After four years of following one diet plan after another and watching his weight yo-yo up and down, Marv Leicher finally discovered the secret formula for losing weight and keeping it off successfully.
By Mehmet C. Oz, M.D.
Because your body thinks you're about to starve. Thousands of years ago,
hunger was a caveman's primary source of anxiety. When food became scarce, his
body coped with the resultant stress by releasing steroids, which were absorbed
by his omentum — a fat reservoir that hangs like an apron over the stomach —
and promoting fat storage. And since your body doesn't know the difference
between a demanding boss and a depleted herd of mastodons, your omentum will do
"I wasted enough of my own time following somebody else’s idea of the perfect diet plan," says Leicher, 42, an insurance claims adjuster in Iowa. "I don’t want some poor fool following my advice and then wondering why it’s not working for him. The real secret is that there is no one perfect diet. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for someone else."
From One Diet Plan to the Next
Leicher began by following a low-fat diet. For a few months, the pounds dropped away. He bought a new set of pants with a slimmer waist. But before long, the numbers on the bathroom scale started climbing again. Frustrated, Leicher took a friend’s advice and started following the Atkins high-protein/low-carb diet. He started losing weight within the first week. After four months, he was back to wearing his new lean and mean wardrobe.
"I really thought, OK, this is it. I’m home free."
Then came the holidays -- office parties, family dinners -- and when they were over, Leicher had regained 10 pounds and was on his way back to being overweight.
"That’s when I said to myself, 'Wait a minute. I’m a capable guy. This isn’t rocket science. I should be able to figure this out.'"
So Leicher sat down and made a list of the parts of diets that seemed to work for him. He went through all the rest of the advice that he’d heard -- eat breakfast, don’t eat breakfast; choose healthy snacks, avoid snacks -- and added the tips that seemed to help. "I ended up with six rules. Frankly, I’d be embarrassed to show them to anyone else. But they were changes I knew I could make without feeling like I was doing penance for some past sins."
Within three months, he was back down to his college weight. This time, though, he stayed there. "It’s been almost a year, and I don’t even really think of myself as being on a diet. This is just the way I eat."