If you've tried a variety of diets without success, nutritionist Rania Batayneh has a new approach: Customize your own plan. In an interview on Dec. 26, Rania explained to me how she's created an approach that she feels speeds up weight loss safely. She's put the details into a book: "The One One One Diet: The Simple 1:1:1 Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss" (click for more information).
What's unique about this plan? Simplicity, says Rania, who has a Master’s Degree in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Michigan, School of Public Health and is a certified wellness coach through The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
"Anyone who has tried to slim down is used to adding (calories, points, fat grams, net carbs) and subtracting (pounds, inches, dress sizes)," she pointed out to me.
Just one problem with that approach: Studies show that most dieters fail to keep off the weight that they lose and become frustrated with the endless calculations.
And even worse, researchers say that they gain back more weight, according to a study conducted at UCLA.
"You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back," said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study.
"We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority," warned Mann.
Bottom line according to the UCLA study: "Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people."
However, Rania contends that her plan takes a different tactic: You choose your meals to tailor them to your own preferences and avoid constant calorie- or carbohydrate-counting.
"To be successful on the 'One One One Diet,' readers only need to count to one: one protein, one carb, and one fat at every meal," Rania explained.
The weight loss plan also is designed to avoid feelings of deprivation.
"No food is off limits. As long as you stick with the simple formula: one protein, one carb, and one fat at every meal, your body will naturally balance itself out. You will lose weight, keep your blood sugar stable, minimize cravings and feel full all while eating your favorite foods," Rania says.
What is required: Keeping a food diary, which plays a essential role in weight loss, according to Rania.
"You need to become aware of what you are doing in order to change it. Writing down what you are really eating (so many of us seem to have a selective memory when it comes to what and how much we actually eat) can help build your awareness about your true eating habits," she explains.
Researchers have discovered that diet journals work both in initial weight loss and in weight loss maintenance.
"Studies show that people who keep food journals are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off long term," said Rania.
"A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that people keeping a food diary six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less," she added.
The final piece of the weight loss puzzle: Exercise. Not into fitness?
"For those who do not exercise, we have outlined a few exercise formulas in the book. The key when you exercise is that you enjoy it and that you can see yourself committed to a program or type of exercise," she said.
And you can keep the exercise component simple, says Rania.
"A simple change can be to challenge yourself to walk 5 minutes more each week until you get up to a challenging level. Mixing it up is good. Just like your food, exercising should be fun!" she said.