Good news for anyone tired of strict rules: A new diet has burst onto the scene with the promise of extraordinary freedom. “You don’t measure or count anything, all foods are allowed, and you can always have another helping,” says Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN, author of the surprise bestseller You Can Drop It!: How I Dropped 100 Pounds Enjoying Carbs, Cocktails & Chocolate ($17.79, Amazon).
“When we hear ‘no,’ we instantly want what we can’t have. So I built a system around ‘yes.’” And it still melts up to 28 pounds in 28 days! How? With help from a carb-neutralizing strategy discovered by Weill Cornell Medicine researcher Louis Aronne, M.D. Muhlstein’s take on Dr. Aronne’s findings reorganizes meals in a way that slashes appetite and speeds fat burn. To date, Muhlstein has helped women shed millions of pounds. “People love losing weight this way!”
Here’s the nutshell version of what you do: “Before you eat, always have a nice big glass of water,” Muhlstein says. “After that, go for lots of nonstarchy veggies. I like to say, ‘Water first, veggies most.’ You want more veggies than anything else.” (Add little extras — maybe a smidge of dressing, bacon, or a maple glaze to make veggies or any part of the meal tastier.)
Next comes protein, which you’ll never skip. And then if you’re hungry, have a serving of carbs — natural and fiber-rich options most of the time (like fruit or whole grains), plus an occasional treat or cocktail. “Once you’re done, if you still want more, have it,” says Muhlstein. “Just go through the cycle again, starting with water. Chances are, you’ll be so satisfied that you skip carbs or have only one additional serving.” And any carbs you do eat will barely count.
On Muhlstein’s program (which she calls “2B Mindset” and created for the Beachbody fitness company), always sip 16 ounces of water before eating. Have veggies first; eat them freely during the sitting.
Next, have one serving of protein. Still hungry? Have one serving of fiber-rich carbs. Want more? Repeat the cycle starting with water. For foods that mix protein and carbs, have a moderate portion after water and veggies. Occasionally enjoy a treat as your carb. Get a doctor’s okay to try the 2B Mindset diet.
Carb blocking 101
Several years ago, Dr. Aronne began experimenting with an “eat carbs last” strategy to see if it would lower blood sugar in diabetic patients. His studies confirm it does that — and much more. Turns out, nutrients in veggies, protein, and fat slow digestion enough to change our body chemistry. “You release significantly more hormones that make you feel full,” says Dr. Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian.
Perhaps more important, nutrients from other foods surround carbs when you finally eat them, making them harder to break down. “You slow your rise in blood sugar by a full 50 percent,” notes Dr. Aronne, whose research was published in the journal Diabetes Care. Eating carbs last on a regular basis allows your body to detox from the effects of chronically high blood sugar. The doc says this means you’ll burn more fat — and get results as if you were on a keto diet without giving up favorite foods.
To further enhance results on 2B Mindset, you’ll jot down what and when you eat, ball parking portions. “It should take five minutes a day total to log everything,” she says.
“Studies show we automatically make better choices when we know we’ll record what we eat. Plus, you can see when you lose weight fastest and find foods that work best for your body.” To that end, you’ll record your weight each morning — a trick so good at keeping us aware and motivated that one study found it makes us five times more likely to succeed.
“Every step is simple, but you’re laying the groundwork to get to the weight you want to be,” says Muhlstein, who sees women drop up to 130 pounds in 10 months. “You end up strong, healthy and free.” Any food you love works in this amazing little formula for lasting weight loss.
Breakfast: At this meal, a veggie starter is optional but encouraged. Choose a protein like Greek yogurt and fiber-rich carbs like fruit or whole-grain cereal.
Lunch: Start with a big salad tossed with healthy dressing, then enjoy a serving of grilled chicken breast followed by a serving quinoa or brown rice.
Snack: Nibble on a plate of raw sliced veggies, then tuck into some protein-rich cheese. If you’re still hungry, finish with a small serving of whole-grain crackers.
Dinner: Start with a veggie soup, then have more veggies (like spiralized zucchini) with protein (like turkey meatballs). Still hungry? Have fruit for dessert.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.