The Dr. Phil Diet Explained

The Dr. Phil Diet Explained
by Helen Laxton

Dr. Phil McGraw once published a book entitled “The Ultimate Weight Solution: Seven Keys to Weight Loss Freedom” in which he introduced the world to his new diet, the “Shape Up Plan”. This popular diet (allegedly top 10 in the USA) is based on 7 main foundations, namely:-

  • Right thinking for self control
  • Healing feelings as the key to emotional control
  • No fail environment
  • Mastery over food and impulse eating
  • High-response cost / high-yield nutrition
  • Intentional exercise
  • The circle of support

Dr Phil is a realist - he reminds us that dieting is never easy. but then again, nothing worth having ever is! The Shape Up Plan is a balanced approach to weight control. You will essentially be eating high fiber foods such as complex carbohydrates, whole grains, fruits and vegetables plus lean protein and “good” fats.

Dr Phil explains that you need to focus on eating only “high-response-cost, high-yield foods.” - a perfect example would be sunflower seeds - your body needs to do a lot of work to process these kinds of food before the calories in them actually become available to you. This is in direct contrast to “low-response-cost, low-yield foods” like burgers or tacos which are easy to eat and digest. Dr Phil believes that the extra steps the body needs to take to process these good foods mean that they are less likely to be converted to fat.

Unlike some diets, you can eat most things in moderation. This is because Dr Phil believes restrictive diets don’t work - banned food make dieters unhappy, and they tend to become obsessive about them leading to sudden binges, and dropping of the diet. Instead, Dr Phil recommends you watch portion sizes, eat mostly foods that are high in nutrients and fiber, stay away from salts and fats, and choose foods that involve some work when eaten (such as broccoli, peanuts and fish).

Food to avoid include avoid fast food, and any easily consumed food - the phrase he likes is to avoid eating anything that will turn you into a human “wood chipper.” For this reason, you shouldn’t buy cookies and potato chips. Instead you should stock up on vegetables and other healthy foods bought from a list.

Like a lot of sensible diets, the Shape Up Plan incorporates exercise. Dr Phil suggests the standard 3 times per week, for at least 20 minutes a time. Following the Doctor’s recommendations can lead to weightloss of between one and two pounds per week - slow steady loss, of course, being easier to maintain than loss acheived via ‘crash diets’. Once you hit the target weight you want, the rules slacken considerably, although you still need to remember the 7 keys to success, and base your eating habits on them.

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