SolveYourProblem Article Series: Top Diets
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The F.A.S.T. Diet

Dieting is hard. Some diets are just so restrictive that they set us up for failure. Others are more reasonable, but making the lifestyle changes that are necessary to lose weight is no small task. We need lots of support to keep us motivated and see us through the tough times if we are to succeed.

Many weight loss programs are designed around this concept. Programs such as Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig organize weekly meetings where members can weigh in, socialize and get advice and support. But aside from those meetings, they are usually on their own. The F.A.S.T. Diet was designed to eliminate this problem.

Tony Dean came up with the idea for the F.A.S.T. Diet when he became determined to help his own family get into shape. He organized the family into two-person teams, and teammates provided support and accountability to one another. He developed nutrition and exercise plans based on each individual's needs and arranged for personal trainers. Within a year, the family had lost a total of 500 pounds. Dean realized that he was onto something, so he wrote a book and started helping other groups set up similar programs.

How It Works

The diet and exercise plans in the F.A.S.T. Diet are not particularly unique. They involve tailoring calorie and nutritional needs to each participant and designing a workout routine that can be built upon each day. Dieters are asked to record everything they eat and drink, as well as their exercise numbers. This helps hold them accountable and assists in identifying problems that could hinder weight loss.

The diet component of the plan takes a rather old-school approach. Participants must calculate their basal metabolic rate (BMR) to figure out how many calories they must limit themselves to each day. They are also given a number of fat, protein and carbohydrate grams that they must not exceed. While tracking calories and nutrients is a lot of work, the good news is that there are no forbidden foods.

The exercise plan consists of a 30- to 60-minute workout each day. Participants may work out at the gym or on home fitness equipment, but it's not necessary. Exercises that require no equipment such and walking can provide comparable results.

Personalized Support

In addition to writing The F.A.S.T. Diet and traveling to help large groups lose weight, Dean has set up an online diet and fitness plan. Members get one-on-one training and support, informative and motivational e-mails and phone calls and tools to help maintain their weight loss. Membership is more expensive than most online diet plans, but it also includes a much higher level of personal support.

The F.A.S.T. Diet is far from a quick fix, but it utilizes the support of close friends and family members to increase everyone's chance at success. There's just something about being accountable to a partner and a group that prevents failure from being an option. So if you and your family need to lose weight, the F.A.S.T. Diet could be just what you need.

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