Scarsdale Medical Diet—FAQ

Yes, you’re on a diet. …But don’t forget to enjoy yourself too.

  1. How long do you have to stay on the diet?
  2. While on the diet I started to lose weight, and then I stayed the same or gained for two days in a row! I haven’t cheated—am I doing something wrong?
  3. Do you ever eat fast food on the diet? How do you manage?
  4. Do you ever eat at nice restaurants on the diet?
  5. What about the holiday season? Do you stay on the diet at parties?
  6. Can you substitute meals or recipes on the diet?
  7. Other tips and insights.

1. How long do you have to stay on the diet?

Technically, indefinitely—but how much time you time spend on-and-off diet depend on whether you are in active weight-loss mode or maintenance mode.

(Click to see larger size)

Active Weight Loss | I use Google Calendar to keep my entire life organized—not just for my diet. It’s an existing infrastructure that I can leverage to get good results on this diet as well. Since the diet has a set number of days on and off, it’s pretty easy to plan in advance around holidays and vacations. Above is a screen shot of what the end of November (Thanksgiving) and all of December (Christmas and New Year’s Eve) looked like for me. Look, I know it’s dorky as hell, but there’s something more concrete about setting a schedule and then holding yourself accountable to the “appointments” you make for yourself. Don’t forget to schedule fun stuff as well as not-so-fun stuff.

Next, think about how many pounds would you like to lose. If you’re not sure what would be considered a healthy weight, check out this helpful chart. Once you have completed a full three-week cycle, take note of how much you lost and subtract from that how much you gained back. (If you end up gaining 20% of what you lost or more, then you need to take a hard look at your regular habits because you are wasting time and wrecking your body.) With that number in mind, think ahead on how long you will need to stay on this diet cycle until you are at your goal. Schedule all of it in the calendar and stick to it! Adjust as necessary during holiday time.

Maintaining Weight | Final step. Once you reach your goal weight, schedule 5-7 days at the beginning of every month and plan on following a shortened version of the diet. Depending on how well you are maintaining your weight, add or subtract days to this monthly “reset button”.

That’s how you get the weight to come off and then stay off! Yay you!

2. While on the diet I started to lose weight, and then I stayed the same or gained for two days in a row! I haven’t cheated—am I doing something wrong?

Nope. It does seem to be cyclical like that. For example, here’s how my first 12 days on the diet went. Some days I gained, some days I lost a BUNCH, and some days I lost only a little bit. It could be attributed to water retention, digestive cycle or your actual body weight. As you continue to lose weight and reach your ideal, the pounds will probably come off slower, and it might be time to include a workout into your routine. Just stay on the plan and keep moving forward.

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3. Do you ever eat fast food on the diet? How do you manage?

Plan ahead as much as possible to avoid having to do this. As a serial fast-food eater, it’s amazing how much less I spend on eating out now!  I don’t eat out much when I’m on the diet, but sometimes it unavoidable. Some options I’ve found so far:

  • Wendy’s: (my favorite fast-food restaurant on or off-diet) order a “Jr. Hamburger” with extra lettuce and tomato, then take the buns off.
  • McDonalds: order an “Artisan Grilled Chicken Sandwich” with extra lettuce and tomato, then take the buns off.

These options will usually buy me enough time to get to wherever my supplies are to prepare my next meal on the diet.

If these ideas aren’t your thing, look around at your favorite, nearby restaurants. Consider trying out new things on their menu that mostly fit within the rules of the diet. Be wary of salads. Even though they are marketed as a “healthy option” you probably can’t eat it with any of their dressings (maybe bring your own), and even then sometimes they pile on so many toppings that it’s a huge calorie count. Always keep portions small. Don’t order sides or sugared pop.

4. Do you ever eat at nice restaurants on the diet?

I try to avoid this completely. Going out to eat is usually something that I schedule in advance with a loved one or friend, so I aim for times that are off-diet. If that is unavoidable, then I will still go. I don’t restrict myself and order whatever I want to eat or drink. It does set me back as far as “ketosis” goes, but as soon as all the leftovers are consumed, it’s back on the diet I go. I usually count on not losing as much during that cycle and it will set me behind a bit on my future projections. You only live once, you know? Go enjoy yourself and don’t beat yourself up about it.

5. What about the holiday season? Do you stay on the diet at parties?

I don’t avoid holiday parties because of my diet. Similar to eating out at restaurants, I see them as a time to have fun and live it up a little. I will usually eat my diet’s dinner before I attend. I don’t restrict the foods that I’m eating while I’m there, but I do try to keep my nibbling at a minimum. If there’s a veggie tray, I’ll hit that a little harder than usual. The day after the party, I am back to my regularly scheduled menu!

Another common holiday snare is office treats. The departments around me have a central “treat table” where they deposit all kinds of goodies from vendors or various baked goods. I don’t touch these at ALL during the diet. It’s just not worth it. One upside to this is I have gotten quite good at resisting temptation, which by the way is definitely a skill that you get better at with practice.

6. Can you substitute meals or recipes on the diet?

Yes, of course. Just check the calorie count and portion size of the recipe, compare to the list of “DO NOT” foods, and replace any of the recipes that are on my menu. Be especially aware of carbs and sugar, of course.

Try to observe the combination of meat, fruit, dairy, and veggie already indicated. For example, if the menu says pork with broccoli, you could replace with steak and brussels sprouts, but not steak and toast.

7. Other Tips and Realizations

Office “perks” | One other office “perk” that I have year-round is an on-site convenience store that offers impulse-buy snacks. Nearly 95% of the offerings are carbs. One interesting side-effect of this diet is that it has trained me to not buy from there as often, and the trained habit mostly sticks during the “Keep Trim” phase. I spend WAY less money there than I used to.

Richness | After you find yourself on the diet for 12 days and then go back to eating your regular favorites, you’ll find that some things taste SO sweet in comparison. Even a glass of milk tastes super sugary. Eat a single mini Reeses peanut butter cup—holy moly! FLAVOR EXPLOSION! I love Nacho Flavored Doritos—now I only need to eat a handful of them. I talk about the diet as a bit of a “reset button” because Hershey’s and Frito-Lay want me to be addicted to their products. That’s why they develop them to taste so good. If you can understand that rationally in your head, you can kind of “short circuit” that addiction impulse and reign yourself in by simply enjoying the feeling it gives you for what it is, rather than needing to eat a whole bag of Doritos—which will be way better for your waistline! Read: Hedonic Hunger.


Image Source: Pixabay

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