P.I.N.K. may sound cute, but it's not a cakewalk. P.I.N.K., which stands for power, intensity, nutrition, and “kardio,” combines a low-calorie diet with intense exercise. Aimed at women, the plan has been featured on TV’s Dr. Phil and The Doctors.
Like many other diet plans, you go through different phases on the P.I.N.K. method. In the first phase, which lasts 3 to 14 days, you’ll be eating very few calories: about 1,000 a day, according the sample menus.
In the second phase, protein, vegetables, and fruit are on the menu, and you’ll start the plan’s DVD workouts, led by buff, pink-clad trainers.
Once you're near your goal weight, it’s time for the “7-Day Shred” phase, which curbs carbs and fats in favor of a vegetable soup to help you drop those last few pounds.
When you reach your goal weight, you’ll start the maintenance phase, which calls for eating 1,400 to 1,800 calories per day.
What You Can Eat and What You Can't
Fresh vegetables and fruits; “light” proteins such as turkey, chicken, lentils, black beans, and salmon; and high-fiber carbs form the core of the menus; though in Phase 1, your carbs are mostly limited to vegetables.
You can have one to two servings of alcohol a week after the first 9 weeks. Processed foods and refined sugars are not on the menu, so forget cookies and packaged meals.
You can have moderate amounts of caffeine.
Level of Effort: High
You’ll exercise hard on this plan, and the first phase calls for eating very few calories per day.
Limitations: If you’re used to eating a lot of frozen foods, packaged foods, or fast food, you may find this diet very challenging.
Cooking and shopping: Plan to buy a lot of vegetables and fruits, and to cook most lunches and dinners from scratch. The menus call for some special ingredients, such as whey protein, that you may not have on hand.
Packaged foods or meals: No.
In-person meetings: No.
Exercise: Required. Intense exercise is a key component of this plan. The kit comes with three exercise DVDs featuring strength, cardio, and flexibility workouts of increasing difficulty. They may not be suitable for beginners.
Does It Allow for Restrictions or Preferences?
Vegetarians and vegans: Many of the recipes are meat-free. You may alter the menus, or ignore them and use the food lists provided to put together your own meals. Dairy is not a big part of the diet.
Gluten-free: People following gluten-free diets should be able to make substitutions to the menu. The plan’s smoothies call for whey protein; check the product you buy to make sure it’s gluten-free (some are, some aren’t). Also check all of your food labels to make sure there’s no gluten in the ingredients.
What Else You Should Know
Cost: The kit -- three DVDs and the Nutrition Guide & Workbook -- will set you back $59.85 if you buy it through the plan’s web site, and more if you buy it elsewhere. The diet recommends organic foods, which typically cost more than conventional foods.
Support: This is a diet you do on your own. But when you buy the kit, you gain access to an online community, food and activity tracking tools, and trainer support.