A few weeks ago I attended a springtime pool party. Scrolling through the pictures on my phone the next day I realized that I needed to climb out of ‘winter hibernation mode’ and jump start my diet— and self-confidence. If anyone out there is also feeling the increasing pressure to get ready for summer and the many shirtless activities ahead, I hope this post will offer some motivation to put a plan into action!
As some of you may remember, I shared my personal story last year on how I lost 16 lbs in two weeks. It was a scary post to write but the amount of support that poured in afterwards made it all worth the effort. Many of you have written in asking how I’ve kept it up as well as wanting to know if I have any insights to share. Well… today’s the day.
I have done the Scarsdale diet a few times but my turn at it last year definitely yielded the best results. The satisfaction of getting to my goal weight resulted in my overall consciousness of what I was eating as well as an accelerated drive to maintain a strong workout regimen all year long. With that being said, I did gain a few pounds back over the winter months but kept most of it off! This year, I decided to do the diet again but instead of focusing on the amount of weight lost, I would focus on the transformation of the shape of my body.
First and foremost, you must schedule the time on your calendar. A few weeks ago I took a look at my schedule, spotted a hole and immediately blocked it off from any social or travel obligations. Just like that, the strategy had been put into motion. I was going to take control of my body and do an abbreviated diet to shed off the extra pounds I had tacked on over the winter. I set a goal to lose about 8lbs in 10 days to maximize time as well as results.
By giving myself a few weeks to mentally prepare for the diet, I was able to ready myself emotionally by the time it was ready to commence. I preface with this as I believe you must mentally and emotionally prep prior to starting a diet. It’s a jolt to the system and psyche to go from normal eating to a regimented diet. In the end, 10 days is truly a small price to pay for the other 355.
The diet I follow is based on the Scarsdale Medical Diet, a carefully planned two-week eating pattern that on average offers 7-15 lbs of weight loss— if followed properly. As mentioned, I have done this diet before and lost 16 lbs in two weeks, so I know for a fact it works! However what really draws me to this diet is not just the success but the fact that I have been able to keep the weight off and function normally after it’s over. Again, for me, this is what it’s all about.
To give you a quick refresh on my selected diet, the Scarsdale, I first learned about it years ago from a friend of mine who was a fan. She told me it was a medical diet from the 1970’s that she had personally done and seen great results. Skeptical, I did some research and found it to be very interesting and actually reasonable. I liked that you could still eat nearly all the food groups and that the meals were different each day. By switching up the foods, apparently your body is 'tricked' and cannot expect what is coming so it forces your metabolism to speed up and work harder. Considering it was pretty dated, I was pleased to discover this amazing website that provides a resourceful and simplified take on the diet which I use religiously as a guideline for meals and for motivation.
Even though it’s not the prettiest site, it really lays out all the details in a straightforward way that you can reference anytime from your phone (I bookmarked the website) and also has advice and motivational boards for when you need support. Same as last year, this is the website that allowed me to build my diet that I have listed out below.
Please reference this website for exact rules of what to eat each day for this diet. Below are some of my favorite meals, it’s my hope that you might enjoy some of them, too.
Half of a grapefruit, 1 slice of toast and black coffee
Rolled turkey slices, sliced tomato with pepper and light salt & carrots
Fresh sautéed shrimp (tails removed), zucchini sautéed with light seasoning, one slice of protein bread toasted & ½ Grapefruit
Blueberries, sliced strawberries, raspberries and blackberries mixed together with ½ cup cottage cheese
Grilled lean hamburgers with seasoning, brussels sprouts lightly steamed and sautéed + salad with tomatoes and cucumbers with balsamic dressing
Tuna fish with chopped celery, onion and pickles. Use salt and pepper and some mustard to add some more flavor and pair with ½ grapefruit
Grilled turkey breasts with gluten-free soy sauce and mustard marinade along with a salad with tomatoes, shredded carrots, cucumbers and balsamic dressing
Two eggs scrambled, sautéed zucchini, sliced tomatoes, ½ cup low fat cottage cheese, and 1 slice of protein bread. If you bring your lunch to work you can heat the eggs and zucchini up in the microwave or eat it cold
Oven roasted chicken breasts with salsa and a side of sautéed spinach with garlic and roast green peppers
Assorted slices of cheese such as light cheddar or light provolone (I ate 4 slices but it says you can have as many as you wish). Lots of sautéed spinach and 1 slice of protein bread toasted.
Oven baked salmon with lemon juice and garlic, along with lightly steamed and sautéed broccoli and cauliflower with salt and pepper and 1 slice protein bread
Blueberries, Sliced Strawberries, Raspberries and Blackberries all mixed together. Blend a ½ cup cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon low-fat sour cream and mix it in with the berries and crush four walnuts to sprinkle on top. Sounds odd but it tastes like a berry sundae
Turkey lettuce tacos: sauté lean turkey meat with light taco seasoning. Pair with side of salsa, chopped tomatoes and onions then use butter lettuce leaves as the ‘tortilla.' Complete with ½ grapefruit and sautéed spinach with garlic and roast green peppers
Rolled turkey slices, sliced tomato with pepper and light salt, and side of sautéed broccoli
Marinated flank steak with slightly steamed and sautéed brussels sprouts. Marinate at least 6 hours before to enhance the taste. We used a sriracha chili sauce marinade from Trader Joes, which was delicious
Second week, repeat the week before but you can try different recipes and vegetables. I would recommend repeating your favorite meals and then possibly coming up with new ones. For example you could do a shrimp salad instead of a chicken salad. Or roast lamb instead of roast chicken. Reference this website for more recipes and guidelines that are helpful.
*I ended the diet on Day 10 this time since I didn’t have as much weight to lose but I highly recommend finishing it out to Day 14 if you have more aggressive weight goals.
On average, people see between 8-15 lbs of weight loss in the two weeks. The key to hitting that higher amount is not breaking any of the rules. Stick to exactly what this website says and substitute accordingly. The only rule I have to break is putting skim milk in my coffee each morning, otherwise I really make sure to stick to the rules!
This is a diet that you actually don’t have to work out on to lose weight. In-fact, you should really limit your workouts depending on your energy levels. Personally, I love fitness so I continued my daily workouts with an emphasis on group and cardio classes..I may not have given each class 100%, but I did the best I could with the energy at my disposal. For some reason this made going to the gym so much easier and even made the classes go by faster! Bottom line- if you change your point of view, a workout can be less stressful and more enjoyable especially if you know it's helping you hit your goals.
If you choose to workout, layout your workout clothes the evening before. Pick clothes you feel comfortable in to help ease any worries. Even fill your water bottle and put it in the fridge! This sets your intention and makes you all the more confident when your alarm goes off in the morning.
Try to avoid any luncheons, social drinks or dinner plans. If you already have plans, try to switch them to a coffee instead. Or, if not changeable, look at the restaurant menu in advance and go into the meal with a game-plan knowing what to order. Sometimes I get a side of pickles as an appetizer when everyone else is enjoying a starter. Iced tea is always a good choice too. The weekends are definitely the hardest but I try to socialize with friends over physical activities such a hike, playing tennis, or a visit to a local dog park. There are ways to have a good time with friends that do not involve being around food or beverage.
Share your story on social media. It helps encourage you and keeps your friends respecting and understanding your journey to lose weight. I shared mine on my personal instagram account and it was so nice to have the support of friends as well as an outlet to seek attention when I needed it most.
Chew gum after dinner to satisfy that sweet tooth if you’re really struggling. Also, an afternoon decaf coffee or tea is a really nice daily boost when craving something before dinner.
Always have a bottle of water on you. I also recommend buying flavored sparkling water. In the evenings after work I usually love to have a glass of wine but instead I would have a glass of sparkling lime flavored water with a big lemon slice in it. Tasted just like a cocktail to me!
You can eat as many carrots, celery sticks and pickles as you want in between meals. It's really smart to just have a bag of carrots with you at all times just in case you want to snack it up.
On Day 11, I’m back to my preferred healthy and happy body, and ready to take on summer in a confident stride. I know dieting is hard but I can tell you that the Scarsdale diet is effective, realistic and provides excellent results. It’s tough – but no diet is easy.
This time around I ended up losing a total of 8 lbs and I’m feeling good in my white skinny jeans.
If you are in a rut and need to shed some pounds to get back to a place where you feel happy and confident, this is one way that can help you achieve your goals!