One of the first books I ever read on weight loss was the Fit for Life book by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. Part of the reason why I am a Nutritional Therapy Consultant is that I found the fit for life diet plan, and implemented the diet recommendations laid out in the fit for life plan. In a short period of time, I achieved amazing weight loss results.
I lost 10 pounds in one month by changing my diet and implementing the Fit for Life diet Principles.
Seeing my success inspired me to learn more so I could help others do the same. So if you want to learn how to lose weight with the fit for life diet plan, this post is for you!
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I first came across the Fit for Life book from a fellow traveller in Mexico on one of our family holiday camping trips. At the time. I was a young teenager carrying around an extra ten pounds that I was happy to lose if I could and knew how to, so I picked up the Fit for Life Diet book and started reading.
From the moment I picked it up, I couldn’t put it down. I remember staying up throughout the night reading the book by candlelight in my tent, feeling so excited about the principles of food combining for weight loss.
While I ate a healthy diet, I was not practicing food combining and the other core principles in the Fit for Life book, so I was excited to test the weight loss tips. To my surprise, the 10 pounds of excess weight dropped away within a month.
Seeing how easily and effortlessly I lost weight with the new dietary and lifestyle changes motivated me to continue to eat this way. It also sparked a desire to learn about nutrition (which is a never-ending rabbit hole that can be both exciting and confusing at the same time!)
The core Fit for Life Diet Rules are:
- Have 70 % of your diet be uncooked/ raw vegetables and high-water content fruits. No more than 30% of your diet should come from dead foods that are cooked or processed.
- To practice food combining for weight loss by never mixing animal protein foods with starch
- Eat only fruit in the morning until noon to allow for the elimination cycle to finish.
- Eat an early dinner so that the body is ready to enter the assimilation cycle by the time you go to bed.
- Eat fruit or fruit juice all on its own. Never combine fruit with other types of foods, such as animal protein.
- DO NOT OVEREAT – Eat until you are 80% filled.
- Avoid all dairy products.
- Follow the body’s natural cycles by only eating in the assimilation phase, and be sure to allow for the detoxification phase to take place.
By following these core principles, I lost weight, but as a result, I also felt more CONFIDENT in my body, which is huge for a teenager, or anyone for that matter. So often, it is not about weight loss but about our confidence and how we feel in our bodies.
When you start to notice how healthy, happy, confident, and energized you feel in your body by eating healthy whole foods, it becomes easier to make healthy, sustainable eating habits and dietary choices.
The benefits of raw food for weight loss
One of the primary Fit for Life diet principles for weight loss was to have 70 % of your diet be high water content foods that are uncooked whole raw fruits and vegetables. Eating 70% of raw foods leaves 30% of the diet available for cooked or concentrated foods.
The reason behind eating a 70% raw food diet of fruits and vegetables is because fruits and vegetables are the best foods for weight loss as they are 70 percent water and extremely cleansing to the body. Raw foods are brimming with nutrients and natural digestive enzymes that are heat sensitive and destroyed during cooking.
Harvey explains that our bodies are approximately 70 percent water, our world is 70 percent water, and that eating whole fruits and vegetables filled with both nutrients and water is the perfect food for our bodies. The water found in raw foods is crucial for detoxification as the water delivers nutrients to all body cells while also removing toxic waste products, which is essential for good health.
Eating live foods is fantastic for cleansing the body and increasing energy levels. A healthy eating plan must contain ample amounts of fresh produce to maintain a healthy body and long term weight loss.
The water in fruits and vegetables helps to hydrate the body and make you feel full. So often, people mistake hunger signals for thirst signals. By eating these high water content foods, you help to relieve those thirst signals.
Fit for life food combining rules
One of the main points of the diet plan is never to combine protein with starch. The principles of food combining for weight loss are based on the idea that eating protein with a concentrated starch simultaneously, such as rice and fish, meat, and potatoes, will slow down digestion.
The starches found in potatoes, rice, legumes, etc. will ferment in the stomach, causing the protein to putrefy thus, the poorly combined meal becomes more of a burden to the body.
Vegetables can be eaten with either starch or protein. Starchy foods such as all whole grains, flour, and legumes should not be mixed with animal protein. If foods are not properly combined, digestion will be slower, making it more difficult to lose weight.
Fruit should only be eaten on its own as it passes through the stomach in 20-30 minutes, providing quick, easy-to-digest energy for the body.
Protein, such as chicken or beef, takes 3 hours or longer. If fruit is eaten with animal protein, the sugars will instead be fermenting in the stomach with the protein.
Fit for life meal plan
An example of a fit for life meal plan would be to only eat fresh fruit such as blueberries, apples, oranges, etc, in the morning until 12 pm. Lunchtime at 12 pm could be a big salad with lots of raw vegetables served with protein such as chicken or fresh fish.
Whole grain breads can also be used to make a sandwich loaded with vegetables, but it is a must to skip the cheese, or any animal protein frequently used to make sandwiches. Dinner could be a variety of vegetables sauteed in a stirfry served with a whole food carbohydrate such as rice.
Take note that you cant combine proteins with carbohydrates aside from vegetables at the same meal when following the fit for life diet program as it is one of the primary basic ideas to achieve optimal health.
As a nutritional health consultant, I do not agree with all the principles behind food combining described in the book. I initially practiced food combining for a couple of years and experienced fast weight loss. Now I generally never mix fruit with animal protein and do my best to eat fruit on its own before meals or in the morning.
Following fad diets can be beneficial for the short term and is a great starting point to get you motivated but in the long term, eating a clean diet while leading an active lifestyle is the cornerstone to a healthy diet for the long run.
I find I can maintain a healthy weight and good digestion even when mixing proteins and starches. But if your digestion is compromised and you are struggling to lose weight, you may want to practice food combining as it was a core principle in which I initially implemented and practiced.
Why no dairy products are allowed on the fit for life diet plan
Harvey argues that cow’s milk is designed by nature to be drunk by cows, and human milk is designed for babies. Most humans lack the enzymes lactase to break down the milk sugar lactose found in cow’s milk. The casein levels found in cow’s milk is considerably higher than in human milk.
It is the lactose and casein that many people develop food intolerances to, which then contributes to inflammation and a difficult time losing weight. Dairy is also very mucus forming and congesting in the body instead of cleansing.
Only eat fruit first thing in the morning for weight loss and detoxification
When I reflect on the fit for life diet rules that I practiced, I think only eating fruit in the morning was essential to my weight loss results. Fruit provides the body with easy to digest energy and nutrients without overloading my digestive system.
Harvey describes three cycles within the body that are always taking place. Each rhythm in the body is higher at different times of the day, with each cycle lasting 8 hours.
These cycles and times are:
• Digestion from 12 pm to 8 pm
• Assimilation from 8 pm to 4 am
• Elimination from 4 am to 12 pm
By only eating fruit first thing in the morning, you are allowing your body to focus on detoxification and finish the elimination cycle, which is crucial for weight loss.
The liver is the primary organ responsible for detoxifying toxins in the body. The liver is also a primary organ involved in digestion, with the job of having to produce bile for the digestion of fats.
Eating fruit in the morning until noon, which is cleansing and very low in fat, allows the liver and body can focus on elimination without being slowed by the added burden of digestion. The process of digesting concentrated foods is very energy-demanding and takes energy away from detoxification and elimination.
(You can learn more about the benefits of fruit and a low-fat plant-based diet here)
So often, a fatty liver that contains too much stored fat is underlying an inability to lose weight, and the best foods to cleanse the liver are fruits and vegetables. While healthy fats are great for feeling satiated and long-lasting energy, they don’t clean the liver with all the antioxidants, phytonutrients, and micronutrients that are found in pigmented fruits and vegetables.
Finish eating your last meal of the day early enough so that by the time you go to bed, your last meal has left your stomach and is ready to be absorbed by the body in the assimilation phase.
The purpose of eating an early dinner is to allow time for the digestion of that meal to take place so that by the time 8 pm rolls around, the body is ready to enter into the assimilation cycle. If a late dinner is eaten, the assimilation cycle is delayed and is forced back into the digestion cycle.
Eating an earlier dinner allows for a longer period of fasting throughout the night. Practicing extended periods of intermittent fasting is one of the quickest and most effective ways to lose weight.
Eat fruit all on its own
Fruits are one of the easiest foods for the body to digest and pass through the stomach in 20-40 minutes, depending on the type of fruit eaten. Fruit can be up to 90 percent water and is fantastic for hydrating the body along with providing micro-nutrients and antioxidants to cleanse the liver.
When fruits are eaten with other foods such as legumes and animal protein, the fruit is forced to stay in the stomach longer. The naturally high sugar content in fructose will cause excess fermentation of grains and legumes and putrefaction of animal proteins. The fruit is best eaten on its own to avoid fermentation.
DO NOT OVEREAT – Eat until you are 80 percent full.
Listening to your body and when you are full is crucial for weight loss and optimal digestion. The body needs to be nourished with nutrient-dense whole foods, but overeating any food burdens the digestive system. The extra calories from overeating are unnecessary. Eating until you are 80 percent full and not overeating is a powerful weight loss tip.
By practicing these simple yet powerful weight loss tips, the ten pounds of excess weight I carried dropped away healthily. It can be just as challenging to lose weight without a strategy that works, whether someone has 100 pounds to lose or 5 pounds to lose.
As I look back to when I lost weight by using the Fit for Life principles, I can see how these principles were so effective in helping me to lose weight. While I have maintained my weight loss results to this day 15 years later by eating a balanced nutrient-dense whole food diet, the fit for life diet is what initially helped me to lose weight.
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What about protein from non animal sources, like beans. Are they ok with starches. And is fruit ok at other times as long as you give it 40 minutes to pass through.
I no longer follow strict food combing rules, but I do think it depends on everyone’s digestive system and how strong their digestive fire is. That being said, I do like to eat fruits by themselves in the morning or a few hours after a meal and try not to mix fruit with too many foods, especially animal protein 🙂 I felt great and initially lost weight when I practiced the fit-for-life principles. Now I still maintain a healthy weight and good gut health even when I combine various foods.