Is The Digest Diet the answer to your weight loss dreams? Former Fat Girl Lisa Delaney weighs in.

Spry editor Lisa Delaney is one of the rare souls who know what its like to be an after. This journalist and author of Secrets of a Former Fat Girl shed 70 poundsand six dress sizes--and has kept it off for 20 years. She answers your questions here each week.

DEAR FORMER FAT GIRL: Have you heard of The Digest Diet? Do you think its a good plan?Beth

DEAR BETH: Yes, The Digest Diet, written by Readers Digest editor Liz Vaccariello, has been on my radar since it came out in October. Its a 21-day plan with three different phases, all of which focuses in some part on 13 so-called fat-releasing foods and/or nutrients that purportedly help you lose weight quickly without feeling hungry. The foods vary from the protein-rich grain quinoa, cocoa, honey and vinegar, to protein, calcium, resveratrol (found in red wine and grapes), dairy, fiber and vitamin C. Three types of fatcoconut oil, which has enjoyed a resurgence of interest for its purported fat-burning qualities, as well as PUFAs (polyunsaturated fatty acids found in corn oil, soybean oil, walnuts and seafood) and MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids found in olive and canola oils, avocados and many nuts)are also on the list. While I dont know that most scientists would be on board with the terms fat-releasing, there are a few reasons to consider this diet if youre looking to jumpstart a weight loss plan.

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Reason 1: The Digest Diet focuses on real foods that cover all of the basic food groups. As you can see from the list of foods, the plan features built-in varietyit doesnt demonize dairy, or carbs, fat, or even alcohol. You can even concoct a decent brownie with a few modifications. Its easy to see how you could work this diet for the long term, once you put your pantry together and learn how to work with certain ingredients (like coconut oil) that might be unfamiliar.

Reason 2: Phase 1the most restrictive phaselasts only four days. Its become standard practice for diet plans to begin with a jump-start phase with a severely limited list of allowable foods and/or portions. This phase of The Digest Diet, where you basically exist on smoothies and soups, is relatively short (the Dukan diet, by comparison, has a first phase that lasts up to 7 days). Its impractical for people who have real lives to live with in such limits for too longfour days seems doable, though.

Reason 3: The diet teaches you about portion control and proper nutrition. Rather than just being about how much weight can you dropand how fastThe Digest Diet aims to teach you how to eat for life. Some diets make it impossible for you to enjoy a meal at alland others are almost too accommodating of poor nutritional habits, like a reliance on fast food. This plan seems to strike just the right balance.

Now, I am not a scientist and have not examined all the evidence supporting The Digest Diets claims. Nor have I tried it for myself. So I dont know if its the be-all-end-all plan for everyone. What I do know is that the three points above are important components of any diet you choose. The fact is, a diet may have reams of evidence to support it, but if it forces you to eat in a way thats unsatisfying, if you cant live with it, and if it doesnt lay the foundation for lifelong healthful eating, chances are its not the best plan for you.

Lisa Delaney is editor of Spry magazine and Ask her your question here.
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