Chapter 5.  The Grain-Free Path
As you choose a path to become simply fit, continue the
good habits you established building a foundation for
fitness. The most important are to dump the junk, to get
a good night’s sleep, and to weigh yourself at least daily.

The first path to becoming simply fit is to go grain-free.
Most who follow the grain-free path will eat meat and
animal products, so if you are or want to be a
vegetarian or vegan, you should read this chapter, but
follow the food recommendations in the next chapter.
But for the majority of readers, the grain-free path will
be the easiest, most palatable and most successful.

Please further remember that this section of the book
describes a reducing diet. It will help you to quickly lose
weight with a minimum of effort and hunger. It is not,
however, a diet you must follow for a lifetime. When you
reach your weight goal, you will have the opportunity to
reincorporate whole grains into your diet.

In Chapter 4, I introduced the concept of the world of
food being represented by a watermelon. You have
already cut off one end of the watermelon, the section
representing junk foods–foods with refined grains, or
added sugar, oil, or salt. On the grain-free path, you will
cut off the other end of the watermelon, representing all
foods containing grain (Figure 14). The remaining
portion of the watermelon: all meat, dairy, vegetables,
fruits and nuts are available to you in unlimited
This is a black or white diet. The foods you may eat are crystal clear. For example, if you go to Costco and they
are giving out free samples, you do not need to concern yourself with the carb count of the sample, or the fat
content of the sample, or the calories of the sample. All you need to ask is, is it made with grain, or does it contain
added sugar, oil, or salt? If the answer is yes, you cannot eat it. If the answer is no, have a field day. This
simplicity gives the diet its name and makes it easy to follow. The effectiveness of the diet, which you will
experience for yourself in the coming weeks, is almost magical.

If you are resistant to the idea of going grain-free, you might point out that government recommendations insist
on five, eight or even eleven servings of “healthful whole grains” a day. My first response might be a little rude,
but how is that working for you? How is it working for our nation? Since the government starting recommending a
low-fat diet featuring multiple servings of “healthy whole grains,” obesity has exploded.

A more thoughtful response is to note that the countless studies saying that whole grains are healthy are
comparing consuming refined grains with whole grains. I agree, eating whole grains is healthier than eating
refined grains. None of the studies compares eating whole grains with eating instead a wide variety of healthy
vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy and animal products. Hopefully, with the rise of grain-free diets, such studies will be
conducted in the future, but to my knowledge, none have been conducted yet.

Further, as followers of the grain-free, meat-heavy Atkins diet; as well as followers of the grain-, dairy- and bean-
free Paleo diet have been pointing out for decades, grains are a very recent addition to the human diet. Humans
have likely been around for 100,000 years and our basic digestive process has been in place for almost a million
years. Grains were introduced only about 10,000 years ago. In the history of man, grain consumption is a very
recent experiment. Certainly, for 90% of our history, while our bodies and digestive systems evolved into their
current form, grains were absent and unnecessary. They remain unnecessary today. In fact, scientists tell us that
there are no nutrients available from grains that are not available elsewhere. Grains have no unique
nutritional value.

Grains gone wild.

There is general agreement, both among the scientific community and the dictates of common sense, that sugary
foods are linked to obesity and that more healthful choices are available. Almost every diet starts by reducing
soda, candy and other sugary foods. Scientists developed the glycemic index to measure how fast a food turns to
sugar in your blood. The standard score of 100 is assigned to glucose. Granulated table sugar is composed of
sucrose (50% glucose and 50% fructose) and has a glycemic index of about 60. Which of the following foods do
you think has the highest glycemic index?

•        Corn flakes
•        White rice
•        Bagel
•        White bread
•        Baked potato
•        Table sugar
•        Snickers bar

Before I give you the answer, look at the list again and consider which foods you would most likely be willing to
consume on a reducing diet. The foods are listed in order of their glycemic index, from highest to lowest. Corn
Flakes have the highest glycemic index at 93, white rice is 89, the bagel is 72, white bread follows close behind at
71, the baked potato is 69, table sugar is 60 and the candy bar has the lowest glycemic index at 43. Most people
would not eat candy bars on a reducing diet, but might well include rice, potatoes and breakfast cereal. But in
fact, the rice, potato and cereal turn to sugar in your blood stream more quickly than the candy bar.

Think of how a bite of plain bread quickly becomes a sugary mass as you chew it.
Grains are starchy foods
that are built of chains of sugar.
The human body quickly disassembles the starch and breaks it into its sugary
components so that a bowl of Corn Flakes hits your body faster than table sugar. Most people on diets do not eat
table sugar, but they often eat breakfast cereal. Grains are an overlooked source of fat-producing sugar in our
diets. Eliminating grains is one of the most effective ways to reduce your weight.

What is a grain?

When most people think of grain, they think of wheat, the most commonly consumed grain in America. However,
the list of grains does not end there. Grains include: amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, corn, couscous,
einkorn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, rye, sorghum, and triticale. Of course, all products made with grain are included
as well, including breakfast cereals such as oatmeal, corn flakes, granola and all the other boxed cereals you find
in your supermarket. Also included are breads, muffins, baked goods, pop corn, pretzels, crackers, chips, pasta,
tortillas, and grits. Do not forget grain-based additives or supplements such as bran or psyllium.

Finally, do not ignore liquid grains–beer being the most common. Hard liquors including whiskey, scotch, vodka
and gin are made from grains. Rum is made from molasses or sugar cane and therefore is excluded as part of the
junk category. Tequila (made from agave cactus), brandy and cognac (made from wine), hard cider (made from
apples) and of course wine made from grapes (but not rice wine) are okay. On this path I do not ask you to stop
drinking alcohol (more on this in Chapter 8), just to shift your drinking to a non-grain product.
On the grain-free path of the Simply Fit Diet, eliminate the junk and the grain.  All the other food in the world is available to you.
Figure 14. On the grain-free path, eliminate the junk
and the grain. All the other food in the world is
available to you.

Common sense has long pointed to beer as one of the most fattening beverages. The “beer belly” earned its
name through decades of human observation. If you or a loved one is inordinately attached to beer, you might
want to ask yourself if your fondness, even addiction, is to the alcohol or the carbohydrates? One way to test this
is to replace beer with wine. I like beer. When I replaced beer with wine in my diet, I found that I stopped drinking
alcohol altogether. I did not enjoy the wine. In fact, my fondness for beer was for the dose of easily absorbed
carbohydrates, not the alcohol. The simple replacement of beer with wine may demonstrate that you crave your
favorite beverage for reasons other than the alcohol content.
Adopt a reducing eating pattern.

You should also strive to adopt a balanced eating pattern that assists weight loss. When you dump the junk and
avoid grains, you will likely find that you eat more. It may be hard to believe that you can lose weight this way, but
you can. You will start losing almost immediately and can expect to lose several pounds the first week, depending
on your current weight and dietary habits. As you embark on your weight loss journey, some modification of your
eating pattern can help maximize weight loss.

I endorse the old saying which counsels, “
eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a merchant and dinner like a
.” Eating a hearty, healthful breakfast serves many purposes. It breaks your overnight fast and sets you
up for a productive day. You can use breakfast as a reward to counter any hunger you may have felt the night
before. Breakfast also gives you the energy and nutrition you need for a productive work day. A recent
supports this premise. Two groups of women with metabolic syndrome were put on a 1,400 calorie a day diet for
12 weeks, the only difference was the “breakfast” group had 700 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 200 at
dinner; while the “dinner” group had 200 calories at breakfast, 500 at lunch and 700 at dinner. Both groups lost
weight. The breakfast group lost 19 pounds and 3.3 inches off their waistlines, while the dinner group lost about 8
pounds and 1.5 inches off their waistlines. The breakfast group also had significantly lower triglyceride, glucose,
insulin and ghrelin levels than the dinner group. For example, the dinner group’s triglycerides
increased by
14.6%, while the breakfast group’s
decreased by 33.6%. Simply by eating a bigger breakfast and smaller dinner,
the subjects decreased their weight, hunger and risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Without counting
calories, the Simply Fit Diet follows a similar pattern, with a big meal at breakfast and a smaller meal at night.

In addition, you should eat snacks at least twice a day: between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner. If you
have a busy lifestyle, fruit makes a convenient snack. It needs no refrigeration, contains a reasonable quantity of
calories and nutrition, and can be eaten at a desk or on the run. Consider apples, bananas, grapes and other
seasonal fruit for snacks, or alternatively nuts, hard-boiled eggs, meat or cheese. Dinner is traditionally the
biggest meal of the day, but I recommend that you eat lightly and supplement your entree with a large salad.

I would love to tell you that you can lose weight without ever being hungry, but that is simply not true. When you
go into calorie deficit, in effect, you are withdrawing from your fat reserves. Your body lets you know and that
feeling is hunger. Because of our jobs, families and multiple responsibilities, the best time to be hungry is at night.
On the Simply Fit Diet you should
eat a modest but healthy dinner and then stop eating until breakfast. No
evening snacks are allowed. Especially in the early days of the diet, it is highly likely that by bedtime you will be
hungry. It is important to realize that hunger is just your body reporting that it is dipping into your fat reserves.
Luckily, the body also has a defense mechanism that turns off hunger when you go to sleep, likely to allow you to
sleep. It would be maladaptive for primitive man to be out hunting or gathering at night when most of the large
predators hunt as well. But for whatever reason, your hunger in the evening will be short-lived and you will awake
and break your fast with a very hearty breakfast.

Strive for variety.

On the Simply Fit Diet, you should strive to eat a wide variety of foods. This can be difficult. I used to eat almost
the same thing every day. For example, before becoming simply fit, I liked Grape Nuts cereal for breakfast. I ate it
every day. When one box was done, I would have a new one right behind it. The monotony did not bother me.

The problem with eating the same food over and over is that it does not expose you to the wide variety of
nutrients, known and unknown, found in different foods. The other side of the coin is that if the food you consume
regularly has some dangerous element, for example mercury in fish, you expose yourself to much more of that
dangerous element by consistently consuming the same product. Varying the foods you eat, and varying the
brands of foods, will expose you to a wider variety of healthful nutrients and avoid over-consumption of harmful

One economical way to vary the foods and brands you eat is to
buy in season and on sale. Throughout the
year, various vegetables and fruits are available in abundance and put on sale. Stock up and eat hardily,
because in a week or two, the sale product will change. The same applies to items like yogurt. Instead of choosing
a favorite brand, buy the one that is on sale. This not only saves money, but forces variety that can help you to
avoid constant consumption of contaminants that may be found in one brand but not another.

Another strategy to force variety is to
run out of your favorite foods. Let me explain. This is a tough one for
me. I always used to have a replacement product sitting on the pantry shelf or in the refrigerator for when the first
one ran out. However, running out forces me to find substitute foods. Take apples for example. Apples make a
convenient snack. They do not require refrigeration and they can be eaten everywhere. But I tend to get into a rut
and eat an apple as part of my morning snack day in and day out. By running out of apples, I force variety. I then
choose an orange, grapes, pineapple or some other vegetable or fruit as a snack. For unimaginative cooks like
me, running out of certain supplies is a way to force variety into my diet.

try at least one new food a week. The grocery is full of foods that are not on your regular menu. A trip
to a whole foods or ethnic grocery store will open up even more opportunities. As you explore the variety of foods
available you will increase your exposure to the nutrients they contain and discover flavors you enjoy.

One way to visually evaluate whether you are eating a healthful variety of foods is to look at the colors on your
plate. A healthy, natural meal is bursting with color–tomatoes, green peppers, carrots, radishes and so forth.
When you see a naturally colorful plate, you can be pretty sure you are getting a healthful meal. To be sure you
get plenty of color on your plate, freely supplement your meals with salads. They provide a filling punch of
essential nutrients with very few calories. Salads are popular at dinner, but can accompany lunch, breakfast, or
serve as a snack. Eat salads freely and frequently.
Stop chasing superfoods.

The term “superfoods” was likely coined by a trade group seeking to increase sales. Blueberries were one of the
first foods to claim the title and their sales surged 132%. Other groups sought the same gain.

Sometimes yesterday’s unhealthful foods become today’s “superfoods.” In the past, diet experts warned against
consuming too many high-fat nuts. But recently, nut consumption has been correlated with a 20% reduction in
overall mortality and a 29% reduction in heart disease among people who ate nuts at least once a day. Further,
nut eaters stayed slimmer. The
study, conducted by Harvard University, was funded in part by the nut industry
and within days, TV advertisements began promoting the health benefits of nuts.

From the other direction, only a few years ago nutrition experts recommended that we eat several servings of
fatty fish per week. More recently, studies have shown that for men, high levels of fish oil are positively correlated
with prostate cancer and now we are cautioned to eat one or fewer servings of certain fish per month. Similarly,
antioxidant vitamin pills, once thought to prevent cancer, are now seen as potentially increasing cancer risk.

My point is not to frustrate you with changing definitions of superfoods and dangerous foods. It is impossible to
follow each development and science is so limited in its knowledge that today’s superfood may be tomorrow’s
villain and vice versa.

The simple answer is to eat a wide variety of natural, healthful foods. Do not eat the same thing every day. Keep
variety in your diet. Buy foods in season and on sale. That will keep an ever-changing variety in your diet.
Further, expand your dietary repertoire. Each week, strive to try a new food–maybe daikon radish one week and
poblano peppers the next. It will make your diet more interesting and assure that you are exposed to a wide
variety of nutrients without over-consuming any single one.
Beware of fattening food combinations.

What do you consider to be the most fattening food? Many people will answer, “ice cream.” In the world of
common sense, there is broad agreement that foods like ice cream, cheesecake, donuts, cookies, and french
fries are uniquely fattening. This common wisdom is likely drawn from how eating these foods shows up on the
scale almost immediately.

Some will say that these foods are fattening merely because they are rich in calories. This may be true, but it is
also a very real possibility that certain food combinations are more fattening than their mere caloric content
dictates. There is growing evidence that there is a qualitative difference among calories and that certain foods
cause a surge in blood sugar, resulting in a surge in insulin, and that insulin tells your body to store fat. So in the
case of ice cream, the added sugar sets up the insulin surge. The body then has an order to store fat, and the
ice cream provides fat aplenty. A two-cup bowl of rocky road ice cream provides 84 grams of carbohydrates and
20 grams of fat (including 12 grams of saturated fat, 60% of the recommended daily value on a 2,000 calorie
diet), a formula for weight gain that likely exceeds its abundant 560 calories. Consider your ten favorite foods.
Most, if not all of them, are a combination of carbohydrates and fat. Most, if not all of them, are man-made
trickster foods with quantities of carbohydrates and fat not found in nature. Look at my list:

1.        Pizza
2.        Beer and pretzels
3.        Mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream
4.        Macaroni and cheese
5.        Lasagna
6.        Chicken enchiladas
7.        Chips or crackers and dip
8.        Pancakes with butter and syrup
9.        Donuts
10.      Pasta with sauce

Every item on the list is high in carbohydrates. The only item without significant added fat is the beer and pretzels.
All of the others have a combination of carbs and fat that encourage weight gain. Take a look at your
list. How
does it stack up? While you have the list out, please do this: in the title “My Favorites,” cross out the word “My,”
and write in “Audrey’s.” It is about time that you recognize that the foods you thought you loved are really
supporting your fat. They make Audrey happy but over time they make you sick. At least on a rational basis, you
can start to see these foods as man-made toxic combinations that hurt your health.
Point out the poison.

Think of your ten favorite foods. Typically, if you saw a picture of a favorite food, for example a brownie, you
would say, “yum.” The alternative to skipping the yummy food would then seem like deprivation. But the foods you
listed are man-made concoctions that twist a healthy drive for sweets (like fruit) into an unnatural diet that makes
you fat and can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other ailments. Because you are a person who is
inclined to get fat, brownies are not a healthful treat, they are effectively poison for you. If you see a TV ad for
brownies and you say out loud, “poison,” you will begin to change your thinking. You will start to realize that
brownies are not an innocent treat, they are bad for your health.

For practice, pick up a color advertisement from a local grocery store. In your mind, or out loud, call all the whole
foods advertised “food.” All of the manufactured foods and foods containing refined grains or added sugar, oil, or
salt should be labeled “poison.” As you go through the ad you will find that the “poison” advertised far outweighs
the “food.” In fact, around certain holidays I find that entire advertisements are made of pictures of poison. Is it
any wonder that so many Americans are fat?
If certain food combinations are more fattening than their mere calories dictate, it explains why some very similar
meals have different effects. For example, a seven-ounce steak at a popular restaurant provides 280 calories, 15
grams of fat and 1 gram of carbohydrates. When eaten with a side of steamed broccoli, there is very little
carbohydrate directing your body to store fat. However, when eaten with a side of mashed potatoes, the order for
fat storage goes out and the meal may be far more fattening than the sum of its calories. Similarly, a meal with
carbohydrates but without fat may be less fattening than one that combines both. For example, a pita bread filled
with garden salad has 37 grams of carbohydrate, but very little fat. The same pita bread stuffed with a
cheeseburger has an abundant supply of fat to be stored when the body receives the order to do so from insulin.

The grain-free path of Simply Fit Diet eliminates most foods with added fat, but has no restrictions on foods with
natural fat content. For example, meat, cheese and dairy products are all allowed. However, the diet broadly
restricts the carbohydrates that typically accompany these fatty foods. The Simply Fit Diet allows you to have
steak with broccoli, but prohibits steak with mashed potatoes. This path’s limitation on carbohydrate consumption
may be why it works so well.

Mete out the meat.

Here’s a quiz for you, which former President said he ate meat only, “as a condiment to the vegetables which
constitute my principal diet?” Your most likely guess is Bill Clinton. After all, Clinton, having had two heart
surgeries, has become vegan (consuming no meat or animal products and no eggs or dairy), a move he credits
with saving his life. The visibly slimmer Clinton now weighs 175 pounds, the first time he has been at that weight
since age 13. The quote is actually from one of our most famous Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, who for health
reasons elected to make plants the center of his diet. Jefferson lived to age 83, quite a feat considering the less
developed state of public health and medical care that existed when he died in 1826.

My recommendation is much less severe than the one followed by Jefferson or Clinton. At this stage in Simply Fit
Diet, I recommend that you
eat one meal with no animal products at least once every six meals–once
every other day
. Lunch is a great time to introduce this strategy. A salad with fresh greens, avocados, a variety
of vegetables and a sprinkling of nuts, needs nothing else.

Americans eat animal products at virtually every meal. You may protest that you do not have animal products at
breakfast, but do you use milk, cheese, cream in your coffee or manufactured foods that include animal
byproducts? Probably so. Skipping animal products at least once every six meals will give your body a break from
the constant presence of high-fat, high-protein animals. If such products are a source of artificial hormones or
antibiotics, it will give you a break from these as well. Further, shaking up your dietary options will encourage you
to try new foods–a stir fry with daikon radish or tofu can be just as tasty as one with meat, but will give your body
exposure to a new source of nutrition.

Further, American portions of meat are huge when compared to those consumed by people around the world. I
was lucky enough to live in Asia for a while. At the inexpensive street-side stands I frequented, the dishes were
entirely vegetarian until the very end of their preparation, when the proprietor would go to a case, remove a little
bit of meat, cut off three or four paper thin slices and then put them on top of the vegetables.

If the Asian approach seems extreme to you, don’t worry, I am not insisting that you adopt it. However, do
consider that American servings of meat are large. If you prepare your meals for two or more,
consider splitting
a serving of meat between the two people
. Half a standard steak or half a plump chicken breast, when
supplemented with salad and vegetables, will make a hearty, healthy and satisfying meal, but can also assist you
in trimming your weight painlessly. You can still have a juicy steak, just top it with mushrooms, onions and chilli,
and serve it with a colorful side salad. Food should be appetizing, colorful and fun. You do not need to suffer on
the Simply Fit Diet.
What do you eat?

A day on the grain-free path is not a day of deprivation. In case you are having a hard time imagining what to eat,
here is my typical grain-free diet day. I start out with a big bowl of fresh-cut seasonal fruit, mixed with plain, full-fat
yogurt. For a morning snack, I have a banana and an apple. At lunch I have a vegan salad based on prewashed
organic greens bought at a big box store, supplemented with seasonal vegetables including avocado, with a
sprinkle of sliced almonds and some dried seaweed. For an afternoon snack I will have another banana and some
cashews (a tasty combination) as well as another seasonal fruit. For dinner I have a stir fry with seasonal
vegetables, some daikon radish, as well as a small serving of meat–perhaps shrimp, chicken or beef. On the
Simply Fit Diet, you will find that food tastes better than ever and that you enjoy it in larger quantities than in days
gone by. You should eat as much as you desire to feel full, just remember, after dinner, don’t eat any more. It is
good to get a little hungry before bed, it helps you to wake up with the goal of eating a hearty breakfast and
starting out on another full day of healthful eating.
Avoid drinking your calories.

Throughout most of man’s history, water was the primary beverage. Fruit juices, wine and beer are recent
inventions–only in the past several thousand years. Coca-Cola arrived on the scene in 1886, Gatorade started in
1965, and energy drinks, the most recent high calorie fad, have only become a significant force in the past
decade. When compared to the hundreds of thousands of years that humans have been around, most caloric
beverages have only been available for the blink of an eye. Therefore, it would not be surprising that the body
tends to ignore beverage calories.

studies support this premise. In one study, students were allowed to eat as much pizza as they wanted,
accompanied by no beverage, a non-caloric beverage, or a caloric beverage such as milk, soda, or orange juice.
The students ate the same amount of food, whether or not they consumed a beverage, and felt just as full,
whether or not the beverage had calories
. However, when the beverage had calories, these calories were added
to the meal–the student’s bodies did not seem to count the liquid calories as food calories.

Although the pizza-eating study found that milk acted like soda or juice, other studies find milk the exception to the
body ignoring liquid calories. This makes sense. We are designed to thrive on human milk, and cows’ milk is a
similar substitute. In some studies, milk is the single beverage that the body seems to acknowledge and therefore
reduce the consumption of other foods.

Government statistics reveal that the average American adult drinks 400 calories a day in the form of regular
soda, energy and sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, milk, 100% fruit juice and fruit drinks, in that order. Caloric
beverages constitute 21% of all calories consumed by the average American. Even when the 2.9% of calories
(about 64 calories a day) the average American drinks in the form of milk are excluded,
if the average
American would replace the non-milk caloric beverages with natural zero calorie drinks and not
replace those drinks with other calories, he could lose 35 pounds a year!

To make this concept work on the Simply Fit Diet, eliminate all non-milk caloric beverages. You can still drink plain
coffee and tea, water and carbonated water. If the body doesn’t count caloric beverages, then eliminating them
will not make a difference in your hunger, but will speed your weight loss.

Skip the low-fat products.

I, like so many Americans, fell victim to the advice that low-fat products were more healthy than full-fat products. In
my early 20's, I gave up full-fat milk and started drinking skim milk. Now, more than 30 years later, research shows
that for both children and adults, low-fat products are correlated with obesity while the full-fat products result in
lower weight and better health. My efforts to be more healthy likely resulted in my being less healthy.

On the Simply Fit Diet, I encourage you to eat natural, whole foods. Full-fat milk, although far from what comes
from a cow’s udders, is a more natural product than non-fat milk. In fact, if carbohydrates make you fat, this helps
explain why reduced-fat products do not work. For example, a cup of full-fat milk has more calories than non-fat,
but non-fat milk, having been modified by man, has more carbs. Whole milk gets about 30% of its calories from
carbohydrates while non-fat milk gets about 56% of its calories from carbohydrates. And that is if you would
consume the same liquid quantity of each product. If full-fat milk is more filling, it is quite possible that you would
consume less of the full-fat product. If you consumed 100 calories of full-fat milk, compared with 100 calories of
non-fat milk, the differential in carbohydrate content is amplified. The 100 calorie glass of full-fat milk has about
5.5 grams of carbs, while the non-fat has 14 grams.

Reduced-fat products do not make you thin and may make you fat. On the Simply Fit Diet, there is no
reason to consume reduced-fat products, enjoy the more natural full-fat products.

Monitor the scale and work with the program.

Everyone is different and not all foods affect us the same way. Modify the Simply Fit Diet to work best for you. For
example, some people are adversely affected by beans, nuts, wine, or soup. Notice if your weight increases
consistently after eating certain foods. If it does, limit your consumption of that food. You can certainly defeat any
diet, including the Simply Fit Diet, if you say it does not work and quit. Instead of seeking defeat, seek success by
modifying the diet to fit your individual constitution.

Changes to expect.

If you follow this diet exactly, the changes you experience will be sharp and almost immediate. Because you are
weighing yourself daily, you will be able to track your weight loss closely. Depending on how much weight you
need to lose, you will lose several pounds the first week. You will not maintain this pace, but it will encourage you
to keep trying.

After a few days of living without grain, you will also notice that you sleep better. This sounds like a bold,
unsupported claim, but it is true. The reason for this is unclear. Perhaps the lower levels of insulin allow deeper
sleep or perhaps grain acts as an irritant to the body. But for whatever reason, this diet enhances sleep and
sleep enhances weight loss. It is part of the positive feedback loop.

Further, if you have lived a certain number of years and feel sore in the morning, your soreness will improve. The
improvement will not be startling, but after a few days you will notice a bit less soreness. The way I thought about
the decreased soreness is this, it is not miraculous, but if the improvement came in a pill, I would pay for it and
take it. Some people would explain this by saying that grain causes inflamation and eliminating grain avoids the
inflammation. Others might say that sleeping better improves soreness. Another explanation could be that losing
weight reduces the strain on your muscles and joints, or that better nutrition makes the body work more efficiently.
Why soreness improves on this diet it not clear, but it is a welcome side effect for the aging body.

Also, it is highly likely that your mood will improve. It could be because you are sleeping better. Or maybe it is
because your body is getting better nutrition and starting to work efficiently, or maybe your outlook improves
simply because you are starting to see weight loss results. But for whatever reason it occurs, it is welcome.

The first place you will lose weight is from the umbrella of fat that sits inside your rib cage. This is good. First,
losing this weight will significantly decrease your chance of diabetes and other diseases. Scientists say that a 7%
weight loss is all it takes, and losing that 7% will come surprisingly quickly. Second, losing weight from your
internal stores will likely result in a decrease in your pants or dress size. This clear and early success will
encourage you to continue with the diet.

Later weight loss will come from your external fat stores, starting in the areas furthest from your belly and draining
down. Fat often disappears from the face early, resulting in recognition of your weight loss efforts by your family
and peers. The last place you lose weight is usually the first place you put it on, often the belly. This will provide
you with a final push into smaller clothes before you reach your weight loss goal.

In the early days of the diet, it is important to continue to look at yourself in the mirror before meals, but as you
begin to lose weight, instead of saying, “this is why I need to diet,” start saying, “I am doing well, but I can do
better.” Eventually you will reach the point where you are pleased with what you see and you will discontinue the
before-meal ritual.

At the start of the diet, you made a trip to the butcher shop to see a tangible representation of the weight you
need to lose. Pretty soon, you will have lost several pounds. Now when you go to the butcher shop, find a
package of meat equal to your weight loss. Even a single pound is meaningful, and ten pounds is really
impressive. Pick up the meat and think about how much better you feel not carrying that weight around, every
step and every minute of the day. Think how much easier it is for your body to provide nutrients and waste
disposal to the slimmer you. This step may seem silly, but it is both a useful reward and a useful preventive
measure. As a preventive measure, if you are tempted to break your diet, think again about that ten-pound
package of meat. Ask yourself if you really want to stick that weight back on your body. After you consider the
consequences, it is likely that you will decide that no food, no matter how attractive, is worth putting back on the
weight you fought so hard to lose.

As your weight loss continues, you will likely need to buy new clothes. Think of the waist size or dress size you
wore when you were at your target weight. Between now and then you will likely need to resize several times. I
recommend that you buy a pair of pants or other outfit in the next smaller size, even if it does not yet fit. It will
motivate you to make it fit, and reward you when it does. It will also amaze you when you have to pack it away (or
give it away) when it becomes too big. As I lost weight, I moved progressively down in waist size from size 36 to
size 30. It was incredibly rewarding to watch the sizes shrink.

As the weight disappears, you will notice some markers that you had forgotten existed. You may start to see your
clavicle, or collar bone. Later the latisimus dorsi (angel’s wings on your back) may appear. Finally, you should
begin to see your ribs–when was the last time you saw those? Next, the saddle bags on your sides will shrink,
along with your belly. The final place you will lose weight is the first place you put it on, for many men the belly,
and for women, often the belly or hips. As you reach your weight goal, you will become trim for the first time in

As you close in on your target weight, beware the advice of people who say you have lost too much. They may be
well meaning, but think of it, the majority of Americans are overweight or obese, your friend may be saying “too
much” in relationship to everyone else. Thank the friend for his or her concern, but stick to your own counsel. If
you are worried about losing too much, visit your doctor and seek his or her advice.

You will likely have reminded yourself that you have been on a reducing diet, not a lifelong diet. You have been
maintaining a deficit of about 500 calories a day. As you reach your weight goal, you will have the opportunity to
either eat more and/or to eat differently. This decision is a delicate one, and is discussed more in Chapter 11.

Why does this diet work?

There is a great divide among nutrition experts as to whether losing weight is simply a matter of limiting calorie
intake, a position I will call calories in/calories out, and those who believe there are qualitative differences among
the foods we eat, that some foods actually make us fatter than others. As a preliminary matter, it does not really
matter why this diet works, as long as it works.

The calories in/calories out crowd could point to the list of the most frequent sources of calories for adult
Americans. Out of the 28 foods on that list, this path of the Simply Fit Diet eliminates 16 (Figure 15). Although the
Simply Fit Diet encourages you to eat as much healthful food as you desire, the calories in/calories out crowd
would argue that with less access, you are getting fewer calories and therefore are losing weight.

The qualitative calories theory is different. This theory says that the foods you eat affect you differently and some
foods are more inclined to make you fat, while others are not. In its simplest form, this theory says that high
carbohydrate foods cause a spike in blood sugar (recall the high glycemic values of grains and sugars). The
spike in blood sugar leads to your body producing more insulin. Insulin tells your body to store fat. The high
carbohydrate foods, according to this theory, will make you fatter than other foods, even if you consume the same
number of calories of each. The grain-free path of the Simply Fit Diet broadly limits carbohydrate intake.
Grain-based desserts
Yeast breads
Chicken and chicken mixed dishes
Soda/energy/sports drinks
Alcoholic beverages
Pasta and pasta dishes
Mexican mixed dishes
Beef and beef mixed dishes
Dairy desserts
Potato/corn/other chips
Reduced-fat milk
Regular cheese
Ready-to-eat cereals
Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs
Fried white potatoes
Nuts/seeds and nut/seed mixed dishes
Eggs and egg mixed dishes
Rice and rice mixed dishes
Fruit drinks
Whole milk
Other white potatoes
Other fish and fish mixed dishes
Figure 15. The grain-free path of the Simply
Fit Diet eliminates 16 (red type) of the 28 foods
that Americans most commonly consume.
Of course, there could be a completely different reason why
this diet works. Perhaps because you eat large quantities of
natural foods on the Simply Fit Diet, you get more fiber and
the fiber aids weight loss. Or maybe some undiscovered
phytonutrient in the many plants you consume has a similar
effect. Maybe there is an unknown factor X that makes the
diet work. Or perhaps the constant monitoring and goal
setting (daily weigh-ins and thrice daily reminders of why you
need to lose weight) make it work. Likely it is a combination of
factors that makes the Simply Fit Diet successful. The
scientific consensus is that the best diet is the one that works.
The Simply Fit Diet works. It does not really matter why.

So far, you have built the foundation for the Simply Fit
Diet by deciding to make losing weight a matter of life
or death before it becomes a matter of life or death.
You have taken careful stock of your current health
and weight and you have begun weighing yourself on
at least a daily basis. You have gone to the butcher
shop and taken a look at a quantity of meat that
approximates the amount of weight you need to lose
and you have considered how carrying around that
extra weight affects your health. Before every meal,
you have gone to a mirror and raised up your shirt, or
you have grabbed a handful of fat, and you have told
yourself, “this is why I need to diet.” Finally, you have
taken a slice off the watermelon of available foods by
eliminating all foods with refined grains, or added
sugar, oil, or salt.
On the grain-free path, you have eliminated all grains from your diet. You will eat hearty servings of vegetables,
fruits, nuts, meat and dairy. You will eat whole foods and avoid man-made low-fat and diet products. You will
incorporate healthy snacks, often vegetables or fruit, into your routine. You will have broken your addiction to
junk food and grains. You will know the difference between cravings and hunger, and as your diet improves, your
cravings will disappear. You will eat a big breakfast and a small dinner. You will choose to be hungry at night, and
you will accept hunger as a natural consequence of weight loss.

You will strive to try at least one new food a week and you will seek to eat a wide variety of healthful foods. You
will have at least one in six meals free from animal products, and you will reduce meat portions at other meals and
instead incorporate hearty servings of vegetables.

Your weight will decline steadily, at first at a fast rate, but as time passes, at a slow and sustainable pace. Each
week you will stop by the butcher shop and grab a package of fatty meat equivalent to the weight you have lost.
When your friends ask you if eating only one donut will really hurt, you will think about the weight lost represented
by the meat, and you will answer, “yes it will.” You will need to buy new clothes, and your friends and coworkers
will ask you about your weight loss.

But most important, you will feel better. You will sleep surprisingly well and wake with much less soreness than in
years past. You will have more energy for exercise and your mood will improve. As you pass your weight loss
milestones, your likelihood of disease will decline. You will be well on your way to becoming simply fit.
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