I lost 30 pounds 20 years ago on the 40-30-30 `zone' diet. This took 8 months and lots of calculations balancing protein, carbohydrate and fat grams so every meal and snack was 40% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 30% fat calories. I lost 25 lbs of fat I'd been carrying around for 8 years. That revealed a fibroid tumor, and I dropped another 10 lbs after surgery. Five pounds of that was tumor, the rest was muscle and water weight. Body fat dropped from 33% to 18%, clothes size from 14 to 4. I ate pricey nutrition bars, protein shakes, cottage cheese and fruit, lean meat, seafood and salads. I was very lean, with more energy than ever before or since. People squawked about the scrawny look so I gained back 10 lbs (eating out of zone), and easily kept my weight at 120 for 10 years. I shipped my zone diet system books to a friend in England, figuring I'd mastered this way of eating. My size 4 jeans fit nicely, but I preferred sloppy size 6 petites. For another 5 years I seemed to eat pretty much what I wanted and maintain 120. In the mid-50's, this set weight began to creep toward 130. Those size 6 pants became work clothes, and my new sloppy jeans were size 8. Net gain in 15 years was 20 lbs., 4 sizes.
A friend also struggles with excess weight he thinks he can lose by exercising. Each January he moves his exercise bike and ab-rocker to the living room, uses them a few times while watching TV, gets sore and moves them back to the bedroom to be clothes racks again. I hate exercise and hope to lose weight by dieting. He can't give up fried foods, big meats or white bread, so his hope rests in exercise. We both need more exercise, more little meals and fewer junk calories. Last year he remarked, 'I think I could make it as a vegetarian.' So I looked at carb lover's, meat lover's, vegan, and DASH diets, trying to find a workable way to get back to a healthier body composition and encourage my friend to tackle his extra 30 lbs. So what makes ICDT my 'last diet book?'
It's a less complicated 'zone' diet. Colbert explains how the body uses fuel, how different people lose weight differently, why some keep it off but most don't, what is `obese' (30% or more body fat in women, 28% in men), why we plateau, and how strategies tailored to individual metabolism can get us past the plateaus to our goal weight/shape. Food consists of carbs, protein and fat. We need a balance of all 3 to function at optimal efficiency. Animal proteins contain fats, so we don't need much added fat. We need to choose better sources of good fats in meats, eggs and nuts, eating smaller, balanced meals and snacks early and often. Digestion burns calories. Little meals ever few hours burn more calories!
Americans typically wolf down 3 big meals a day, preferably buffet style. After reading a complicated, scary vegan book and the ICDT diet book, I cut dairy and animal protein way down--a few ounces of meat, cheese or yogurt once a day at breakfast or lunch, and light rice milk or soy milk. I eat more beans for protein and fiber. Eating less animal protein means I'm hungry every 3 to 4 hours. When I'm hungry I eat. My preferred drink is water, sometimes with lime or lemon slices or mint--refreshing. Colbert's not much on supplements except fiber, which helps you feel full. Sounds like a fairly cheap diet capsule. I haven't used it, as I eat lots of fiber rich foods already. I'll save that trick for the plateaus. In 3 weeks I've lost half the weight I set out to lose, without counting calories or exercising. I'll be happy to reach and maintain 120 lbs. again. I'd prefer to settle at 115 and have a 5-lb. buffer. I remember how great I felt at 115-120 lbs.
On the ICDT diet you soon notice how much better food tastes. Eating more fresh foods, with less salt or sweetener, tastes are sharper. Food is sweeter. Fresh foods have their own salt and sweetness you don't taste if your taste buds are numbed with hyper-sweet diet drinks or over-salted snacks and vegetables. I've never liked the taste of diet drinks, but Colbert says they don't work. Our bodies process artificial sweeteners and sugar in the same way: the pancreas triggers the body to store fat for use later as energy. Diet drinks are low-calorie, triggering the brain to post a starvation alert. Metabolism goes down, fat storage up. Over time, fake sweeteners can cause insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes, further lowering metabolism and the number of calories needed to lose or maintain weight.
Colbert has written other diet books. He apparently decided knowledge is power in this one. Several chapters detail how digestion works, why diets don't, why different people respond to calorie reduction differently, obesity, and why men on a diet lose more weight more quickly than women do. Muscle burns more calories than fat. Toned, exercised muscle burns more calories, even long after exercise. Sigh. Exercise again... He says men need 2200 and women 1800 calories a day or they go into starvation mode. My maintenance plan for staying 110 lbs in the zone was 1300 calories a day, distributed 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fat over 3 meals and 2 snacks. I stubbornly stuck with my sedentary lifestyle and desk job. Muscle mass decreased with age until even my usual activities required fewer calories. The 1300 calories was overeating! Colbert says we need a minimum of an hour of exercise a day for flexibility, strong bones and healthy metabolism. Walking is a good start. He says to eat more often, more purposefully and slowly, so our brains have time to tell our stomachs when we've had enough food. Chew each bite 30-40 times, putting fork or hand-held food down between bites.
The rest of the book has some fairly simple meal plans, recipes and strategies to add more quality nutrition, fiber and exercise to life. I give the book 4 stars because Colbert takes so long to get to the point--a lot like this review! Not bad if you have to know why and how things work, but the enthusiastic scientist takes education to the edge of enough. We need to eat a better balance of nutrients. The ICDT shows us how and how to push through to lose those last 10 lbs. All diets work better with planning: Buy the best ingredients you can, eat at home more to control ingredients, eat out less, and eat intelligently. Taste and savor foods, and have good food choices available at home and on the go. Going without dairy and meats cut my food bill 30%. Eating out less often trimmed the food budget even further. I really can do this, at home, in restaurants, even in fast food drive-throughs.