Rocco DiSpirito attributes his 50-pound weight loss to his Pound a Day Diet, a low-carb Mediterranean-style eating plan.
"I'm a former fat guy with a crooked back and flat feet who worked in a restaurant in New York, surrounded by and indulging in, all the finer things in life," DiSpirito told US News. "And I went from that to an Ironman [triathlete] in a year. If I can do it, anybody can do it."
The 6-foot-1 Rocco slimmed down from 230 pounds to 180 pounds by overhauling his diet, and now boasts an impressive 10% body fat.
DiSpirito revealed his weight loss secrets in his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, The Pound a Day Diet, which he says can help you lose a pound a day every five days without plateaus.
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.
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In response to criticism that his diet plan is too low in calories, DiSpirito said the unique combination of protein, healthy fats and carbs on his menu keeps you from feeling hungry. "I reduce the calories as low as possible, but at the same time provide enough fill power so people don't feel hungry or deprived," he said.
Rocco also exercises regularly by walking, spinning, and cycling. "I wear a FitBit bracelet, and I try to reach at least 10,000 steps every day," he said. "In the summer, I cycle hundreds of miles a week."
DiSpirito said you don't need to exercise to lose weight, but said combining exercise with diet accelerates weight loss and also boosts mood.
Some nutritionists have criticized Rocco's diet as a quick fix, but he said his plan works because it delivers fast results, which fuels motivation to stick with the diet.
"The 'Pound a Day Diet' is as high-velocity as a weight-loss program can get," said DiSpirito, who also wrote the bestselling Now Eat This! Diet. "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."