Can you really lose weight quickly—and (here’s the rub) keep it off? We decided to find out. Four Westchester Magazine staff members tested four different quick-weight-loss diets. And? Read onâ€¦
The Special K Challenge
Dieter: Marisa Iallonardo, Assistant Editor
Claim: Lose up to six pounds in two weeks
The Diet: Replace two meals a day with a serving (one cup) of any variety of Special K cereal and two-thirds cup of skim milk, or any variety of Special K Protein Meal Bars. Eat your third meal as you normally would. Have up to two Special K snacks (cereal bars, snack bars, snack bites, or protein water) per day, as many fruits and vegetables as you like, and drink beverages as you usually do.
How Much She Lost: Four pounds
The Experience: “I found that I wasn’t very hungry during the day, most likely because I could eat lots of different fruits and vegetables. I stuck to the traditional route, eating cereal for breakfast and lunch and one cereal bar during the day instead of the other choices. By the time dinner rolled around, I couldn’t wait to eat â€˜real food.’ Although it wasn’t a particularly hard diet to adjust to, I don’t think I’ll be eating Special K cereal for a long time.”
Two Weeks Later: “I’m back to eating sandwiches and popcorn for lunch, but have managed to keep off two pounds.”
The Two-Day Juice Fast
Claim: “Heal, detoxify, and revitalize your body and spirit,” say the experts at The New Age Health Spa in Neversink, New York.
The Diet: It’s easier to fast in a protected environment, away from temptations, and The New Age Health Spa in Neversink, New York (Sullivan County, www.newagehealthspa.com), which provides spa-goers with a weekend fasting treatment, is where our dieter went. Light meals are served at the beginning and end of the fast, and fasters can supplement with potassium broth, herbal tea, and water with lemon. For breakfast, fasters drink a 16-ounce fruit-juice combo. Lunch and dinner vegetable juices consist of combinations such as cabbage/spinach/fennel. Fasters drink these juices for two days. A hydro-colon therapy service is also offered, although our dieter passed on the treatment.
Weight Lost: Seven pounds
The Experience: “I never felt particularly hungry during my forty-two hour fast. I napped, read, had a massage, napped. And I eased off the fast slowly, eating only fresh fruit and steamed vegetables for several days after.”
Three Weeks Later: Nancy is back to bad habits and PÃ¢tisserie Lulu cheesecakes.
The New Year Diet
Claim: “You’ll get a blast of daily nutrition plus feel full and satisfied while you lose weight,” claims Westchester-based nutritionist Joy Bauer on www.yahoo.com, where she serves as a nutrition and weight-loss expert.
The Diet: For this four-day diet, Bauer provides a day-by-day, meal-by-meal list of what to eat. Meals include such varieties as Caesar salad with grilled chicken or shrimp, scrambled eggs, Chinese take-out, and a cheddar-turkey burger with mixed greens. All meals are interchangeable and include daily “fun food” options such as four to five cups of light popcorn , 1ounce of dark chocolate, and Â½ cup of low-fat ice cream. Thirty minutes of daily exercise and drinking lots of water are recommended.
Weight Lost: One pound
The Experience: “It was hard. I always felt hungry. I had to adjust a lot to make sure I was eating â€˜fat free’ or â€˜reduced calorie’ foods.”
Two Weeks Later: Angie is continuing to try and eat healthy, and kept off the pound.
The Three-Day Diet
Dieter: Marta Kujawa, Assistant to the Art Department
Claim: Lose up to 10 pounds
The Diet: The three-day diet details exactly what to eat for each meal. Examples include black coffee or tea, one egg, one-half of a banana, and one slice of toast for breakfast; one-half cup of tuna, one slice of toast, black coffee or tea for lunch; and three ounces of any lean red meat or chicken, one cup each of green beans, carrots for dinner and regular vanilla ice cream and one apple for dessert. Drinking four glasses of water a day is recommended, and seasoning with certain flavors (lemon, soy sauce, salt and pepper) is permitted.
Weight Lost: Two pounds
The Experience: “It was not easy to adjust at all. It was too big of a jump from â€˜eating’ to â€˜not eating.”
Two Weeks Later: Marta gained both pounds back.