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The Sonoma Diet: Promoting a Lifestyle

New diet plan emphasizes power foods that will have lasting effects on your waistline.

3 Waves to Weight Loss continued...

"It's too simplistic," says Zied. "I have cookies in my cabinet, but moderation is preached in my home."

She sees the elimination of fruit in any diet as a red flag, especially since fruits have a bounty of proven benefits. Clemens doesn't see this as much of a concern since fruit is only banned for 10 days.

Nonetheless, Clemens, Zied and Guttersen agree that Wave 1 of the Sonoma Diet will likely translate into rapid weight loss. The amount of poundage lost will depend upon the individual and how much weight they have to lose. In general, Guttersen says people can expect to be 2 to 5 pounds lighter around the waist in the first 10 days of the diet.

"I don't know anyone who's followed the program, but I'd be surprised if they didn't lose weight," says Zied. For most dieters, she would have preferred a few more calories on Wave 1, but she understands that the rapid weight loss may be a built-in psychological boost for the diet.

Zied prefers Wave 2 of the Sonoma diet, which encourages more gradual weight loss. During this phase, Guttersen says people can expect to lose a 1/2 pound to 1.5 pounds per week.

"Wave 2 encourages a more sustainable amount of weight loss," says Zied. "I say, get rid of the gimmick, and just go to Wave 2, and that's giving you a basically healthy diet with some indulgences."

Wave 2 allows the same foods in Wave 1, but adds fruit, more vegetables, fat-free yogurt, some sugar-free sweets, an occasional piece of dark chocolate, honey, and some wine. Dieters are encouraged to stay on this phase of the diet until they reach their target weight.

Once all the unwanted pounds are shed, a dieter can move on to Wave 3. This stage promotes the same principles of healthy eating in Waves 1 and 2 but recommends boosting servings of fruits and vegetables and indulging in an occasional treat such as butter, dark chocolate, dessert, and soda. It also encourages more experimentation with different foods and different ways of enjoying meals.

Toward a Healthy Weight and Lifestyle

To accelerate weight loss and to maintain weight, the Sonoma diet endorses physical activity. Clemens appreciates the brief mention about exercise but wishes Guttersen devoted more pages to it. Exercise, he says, is an essential element to overall health.

"'What is my body composition? How's my cardiovascular health? While I'm losing weight, what have I done to my muscle tone? Have I reduced my blood pressure?'" asks Clemens. "That overall picture improves with light moderate exercise."

"If there was a sequel to the book, I think [Guttersen] would do well to team up with an exercise expert that has the friendly style that she has," says Clemens.

For dieters, he suggests looking for fun ways to incorporate physical activity into weight loss efforts. If a person eats more almonds than is recommended, for instance, he suggests walking around the block.

Weight loss for life does take some effort, but it's possible,

"You really have to be of the mindset that you want to change your life, and you don't have to go to extremes to do it," says Zied. "Cutting your portions of energy-dense foods, incorporating more physical activity, and doing simple things are really going to make a difference over time."

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