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The Hope Lifestyle Program for Weight Loss

Man and woman cooking fish and vegetables
November 12, 2014 (Updated: August 16, 2018)
Lily Moran

Are you happy with your weight? If you’re like the majority of my patients, you probably answered “No!”

I’m guessing you’ve tried diets, more than once. By now you know diets don’t work. Sure, you might have lost a few pounds. But not for long, right?

And now with the holidays just around the corner, you’re wondering how you’ll survive the next few months without adding even more inches to your waistline.

Guess what! It can be done and I’m going to tell you how. But first, I want to introduce you to a patient I’ll call Rita, who came to see me last year about this time.

Rita’s mother had recently passed away. Although the cause of death was listed as cancer, the truth was more complicated.

“When she died, my mother weighed more than 300 pounds and she was only 5 feet 4 inches tall,” Rita explained. “She had been overweight her entire life and suffered from diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and heart disease.”

“A few years ago, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, which spread to her stomach and liver. So just about any one of those things could have been the cause of death. And being overweight certainly didn’t help.”

Rita had watched her mother struggle with every wacky weight loss plan that came along. Nothing worked. And now Rita, worried about following in her mother’s footsteps, was considering gastric bypass surgery when a friend suggested she see me first.

With a BMI of 26, Rita was right to be concerned (check your own BMI with a free women’s BMI calculator or free men’s BMI calculator.) BMI (Body Mass Index) is simply a way of calculating your body fat based on height and weight.

With more than 60 percent of U.S. adults overweight (BMI between 25 and 29.9)—and about half of those considered obese (BMI higher than 30), experts predict obesity will soon overtake tobacco as the nation’s leading cause of death.

Like her mother, Rita had little success with diets. But I explained the complications of gastric bypass surgery to her.

Malnutrition is one major concern. Bypass surgery alters the way your body processes what you eat. When food bypasses part of the intestines, you don’t absorb those calories.

But you also miss out on the nutrients in the food, putting yourself in danger of malnutrition. Chronic nausea and vomiting, and blockages of the small intestine are other side effects.

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Is there a better solution to the problem, Rita wondered. Yes, there is! Here’s what I told her.

My weight-loss patients are having outstanding results with a plan called The Hope Lifestyle Program, which focuses on modified low carbohydrate meals.

Patients eat mainly protein and healthy fats. Carbs come from nutritious green vegetables, like kale, spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, and the like.

Here are the Hope plan’s basic guidelines:

  • Organic meat (when possible), including chicken (with skin on to increase fat content), turkey, duck, quail, and lean red meat. Meat should be broiled, baked, or sautéed, not fried. No breading or batter, and no processed meats, please.
  • Fresh, wild-caught fish and shellfish are allowed, as are organic eggs.
  • Eat 10 to 20 grams of carbohydrates from vegetables daily, unless you are a vegetarian, in which case aim for 30 grams of carbs.
    • Spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, watercress, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, asparagus, and bean sprouts are the best choices.
    • Small amounts of peppers, onions, and tomatoes are also allowed. And enjoy all the garlic you want, especially raw in salad dressings.

      Vegetables
      (½ cup raw)

      Carbohydrates

      Lettuce 0.5 g
      Radish 0.5 g
      Bok choi 0.7 g
      Celery 0.8 g
      Mushrooms 1.0 g
      Cabbage 1.1 g
      Yellow squash 1.4 g
      Broccoli 1.7 g
      Cucumber 1.8 g
  • Nuts are good protein sources that also provide healthy fats. Use them in moderation on salads or as a snack.
  • On the fat front, organic olive oil, coconut, walnut, hemp, and avocado oil are all good choices, and you can also have organic mayonnaise and avocadoes.
  • For beverages, I suggest fresh, filtered water, green tea, or organic, herbal teas. The herbal sweetener stevia is the only sweetener allowed on the plan.

Obviously, common carbs like bread, pasta, rice, cereal, beans, and alcohol are not allowed on the Hope plan. You’ll also have to avoid starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, beets, butternut squash, and peas.

But the trade-off is long-term weight loss and an eating style you can live with. This modified low-carb diet works by changing the way energy is used in the body.

Fat is converted into fatty acids and ketone bodies. Instead of burning glucose, your body uses ketones from fat, which causes weight loss without losing muscle.

If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, I don’t recommend this eating plan. Individuals with diabetes should only follow this diet under a physician’s supervision.

And even people with no health concerns should consult a doctor when starting the plan, because you can become overly acidic, a problem that’s easily corrected.

To check your acid levels, just use pH strips according to the directions on the packaging. If you are acidic, adding a greens product or more minerals—such as magnesium, potassium, or calcium—is a good way to keep your pH levels where they should be and prevent electrolyte imbalance.

If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, don’t give up! Rita lost 45 pounds in just six months on The Hope Lifestyle Program. “And it couldn’t have been easier,” she told me.

“After a few days, I didn’t miss the carbs at all. I felt so light and had so much energy that I’m still using the program, just in a less strict way. Now it’s not about losing weight – it’s just to feel good!”

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