The Maintenance Phase…..poor Maintenance Phase – so often overlooked or skimped. And the price of this is inevitably weight fluctuations and increases…
How to avoid this pitfall?
Follow the Maintenance Phase very carefully, very diligently, and learn and understand exactly what you are doing and why. The information on this page will hopefully help you and result in a successful MP with the results of (1) weight stabilising to that which you worked so hard to achieve on the VLC phase; (2) an increased understanding of how foods are affecting you (either a food sits well with you, or you feel bloating and uncomfortable; and (3) you will be cementing healthier choices for long term weight maintenance.
The Maintenance Phase lasts about as long as your VLC phase…. so if you did a 3 week program, the MP needs to have about 3 weeks allocated to it.
If you did a 6 week program, then allocate 6 weeks for the MP.
If you did something in between, 4 or 5 weeks….then allocate the 4 or 5 weeks for the MP.
In any event, the MP should not be any less than 2 weeks and only that period if the weight is stable (no fluctuations) and you are familiar with how foods are affecting you so you can long term avoid (or at least minimise) those foods that cause discomfort.
So, why should a food cause discomfort when you’ve enjoyed it for years and seemed okay with it?
We all eat foods that do not suit us, and this may be because we lack the enzymes to digest it properly, or it may be a food that your blood type would best have you avoid (see Eat Right For Your Type by Dr Peter D’Adamo if this topic interests you. There are printed books, or a telephone App for under $5). In any event, the body learns to tolerate the food (not accept it but tolerate it, ie put up with it!) Over the years, the body cleverly develops compensating mechanisms to cope with the unwanted foods. It may cope by holding excess fluid (inflammation) or it may flush the unwanted food quickly through the system (ie diarrhoea) or it may just store it (weight increase). One might feel bloating, pudginess, lethargy, headache, nausea….
Often the unwanted foods in modern times are starches and carbs (see FAQ); sugar also, and many chemicals and preservatives in packaged processed foods.
The Maintenance Phase is primarily a phase when healthy foods are eaten in moderation with no necessity to limit calories as on the VLC Phase. Protein must be increased. Protein is released from the stored fat/connective tissue during the VLC Phase hence the limited amount of protein allowance in the diet but on the MP, no protein is being released so all of the body’s requirements must come from the food intake. Sugar and starch (which includes carbohydrates) must be avoided. Healthy fats and oils can be used but if any carbs are added to the diet during this stabilising Phase, the combination of fats and starch are likely, according to Dr Simeons, to cause things “to get out of hand”.
Remember: the goal of the MP is to stabilise the weight. If the weight you saw on the scales on the last day of taking the formula is a realistic one, then you will be wanting to stabilise to within that weight by + or – 0.9kg (900 grams). See our page on the Steak Day for assistance here.
Feedback from long-term successful users have found the following tips to be helpful:
- breadsticks are not allowed on the Maintenance Phase which can be confusing (grissini being carbs)
- introduce “new” foods slowly so the body has a chance to let you know if a food does not agree with you as an individual. You might find foods agreeable that are not okay for somebody else and vice versa. Generally, if something causes bloating, lethargy or any discomfort, it will be evident within a few hours or sooner. Introducing several new foods at once will cause confusion and difficulty discerning the “culprit”. If you find an incompatible food, record it, and try it another time and note the reaction for confirmation. There may be foods best avoided long-term – listen to your body.
- increase your protein intake to approximately double or more what you were eating on the VLCD…….many people do not do this and insufficient protein causes bloating (fluid retention) and weight gain (fluid)….(refer to p34 of your Companion Guide, “Going, Going, Gone! if you have one (“Beware of Over-Enthusiasm” and “Protein Deficiency” which can also be found on p52 and 53 of Dr Simeons’ manuscript “Pounds and Inches”).
- try increasing your calories from 500 (VLCD) to 1000+ the first week, then say, 1200-1500 the second week etc. Keep drinking 2+ litres – this is a permanent lifestyle change.
- use a tablespoon or more of coconut oil in your foods whilst on Maintenance and afterwards as well. It is available in health food shops and not expensive as it will last a while – we pay about $17.00 for a litre of organic, cold-pressed coconut oil from Fiji.
- avoid sugar and carbs/starch in all forms (please become a “label’-sleuth”). Whilst you can consume good oils, combining them with starch/carbs is, according to Dr Simeons, a real problem (p27 Companion Guide)
- continue to weigh yourself once a day at the usual time of getting up having used the bathroom.
- the purpose of the Maintenance Phase is to stabilise your weight, now this Target Set Weight is the weight you were at on the day’s weigh-in on the last day you were on the drops. This weight may not be the weight you stabilise at which may be a kilo or so more or less. Do not be “paranoid” if you cannot nail the Target Set Weight out as several hundred grams could be fluid adjustments or even not having gone to the toilet! Yes, we mention this over and over, but we find some people agonise unnecessarily trying to stabilise at a weight which is a little different to the one they recorded on the last day of taking the formula.
REMEMBER: the MP is all about stabilising the weight even if the weight is a little different to what the scales said on the day of the last dose.
- if you weight increases by .9kg from that weight, try a Steak Day (refer to p32 of your Companion Guide). The following day, your weight should have returned to within the .9kg buffer.
- If stabilising is uncontrollably elusive, take one dose of your left-over liquid dietary formula once daily (p38 Companion Guide.)
What foods can be had on MP?
Click here for more info and many examples.
Dr Simeons covers a vast area of patient-experience in his manuscript “Pounds and Inches”…
….the following is a quote from that manuscript, page 52 concerning WEIGHT GAIN DURING MAINTENANCE
“Beware of Over-enthusiasm
The other trouble which is frequently encountered immediately after treatment is again due to over-enthusiasm. Some [people] cannot believe that they can eat fairly normally without regaining weight. They disregard the advice to eat anything they please except sugar and starch and want to play safe. They try more or less to continue the 500-Calorie diet on which they felt so well during treatment and make only minor variations, such as replacing the meat with an egg, cheese, or a glass of milk. To their horror they find that in spite of this bravura, their weight goes up. So, following instructions, they skip one meager lunch and at night eat only a little salad and drink a pot of unsweetened tea, becoming increasingly hungry and weak. The next morning they find that they have increased yet another pound. They feel terrible, and even the dreaded swelling of their ankles is back. Normally we check our [dieters] one week after they have been eating freely, but these cases return in a few days. Either their eyes are filled with tears or they angrily imply that when we told them to eat normally we were just fooling them. ”
The other topic that Dr Simeons’ addresses also concerns WEIGHT GAIN DURING MAINTENANCE is explained on page 53 of his manuscript…..again, quoted below in blue for your convenience.
Here too, the explanation is quite simple. During [the program] the [dieter] has been only just above the verge of protein deficiency and has had the advantage of protein being fed back into his system from the breakdown of fatty tissue. Once the treatment is over there is no more [formula] in the body and this process no longer takes place. Unless an adequate amount of protein is eaten as soon as the [program] is over, protein deficiency is bound to develop, and this inevitably causes the marked retention of water known as hunger- edema. The treatment is very simple. The [dieter] is told to eat two eggs for breakfast and a huge steak for lunch and dinner followed by a large helping of cheese and to phone through the weight the next morning. When these instructions are followed a stunned voice is heard to report that two lbs. have vanished overnight, that the ankles are normal but that sleep was disturbed, owing to an extraordinary need to pass large quantities of water. The [dieter] having learned this lesson usually has no further trouble”.