Mayo Clinic Background
There aren’t many hospitals that have a worldwide reputation, but the Mayo Clinic is often referred to as one of the best. The Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization located in Rochester, Minnesota, and has a staff of more than 4,000 doctors. U.S. News ranked the Mayo Clinic as the greatest hospital and has facilities all over the world. People have been coming to the Mayo Clinic with life threatening illnesses for years with great results.
While the Mayo Clinic does specialize in serious illnesses, they practice in just about every area of medicine. This includes weight management, which is why they created the Mayo Clinic Diet. Many others has used the Mayo Clinic name for their diets before, but that changed in 2013 when the hospital group released their own book that outlined a weight loss plan.
A Strong Reputation
Since the Mayo Clinic is regarded as one of the best hospitals in the world, you automatically have a feeling of comfort that the experts know what they’re talking about in this weight loss plan. There are no promises from the Mayo Clinic that you will lose 30 pounds in 30 days like some fad diets out there, but instead promise a lifestyle change in which you can manage a healthy weight for the rest of your life.
How it Works
The Mayo Clinic Diet plan says that those that are considered very overweight or obese will see significant weight loss right away with six to 10 pounds lost in the first two weeks alone. After the initial loss, you are likely to see a one or two pound drop in your weight each week until you have reached a healthy size. There are two parts to the Mayo Clinic Diet, which we will break down:
In the first phase of the Mayo Clinic Diet, you are focusing on establishing healthy habits while ditching five bad habits. The healthy habits that you will be picking up on the plan include eating breakfast everyday while eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with whole grains and essential fats. It also asks you to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, even if it’s something simple like walking. Here are the five bad habits that you will ditch during the first phase:
- Snacking on Non-Fruits and Vegetables
- Eating at Restaurants that Don’t Follow the Plan
- Eating Large Helpings of Meat and Dairy
- Adding Sugar to Foods
- Watching Television While Eating
The first four seem pretty normal, though a lot of us are guilty of watching television while eating. It doesn’t seem like that bad of a habit, but studies have shown that you are more likely to mindlessly eat while you’re distracted. This can lead to overeating because you are not realizing that you are actually no longer hungry.
You won’t have to count calories during this portion of the plan, as you will be more focused on avoiding the bad habits and starting the good ones. However, it is not discouraged to count calories if you really want to boost your weight loss, and you can get well over the 30 minutes of recommended exercise. Once you have established these new habits, you’re ready for the second phase.
After two weeks of significant weight loss and getting into the groove of a healthy lifestyle, you start to put you new knowledge to practice. This is the phase where you are expected to drop one to two pounds per week, and it involves putting in some work. Now, you will be counting calories based on your specific needs while still meeting the nutrients from protein, fats, carbs, dairy, fruits and vegetables.
The Mayo Clinic has said that this is the portion of the diet that you can keep for life, and will also be able to help you maintain your weight with a few adjustments after you’ve reached your goal. Portion control is a large part of the Live It! phase, making sure that you don’t get back into the habit of overindulging that leads to relapse in so many that have lost weight. The largest portions that you will see in this phase are lower in calories and made up heavily of fruits and vegetables.
You are not asked to increase your physical activity from 30 minutes during the phase, but you should see an increase in your fitness that allows you to workout more often and for longer periods. The Mayo Clinic Diet also lays out small details about how you should be taking stairs instead of elevators and other minor changes that will add up to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle. You’re also allowed to eat sweets, but only in small portions of up to 75 calories each day, but you can spread that out over the entire week if you want to splurge on a candy bar or two.
What’s On the Menu?
With the Mayo Clinic Diet, you will be using what the clinic calls the Healthy Weight Pyramid. The core of the pyramid is physical activity of at least 30 minutes per day while the rest is focused on food. Here’s what a regular day of eating looks like when you follow the pyramid:
- Vegetables: At least four servings, but no maximum
- Fruits: At least three servings, but no maximum
- Carbohydrates: Four to eight servings
- Protein and Dairy: Three to seven servings
- Fats: Three to five servings
- Sweets: Maximum of 75 calories
Let’s say that you give yourself a maximum of 1,200 calories each day. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a pretty standard number for weight loss in most people. Here’s what a typical day would look like on the Mayo Clinic Diet according to their official guide:
- 1 Cup of Fat Free Milk
- ½ Cup of Bran Cereal
- 1 Small Banana
- 1 Cup of Herbal Tea
- 1 Small Apple
- 2 Cups of Baby Carrots
- 4 Ounces of Sliced Turkey Breast
- 1 Tomato Slice
- 1 Leaf of Lettuce
- 2 Slices of Whole-Grain Bread
- 1 Ounce of Low Calorie Mayonnaise
- 1 Glass of Water
- 2 Ounces of Beef Tenderloin
- 3 Baby Potatoes
- ⅔ Cup of Green Beans
- 1 Salad with Tomatoes and 2 Tablespoons of Fat-Free Dressing
- ⅓ Cup of Lemon Sherbet
- 1 Small Pear
Those with a sweet tooth or a taste for fried foods will really have to buckle down hard for this plan, as there isn’t a lot of wiggle room. The meals are admittedly small compared to what the common person is accustomed to eating, but this is a weight loss meal plan that also has a lot of nutrients.
Small Risks Involved
Since these are doctors at a prestigious clinic that made up the Mayo Clinic Diet, there aren’t a lot of risks involved in the process. The clinic does suggest though that starting a diet that has a lot of fruits and vegetables can be a shock to your system in the first phase and change your digestion. It can be uncomfortable at first, but your body will get used to it.
The clinic also says that those with diabetes might want to focus more on vegetables than fruit as fruit does have natural sugars. If you are losing weight while taking in a lot of natural sugars, though, it shouldn’t have a negative effect on your body. Of course, those that have been diagnosed with diabetes should speak with their doctor first before starting a program like the Mayo Clinic Diet even though they have deemed it safe.
Summing it Up
There is no doubt that the Mayo Clinic Diet is a successful weight loss program made by some of the best professionals in the business. What it all comes down to is how disciplined you can become with food. Many people struggle with laying off of the junk food, but those habits are focused on starting in day one. The clinic has had a study with 53 obese patients and 46 were able to make it through the first two weeks with an average of eight pounds lost.
It is also free to follow the diet with plenty of resources available through the clinic’s official website, you will just need to pay for the food. There is a book that you can follow as well that has a lot of recipe guides, which is available at bookstores for under $20. Many people that have changed their lifestyle with the Mayo Clinic Diet have found themselves 100 or more pounds lighter and able to stick with their new habits, making this one of the best diets available.