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3 Hour Diet

3 Hour Diet Diet
Called "fatso" by his childhood classmates, weight-loss guru Jorge Cruise knows firsthand the pain involved in being overweight. A frequent talk show guest, the now-slim Cruise is known for preaching the importance of small amounts of resistance training for weight loss. In 'The 3-Hour Diet' (HarperResource), he offers a "diet only" approach to shedding pounds. Put simply, the plan is all about timing. Eating every three hours helps you control your appetite, preserve muscle, and burn fat, Cruise says. It's not that exercise isn't valuable, but the new approach helps folks who can't exercise (perhaps because of painful joints or problems with obesity) jump-start their weight loss -- at a guaranteed rate of two pounds a week -- with diet alone.

Since a pound of muscle can burn between 20 and 50 calories per day -- even at rest, it uses twice the calories of a pound of fat -- dieters who can't exercise must preserve what muscle they already have to keep metabolism high. Cruise lists several studies he claims show that eating frequently (about every three hours) helps preserve lean muscle tissue while promoting weight loss. Why does this happen? Cruise contends that frequent eating prevents the body's starvation protection mechanism (what he calls the SPM) from kicking in. When SPM begins, Cruise says, the body holds onto fat stores just as it would during a famine.


The goal is to eat within an hour of rising and then every three hours after that for a total of five meals per day. If breakfast is at 7AM, eat a snack at 10AM, lunch at 1PM, another snack at 4PM, and dinner at 7PM. Dieters learn to watch portions, eating three moderate meals and two small snacks a day. The plan also allows for a daily treat such as a licorice twist, four chocolate-coated mints, or a cup of air-popped popcorn.

What You can Eat

No foods are banned, but Cruise encourages dieters to pick and choose from specific lists of fruits, veggies, meats, dairy, and preferred fats. He also offers two approaches to meal planning. One is a blueprint that calls for specific numbers of servings from different food groups. For example, lunch includes two to three servings from the meat group (one serving of meat is listed as a slice of bacon, an ounce of buffalo, or a reduced-fat hot dog). The second approach is called a "Cruise Down Plate." Dieters fill up half of a 9-inch dinner plate with veggies (or fruit for breakfast) and the remaining half with small portions of meat and starch, plus a teaspoon of oil or butter. Both methods boil down to about 1,450 calories per day.

Maureen Callahan, MS, RD, is a frequent contributor to Health, Cooking Light, and Real Simple. She is a recipient of the James Beard Award for her diet and nutrition reporting.
Published October, 2004 2004 Health Publishing, Inc.



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