Here’s what you need to know about the popular Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.
Sometimes, losing weight isn’t the problem — it’s keeping the pounds off permanently that poses a real challenge. According to the National Institutes of Health, most dieters regain one- to two-thirds of their weight loss within one year, and, within five years, almost all are back where they started.
The issue is that many diets that result in short-term weight loss don’t establish lasting lifestyle change. Ideal Protein, a four-phase weight-loss program, including nutrition planning, personal coaching and meal replacement, has recently gained traction in the U.S. for its emphasis on fostering long-term habit changes.
This spring, Slidell Memorial Hospital opened its own Ideal Protein Weight Loss clinic. We spoke with Paula Brown, Chief Clinical Dietitian at the hospital, to understand exactly how Ideal Protein works.
“In Phases 1 and 2, the dieter is in ketosis,” Brown says. “Ketosis means that you’re in a fat-burning pathway.” For the first three to four days of the diet, your body uses up remaining carbohydrates, and then it makes the switch to burning fat.
Get to Goals
“Phases 1 and 2 are helping someone get the weight off, and the goal is that they’re going to lose fat while maintaining muscle mass,” Brown explains. “They stay in Phase 1 until they reach their goal. Sometimes that goal is a weight, or it’s a size — or [until] they just feel good.”
Ideal Protein’s focus on lean proteins means that dieters will eat up to three high-protein products per day in Phase 1. These proprietary products are designed to deliver more protein than meat, fish and other animal proteins.
“They’re soy isolates or whey protein,” Brown says. “They’re both very high biological-value proteins. You actually use about 95 percent of it when you eat it.”
Having to eat “diet food” can be the most daunting part of embarking on a weight-loss program. Ideal Protein products range from shakes and protein bars to soups, entrées, drinks and desserts. “People always ask, ‘Does it taste good?’” Brown says. “I would have to say, for the most part, yes. Everyone has favorites. When there’s 65 different products and you need to have 21 a week, there’s plenty to choose from.”
Count on Your Coach
While some diet programs, like Weight Watchers, place dieters in a group, Ideal Protein relies on personal coaching, which Brown says is an integral part of the system. “The other part of this that’s so effective is that it’s all one-on-one,” she says. “You check in with your coach every week … There’s a lot of encouragement. It’s that relationship, I think, that’s so important.”
Practice Makes Perfect
During Phases 3 and 4, the Ideal Protein diet moves dieters away from its proprietary foods and emphasizes healthy patterns of eating. “The pattern in Phase 3 is that they’re going to have a very large breakfast that includes carbs,” Brown says. “Lunch is lean meat and veggies, and dinner is the same.” An Ideal Protein snack rounds out the day in Phase 3.
Instead of leaving dieters by the wayside once they’ve completed Phase 4, Ideal Protein sets them up to maintain their success by helping them plan meals and future fitness. Mental and emotional support from a coach aids this adjustment. “It’s an investment of time and energy,” Brown says. “Changing habits is very hard work. This program is such a change in lifestyle that you really have to be ready for it.”
Learn more about the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Program and attend upcoming events at Slidell Memorial Hospital!