Well, she's done it again. If she even succeeds in getting the 40 or so pounds off she gained since her last failed "success," how long until we see another week-long series instructing hundreds of thousands of women on the path to weight loss and fitness failure, peppered with appearances by others who have failed?
My gosh, already. When is she going to fire that Bob Greene?
Alright, let's dig in a bit. First, watch the 5-minute video about how she's changing everything for this year, "Oprah's New Year, New Plan." I watch that, and I can find only about one thing right in the whole deal: time for herself on her own schedule. Duh!
The rest of it is a huge recipe for failure, misery, and probably both. Why is it ultimately destined for failure, for both her and anyone else? It's not sustainable. Hunger will always win in the end, and in the simplest terms possible: she and Greene have done everything possible to stimulate even more hunger and haven't done the things necessary to take hunger almost completely out of the equation. Most human beings would go stark raving mad on this regime — from the awful diet to the boring, grueling workout schedule and routine grind.
Oprah: Sorry to say, but your new plan is dumb. What's more, You are sending thousands of women (and men) who look up to you as an authority down the same dismal road of repentance for past sins through boring, dry, unexciting food and daily assembly-line workout toil that will do little but make everyone even more bored, hungry, and quite possibly suicidal.
In short, this is a guaranteed failure zone for all but very few who are into punishing themselves endlessly. So here's the short list of everything that's wrong, along with what you need to do to get it right:
The Meal Plans
The meal plans are just awful. Filled with low-and-non-fat everything, completely lacking in variety, and just plain boring. If you click though the days of the week, it's endless egg whites, chicken breasts, salmon. Over and over. You should eat in a sustainable manner. About the only positive is that the food is mostly real food.
The amount of protein looks close, more is better, and you need way more fat. Greene will tell you otherwise, but in my opinion he's making his living towing the party line; you know, the one where 65% of the American population is now fat or obese, and it's their fault, not that of the "authorities" and their puppet "experts" like Greene who continue to herald the low-fat catechism (since it's been so damn successful over the last 20 years & all).
And this 5-meal per day deal is total crap. How many omnivores in nature eat five times per day, regularly, like clockwork? You know what that's a recipe for? Obsession. Everything becomes about food and that next meal. You never give your system a break from the onslaught, insulin remains always elevated, the wham-bam that's going to keep you hungry and irritable.
The Exercise Plans
What you have here is a lot of low-impact, low-resistance, high-rep, boring stuff that's going to get you nowhere — except that you plan to do it 6 days per week and give yourself a whole day off! Yippee!
We've got 30 minutes per day of low impact "cardio," and something you call "resistance training," but with weights so small that it pails in comparison to the "resistance training" you get daily anyway moving your own body around. And, you're going to do a body part per day? Yea, that's functional. Way to stimulate GH production there, Oprah. Looks like you're into light weight with lots of repetitions. It's wrong; it will get you nowhere.
In the end, just as with your diet, you are doing everything possible to stimulate more hunger, and sooner or later, you'll give into it. In total, if you're doing your "resistance training" for 30 minutes in addition to your cardio, then that's six hours spent per week getting, really, no more benefit that you could get just walking a hour per day outside, in nature.
A Better Plan — The Anti-Greene Plan
I suppose I shouldn't pick on Bob so much. After all, who am I? Well, who I am is someone who has the luxury of being brutally honest. The root problem is that the whole weight loss industry is run like a religion. And, like a religion, operates by making you feel guilty for your own nature; and when you feel guilty, you are susceptible to all manner of suggestion (like purchasing ineffective products and services and punishing yourself with boring diets and hunger-inducing workouts).
You need to drop the guilt, first and foremost. You've been lied to. You've been told to eat in a manner and exercise in a manner that sets up hormonal cascades guaranteed to leave you forever ravenous. You can't even believe you've gained this weight, and why? Because you can look back and recall that you were hungry all the time. Weren't you?
Well, I'll leave original sin to the religious, but you are simply not responsible for feeling hungry, and you can hardly be expected, long term, to ignore and deny those feelings. Hunger always wins.
What you need is a proper diet that satisfies you, and you need an activity and exercise regimen that promotes the release of growth hormone. How to do?
- Try to eat as much as a gram of protein per day per pound of body weight, so about 200 grams. That's a lot and 150 would probably be fine on the low end. Eat a variety of meats, fatty cuts too. Be intermittent, as though the food is seasonal, just like hunting. Protein is king for satiety. Eat as much protein as you want, as often as you want.
- Eat more fat. In fact, 50% to 65% of your energy should be coming from fat, natural fat: lard, butter, tallow, schmalz, ghee, coconut oil, olive oil. Stay away from all others to reduce pro-inflammatory omega 6 fats, and take about 5 grams of fish oil per day in order to further get your omega 6 and 3 ratio to a natural, near 1:1 as possible (the average diet is 15:1 and higher of n-6 to n-3). Eat as much of these fats as you want, as often as you want.
- Natural carbohydrate only: veggies, fruits, nuts. As much as you want of veggies (except potato), try to stick with berries for fruit as much as possible, and modestly. Keep it intermittent. No processed food at all. No neolithic foods like grains, corn, legumes, dairy. Cutting them out will reduce or eliminate many inflammatory markers.
- Get lots of sleep. Sleep promotes GH release.
- Eat 2-3 times per day on days you eat, or, eat once some days, three times others, two times still others, and nothing now and then. This models nature and begins turning on dormant genes that want to you be lean and young.
- Begin rehabilitating your broken hunger mechanism with two fasts per week of 24-30 hours each: water, or unsweetened coffee or tea only. Once you get used to this (3-4 fasts), then arrange it so you're doing your workout at at least 22 hours into the fast. Do animals hunt on full bellies? Don't eat until at least an hour after completing a workout. Fasting also promotes GH release. So does high-intensity activity. Working out fasted tips the balance in your favor.
- Don't use any artificial sweeteners or eat anything with artificial sweeteners. Abstaining from them for a time will reset your taste to a natural one. Before refined sugar and selective breeding of very sweet fruits, sweetness was not something we got in nature that much. Constantly subjecting your body to it has adverse effects and can actually cause an insulin response even if there's no calories to digest.
- Drop the cardio completely (walk outside if you like, as much as you want) and then do full-body resistance workouts twice per week, 30 minutes each, and you go all in every time. Intensity is the key. For an hour per week 2 X 30, you can get intense. Six hours, you're not going to be intense and it's not going to do you any good at all — it will probably hurt, i.e., chronic cardio.
- This will take a while to figure out, but you want to select a weight for each exercise that you could maybe do 12-15 reps, then do three sets of 8-10 reps (or whatever you can get on the 3rd). Don't rest in-between sets very much. Do 2-3 exercises at once so you can move from set to set to set.
- Do full body every time, and focus on legs, chest, back, and shoulders. Forget arms and abs. These others, especially legs, are the bigger muscles that will stimulate GH release when loaded significantly. Do legs a lot. Lot's of squats, presses, lunges. Keep it all very intense.
And there you have it: ten simple, fun, natural, sustainable-for-life steps that will work for good, guaranteed. I have my own results to prove it (including excellent blood work — case you're wondering about all the fat), heart scan shows little risk for heart disease for a 47 year old, and many others have attained lasting success through these methods.