The whole point of the Fast Metabolism Diet is get your metabolism humming so you can burn food more efficiently as fuel. But what happens at the end of your 28 days? What happens on day 29?
Did you hit your goal weight?
If you did, hurray! Skip to the next section. If not, you can add a week, two weeks, or several 28-day cycles. Or you can take a little break and start up again. And even you have just 5 or 7 pounds to go until you hit your goal weight, it’s best to forge ahead and keep the momentum you’ve built. Lose those last few pounds now so we’re not talking them a year from now!
Keep your metabolism burning hot
The number one question I get as people near the end of their fourth week: “Can I have coffee/ice cream/cake/muffins/tortilla chips/French fries again? ”
Let’s think about that for a moment. Remember that searing headache you had for four days when you stopped drinking your cappuccinos and diet soda? And the irritability and sluggishness in those first few days without sugar? And remember how those withdrawal symptoms went away, leaving you feeling more energetic than you had in years? Caffeine and sugar were dragging you down all along. They were the very things that slowed your metabolism in the first place!
Now that you’ve made it through the 28 days of the Fast Metabolism Diet, you can handle the occasional splurge – and I WANT you to go to birthday parties and anniversary dinners and weddings and have a fabulous time. But I want you to enjoy them strategically, and so that your fast metabolism can handle the occasional cheesecake incident.
So stick with the Fast Metabolism Rules: Keep exercising, keep making your own foods, keep eating regular, balanced meals (three meals and two snacks), and drinking lots of water. Eat only what comes from the land, earth, sea and sky. Steer clear of ingredients you can’t pronounce, chemicals, colors and preservatives. If you want those things, head to a hardware store, not the grocery store.
Yeah, but what do I eat now? What’s my “Phase 4?”
Here are some strategies that have worked for my clients. Choose one that sounds like it will work for you and modify from there. What feels best to you may be a combination.
1. Modified Phase 3
If you’ve met your goals and you’re feeling good, eat like you’re on Phase 3, but include any of the foods on all of the food lists for any phase.
Keep your grains at breakfast and dinner, but not lunch — we want your body to burn through foods that are harder to digest like proteins and fats. You want to be strategic with easy-to-access carbs. Eat fruit with breakfast and lunch. Keep eating your two snacks each day. And keep exercising. You can also add a dessert for every day you work out. Make it a healthy dessert: One of my sorbets, or a healthy cookie recipe. And make your treats yourself, with love and in your own kitchen.
2. Keep doing the phases, with modifications
If you’re not quite where you want to be, or if you want to be extra cautious when transitioning into the Fast Metabolism Lifestyle, stick to the three phases, with one big exception: Go ahead and cook with healthy oils on any phase. So on Phase 1, for example, you can stir fry your veggies or use oil in a salad dressing, but don’t add nuts, seeds or avocados yet. On Phase 2, same deal: It’s fine to add oil in cooking or in a salad dressing, but otherwise, follow the Phase 2 food lists and guidelines. Then Phase 3 is Phase 3.
3. Stay on the Fast Metabolism Diet for a while longer
If your metabolism was super slow, if you had a lot of ups and downs on the diet, or if your lab results aren’t quite where they should be — even if you lost weight — hop back on the diet. You can repeat a week, two weeks, a month. It’s like getting your car fixed – sometimes you just need an oil change, but sometimes your whole transmission needs an overhaul. Your body is no different.
Foods that weren’t on the diet
If you decide to add foods back into your life that weren’t part of the Fast Metabolism Diet, make it intentional and make the cleanest possible choices. Eat organic — that especially goes for dairy. And remember, no fake stuff: no fake sweeteners, no artificial colors, no chemicals. No fat-free anything! Dairy products and cheese from goat and sheep’s milk are better choices than cow’s milk, as they seem to be easier for the body to digest.
Use smart strategies for other foods too. Try alternative flours for baking that aren’t wheat-based. Explore gluten-free cooking and baking. Find a great cookie recipe that makes healthier swaps for ingredients, like this awesome oat-cookie recipe that uses lower-glycemic coconut sugar instead of table sugar. Go slow — add a food and check in with how your body feels.
If there was one thing I’d urge you to keep out of your life, it would be caffeine. It’s hard to overemphasize how much caffeine stresses your adrenal glands — you were so nice to them during the past month! Caffeine is simply not something the body needs, and it’s a fabulous way to screw up your metabolism.
Join the lifestyle
You may no longer be on the diet: Now you’re living the Fast Metabolism Lifestyle. Stay engaged with my blog, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube channels. Keep learning about good health and your metabolism. Limit your use of packaged products, and don’t buy one without flipping it over to check out the ingredient list. Focus on buying and eating real food.
And if you get off track, the Fast Metabolism Diet is always here for you!