Celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito has maintained his 50-pound weight loss for eight years, thanks to his low-carb, Mediterranean-style "Pound A Day Diet," he told CBS News.
The 6-foot-1 DiSpirito slimmed down from 230 pounds to 180 pounds by following his own diet, which he detailed in his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Pound A Day Diet.
Rocco, a boyish-looking 47, said his diet can help you lose five pounds every five days. In phase one, dieters consume six low-carb, protein-rich meals totaling 850 calories on weekdays and 1,200 calories on the weekends.
The following week, you consume more calories, but every week the diet changes, so your body never gets used to it, helping you avoid the inevitable weight-loss plateaus that frustrate so many people.
While the calorie intake sounds restrictive, DiSpirito said the unique combination of protein, healthy fats and carbs in his meal plans keep you from feeling hungry.
The Pound A Day Diet has been criticized for causing weight loss too quickly (which some health experts say is unsafe), but DiSpirito insists his plan is “a diet that’s built on a foundation of medicine, science and deliciousness."
He said research shows that fast weight loss keeps dieters motivated. "People who experience rapid results at the beginning of the diet tend to stay on the diet longer," said Rocco, citing studies from the University of Melbourne and the University of Florida. “When you get rapid results, you’re more motivated.”
DiSpirito also said it's a fallacy that you can't eat well on a budget, saying his menu and recipes are inexpensive. Rocco is convinced of the weight-loss and health benefits of his diet because it has worked for him and on 36 people he personally tested it on before writing his book.
"The Pound a Day Diet is as high-velocity as a weight-loss program can get," he said. "Only liposuction provides faster results. I did the research. I know it works better [than liposuction] because I personally tested it on over three dozen people."
The Food Network star said he suffered from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and chronic fatigue six years ago. He used his own diet to transform his health, and has never felt better.
"I was faced with my own declining health due to obesity," Rocco said. "I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels. I was prescribed statin drugs and blood pressure drugs that lower libido and have a lot of terrible side effects. I was given the option: the prescription medicine option, or diet and exercise. I made the right choice and picked diet and exercise.”
After shedding 50 pounds in a few months, DiSpirito competed in an Ironman triathlon (the first of many since then) and experienced off-the-charts energy and health. Rocco now exercises regularly by walking at least 10,000 steps a day, spinning, and cycling hundreds of miles a week during the summer.
“I am surrounded by the most delicious food available on the planet every day of my life," said Rocco, who also wrote the bestseller, Now Eat This. "If I can do it, anyone can do it."