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The Other Way Park Avenue Women Get Thin

by Monica Ciociola

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Park Avenue princess

If you've been to the bookstore lately, you may have been tempted by the latest crop of hot, new diet books. Sonoma is the new South Beach, rice is the new low-carb, and Park Avenue princesses are the new French women. These authors, like Dr. Atkins before them, probably believe their diets provide the key to real, long-term weight loss. Yet some ideas sound downright gimmicky, like eating nothing but lemon flavors all day long (?!) or eating every other day (I don't know about you, but I like to eat every day). See for yourself . . .

  • Rice DietThe Rice Diet Solution. This diet focuses on foods like rice that are low in fat and sodium but high in calories and fiber. Salt is an appetite stimulant, so when you reduce salt intake, you lose water weight and are less inclined to overeat. The Rice Diet also limits saturated fats and instead relies on carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans) as the main source of nutrition. The fiber cleanses your system and satisfies you so you feel full quickly. Hmmm, I wonder how much fiber is in my Atkins book.

Fitness Advisor Steve Edward's Take: I'm instantly suspicious of any diet claiming that one food is the answer.

  • Sonoma DietThe Sonoma Diet. Sonoma cuisine, with its diverse flavors and emphasis on local fare, is another spin on the Mediterranean diet: enjoy your food without guilt and select the highest quality, freshest, and most wholesome foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, olive oil, lean meats, and wine. Wine and nuts and olive oil, oh my! This is my kind of diet.

Steve's Take: I'm not saying it's bad necessarily, but basing a diet on geography seems like a strange trend. I mean, prisoners are fit. Are we about to see The Prison Diet?

  • QOD DietThe QOD Diet. Eating QOD means eating mostly every other day so you lose weight gradually without pushing your body into starvation mode. During your ON days, you can pretty much eat what you want (as long as you don't binge) so you don't need to feel deprived. During your OFF days, you need to limit food intake to 300–400 calories, but your mineral intake (sodium, potassium, and calcium) should be kept constant. While periodic fasting is very Zen, I'm not sure I've reached that height of enlightenment.

Steve's Take: This is very similar to the often recommended zig-zag diet, which is helpful for keeping your metabolism in line while you're trying to alter your caloric intake. It works as a phase, but is probably not the best lifestyle.

  • Flavor Point DietThe Flavor Point. The Flavor Point diet is based on the premise that flavor variety stimulates your appetite while flavor repetition pacifies it. You can eat a variety of flavors over time, but eating too many flavors at any one time puts your brain's appetite center into overdrive. So you need to organize your flavors into days; for instance, lemon day will kick-off with lemon-poppy seed muffins for breakfast, Lemon Tabbouleh Salad for lunch, lemon-flavored tilapia for dinner, and lemon sorbet for dinner. I love the fact that I can eat muffins and dessert, but what do I do after lemon day and how do I make tilapia anyway?

Steve's Take: I guess if you throw enough ideas out there, something will work for almost anyone. I'm quite certain this is not the key to our obesity epidemic.

  • Quality Food DietHow the Rich Get Thin. In this book, Jana Klauer, a Park Avenue diet doctor, shares the secrets of her fabulously wealthy and skinny clientele. The women exercise daily and consume high-quality protein, calcium, and complex carbs, but stay away from all processed foods. It's quality over quantity. And of course, some nip and tuck and Fifth Avenue fashion helps, too.

Steve's Take: The rich get thin because they can afford the best foods, the best trainers, and the best doctors. And if you buy this book, they'll get even richer, but it's highly unlikely you'll get any thinner. You'll probably just get depressed.

  • Supermarket DietThe Supermarket Diet. This book from Good Housekeeping tries to provide weight loss solutions for real people by making the diet plan as easy as going to your local supermarket and picking up ordinary fresh and packaged foods and avoiding fast food. You'll learn how to read food labels to eat healthy, shop for packaged foods that won't sabotage a diet, and stick to a healthy, balanced menu. So more supermarket, less Super Size Me.

Steve's Take: You mean, if I eat less fast food I'll be more healthy? Shocking!

The bottom line is that you don't need a special, new diet for long-term success. Just eat more natural foods, get more exercise, and you'll feel better, lose weight, and live longer. That's the Beachbody way. Simply refer to the diet guides that came with your fitness program.

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