing some medication that helped keep my weight in check. Not needing to exercise or watch what I ate have both led to this weight gain. In addition, I am 48 years old but I'm not going to use that as an excuse for the 15 lbs. but it does help complete the picture of my situation.
I decided to explore the Digest Diet (by Liz Vaccariello for Reader's Digest) after reading about it in, you guessed it, Reader's Digest. The book provides a nice rationale for the choices available in the diet. The author outlines "fat increasers" and "fat decreasers." Some of the information is common sense (sitting at a desk for work instead of working at a job that requires us to be physically active is a fat increaser) but some of it was new to me (toxins, chemicals, and compounds can adversely affect our fat-burning ability.) Every point was backed with research and succinctly presented. I like that.
The author presented the information in a more conversational (as opposed to clinical) tone so it was an easy, fast read. The book also included before and after pictures of people who completed the diet. All I could think as I read this book is that "I could do this. I need to lose only about 10 lbs so this should be easy." I'll be honest. Following the diet was easy; dropping the pounds was not.
Pros: I lost .2 (yes one-tenth of a pound) and 1.75" off belly, on-line resources (ex. shopping lists), interesting book that's easy to read
Cons: Not much flavor, expensive, specific foods not what I typically have on hand
Basics about the First Four Days
The Digest Diet seemed easy enough when I read about it. The diet has 3 stages. The first phase, Fast Release, lasts four days and, according to the book, "floods your body with nutrition". The main foods are shakes for two meals/day and soup for one meal/day. Only one snack is allowed.
The other daily components of the program are walking 45-60 minutes, laughing, and completing three 1-minute activity bursts.
How many different diet programs have you tried in your life?
The Twice-Daily Shake
The author provided a master recipe for six fruit shakes. I tried three of them and found only one - the banana, peanut butter, and cocoa - to have any sort of flavor. The ingredients are nonfat yogurt (not a staple), light coconut milk (not a staple and found in the Asian food section of my local grocery store), nonfat milk powder (not a staple), flaxseed meal (not a staple and found in the vitamin section at Walmart), and avocado (option and not a staple). Thank goodness natural peanut butter was on the ingredients list because the other choices (almond butter, tahini, and sunflower seed butter) were all over $5 each at Walmart). Getting ready to start this diet cost me more than $35 when I include the soup ingredients.
Liz Vaccariello - Author of The Digest Diet
This was my favorite part of the diet. The snacks were easy to prepare and I actually had some of the food on hand. My favorite was chopped grape tomatoes mixed in non-fat cream cheese seasoned with a little oregano and served on a stalks of celery. Another snack I liked was rolling up a reduced-fat mozzerella stick in a couple of romaine lettuce leaves. Fast, easy, no mixing, and no clean-up! I didn't try the bell pepper boats with ricotta cheese (yuck to both ingredients) or the seasoned Greek yogurt served with steamed broccoli or cauliflower.
The book included five recipes for a variety of soups. Only two of the recipes contained ingredients I would actually eat (darn my picky eater tendencies) so I picked the one that I thought I would like for four days in a row. Each recipe makes enough to last for the initial four days of the diet. The one I chose was Italian Shrimp & Vegetable Soup. The soup in the picture looked filling and tomato-y. (I really like tomatoes!). In actuality, the soup tasted like water with shrimp undertones. Since I'm on a limited income this summer - teachers in NC don't get paid in June or July and need to wait until the end of August for payday - I didn't want to spend the money on the special ingredients for a different soup. In retrospect, and to give the diet a more well-rounded review, I should have tried the other soup I thought looked good.
The Digest Diet Daily Summary
- Two fruit shakes
- One snack
- Two-cup serving of soup
- 45-60 minutes walking
- Three 1-minute exercise bursts
Other than not losing even one pound despite following the directions to the letter and the money I spent to not lose weight, the one part that I didn't like was all of the dish washing required from making the shakes. It may sound like a minor issue but this part got on my nerves. Since I run my dishwasher about once each week (hey, I'm single and live alone. I don't use a lot of dishes.), I had to wash all of the measuring cups, spoons, and blender two times each day. When I'm not on the diet, I may get only a knife dirty when I prepare lunch.
All in all, it was an easy diet to follow. I do not plan on following the next 17 days of the three week plan since I didn't see the weight loss results from the Fast Release section. I will celebrate the almost-2" I lost off my belly (but I really get a thrill when I see the number on the scale get smaller) so I plan to watch my calories and amp up my activity level without a defined plan. I will use some of the info I learned about fat releasing/increasing foods and for that information I am thankful.
I would love to read your comments about this, especially if you've tried this diet and have seen more drastic weight loss results than I did.